Economizers - Expert Commentary

The Low-Carbon Heating Toolbox: Making The Case Beyond Heat Pumps
The Low-Carbon Heating Toolbox: Making The Case Beyond Heat Pumps

At the moment, it seems as though a day rarely goes by without low-carbon heating hitting the headlines. Whether it is reports of ‘revamping’ the Clean Heat Grant, to include a ‘boiler scrappage’ scheme, which may offer home owners up to £7000 to make the switch to a low-carbon alternative, to speculation that the Prime Minister is under pressure to push back the 2035 ban on gas boilers, the debate on how and when the low-carbon heating revolution will happen is ongoing. BEIS Hydrogen Strategy We have also seen the recently published, Hydrogen Strategy from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) that cements its plans to develop technologies that allow hydrogen-powered heating in people’s homes. In addition to this, the Future Homes Task Force, including some of the United Kingdom’s largest property developers, regulators, suppliers and environmental groups, have agreed to the sector-wide Future Homes Delivery Plan, to build homes that are ‘zero-carbon ready’ and sustainable by 2025. Alternative energy, key to hitting net zero targets by 2050 What is also clear is that tackling the decarbonization of heat is not a one-technology solution According to the Climate Change Committee, in a report published in December 2020, the UK’s homes are responsible for around 15 percent of emissions. As a result, the need to install alternatives to traditional fossil fuel heating systems will be crucial, to hitting our net zero targets, by 2050. This will be the key challenge that the delayed Heat and Buildings Strategy, now due in the autumn season, will need to address. Therefore, what is also clear is that tackling the decarbonization of heat is not a one-technology solution. Target to install air source heat pumps in UK homes So far, much of the focus has been on heat pumps, as the UK Government has set an ambitious target of installing 600,000 air source heat pumps (ASHPs) in UK homes each year, by 2028. However, there are a number of challenges to achieve this goal, as house builders will need convincing to install heat pumps in new builds, and home owners and landlords will need convincing to retrofit older properties. Cost, a key issue in air source heat pumps installation Cost will also be a key issue, even with a government grant and ASHPs can be complex to install. They can also emit noise that breaches legal limits, if placed too close to a neighboring property. In addition, they won’t be suitable for all properties, as the needs of a 4-bedroom new build home are very different to a 1970s apartment, a Victorian-era terrace, a social housing property or an off-grid home. Computer-controlled infrared heating (CCIR) One of the alternatives is computer-controlled infrared heating, which addresses many of the issues faced by ASHPs Taking all of these challenges into account, BEIS has said that it is ‘uncertain’ what the ‘optimal solution’ is, when it comes to low-carbon heating. Certainly, there is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution for heating the UK’s homes, which is why it is vital that house builders, landlords, contractors, installers and developers explore the full range of low-carbon heating technologies that are available today. There are alternatives that can provide benefits that are much more likely to appeal to a wider range of end-user audiences. One of the alternatives is computer-controlled infrared heating (CCIR), which addresses many of the issues faced by ASHPs. High-performance heating Firstly, infrared is an intrinsically more effective source of heat than conventional convection heating, because it heats the material within a room, rather than the air, which can escape from doors and windows. CCIR systems also outperform many other low-carbon technologies, because the software within each panel constantly monitors each individual room and learns about the energy storage characteristics within it, adjusting its routine to maintain the ambient temperature within the room, maximizing its performance and using fewer units of energy, in comparison to a traditional heating system. KERS water heating system This keeps energy bills low, and meets increasing sustainability standards. Figures show that, out of 29 million homes in the United Kingdom, 19 million have an EPC lower than C. Together with Ambion Heating’s KERS water heating system, inefficient properties can be brought up to a minimum EPC C. CCIR also costs less to install than many other low-carbon heating alternatives CCIR also costs less to install than many other low-carbon heating alternatives. In a typical three-bedroom house, for example, the estimated cost of installing a CCIR system is around £6,000, compared to nearly £10,500 for an ASHP. They are also easy to install, whether they’re being retrofitted into an existing building or installed within a new build, because they can simply be wired into the mains, by a qualified electrician. Enhanced comfort and reduced emissions The heat CCIR provides feels more natural and comfortable, once the fabric of the room is saturated with energy, and it emits a comfortable, radiant heat. It also reduces humidity, as well as improves the air quality within a building, reducing the amount of circulating dust. In fact, in an independent performance review, CCIR provided the same levels of comfort within a room, using 60% less energy than a standard electric convection system, and on a par with ASHPs. Heating solutions for a low-carbon future While there is a real urgency, when it comes to decarbonizing heat, it’s vital to consider which technologies offer the most benefits to the end user. By understanding and investigating all of the alternatives to gas central heating, such as CCIR, the benefits will not only be felt in the short term, they are a sustainable solution for the longer term.

