At the 2019 AHR Expo, Rheem is announcing a new sustainability initiative and showcasing a wide range of high-efficiency innovations that play a key role in supporting the environmentally responsible effort. At the start of the show, held in Rheem’s hometown of Atlanta, GA, Chris Peel, President and Chief Executive Officer of Rheem Manufacturing is announcing the company’s commitment to achieve zero manufacturing waste.

energy-efficient HVAC systems

Following the announcement, expert product managers and engineers across Rheem’s family of brands will introduce attending industry professionals to the advanced technology behind key products within the company’s air and water offerings, spanning both residential and commercial applications. According to a survey Rheem recently conducted, 70 percent of HVAC contractors report that their customers frequently and proactively request sustainable and energy-efficient HVAC systems.

And contractors rank energy efficiency and related endorsements, such as HERS scores and ENERGY STAR certifications, as the most important factors when selecting a system.

high-efficiency equipment

“These insights from industry professionals reinforce the importance of committing to environmentally responsible processes, people and products to deliver sought-after solutions for our valued industry partners,” said Peel. “We’re looking forward to an ongoing dialogue around how the industry can reduce its environmental impact and sharing our latest advancements in high-efficiency equipment.”

Among the products on display for Rheem’s Water division are the Professional Prestige Combination Boiler, Hybrid Electric Commercial Water Heater and CommercialMarathon Eclipse Light Duty Water Heater. On the Air side of the business, the focus is onthe EcoNet Smart Thermostat, the Prestige Series Modulating Gas Furnace and Mini-Split Heating and Air Conditioning Systems as well as commercial solutions such as the Renaissance HVAC Line and the H2AC Rooftop Unit.

homeowners’ hydronic heating needs

  • Professional Prestige Combination Boiler

The Professional Prestige Combination Boiler from Rheem is the latest innovation to the company’s expanding high-efficiency product portfolio. With its compact design, Rheem’s Combi Boiler is suited for smaller homes or multifamily applications to free up valuable space without sacrificing optimal performance. The ENERGY STAR certified Combi Boiler from Rheem is a modern and efficient solution for today’s homeowners’ hydronic heating and hot water needs.

At 95 percent AFUE, the Combi Boiler is over 15 percent more efficient than standard boilers on the market. The higher efficiency is a result of the Combi Boiler’s ability to extract more heat from the unit’s exhaust gases, which makes the system eligible for local rebates up to $1,600. Additionally, the innovative design allows for the use of PVC venting options, which increases flexibility for easy installations and reduced labor costs.

  • Hybrid Electric Commercial Water Heater

The ENERGY STAR rated Hybrid Commercial Water Heater drastically reduces water and energy usage, while delivering hot water faster than most standard electric water heaters. Dry-fire protected and low-lead compliant, this Hybrid from Rheem is easy to install and can readily replace a standard unit. Additionally, the Hybrid Commercial Water Heater can connect to Rheem’s exclusive EcoNet WiFi-connected platform for ultimate convenience.

Once connected, the water heater gives end-users complete control through customizable temperature settings, vacation mode and the ability to monitor the system from anywhere in the world. Available in 50, 65 and 80-gallon capacities, the Hybrid Commercial Water Heater offers a high-efficiency solution for an array of commercial applications.

  • Commercial Marathon Eclipse Light Duty Water Heater

The Commercial Marathon Light Duty Water Heater combines high-efficiency operation with the industry’s most durable design. Ideal for harsh environments, the non-metallic electric water heaters are equipped with a seamless, blow-molded, polybutylene tank that is impervious to rust and corrosion, for long-lasting dependability.

Its polyurethane insulation helps reduce standby heat loss and minimize energy consumption. For added protection and peace-of-mind, Rheem offers a 10-year limited warranty. The Commercial Marathon Light Duty Water Heater is available in 75, 85 and 105 gallon models.

consistently controlled indoor comfort

  • EcoNet Smart Thermostat

The EcoNet Smart Thermostat, offering hands-free voice control through Alexa-enabled devices, is the latest innovation in Rheem’s EcoNet product line. Unique to the category, it is the only thermostat proven to control a home’s air conditioning, heating, and water heating appliances while managing 65 percent of the energy used in a typical home. Paired with Rheem’s patent-pending zoning technology, the thermostat maximizes energy efficiency, cost-savings and sustainability.The EcoNet Smart Thermostat was recently awarded a 2018 Good Design Award and a2019 IoT Breakthrough Award.

