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With ongoing efforts from governments across the globe to reduce carbon emissions and with an ever greater focus on sustainability, it is vital that the HVAC sector does its part in becoming more environmentally conscious. And, while there have been steps to become more sustainable, there is a huge amount that still needs to be done to make sure that many of the targets that have been set are attainable. In buildings, both large and small, industrial heating accounts for roughly two thirds of industrial energy demand and around a fifth of global energy consumption. Figures like this show the need to have efficient and environmentally-friendly HVAC equipment in place to make the crucial steps towards reducing the contributions these systems make to our carbon footprint. High energy consumption in construction sector A 2019 report by The International Environment Agency (IEA) showed that the buildings and construction sectors combined were responsible for over 30% of global energy consumption and nearly 40% of carbon emissions. This is indicative of the steps the sector needs to take to play its role in a more eco-friendly society, some of which are already underway. However, much more needs to be done if the UK is to reach its goal of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050. As we envisage what a post-COVID world might look like, businesses and governments are continuing to put sustainability and lower carbon emissions at the forefront of their planning and the HVAC sector is certainly no exception. But with change in the sector a daunting prospect, decision-makers often don’t know where to start. Smart Technology use in HVAC systems Smart HVAC uses sensors that integrate with a building’s automation system With the constant growth and greater deployment of smart technologies within the HVAC sector, this is certainly a way that systems can become more efficient. Smart HVAC uses sensors that integrate with a building’s automation system. These sensors then collect information about conditions throughout the building. Heat waves are now a far more common occurrence in the United Kingdom. The Met Office estimates they are up to 30 times more likely and will be a bi-annual occurrence by 2050. It is important that any uptake in HVAC usage doesn’t lead to a drastic increase in emission generation. This is one of the areas where smart systems will become crucial. Many scientists have been unequivocal in their sentiment that heat waves are a cause of greater emissions and expect temperature records in the UK and Europe to be broken more regularly, so sites will need to be equipped to handle these conditions. Regulating temperature with hand-held devices With wireless systems now much more commonplace, temperatures can be controlled easily from hand-held devices. With these new technologies, those managing the systems can also benefit from remote monitoring and maintenance, reducing the need to travel to the site for yet another environmental incentive. To accompany the smart systems, equipment including smart thermostats can be installed to maximize HVAC efficiency. Other smart systems available to businesses include smart furnaces and air conditioning units that are far easier to operate than their traditional counterparts. Reducing unnecessary ventilation While global temperatures continue to rise, air conditioning usage has increased and has contributed to greater levels of energy usage. A huge amount of needless emissions are generated by unnecessary ventilation, contributing heavily to heat loss and overall energy wastage. Recirculation of air is a traditionally lower energy cost method of retaining heat and keeping emissions low, however, we must be mindful of the risks associated with recirculating air. The risk of circulating diseases is negated somewhat with heat recovery ventilation, which both removes the risk of disease spreading and improves energy consumption. Efficiency performance of new AC units Air conditioning units in particular contribute significantly to a building’s energy consumption Air conditioning units in particular contribute significantly to a building’s energy consumption, equating to 10% of the UK’s electricity consumption and as such it is important that we bear in mind ways to counteract the emissions this creates. Global energy demand for air conditioning units is expected to triple by 2050, as temperatures continue to rise year on year. The efficiency performance of new air conditioning units will be the key, when it comes to ensuring that escalating demand does not equate to greater emissions. Another issue for suppliers and manufacturers to address is differing rates of consumption for AC units in different countries, with units sold in Japan and the EU typically more efficient than those found in China and the US. Modularization Modular HVACs have also become increasingly popular in recent years. Modular HVACs are responsible for heating, cooling and distributing air through an entire building, with their increase in popularity largely down to their greater levels of energy efficiency, cost effectiveness, flexibility and substantial ease of installation and maintenance. Modular HVACs can be tailored specifically for workspaces and they often allow work to be done