Maintain Excellent Indoor Air Quality With HVAC Upgrades
Maintain Excellent Indoor Air Quality With HVAC Upgrades

Indoor air quality (IAQ) has become an area of emphasis among those in the HVAC industry and on a national level. Homes, offices, schools, and everything in between are being reevaluated with the ambition of having the best IAQ possible. Maintaining a high level of air quality is an important factor in encouraging a cleaner indoor breathing environment, which can lead to the better overall health and well-being of our families and communities. Clean air is especially important now with more waves of COVID-19 hitting and the onset of seasonal sicknesses like the flu and colds on the horizon. Now is the time for HVAC manufacturers to implement solutions to make returning to everyday life more seamless as we venture back out into the world.  Mechanical HVAC equipment offers the perfect opportunity to improve IAQ in commercial facilities. Facility managers choosing to opt for enhanced air quality should focus on three areas for unit upgrades: controlled ventilation, dehumidification, and filtration. While there are countless minor changes one can make to improve IAQ, such as using exhaust fans to increase circulation, HVAC upgrades are the best and most efficient option to give building occupants the IAQ they need for maximum comfort and safety. Out with the old, in with the new Ventilation and the ability to control it are a necessity in maintaining a high level of air quality. Being able to control how much outdoor air circulates inside gives facility managers a tool to not only improve IAQ but also create consistent comfort for the building occupants.    Controlled ventilation creates an avenue to help occupants breathe easier, feel better and be more proactive Outdoor air tends to be cleaner than indoor air, so bringing air in from outside is vital. Controlled ventilation creates an avenue to help occupants breathe easier, feel better and be more proactive in your space. With the proper HVAC upgrades, you can make sure the ventilation rate is controlled in a manner that will be most beneficial and effective for specific situations. By pushing indoor air out and bringing new outdoor air in, you are effectively limiting the number of harmful pathogens from the commercial space. Limiting particles in the air It is important to make sure your HVAC system is running smoothly and efficiently, especially during a time like now when airborne pathogens are prevalent. With COVID-19 continuing to affect people, maintaining excellent IAQ is certainly a priority.  The removal of particulates from indoor air is a necessary process for HVAC systems. The ASHRAE recommendation for filtration is now MERV 13, which has increased from MERV 8 or MERV 10 in past years. The ability of the MERV 13 filter to grab smaller particulates floating in the air is a great advantage in maintaining IAQ. With an upgrade in HVAC filter equipment, dust, smoke, and other particulates can be reduced and greatly benefit air quality. Finding the humidity sweet spot If you live or work somewhere humid, you understand how miserable it can be outside, especially in warmer months. Even with temperature-controlled air inside, humidity can be present indoors. This can lead to not only an uncomfortable feeling inside but also a potentially harmful breathing environment. Mold, mildew and organic growth can all result from inadequate moisture removal.  With the proper equipment, your indoor air will be less humid, leading to a continued high-level IAQ That is why dehumidification is such an important aspect of keeping us comfortable and safe inside. The sweet spot when it comes to relative humidity is between 40 and 60 percent. If your HVAC can handle higher latent loads associated with outdoor air, you should not experience the sticky feeling that will come along with a humid space. More importantly, dehumidification assists in lowering the chances of mold or organic growth appearing indoors. Hidden mold or mildew can cause issues that may affect your respiratory system. With the proper equipment, your indoor air will be less humid, leading to a continued high-level IAQ. Upgrading your HVAC As we continue to learn more about the benefits of maintaining excellent IAQ, it is clear HVAC upgrades are part of the process. Having clean and fresh air in our indoor spaces has many advantages, especially when occupants are confined to common areas. Safety and well-being are priorities when dealing with the air we breathe. Efficiency makes a difference in IAQ performance, so making sure you have the most reliable HVAC equipment is a great way to improve indoor air quality and maintain an excellent IAQ. IAQ directly impacts the health, comfort, and even some of the learning outcomes of occupants in a space Pulling contaminants from the air through filtration, removing moisture with dehumidification, and bringing in fresh air from the outside by ventilation are all solutions for maintaining a high IAQ. It is through proper equipment and upgrades that we can continue to keep occupants safe and comfortable as best we can. IAQ directly impacts the health, comfort, and even some of the learning outcomes of occupants in a space. Improving each of these factors is important in creating a comfortable indoor environment that encourages an increase in fresh and clean air.   

