Air Handling Units - Expert Commentary

HVAC Maintenance Vital As Businesses Reopen Post COVID-19
HVAC Maintenance Vital As Businesses Reopen Post COVID-19

In what can only be described as a very turbulent year, many businesses have had to shut their doors and have all but forgotten about the general upkeep of their sites. With priorities shifted to keeping companies afloat and staff employed, maintenance and servicing has taken a backseat, and many systems will be deteriorating unnoticed. It goes without saying that one of the first tasks that employers will have to tackle when returning to work is a deep clean. As we are still in the throes of a pandemic, a clean and disinfected workplace is the number one priority that needs to be ensured, before any staff can be welcomed back to work. This should be closely followed by maintenance of the site’s equipment. Importance of regular HVAC maintenance Regular HVAC maintenance is extremely important as it keeps systems performing efficiently and effectively Regular HVAC maintenance is extremely important as it keeps systems performing efficiently and effectively. The nature of HVAC maintenance does change depending on the time of year, and with some sites being shut for months and through different seasons, managers will need to review their current equipment to ensure it is compliant and working correctly as soon as possible as signs of normality start returning and facilities begin to reopen. While warehouses and factories may have still been operating in some capacity over the last 12 months, many office buildings have seen little to no employees for more than a year in some cases, therefore, risking deterioration and even damage to their systems going unnoticed and untreated. But with so many pieces of equipment at each site, it is often hard to know where to start and what to prioritize. Following HVAC manufacturer’s recommendations In order for businesses to keep functioning as best as they can and to avoid any more disruption, those in charge of maintenance and servicing need to be educated on how the conditions of a system affects the type of work it needs. Manufacturer’s recommendations should also be taken into account. To help define what these are and how to approach them, mechanical and electrical engineers recommend: The coils and pipes in HVAC equipment that are responsible for heat transfer are checked regularly, because if the equipment gets dirty, it won’t transfer heat and energy as well. Checking controls annually to ensure that the HVAC system is running properly, as control calibration can alter. By scheduling regular check-ups, accurate operation is maintained. Maintaining equipment with fans quarterly to maximize longevity. Three key areas include monitoring the impellers, belts and bearings for any dirt, wear and tear, friction or erosion. Keeping an eye on filters, as when they are clogged, it increases the pressure drop in a system, which makes fans work harder to maintain the same airflow. A quarterly clean is usually sufficient for most filters. This is also true of strainers in systems. Optimizing HVAC and electrical equipment With spring now upon us, businesses need to optimize their HVAC and electrical equipment for maximum efficiency With spring now upon us, businesses need to optimize their HVAC and electrical equipment for maximum efficiency. This includes reviewing the sequence of operations for a morning warm up and cool down. However, it’s important to remember that because of prolonged closures over the last 12 months, autumn and winter checks, and in some cases, even summer checks were not able to be carried out in 2020, so before the spring work begins, backdating the maintenance is a good place to start. Ensuring buildings’ energy efficiency With the help of experts, HVAC maintenance doesn’t have to be time-consuming and overwhelming, but it’s a critical part of maintaining an energy-efficient building that is both comfortable and reliable. With regular servicing and some basic knowledge of what is required, sites can maintain optimum efficiency all year round. Noise complaints can also be an issue, if HVAC maintenance isn’t carried out regularly. Spring is a good time for businesses to perform services on their equipment, prior to the summer months starting and should be used to ensure that condenser coils and air handler filters are both clean. The dirtier the equipment, the noisier and less efficient it becomes, which is bad news for any business. Preparing buildings for staff returning to work When a building is returning to normal occupancy after a lengthy closure, additional checks must be considered before reopening is discussed. When a building is initially mothballed, it must be prepared for long term vacancy, but many businesses will not have had this opportunity before the national lockdown, which basically entails that these checks will not have been carried out. After a building becomes unoccupied, it is not the case that maintenance activity should also stop After a building becomes unoccupied, it is not the case that maintenance activity should also stop. At the very least, the frequency of existing planned maintenance will change, but in some cases, more maintenance tasks are required in order to keep the site ticking over. This includes flushing of water systems, Legionella testing and insurance inspections to keep the property functional and compliant. Countering health and safety issues  As the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions are lifted across the United Kingdom and many businesses are gradually reopening, it will present health and safety problems that have not been faced before and will very likely see a surge in services and maintenance being required. With this in mind, it is vital that maintenance becomes a priority as normal service is resumed to not only ensure efficiency, but also to make sure that no employee or visitor to a site is put in danger. Emerging from a surreal 12 months, there is no doubt that companies will still face challenges, so it is crucial that avoidable maintenance problems do not become one of them, so don’t delay in booking routine checks.  