on the systems without disturbing the workforce, achieved primarily through rooftop placement. Commercial workspaces are larger and often require differing needs to residential properties and can cater to a wide range of the specific requirements of work and commercial spaces. As we strive for lower carbon emissions, it seems that this trend will continue and will become a key area in reducing emissions that HVACs have traditionally generated. System maintenance and training To meet government and industry requirements, many new buildings will require HVAC systems that can be maintained simply in order to perform in a more energy efficient way. Many companies are looking at ways to become climate neutral and significantly reduce their footprint Many companies are looking at ways to become climate neutral and significantly reduce their footprint. Companies are following the likes of German-based company, Wilo Group, who have announced they are committing to sustainable manufacturing by developing a new carbon neutral plant and HQ in the next few years. Lowering carbon footprint As we continue to move towards an ever more environmentally conscious society, it will be of paramount importance for companies, governments and the public to think about ways in which we can lower carbon emissions. Smart technologies will certainly be at the forefront of this, negating many needless journeys and making it easier for industries to adjust settings and tackle issues remotely. Greater levels of training will help equip us with the tools to make sure we are best placed to reduce emissions and be more sustainable as a result. While the steps outlined above do show some progress and measures we can take, there is far more that we can do as a sector to significantly reduce HVAC’s carbon footprint and once we have moved beyond the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, this will surely be at the front of industry leader minds.
The education field was faced with multiple challenges this past year. Not only did the COVID-19 pandemic bring the necessity of online learning, but it has also brought up necessary changes to physical schools and universities, when reopening time arrives. The health and safety of students, staff, and faculty has become a priority for directors of school operations, who have been working to properly adapt school facilities to this new reality we are facing. Ensuring health and safety of students Besides safety measures like the addition of hand sanitizers, reinforcing the use of masks and social distancing, these professionals were faced with an even bigger and more important issue: ventilation and airflow indoors. School facilities have many unique features that increase the concerns regarding indoor air quality. Occupants are usually very close together, considering that school buildings have four times as many occupants as office buildings for the same amount of floor space (EPA). Variety of pollutant sources According to the WHO, the virus can also spread in poorly ventilated and/or crowded indoor settings Other issues include tight budgets, the presence of a variety of pollutant sources (including specialty classrooms, like art, gyms, and labs), concentrated diesel exhaust exposure due to school buses in the property, and a large amount of heating and ventilation systems that may cause an added strain on maintenance staff. On top of that, schools usually have to worry about child safety issues, concerned parents, and wellbeing of faculty and staff. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the virus can also spread in poorly ventilated and/or crowded indoor settings, where people tend to spend longer periods of time and aerosols particles tend to be suspended in the air, which leads to the importance of indoor air quality in classrooms. Importance of natural ventilation and HVAC systems Natural ventilation and HVAC systems are the basic methods to bring clean air indoors, however, schools that rely only on these methods of ventilation need to be aware of their potential limitations. HVAC systems, for example, should have regular maintenance checks and filter changes, in cases where the system is less sophisticated, schools need to add new forms of air purification to effectively mitigate airborne pathogens. Studies showing quality of air in US schools Studies have shown that low-standards HVAC ventilation systems may contribute to airborne diseases transmission due to low air exchanges rates, poor maintenance and lack of high-efficiency filters. For this reason, portable air cleaners are becoming more and more popular to create a healthy learning environment. EnviroKlenz, an indoor air quality company, conducted real-life setting studies to show the quality of the air in schools in different areas of the United States. The study measured the amount of particulate matter in classrooms, with and without the use of additional portable filtration systems, which allowed for comparison and analysis of the benefits a portable air cleaner can provide. National EPA standards for indoor particulate matter The study also compared the current data to the national EPA standards for indoor particulate matter (PM), in order to evaluate the performance of the EnviroKlenz Air System Plus. The IAQ meters focused on PM1, which is about 1 