HVAC Efficiency Enabled By The Smart Buildings Of The Future
HVAC Efficiency Enabled By The Smart Buildings Of The Future

In today’s world, we spend almost 90 per cent of our time indoors, in our workplaces, leisure areas and our homes. It is no secret that the built environment has been relatively slow in its embrace of information technology and automation. According to KPMG’s ‘Building a Technology Advantage’ report, fewer than 20 percent of construction and engineering executives, and major-project owners said they are re-thinking their business models, so as to incorporate new technology. Yet, it has now become a necessity, as energy efficiency becomes a more prominent topic discussion, which is leading to sweeping changes across all aspects of our lives and none more so than in the built environment. Commitment to net-zero emissions Governments are beginning to impose tighter restrictions on building use, energy consumption and emissions. Policymakers around the world are committing to net-zero emissions targets, with more than 60 countries pledging to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. For example, the European Union (EU) is committed to become a carbon-neutral economy, with net-zero emissions by 2050 and all new buildings within the EU must be constructed as near-zero energy buildings. Meanwhile, China has legislated that at least 30 per cent of all new buildings must be ‘green’. Smart technology to better manage HVAC Technology can help optimize energy consumption and create energy efficiency in our buildings Given this new trend towards energy efficiency in the real estate sector, smart technology is needed to better manage HVAC and energy consumption. Buildings currently contribute 40 per cent of global carbon emissions, a problem exacerbated by extreme weather conditions across the globe, which increases demand for electricity, as more people rely on air conditioning for cooling. Technology can help optimize energy consumption and create energy efficiency in our buildings, alleviating many of the problems that we have today. Technology enabled by the Internet of Things (IoT) can optimize comfort and safety, while providing remote operability and access to everything from HVAC systems to security cameras. At the same time, data collection and integration with cloud-based services allow for powerful energy efficiency measures. Designing and operating Smart buildings The concept and operation of smart buildings is not new. Architects and developers have been installing separate systems to control lighting and HVAC for decades. Later systems have evolved and helped building managers control access to different areas of a site, mitigate fire risk and protect against power surges. What is new is the addition of web-based platforms, in order to allow these verticals to integrate seamlessly with each other. The building of tomorrow is achievable today, using the latest in automation intelligence to control lighting, air-conditioning and heating. With these digital solutions, everything can be controlled remotely and allow for complete control, whenever it is needed most. Increased use of smart technology The first step in managing HVAC energy is to understand exactly how much is being used and where it is used. With this information at hand, managers can highlight areas for improvement, which in turn will help a building become more efficient and ultimately, save money. Another step in managing HVAC energy is including smart technology alongside your system Another step in managing HVAC energy is including smart technology alongside your system, as it can minimize maintenance costs. Predictive fault-finding can save maintenance time and labor, as well as minimizing downtime for expensive equipment or services. It is estimated that smart-enabled predictive maintenance is three to nine times cheaper than a traditional reactive approach. Tenant and occupant satisfaction are often also higher, as systems that experience failure can be identified, repaired and re-booted quickly. Smart building systems Smart building systems, such as ABB i-bus KNX ClimaECO and ABB Cylon BACnet solutions, can combine HVAC in one holistic solution, from central control and management of heating and cooling systems, down to room-level automation. Smart systems simplify the implementation of intelligent automation in modern buildings and using pre-installed algorithms, can make autonomous decisions on things, such as adjusting lighting and HVAC levels, to reflect time of day, external environment, occupancy levels or other variables. Additionally, data collection and data analysis enabled by IoT allows for increased knowledge and better predictions of use. Working with a smart building, which is interconnected, can act and learn on this data, while providing remote access to data and analytics for human oversight. The ROI of smart technology implementation In addition to legislation driving change, being ‘smart’ provides other real benefits for developers and owners. As a building adapts to the demands of its users or the goals of its managers, it can save energy, cut emissions and reduce energy costs. More effective and efficient use of power can save money, quickly repaying initial technology expenditure Comparing energy savings to the falling cost of installing a basic smart management system, smart buildings immediately prove their worth. According to HSBC, if a smart system delivered an energy cost saving of 25 per cent, on an installation cost of US$ 37,500, for a 50,000 sq. ft building, the annual savings could be as much as US$ 23,000, giving a payback period of less than two years. More effective and efficient use of power can save money, quickly repaying initial technology expenditure. HVAC and lighting alone can account for about 50 per cent of energy use in an average commercial building, but by incorporating smart automation, managers may see decreased energy costs of up to 30 to 50 per cent. Leading the fight against climate change Technologies, such as IoT and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are crucial to help us in the fight against climate change. These technologies help users, owners, operators and facility managers interact with the buildings of the future effortlessly, with personalized comfort and maximum efficiency. Artificial Intelligence and IoT is constantly in a state of evolution, as more applications for the technology are discovered. Given the ever-changing nature of technology, the possibilities for smart buildings in the future are endless.