Green Buildings Or Healthy Occupants? You Don’t Have To Choose Anymore!
Green Buildings Or Healthy Occupants? You Don’t Have To Choose Anymore!

HVAC systems have never received more widespread attention and media coverage than they have this year. As researchers determined that air transmission was a major factor in the spread of COVID-19, HVAC systems quickly became an area of intense discussion. Much of the news coverage from outlets like the New York Times, NPR, CNBC, or USA Today focused on air filtration. HEPA and MERV have become acronyms that people recognize, and UV Light and Plasma Ionization air purifiers have almost become dinner table topics. The need for discussion and debate about these topics is evident. As we look to resume some resemblance of normal life we need to feel safe sharing spaces with other people. Commercial HVAC Systems At the forefront of all of these discussions regarding air purification, is the massively flawed assumption that we must recirculate a large amount of the air from space to save energy. Most commercial HVAC systems only utilize 20% fresh air. That means that 80% of the air you are breathing in a public space has been on this ride before. The underlying principle here, from a thermodynamic perspective, is sound. I just spent a lot of energy (and $) conditioning this air for human comfort and now you want me to just throw it away?! In the name of all things public health, yes, throw it away! Energy Consumption It takes a large amount of energy to cool, dehumidify, and/or heat air so we humans can enjoy our time indoors in comfort Now before you draft your eloquently worded hate mail, let me take a minute to explain why we think you can just throw away perfectly conditioned air and still maintain a high level of energy consciousness. It’s true that it takes a large amount of energy to cool, dehumidify, and/or heat air so we humans can enjoy our time indoors in comfort. However, it is possible to exhaust ALL of the contaminated air from an occupied space and still conserve a large portion of the energy in that air. This can be done by passing the outside air (fresh air) and the exhaust air through separate heat exchangers where the energy can be transferred without the two air streams physically making contact. From a hygiene perspective, this process is ideal. Hospitals and industrial plants have been using one form or another of this technique for decades. The challenge for wider, commercial, adoption has been packaging restrictions of these systems and in a lot of cases the energy consumption of your supposedly energy-saving equipment. Energy Recovery Technology Cue ACT’s award-winning energy recovery technology, the Pump-Assisted Split Loop Energy Recovery Heat Exchanger. This product recently won the AHR Expo 2021 Innovation Award in the highly competitive Green Building category. The magic of the technology relies on the efficiency of the boiling and condensation process. When harnessed properly, one can exchange huge amounts of energy between two air streams just by circulating a particular fluid from one system to the next. A major benefit of allowing the fluid to boil and condense around the loop is that it allows the system to operate passively, using just the forces of good old fashion gravity. As a fluid boil, a portion of the liquid is converted into vapor which naturally wants to rise. Once that vapor gives off its energy it condenses back into a liquid that naturally wants to fall. If you can provide a source of energy input for boiling and a source of energy removal for condensing you can create a naturally circulating loop that requires absolutely zero electrical energy to operate. Two Separated Air Streams Transferring energy between two separated air streams with the least amount of total energy consumption and no cross-contamination In commercial HVAC systems, the warmer air stream can be the source of energy input and the cooler air stream can be the source of energy removal. As the seasons change, the air that is exhausted from a space flips from being warmer than the outside air (in the winter for instance) to be the colder air stream (in the summer). This means that at some point during the year you lose your gravitational advantage so for the other half of the year when you need to transfer energy in the opposite direction of gravity, ACT’s system uses a fractional horsepower pump (hence the pump-assisted part). The end result is a method of transferring large amounts of energy between two separated air streams with the least amount of total energy consumption, and with no cross-contamination. And because the fluid is circulated between the two air streams (either by gravity or by way of a small pump) this technology is highly geometrically flexible and customizable. With this product, HVAC systems can take in 100% fresh, outside air and throw it all away without having to worry about being wasteful. Improving HVAC Systems Most of the focus and efforts around improving HVAC systems have so far been centered too much on how we make old technology deal with new problems. These kinds of approaches are band-aids, at best, and often result is short-sighted solutions that never really advance the industry as a whole. ACT’s new product helps solve the problems of the new normal while moving the HVAC industry closer to that breath of fresh air we could all use right now.