micrometer in size (70 times smaller than the diameter of human hair!). The systems ran in operational educational environments, with daily schedules being carried out as usual and results can be seen below. School directors of operations also must pay attention to the different technologies available in portable air cleaners. With the growth of the industry, new emerging technologies have come up, and there’s still lack of third-party testing to prove their efficacy. Other technologies, like carbon filters, do not work against airborne pathogens and may release harmful byproducts back into the environment. EnviroKlenz Air System Plus EnviroKlenz Air System Plus, which utilizes a patented earth mineral technology to capture pathogens, is at 99.9% efficiency The EnviroKlenz Air System Plus, which utilizes a patented earth mineral technology to capture virus, bacteria and other harmful pathogens, is at 99.9% efficiency and is complemented by a medical-grade HEPA filter and UV-C lights, was also tested against a carbon-based air cleaner in a classroom. As shown below, the carbon system struggled to keep consistency, with peaks and valleys throughout the day. Meanwhile, when the EnviroKlenz Air System Plus was turned on, the PM1 levels were steadily low for over 4 consecutive days. Deploying portable air cleaners in classrooms Adding a portable air cleaner to classrooms and common areas will increase air exchange rate and mitigation efforts, but the long-term benefits go beyond the pandemic. Studies have shown that good indoor air and ventilation rates are directly linked with students’ academic achievements and can increase performance. High CO2 levels in a school environment are also associated with lower average annual attendance and worse individual test performance. Other long-term benefits include reducing symptoms of those who suffer from respiratory diseases and creating a favorable environment not only for students, but also for teachers and staff; while bringing a sense of comfort and well-being to parents and the community. Combined benefits of air filtration, ventilation, and purification “When we’re operating more normally, maybe we’ll be able to cut down on some of the traditional flu-peaks that schools have, or cold peaks, that kids just bring into school, by managing the airborne virus and bacteria quality,” said Peter Twadell, Head of School at Birches School in the US, and an EnviroKlenz Customer. School officials need to consider the combined benefits offered by filtration, ventilation, and purification methods to create the healthiest environment possible. Thinking in a pandemic-conscious mindset, air quality has gained the recognition it deserves in creating a proper and healthy learning environment.
Do HVAC systems help with the spread of COVID-19? No one is entirely sure, but it seems very likely. Especially in the case of enclosed indoor spaces. As soon as the COVID-19 pandemic began, fingers pointed to air-conditioning systems as culprits, and scientists now believe a super-spreader event traced back to a restaurant in Guangzhou, in China, which could have started with an asymptomatic person who just happened to cough close to an HVAC fan. Scientists also believe something similar happened on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which made headlines over the world, in February 2020. Especially because cruise ships have elaborate inter-connected HVAC systems, which could have aided the coronavirus as it ripped through the cruise population. HVAC systems Role in COVID-19 spread And because air-conditioning units typically function indoors, and because the coronavirus (COVID-19 virus) can float about for a little while on respiratory droplets in the air, it should be no surprise at all that HVAC units have come under scrutiny. In response to this, over the last year, the REHVA (European Federation of Heating and Ventilation Engineers) group actually set out guidelines on what to do, in order to make HVAC units safer. Actually, they went further than that, because on the contrary, properly configured air-conditioning units can actually help to fight the coronavirus, rather than aid its spread. How AC units can limit viral transmission By making sure there is a fast and constant exchange of air, AC units can actually wash away virus particles Despite the apparent doom that HVAC units can kick start super-spreader events, the answer is not to do away with air-conditioning systems. In fact, REHVA recommends the opposite. Instead, what we actually need to do is to reconfigure our AC units so that they can stop coronavirus particles from loitering about in the air, and then settling down. When virus particles ‘settle’ on a surface, they can be infectious for a time. The technical term for this is a ‘fomite’ and an area that is infectious to touch. By adjusting the settings on AC units to increase the amount of outside air they pull in, and the rate to which this fresh air is distributed indoors, we can make indoor environments much safer. By making sure there is a fast and constant exchange of air, AC units can actually wash away virus particles and prevent fomites from occurring. What about just opening the windows? Before modern HVAC units, there was, of course, the humble open window. And sure, open windows is a great way to make sure