Latest Johnson Controls news

C&C Heating And Air Conditioning Installs Donated YORK® HVAC System In Home Gifted To Injured War Veteran
C&C Heating And Air Conditioning Installs Donated YORK® HVAC System In Home Gifted To Injured War Veteran

On September 29, C&C Heating and Air Conditioning and YORK® Factory Direct partnered with Building Homes for Heroes during a Welcome Home ceremony in Glenside, PA, for Army Staff Sergeant Veronica Hally. She served more than two decades of service, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and she investigated hundreds of deaths and worked with the FBI to track terrorists across the globe. Her investigative experiences earned her many accolades, but also have left Staff Sergeant Hally with severe PTSD and anxiety that caused her to medically retire from the military in 2019. Donating HVAC system with touch-screen thermostat C&C Heating & Air Conditioning donated the HVAC installation services for the veteran’s new home To support Staff Sergeant Hally, Johnson Controls and YORK Factory Direct donated a YORK heating and cooling system with a Wi-Fi® enabled YORK touch-screen thermostat to better assist her with adjusting his home’s temperature without the need to get up.  Veteran-owned C&C Heating & Air Conditioning donated the HVAC installation services for the veteran’s new home, and Google Nest Pro donated a variety of smart home products. Supporting veterans Will Cordero, president & founder, C&C Heating and Air Conditioning, spoke at the Welcome Home ceremony about the honor it was to support a fellow veteran. Doug Cordero, vice president, C&C Heating and Air Conditioning, said, "We truly can’t give enough thanks and gratitude to heroes like Staff Sergeant Hally who keep our country safe. We feel blessed to have the opportunity to help her and her family be comfortable in their new home.” About Building Homes for Heroes Building Homes for Heroes strives to build or renovate quality homes and donate them to injured veterans nationwide Building Homes for Heroes is a national organization that recognizes those who serve in the United States Armed Forces by supporting the needs of severely wounded or disabled veterans and their families. The organization strives to build or renovate quality homes and donate them, mortgage-free, to injured veterans nationwide. “The customized amenities that Johnson Controls brings to these homes provide not only a foundation for these heroes but a hopeful path to a bright future with the opportunity to reach dreams they may have never thought imaginable when injured,” said Andy Pujol, founder, and CEO of Building Homes for Heroes. “We are honored to partner with Johnson Controls, C&C Heating & Air Conditioning, and YORK® Factory Direct to gift a home to Staff Sergeant Hally and her family.” Sponsor The YORK brand of Johnson Controls has been a proud sponsor of Building Homes for Heroes since 2014. The company has been recognized by US Veterans Magazine as a top veteran-friendly company. Johnson Controls is also committed to hiring veterans and military spouses. Veteran employees are honored to design, engineer, and assemble systems that help improve the lives of fellow veterans. 

Johnson Controls Leader Named To 2021 Top Women In HVAC List
Johnson Controls Leader Named To 2021 Top Women In HVAC List

Katie McGinty, Vice President and Chief sustainability, government, and regulatory affairs officer, Johnson Controls, has been named among the Top Women in HVAC by ACHR News.   According to the publication, some view the HVAC industry as a male-dominated industry. However, as the list shows, many women wake up every morning and play a role in changing that perception. editorial director review “This is a great collection of women,” said Kyle Gargaro, editorial director of The ACHR NEWS. “Although we could only honor 20, we received over 400 nominations. It gives us great pleasure to honor these individuals for the important roles that each plays in the HVAC industry.” “At Johnson Controls, we partner with our customers — helping them shape ambitious visions for how they can become better environmental stewards — cutting their energy use and emissions, even while saving money and enhancing the bottom line." — Katie McGinty, vice president and chief sustainability, government and regulatory affairs officer, Johnson Controls. HVACR field rewarding In the publication’s interview, McGinty said she finds the “can-do” orientation of the HVACR field the more rewarding aspect of working in the industry. “At Johnson Controls, we partner with our customers — helping them shape ambitious visions for how they can become better environmental stewards — cutting their energy use and emissions, even while saving money and enhancing the bottom line,” she said. “It is thrilling to me that we do believe in what we are doing and what we can deliver that we step up and guarantee the result.”