Underfloor Air Conditioning: Adapting Office Spaces
Underfloor Air Conditioning: Adapting Office Spaces

Demand for underfloor air conditioning systems, which are far more flexible and adaptable than ceiling-based systems, has risen as developers and landlords scramble to reconfigure office spaces in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Experts have predicted a 50% reduction in office occupancy, as millions embrace working from home. What is underfloor air conditioning? A zonal underfloor air conditioning system makes use of the raised floor void as a plenum for the distribution of air. Supply and return channels are created under the floor, and zone units serving areas of up to 300m2 are suitably located throughout the office space to generate conditioned air locally to serve the needs of the space. Underfloor air conditioning goes further than displacement systems, offering full function control of the indoor environment Individually controlled fan terminals of either recessed or floor standing configuration are let into the floor over supply plena. These terminals introduce air into the space above in accordance with the dictates of their own on-board temperature sensors and controls system. Users can adjust fan speed and set point temperature individually. Return air grilles are positioned in the floor over return plena. The whole system is controlled by means of the electronic management system controlling the operation of the zone units and the associated fan terminals permitting centralized monitoring and control. Underfloor systems are inherently compartmentalised and offer highly effective solutions in multi-tenant areas and other environmentally challenging applications.  Many low-height refurbished spaces suffer from high levels of user complaint due mainly to draft from ceiling mounted outlets positioned too close to the user. The changing work environment At AET Flexible Space, we have seen increased demand, both from existing clients looking to reconfigure their office space, and new clients looking for a flexible air conditioning which can help to future-proof their office. A huge benefit of an underfloor air conditioning system is that they are inherently flexible, and can be changed to suit new room layouts within minutes. Our unique Fantile™ units are installed to sit in-line with the finished floor, and can be easily repositioned at any time without the need for the significant, and costly, building works usually involved in repositioning ceiling-based ductwork. A huge benefit of an underfloor air conditioning system is that they are inherently flexible We are already seeing that COVID-19 has accelerated the trend towards more flexible, future-proofed, and sustainable office space. We have been seeing an increase in demand for our underfloor systems for some time, but the coronavirus lockdown has certainly made more people consider the end-users of this office space, and how they can be best served Workplace wellness is also an increasing concern, and may be a key element for encouraging workers back into the office. The Workplace Wellness Study conducted by Future Workforce found that workplace environment is more important to employee satisfaction, engagement and productivity than most organizations realize. 67% of employees said they are more productive in workplaces that promote a healthy environment. One-third said they lose at least an hour of productivity each day due to office environments that don’t support their daily health. Beyond the inherent flexibility of underfloor air conditioning systems, they also offer high levels of energy efficiency, sustainability, and air quality. As there is no ductwork with an underfloor system, individual zones operate at very low-pressure encouraging energy efficiency. AET’s systems have helped attract LEED and BREEAM and other Green Building points, and can provide up to 30% savings in energy costs and a 29% reduction in C02 emissions when compared to ceiling systems. Cost savings Cost savings are also a key concern for everyone in the post-COVID world, and the flexibility and economy of an underfloor system across the lifetime of a building is increasingly attractive. The British Council for Offices (BCO) indicates that underfloor air conditioning can offer dramatic savings in overall cost, but it requires a co-ordinated team approach to achieve the optimum result. The flexibility and economy of an underfloor system across the lifetime of a building is increasingly attractive In the past the only way to reduce ceiling-based HVAC costs has been to reduce the specification and downsize plant, or reduce flexibility by increasing the size of terminal outlets and reducing numbers. However, these solutions often result in increased complaints of end-users about draughts and noise, which necessitates a costly and environmentally unfriendly re-design. Ceiling-based systems also demand service and maintenance from within the work space, from the simple task of changing filters in fan-coils or cassettes, to more complicated reconfigurations of pipework and ducts to suit a new layout below. Not only do these refits mean significant hidden cost, but they also cause disruption, and have a high risk of damage from condensate leakage. Construction Considerations In order to maximize the benefits of underfloor air conditioning, it must be introduced into the overall design philosophy at an early stage. When incorporated into the overall building design, savings can be made to curtain wall costs, all other height-related savings such as elevator shafts, columns, stairwells, riser shafts, and vertical services such as mains pipe-work and electrical risers. The Swedish National Pension Fund has reported overall cost savings of between 5% and 7% in buildings using underfloor air conditioning. In order to maximize the benefits of underfloor air conditioning, it must be introduced into the overall design Good quality underfloor air conditioning systems are similar in price to conventional good quality fan coil systems, but underfloor systems also reduce the cost of construction and offer tax advantages. The average office building costs in UK are in the region of £1000 to £2000 per square meter. Therefore, a 5% saving in overall cost could range from £50 to £100 per square meter. The average cost of any AC system is in the region of £120 to £200 per square meter, and so an overall saving in construction equates to something in the region of 50% of the AC system. As we move forward into 2021 and beyond, commercial construction is going to require sustainable and cost-effective design. With so many benefits, it is clear why so many in the construction industry are now turning to underfloor air conditioning solutions.