that air from the inside is quickly and constantly being exchanged with the air from outside. But as we all know, opening the windows is seldom the ideal choice. For example, it isn’t desirable in cold or in air-polluted or noise-polluted spaces. Open windows can even be a hazard if there is a risk of injury or falling. If you can work in an environment with open windows in a way that’s feasible and manageable, that’s great. They will likely offer similar protection against lingering coronavirus particles. But even if you can, the evidence suggests that a properly configured HVAC system is still safer (not to mention more comfortable, given their ability to regulate temperature) than the age-old open window option. AC units with high-efficiency particulate air filters Arguably the most proficient AC units today are those equipped with high-efficiency particulate air (or HEPA) filters. Although, you will struggle to find any outside of surgical theatres and airplanes, where getting the right amount of air exchange is primarily a health and safety issue and not just an issue of comfort. But as the pandemic has revealed to us, having better optimized HVAC units in public indoor spaces is a health and safety issue. With that being said, could HEPA filters become the norm throughout major public indoor spaces? HEPA filters HEPA filters are so reliable because they are made up of thousands of layers that trap all types of particles HEPA filters are so reliable because they are made up of thousands of layers that trap all types of particles, from dust to viruses. And they operate with an astonishing speed, being able to completely turn over a room’s air up to 30 times per hour. It would almost certainly make sense for HEPA filters to at least be considered for widespread use, but there are some technical issues to work out before their deployment becomes feasible. Cost aside, these filters can cause ‘dragging’ when attached to traditional AC units, among other issues. But if we are serious about tackling all forms of viruses, including influenza which hospitalizes and kills thousands every year, perhaps the widespread deployment of HEPA filters should be at least thought about in our approach to the ‘new normal’. Protecting people with proper air conditioning Whatever the fate of the HEPA filters, we do not have to sit around and wait for a revolution in the HVAC units to keep the general public safe. We can do that right now by equipping and configuring our current systems to properly exchange the rate of air in indoor spaces — to blow away lingering particles and keep surfaces free from fomites. Fortunately for us, the COVID-19 virus finds it hard to spread outdoors. But that means almost all of the spreading must happen indoors. So, it is crucial that we do all we can from an HVAC perspective to limit the spread of the coronavirus, and indeed all the other infections (including flu), which collectively can infect and hospitalize thousands of people every year. New infectious diseases emerge, and old ones come and go all the time. With the guidelines that REHVA has put together and some vigilance, our actions could indirectly save many people from falling ill every year. In summary, it’s not rocket science. To make an indoor area safer from the coronavirus, turn your AC unit up. Blow away the germs and stop them from settling down with a frequent exchange of air at all times.
Johnson Controls, the global pioneer for smart, healthy, and sustainable buildings announced it has surpassed a milestone by filing 200 U.S. utility patent applications for innovations surrounding its OpenBlue Central Utility Plant offering and related energy optimizing product offerings. Additionally, it received its 90th U.S. patent grant for innovations related to OpenBlue Central Utility Plant product and energy optimization innovations. Central Utility Plant is a key component of the newly announced OpenBlue NetZero Buildings as a Service offering. Energy optimization The most recent grants, U.S. Pat. No. 11,061,424, awarded July 13th, 2021, and U.S. Pat. No. 11,036,249, awarded June 15, 2021, includes innovations which allow for a building energy optimizer to predict regional peak demand time periods. Peak regional demand (associated with both high cost and high emissions) predicted by the Johnson Controls system can be used to optimize energy performance based on the probability that any given period of time will be a peak contribution period. Making buildings sustainable “The innovations are being driven by our customers, who have expressed an urgent need to reduce their carbon footprint and make their buildings smarter, healthier and more sustainable --, especially as the world, navigates climate change,” said Karl Reichenberger, Johnson Controls vice president of Intellectual Property. A recent Net Zero Pulse Survey among a large group of building professionals shows the acceleration of net-zero goal setting; over 90% have significant goals to reduce carbon emissions and energy consumption by 2030 and beyond. Building management CUP automatically generates and implements optimization decisions, controlling equipment from manufacturers Johnson Controls’ OpenBlue Central Utility Plant (CUP) can monitor thousands of building variables, using information from connected equipment and