  • Mini-Split Heating and Air Conditioning Systems

The line of high-quality Mini-Split Systems, offered by both Rheem and Ruud, provide homeowners with a flexible and efficient heating and cooling alternative. Whether for a single room or multiple zones, the revolutionary ductless solutions are perfect for controlling hard to heat or cool areas. Using heat-pump technology, the Mini-Split heating and air conditioning systems offer precise home comfort for any room, any season, to save the homeowner money.

  • Industry-Leading Gas Furnaces

The EcoNet Enabled Prestige Series Modulating R98V Gas Furnace is ENERGY-STAR qualified for the highest efficiencies and controlled comfort. Designed for dependability, the Prestige Series features Rheem’s exclusive PlusOne Ignition System that is nine times more reliable than most hot surface igniters. The easy-to-install Prestige Series provides improved airflow via a patented heat exchanger which reduces operating sound by 20 percent as well as delivers variable-speed technology and automatic adjustment for an ideal amount of airflow in all seasons for consistently controlled indoor comfort.

The Prestige Series is available through Rheem, Ruud and Sure Comfort. In addition, the R801T Ultra Low NOx furnace family leads through emission reductions of up to 65%. Rheem further offers a variety of options designed to meet a wide range of market needs and standards. From easy-service features to advanced technologies across an array of capacities, Rheem provides durable, long-lasting performance for all residential applications.

  • Renaissance Commercial Line

Rheem’s Renaissance Commercial Line, which includes 7.5 – 12.5 Ton Gas Electric and AC package units and 7.5 – 10 Ton Heat Pump package units, provides commercial specifiers with customizable solutions to suit their exact needs and is 30 percent more energy-efficient than competitors, translating to thousands of dollars saved over the system’s lifetime. Equipped with robust performance features, the Renaissance line includes Rheem’s exclusive, industry-first PlusOne HumidiDry technology with a built-in VFD operating at a lower speed on first-stage cooling when in reheat mode and when in occupied fan mode.

Additionally, a solid single-piece top and durable panels simplify unit installation, while a factory-installed ClearControl Direct Digital Control (DDC) and sensors can connect to LonWorks, BACnet and Modbus BAS/EMS systems for remote monitoring and precise control. Available via a tri-tiered product platform, the Renaissance Commercial Line consists of Rheem Commercial Prestige Series, Rheem Commercial Classic Plus Series; and Rheem Commercial Classic Series.

  • H2AC Rooftop Unit

The Rheem H2AC Rooftop Unit featuring eSync integration technology is part of the industry’s first and only integrated air and water system designed specifically for full-service restaurants and other commercial applications with high hot water demand. The award-winning system brings new levels of savings and efficiency to businesses.

The eSync Integration Technology enables the system to automatically switch modes whenever there is an opportunity to pre-heat water by using heat removed from the building through the air conditioning process. The H2AC Rooftop Unit from Rheem can save up to 50 percent on annual water heating costs and up to 20 percent on annual energy saving costs.

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Lessons From The Past: The Value Of Ventilation In A Pandemic
Lessons From The Past: The Value Of Ventilation In A Pandemic

If history truly repeats itself, might we learn lessons from the past – even lessons about managing a novel coronavirus that upends our way of life and changes the world forever? The most commonly cited parallel to the COVID-19 pandemic is the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918. Both diseases are caused by viruses that had not been seen before. In both cases, no one had immunity to a highly infectious germ that was spread through respiratory droplets. Both outbreaks occurred in multiple waves over several years. Furthermore, in both cases, it became clear that ventilation, fresh air, open spaces and sunlight are useful factors in promoting good health. Fresh Air Movement During the time of the Spanish flu, there were signs posted in buses and throughout New York that advised: "Keep your bedroom windows open [to] prevent influenza, pneumonia [and] tuberculosis." There was even a national campaign known as the “Fresh Air Movement,” calling for people to be outside more, and urging greater ventilation indoors. The movement included a kind of traveling show that spread the word about the “national poison,” which was the result of people breathing stale air inside closed rooms. These concerns predated by decades our enthusiasm for “indoor air quality.” In became common after 1918 to position radiators providing steam heat under open windows to combine warmth with fresh air, even on the coldest of days.   The Open-Air Treatment of Pandemic Influenza It was also common practice by 1918 to place the sick outside in tents or in specially designed open wards But the advantages of fresh air go back even further, as described in a 2009 article in the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) titled “The Open-Air Treatment of Pandemic Influenza.” During the 1918 pandemic, as today, many cities banned public assembly, closed schools, isolated those infected and mandated the wearing of face masks. It was also common practice by 1918 to place the sick outside in tents or in specially designed open wards, according to the AJPH article. The practice dates back to English physician John Coakley Lettsom (1744-1815), who was among the first advocates of the “open-air method.” The 1800s saw emergence of tuberculosis sanitoriums, which treated the lung disease with a combination of fresh air, gentle exercise in the open, nutrition, and a minimum of medicines. Lack of ventilation Spending time in well-ventilated houses in the country became seen as superior to patients being confined to warm, badly ventilated rooms to protect them from the supposedly harmful effects of cold air. Lack of ventilation forced patients to breathe foul air, contaminated with germs, over and over. Research later confirmed the importance of measures to prevent influenza virus from spreading through buildings. Improvements in air-handling equipment, portable filtration units, and introduction of physical barriers and other partitions or doors also provided protection. These lessons were clear long before the advent of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Their successful deployment during the pandemic have further supported their value. importance of HVAC Although the COVID-19 pandemic caught the world off-guard, there were plenty of historical precedents However, lockdowns during the pandemic have also tended to keep the population closed up in buildings, sometimes with less-than-adequate ventilation and access to fresh air. In retrospect, some of those decisions seem regrettable.  Although the COVID-19 pandemic caught the world off-guard, there were plenty of historical precedents. Copious research over the years supported the best approaches to stemming the spread of the virus, although it took time for historical insights to work their way into the general practice implemented in the current pandemic. There is also historical precedent for the importance of HVAC in the current pandemic. Ventilation and fresh air have become higher priorities, as has the HVAC market’s role in providing a safer indoor climate with minimal disease spread.