Latest Trane news

Trane Technologies To Virtually Present At The 2021 Citi Global Industrials Conference
Trane Technologies To Virtually Present At The 2021 Citi Global Industrials Conference

Trane Technologies, a global climate innovator, has announced that the company leadership will participate in a virtual fireside chat at the 2021 Citi Global Industrials Conference. They will speak at 11:20 AM ET on Wednesday, February 17, 2021. Global Industrials Conference The live webcast of the 2021 Citi Global Industrials Conference will be accessible on the Trane Technologies official website, under the investor relations section. An archive of the webcast will be available 30 days following the event. Trane Technologies is a globally renowned climate innovator. Through their strategic brands, Trane and Thermo King, and environmentally responsible portfolio of products and services, the organization brings efficient and sustainable climate solutions to buildings, homes, and transportation.

Thermo King And Envirotainer Ready For Secure Temperature Controlled Air-Transportation Of COVID-19 Vaccine
Thermo King And Envirotainer Ready For Secure Temperature Controlled Air-Transportation Of COVID-19 Vaccine

Recognizing the critical need for reliable temperature-controlled airfreight solutions for safe transportation of vaccines and pharmaceuticals, Thermo King, and Envirotainer have announced that they are ready to meet the increasing shipping needs of the healthcare and aviation industries. Thermo King, a brand of Trane Technologies is a global provider of intelligent end-to-end active temperature-controlled transport and storage solutions, across the entire cold chain. Envirotainer is one of the global market leaders in active cold chain solutions for air transport of pharmaceuticals. heating and cooling air cargo In 2005, Envirotainer together with Thermo King, developed and produced the first active, heating and cooling air cargo container validated by aviation authorities. This set a new standard in transporting pharmaceutical and other temperature-sensitive products by air. “When a vaccine is ready, the challenge for the pharmaceutical market will be getting it to the patient as fast as possible by maintaining the integrity of the cold chain,” said Francesco Incalza, President Thermo King EMEA. “Our intelligent solutions can help address logistics complexities by maintaining temperature control and tracking the integrity of vaccine shipments at all points along the journey, including during air transport. We are ready to meet the needs for the mass global distribution of the expected temperature-sensitive vaccine.” controlled room temperature Our long lasting partnership with Thermo King has led us to setting new standards in the industry" “Once vaccines become available, we know they will require temperature-controlled air freight and a global distribution in very large quantities,” said Michael Berg, CEO at Envirotainer. “Our long lasting partnership with Thermo King has led us to setting new standards in the industry. We have by far the largest container fleet and network in the industry, and we are ready to support fast and secure delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to the people that need them, wherever they are in the world.” The active containers were designed for the exacting requirements of the pharmaceutical industry. The one pallet RKN e1 container, using Thermo King Air 100 refrigeration system, and larger RAP e2 container, using Thermo King Air 200 refrigeration system, maintain product temperatures in the +2 to +8 Celsius range, controlled room temperature (+15 to +25 Celsius) range or at any chosen set temperature between ±0 and +25 Celsius in nearly any ambient condition. air cargo container Unlike passive containers, the active solutions operate on batteries in-flight, and on the ground, through an electrical connection that maintains the air-cargo container’s inside temperature while charging the batteries. Since their inception, the Envirotainer active containers have performed hundreds of thousands of real life pharmaceutical shipments. The RAP e2 is the most environmentally friendly temperature-controlled air cargo container available in the market. Delivering pharmaceuticals using the RAP e2 emits 0.9kg CO2e per vial shipped. This can be compared to, for example, a smaller passive solution’s 11.6kg CO2e per vial shipped. Both RKN e1 using Air 100 refrigeration unit and RAP e2 using Air 200 refrigeration unit are fully certified by both European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and Federal Aviation Agency (FAA), and are qualified as Good Distribution Practice (“GDP”) compliant for pharmaceutical transport and storage.