external sources such as weather forecasts and utility rates. This allows customers to fully optimize their building management systems. CUP automatically generates and implements optimization decisions, controlling equipment from a variety of manufacturers. “This type of intelligence allows for Johnson Controls to help our customers solve large-scale problems that are unique to the built environment in a way that can both curb carbon emissions and their costs,” said Terrill Laughton, vice president, and general manager, Energy Optimization, Johnson Controls. CUP benefits More than 40 Johnson Controls customers have already purchased CUP, allowing them to reduce energy costs, increase productivity, ensure equipment reliability and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For example, at Children’s of Alabama, a pediatric medical center in Birmingham, Johnson Controls designed and built – and now operates and maintains – a new central utility plant. Johnson Controls also developed an innovative plant simulator that allowed the medical center to significantly cut capital expenditures. As a result, Children’s of Alabama has reduced its natural gas use by 69% and is saving $250,000 annually, with the potential to save $450,000 a year over the life of a 25-year contract with Johnson Controls. $3 billion investment in engineering, R&D Over the past five years, Johnson Controls has invested close to $3 billion in engineering, research, and development and has increasingly been awarded patents by global patent offices. These innovations reflect R&D investments in OpenBlue and other digital offerings, including air quality, energy optimization, and sustainability of services, systems, and equipment. “Johnson Controls is on an important journey -- transforming from an industrial company to a digital buildings technology company powered by software, connectivity, data, and artificial intelligence,” said Michael Ellis, executive vice president and chief customer and digital officer, Johnson Controls. “We are enabling our customers to achieve new values in sustainability and energy enhancements through building platforms, allowing customers to optimize their building management systems.” Global innovation portfolio Johnson Controls is separately investing in additional property related to OpenBlue Digital Twin and Clean Air Beyond the energy optimization portfolio, Johnson Controls is separately investing in additional intellectual property related to OpenBlue Digital Twin and OpenBlue Clean Air. Johnson Controls was also named a Clarivate Top 100 Global Innovator™ in 2021 for the sixth straight year. The 10th edition of the annual report from Clarivate Plc, a global pioneer in providing trusted information and insights to accelerate the pace of innovation, identifies companies at the pinnacle of the global innovation landscape by measuring their ideation culture that produces patents. As a pioneer in the building's space for more than 135 years, Johnson Controls has been a pioneer in sustainability. It is ranked in the top 12% of climate leadership companies globally by CDP and was recently named again to the World's Most Ethical Companies® in Honoree List and one of Corporate Knights' Global 100 Most Sustainable Companies.
The current Biden Administration’s renewed focus on climate change has expedited the phasedown of high-GWP refrigerants, kicked off by the passage of the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act, part of the December 2020 COVID stimulus bill. As the AIM Act phase-down schedule progresses, higher-GWP HFC refrigerants, while viable, have the potential to have a limited useful life and ultimately be eliminated. In response to pending changes, Johnson Controls has announced it will use R-454B, a mildly flammable refrigerant, in order to exceed key regulatory requirements. Key environmental goals This is a significant step toward Johnson Controls reaching key environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals, including: helping customers achieve a 16 percent reduction in emissions by 2030 and achieving net-zero carbon emissions before 2040, says the company. The decision was made as the HVAC industry is preparing to phase out high-GWP refrigerants Johnson Controls has selected R-454B to replace R-410A in all its ducted residential and commercial unitary products, as well as air-cooled scroll chillers, after extensive research, testing and evaluation of capacity, efficiency, safety, availability, longevity, global warming potential (GWP), ozone depletion potential (ODP) and other metrics. The decision was made as the HVAC industry is preparing to phase out high-GWP refrigerants, such as R-410A, which are now being formally addressed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through the recently passed AIM Act. Commercial unitary products The EPA’s pending regulations could stipulate that manufacturers begin producing equipment utilizing low-GWP refrigerants prior to Jan. 1, 2025, for residential and light commercial unitary products and Jan. 1, 2024, for new chiller products. The mild-flammability (A2L) aspect of new refrigerants, including R-454B, requires that safety standards and individual state building codes must first be updated prior to the introduction of these refrigerants into the market. The process