Johnson Controls Collaborates With Nearly 900 U.S. Higher Education Institutions To Prepare Campuses For Fall 2021 Reopening
Johnson Controls Collaborates With Nearly 900 U.S. Higher Education Institutions To Prepare Campuses For Fall 2021 Reopening

Johnson Controls, the global front-runner for smart, healthy, and sustainable buildings, collaborated with 894 U.S. higher education institutions in its fiscal third quarter to implement healthy building strategies in preparation for campus reopening in fall 2021. As part of its OpenBlue Healthy Buildings offerings, Johnson Controls has helped college administrators create and implement strategies to safely and efficiently welcome back students, staff, and faculty. Through comprehensive, long-term relationships that transfer the full lifecycle risk of healthy building operations to Johnson Controls, campus administrators can provide ambitious and scalable campus recovery strategies to deliver healthy environments that put wellness, productivity, and safety first. Investing in indoor air quality "Now is the time for educators to invest in indoor air quality and move into the future of healthy living, sustainability and learning," said Jaime Paris Boisvert, Director for the Higher Education Market at Johnson Controls. Healthy campus environments have a direct positive influence on student achievement and wellness "We know healthy campus environments have a direct positive influence on student achievement and wellness. Now, campuses must also address short-term COVID-19 needs along with those long-term health goals. We're honored to work on so many forward-looking projects that will optimize the campus experience for years to come. Because while infrastructure has always played a significant public health role, upgrades shouldn't begin and end with COVID-19." Healthy, optimized campus experiences As a majority of North American colleges and universities reopened campuses fully for the fall semester, they required modernized and resilient infrastructure. Johnson Controls OpenBlue Healthy Buildings empowers higher education stakeholders to optimize their buildings to create a new standard for safety, wellness, and efficiency. Clean air solutions help mitigate the spread of airborne pathogens, touchless security minimizes contamination, and flexible facility solutions allow campus leaders to rapidly repurpose spaces as needed. Through OpenBlue, these solutions can be automated for scalable, efficient, and ongoing optimization. Filter installations To deliver a safe, healthy, and connected campus environment ahead of the fall 2021 semester, East Central College in Union, MO selected long-time partner Johnson Controls. Leveraging federal relief and stimulus funding and a turnkey approach, Johnson Controls building experts commissioned a comprehensive and integrated healthy building solution. They installed high-efficiency MERV-13 filters, UV-C disinfection technologies, upgraded heat pumps, and Metasys® controls. The applied solutions will enable East Central College to improve air quality while maximizing classroom comfort to support improved learning outcomes. Long-term revenue impact OpenBlue Healthy Buildings ultimately allows schools to safely bring students back on campus Regardless of endowment size, the pandemic's negative impact on tuition and donations has tightened the margins of colleges and universities throughout the country. For many, the solution to fostering revenue recovery and positioning for future growth lies in instilling confidence in the safety of campuses for students, staff, faculty, and their families by making clear commitments to their health. "Schools that get their return to campus right will not only have a successful semester but will remain competitive to health-conscious applicants and donors in the future. How campuses welcome back students this fall can impact revenue for years to come," said Paris Boisvert. A sustainable learning environment Global decarbonization targets and increasingly sustainability-minded applicants, donors, and communities have driven higher education stakeholders to commit to ambitious sustainability goals. However, many energy efficiencies and renewable energy projects were suspended or canceled during the pandemic. OpenBlue Healthy Buildings ultimately allows schools to safely bring students back on campus, freeing up capital that can be reinvested in sustainability initiatives that keep colleges and universities on schedule in reaching their decarbonization targets. Serving campuses Johnson Controls has served 2,887 higher education campuses in North America, powering its missions for exceptional student experiences through healthy, connected, and sustainable infrastructure. To learn more, visit, "The Link Between Healthy Campuses, Healthy People, and Better Learning."

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