Trane China Launches Air Cleaning System To Improve Indoor Air Quality And Building Environmental Safety
Trane China Launches Air Cleaning System To Improve Indoor Air Quality And Building Environmental Safety

Trane China has recently launched a new suite of Air Cleaning System that applies advanced technology to reduce containments including particulates, gases and viruses, in indoor environments. The system comprehensively improve indoor air quality (IAQ) and building environmental safety under the new normal with the COVID-19 epidemic, and meet people’s added requirements for a safe, healthy and comfortable indoor environment. As healthcare, business, education and other industries are in orderly operation under the new normal of the pandemic in China, the government and all walks of life focus on how to improve IAQ, especially in public places. Due to the impact of COVID-19, people’s requirements for a safe and comfortable indoor environment have risen to an unprecedented height, which also makes the demand for high quality air conditioning and ventilation system in buildings become a new normal. Anti-virus capabilities “To prevent and control the spread of COVID-19, the State Council, the Architectural Society of China and other industry associations have issued policies, regulations and guidelines for the safe operation of air conditioning and ventilation systems in various public buildings to improve the health of the building environment,” said Steve Yan, president of Trane China. “As a global leader in HVAC, Trane has a long history of innovation. To tackle the challenges in the pandemic, we quickly developed and launched a new suite of Air Cleaning solutions with strong anti-virus capabilities that protects and improves IAQ while safeguarding public health and promoting the restoration of social and economic vitality.” Improve Indoor Air Quality by Advanced Technologies With their oxidation and iconicity, these bactericidal ionic groups can rapidly decompose chemically harmful gases Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI), High Voltage Electrostatic Filter and Anion technologies, which can be applied together or independently, to improve IAQ and protect indoor environment by providing external connection and plug-in options. This innovative solution can not only quickly and easily reduce the risk of transmission of pathogens, but also effectively degrade toxic, harmful gases and odors in the air, and filter out PM2.5 particles to achieve more effective air cleaning results. Photocatalytic oxidation (PCO), through a process called photo-catalysis, uses the ultraviolet radiation to illuminate the photocatalytic material and combine the water and oxygen in the air for photocatalytic reaction, rapidly producing the high concentration of bactericidal ionic group. With their oxidation and iconicity, these bactericidal ionic groups can rapidly decompose chemically harmful gases and odors, settle suspended particulate matter, kill microbial pollutants such as viruses, bacteria and molds, and convert harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to simpler chemicals, such as carbon dioxide and water. High Voltage Electrostatic Filter UVGI has a dual purpose: its primary function is an energy source for the catalytic reactions of the PCO process, while it also provides a germicidal effect on micro-organisms by using ultraviolet light in the “C” band (UVC) to damage the DNA or RNA and inactivate a wide range of micro-organisms, including fungi, bacteria and viruses commonly found in buildings. High Voltage Electrostatic Filter technology intercepts and filters out the large dust particles in the air, and then kills the suspended bacteria and other microorganisms through the powerful electric field force energy released by the high voltage electric charge instantly, making them lose their bioactivity, so as to achieve the purpose of disinfection and sterilization. Trane Air Cleaning System Our solutions will help reduce the transmission and spread of airborne diseases, such as the influenza" Anion technology can make particles with a size as small as 0.01 micron invisible to the naked eye as well as floating dust and odor molecules sink to the ground, and effectively destroy the molecular protein structure of bacteria and viruses so as to produce an antibacterial effect. Anion technology can also effectively reduce allergens and provide cleaner air. “Our unique Trane Air Cleaning System combines four technologies: High-voltage Electrostatic Filter, PCO, UVGI and Anion technologies. They can effectively remove pathogens and particles in the air,” said Bruce Gu, vice president of Engineering and Technology, Trane Technologies, Asia Pacific. “Our