to update codes and standards is well under way and should be completed for many jurisdictions prior to the Jan. 1, 2025, proposed transition date for stationary HVAC equipment (e.g., unitary). Extensive, multi-year research and testing has been conducted by ASHRAE, AHRTI and others to ensure A2Ls can be safely deployed. Proper training will be critical to ensure the safe use, transportation and storage of A2L refrigerants. Refrigerant transition dates Existing R-410A equipment built prior to the EPA’s proposed manufacturing cutoff dates can be sold Johnson Controls is committed to ensuring the safe transition to R-454B by providing in-depth training for its contractors and technicians prior to the pending refrigerant transition dates, according to the company. The pending mandates from the EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for refrigerants with less than 750 GWP will likely only apply to the sale of new residential and commercial unitary equipment as well as air-cooled scroll chillers. Existing R-410A equipment built prior to the EPA’s proposed manufacturing cutoff dates can be sold and installed indefinitely, so there will be little to no impact on contractors and customers from a R-410A equipment standpoint. Once EPA completes the allocation phase of the AIM Act, it will next address reclaim and service practices; therefore, contactors could see future mandates on the use of reclaimed refrigerants as well as enhanced requirements for leak detection and record keeping. Refrigerant management practices “R-454B is more compatible with existing R-410A equipment, requires less charge and can reduce HVAC systems’ energy use by up to 5%,” says Chris Forth, Executive Director of Regulatory, Codes and Environmental Affairs, Ducted Systems, Johnson Controls. “These similar operating characteristics will make for a smoother transition for distributors, wholesalers, contractors and owners, resulting from the commonality of critical system components and their very similar operating pressures and temperatures.” These similar operating characteristics will make for a smoother transition for distributors" “It’s vital that contractors and equipment owners establish proper refrigerant management practices and invest in available flammable refrigerant training,” Forth adds. More specifically, Johnson Controls recommends that contractors review the AHRI Safe Refrigerant Transition Task Force best practices and complete the ACCA A2L refrigerant training before new equipment enters the market (updated ASHRAE 15.2P training is expected by the end of 2021). flammable refrigerants implementation Johnson Controls also recommends that contractors strengthen their current refrigerant management practices: Ensure technicians are EPA section 608-certified for the equipment they will be servicing, train technicians not to mix different recovered refrigerants in the same cylinder, implement robust refrigerant tracking and documentation practices and establish a reliable supply chain for R-410A reclamation before 2025. Johnson Controls has been engaged in the safety standards and building codes development process from the beginning of the low-GWP, flammable refrigerants implementation. Johnson Controls engagement included safety standards such as ASHRAE 34,15; the pending 15.2P standard; as well as UL 60335-2-40 and UL 60335-2-89. ASHRAE safety standards R-454B offers the best outlook for long-term viability as phasedown regulations continue “Our first priority has been and will continue to be safety, and thus, we help sponsor and engaged in the research and testing efforts conducted through the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology Institute (AHRTI) and ASHRAE,” says Forth. Johnson Controls also engaged in the adoption of the UL and ASHRAE safety standards via the national model codes, such as the International Code Council (ICC) and the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO). Choosing R-454B is a long-term play for Johnson Controls. If the EPA AIM Act phase-down falls below the current 750 GWP limit proposed for stationary AC/unitary equipment, some A2L refrigerants could be phased out quickly, whereas the choice by Johnson Controls to utilize R-454B could, under the same scenario, be viable until 2034. With the lowest GWP of all EPA SNAP-approved refrigerants (GWP of 466), R-454B offers the best outlook for long-term viability as phasedown regulations continue, says the company. Aggressive efficiency standards The HVAC industry is in constant flux. For an OEM that means continually introducing innovative, new features into systems, developing new products that meet aggressive efficiency standards and, in this case, environmental regulations to phase out high-GWP refrigerants. “Transitions of this scale are not new to Johnson Controls, but it does require flexibility and equipment redesigns to utilize R-454B,” says Forth. “However, because the properties (pressures, temperatures, etc.) of R-454B are very similar to the existing R-410A, the actual performance testing did not present the same degree of challenge as past transitions. Johnson Controls has been at the forefront of environmental protection,” says Forth. “Today, our commitment to sustainability is stronger than ever, and it is reflected in the choices we make every day.”