Pandemic Spotlights Need To Balance Costs While Improving Air Quality In Schools
Pandemic Spotlights Need To Balance Costs While Improving Air Quality In Schools

Attitudes about indoor air quality need to change, especially given the current pandemic that forces people to spend most of their time indoors. But addressing the pandemic through increased ventilation and better indoor air quality can be expensive. For example, the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second-largest in the nation, has spent $6 million on HVAC upgrades and new air filters in response to the pandemic and expects to pay about $1.7 million a month for ongoing inspections and filter replacements. Updating & Improving HVAC Systems Updating HVAC systems to minimize virus spread has been an expensive proposition all around. Some school districts in California report the costs are insurmountable. Sometimes seeking to replace or update an HVAC system opens a can of worms: Electrical systems must be rewired, asbestos must be removed, and/or an expensive roof needs to be replaced. Schools in low-income areas are especially likely to be in poor condition, and unable to afford improvements. Some school districts have used money from the federal CARES Act – a $2 trillion federal economic package passed in March – to make ventilation improvements. Hope remains that additional state and/or federal money will be available, but funding is still likely to be inadequate. Airborne Transmission Study showed that some classrooms had air change rates below 0.5 changes per hour The airborne transmission was initially underplayed as a means of spreading the novel coronavirus. There was more emphasis on the dangers of touch during the early days of the pandemic. However, the airborne (aerosol) spread is now believed to make up about 75% of transmissions. A group of 239 scientists from around the world advocated more action to address aerosol spread in a July 2020 open letter to the World Health Organization (WHO). The concern is a global challenge. For example, a survey of 20 classrooms in the United Kingdom, carried out by National Air Quality Testing Services (NAQTS), revealed very low air change rates that could increase the risk of virus transmission. The study showed that some classrooms had air change rates below 0.5 changes per hour (3 to 5 changes per hour would be desirable). Even small increases in flow rate could reduce the risk of infection significantly. Raising airflows from zero to 100 cu m/hour cuts the risk by up to a third, according to NAQTS. Fresh Air Ventilation & Filtration The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) advised the UK Government last fall of a need to ensure undisrupted education for children of all ages. A critical part of keeping children in school is clear guidance and support packages, including better ventilation and air filtration, particularly through winter. The German government advises schools to open their windows for at least five minutes every hour Other countries can learn a lot about the value of opening windows to allow in more fresh air from the Germans. For years, Germans have habitually opened their windows twice a day, even in winter. In fact, “lüften,” or airing a room, is among the cheapest and most effective ways of decreasing the spread of the coronavirus. The German government advises schools to open their windows for at least five minutes every hour; for example, when classes are changing. Improving Indoor Air Quality Airing of rooms is a likely factor in the lower number of coronavirus cases reported in Germany compared to, say, the United Kingdom. In the end, improving indoor air quality involves some combination of letting in more fresh air, upgrading air filtration systems, and installing technologies such as UV light to kill pathogens. However, implementing these measures only mitigates the likelihood of contracting COVID-19. Some risk remains.

What Technologies And Trends Will Define HVAC In 2021?
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