solutions will help reduce the transmission and spread of airborne diseases, such as the influenza, even in areas with high risks, such as medical institutions, providing more effective safety and health protection for indoor air environments in various buildings.” Low air resistance Through testing and certification by authoritative organizations, the Trane Air Cleaning System is shown to effectively ensure a healthy and safe indoor environment. The POC product can kill up to 99.9% of staphylococcus albus, and remove up to 99% of A virus like H1N1. The high voltage electrostatic filter product can achieve a purification efficiency of up to 99.3% for micro-organisms, and an effective filtration efficiency of over 99.9% for PM2.5 particles. The solution has been successfully applied in various market segments and received positive feedback Meanwhile, there is no significant increase in ozone during the process. Furthermore, the solution is characterized by low air resistance and almost no additional energy consumption on the air-conditioning system, which better support the sustainable development and operation of building owners and operators. Safeguard Public Health and Safety As a trusted partner of developers and building operators around the world, Trane has received more than 3,000 inquiries from 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and has signed more than 230 orders with customers from a variety of industries. The solution has been successfully applied in various market segments and received positive feedback from customers in different industries. What’s more, Trane Technologies recently established a “The Center for Healthy & Efficient Spaces”, taking advantage of its internal and external expertise, together with innovative technologies from external experts and partners, to help customers cope with indoor environmental challenges during and after the COVID-19 outbreak, and jointly create a new normal of more sustainable development. IAQ and air-conditioning system In order to provide patients with a safer and more comfortable medical environment, and to prevent the secondary contamination of medical equipment and the invasion of other germs and viruses, the air-conditioning system in the medical industry should not only control the appropriate temperature, but also ensure absolute compliance with air quality standards. A well-known hospital in Nanjing and an elderly care facility in Suzhou of Jiangsu Province have recently applied Trane’s newly launched solution to meet the high standards and strict requirements for IAQ and air-conditioning system. People at educational facilities, which are six times as crowded as commercial and retail venues, are accordingly more exposed to the risk of contracting airborne diseases.  In order to protect the health of students with efficiency and safety, a stable, reliable and efficient sterilizing air cleaning system is particularly important for schools. A middle school in Ningbo of Zhejiang Province is stepping up the construction of its comprehensive gymnasium, which uses Trane’s central air-conditioning system together with the Air Cleaning solutions, to create a healthier, safer and more comfortable environment for students, and provide parents with greater peace of mind for their children’s safety at school. HVAC duct system The health and safety of indoor air is also particularly important for exhibition halls In addition, in early October, Trane Technologies, in partnership with Synexis, launched a more innovative technology in indoor environmental quality, which is incorporated into Trane's comprehensive portfolio of products and services for K-12 schools, aiming to further improve IAQ in school buildings. The technology, which can be integrated into the HVAC duct system or applied as a stand-alone to individual rooms or spaces, uses dry hydrogen peroxide (DHP) to reduce pathogens in the air and on surfaces. Duct-mounted systems The health and safety of indoor air is also particularly important for exhibition halls. An exhibition center in Nanjing also applied the Trane Air Cleaning System for the first time during the construction of the third phase of its venue, to create a safer, healthier and more comfortable environment for visitors and exhibitors. Trane is driving the industry to ensure a safe and comfortable indoor environment under challenging circumstances via proper air handling, filtration, ventilation and purification. Moreover, the Trane Air Cleaning System is versatile, catering to multiple applications, such as fittings to a new building, field retrofit into existing Trane (and other brands of) air handlers and duct-mounted systems.

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