Johnson Controls, the globally renowned company for smart, healthy, and sustainable building solutions, has significantly upgraded the testing lab facilities at its residential HVAC manufacturing plant in Wichita, Kan. upgrading HVAC testing facility The nearly US$ 15 million investment includes the addition of seven test chambers, automated testing and model shop equipment, and a new building, which adds 2,000 more square footage space, bringing the plant’s total testing facilities to 100,000 square feet total. Every product that the Wichita factory designs and manufactures undergo multiple rigorous tests at the lab, in order to ensure it operates safely and efficiently across a wide range of conditions, for years to come. Highly accelerated life testing (HALT) of equipment New advanced technology makes it possible for the lab team to better accommodate product development While Johnson Controls voluntarily performs highly accelerated life testing (HALT), which subjects equipment to extreme environmental conditions that replicate five years in the field, there is other testing that the government requires for all residential HVAC systems to ensure product safety, efficiency, and environmental sustainability. The additional space and new advanced technology make it possible for the lab team to better accommodate product development and testing for the vast number of systems that Johnson Controls produces for its YORK, Luxaire, Coleman, Champion and Fraser-Johnston brands, many of which are part of Johnson Controls' OpenBlue connected suite of technologies. Optimized testing process The following lab updates optimize the testing process to help ensure product reliability and performance: Seven 20 x 60-foot test chambers join nine existing cells used in the design and development phase to test, rate and qualify heating and cooling products for agency approval. These test chambers control temperatures within two-tenths of a degree for all rating points. This level of control provides confidence when rating equipment for SEER and EER. The additional cells will accommodate more equipment, which will help systems become available more quickly. A new automated heating lab and test stands allow technicians to setup and pre-program test stations. Compared to older, manual methods, automated testing of heating equipment, such as gas furnaces, is more efficient and precise to confirm reliability. Advanced model shop equipment, which includes a new water jet, bender, and press machine, allows model makers to precisely cut and form sheet metal to make prototype parts more quickly and efficiently. This will accelerate prototype testing and refinement so products can enter production faster. A spacious transit table building with rain capabilities gives technicians much greater control, during transit and rain tests. The new area offers better mounting, which makes installing systems for testing easier, while the enclosure improves precision during rain tests and accommodates a new high-pressure pump for recently required wind-driven rain testing for extreme conditions, which also reinforces Johnson Controls' commitment to quality. performance and reliability “When visitors tour the lab, they are simply overwhelmed by the extensive steps that we take to ensure each and every system developed in the labs are tested to ensure performance and reliability,” said Doug Dorrough, Director of Lab Operations, Johnson Controls. Doug adds, “The greater efficiency and unprecedented quality we can now achieve with this major investment will bring our premier products to market sooner and provide homeowners with enduring comfort and peace of mind.” Lab upgrades coincide with new efficiency standards The upgrades coincide with new efficiency standards, including the 2023 Department of Energy (DOE) efficiency standards and environmental sustainability requirements, including the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) low-global warming potential (GWP) refrigerant transition that will be required of all HVAC equipment manufactured by January 1, 2025. The expanded lab will better accommodate product development and testing schedules to ensure that each product meets or exceeds all requirements, as well as the high-quality standards Johnson Controls holds for its equipment. Johnson Controls will continue to invest in and expand the testing facilities in Wichita, Kan. over the next several years with new equipment and additional facilities to accommodate new product development and testing.
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