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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.
As the UK continues to battle through the coronavirus crisis, HVAC business owners and installers can be putting some of their enforced downtime to good use. This period of subdued trading is a rare opportunity to get into better shape for when economic activity picks up. One way of doing this is by sharpening the focus on markets which promise strong growth – and few markets are growing faster than that for heat pumps. The potential here is huge. Some 28,000 heat pumps are currently installed in the UK every year, and before the pandemic this number was rising annually at a rate of 15-30%. That equates to sales doubling every three to five years. New-builds account for the majority of those sales, but 30% are retrofits, and about 30% of those retrofits are in private residences. This means there’s a big opportunity for doing conversions from oil boilers to heat pumps at rural homes not connected to the gas grid. The ‘New Normal’ and Heat Pumps It is only realistic, of course, to expect a lingering dip in HVAC sales of all kinds, including heat pumps, until the post-pandemic world gets back on its feet. But when we do turn the corner into the ‘new normal’, heat pump sales will again climb strongly. One reason for this is consumer demand, the other is government policy. End-users are now increasingly aware of the dangers and disruptions threatened by carbon emissions and climate change – informally known as ‘the Blue Planet Effect’ – and more are being guided by their consciences to make environmentally-responsible heating choices. An Expected Spike In Demand Many end-users are also encouraged by the prospect of receiving payments from the government through the Domestic RHI tariff. When we do turn the corner into the ‘new normal’, heat pump sales will climb strongly If RHI tariffs are the carrot, however, the government is also going to wield a big stick. The Chancellor’s spring statement last year dropped the bombshell that low-carbon heating systems, not fossil-fuel heating, should be installed in all new homes built after 2025. Though this policy might perhaps get slightly delayed and diluted, there can be no doubting that radical change is on the way. With all this in the pipeline, the industry should be preparing now to cope with the increased demand. But there’s some way to go: of the UK’s 120,000 registered gas engineers, merely 600 or so are MCS-registered to install heat pumps. Many more will be needed. MCS Certification Some installers are already recognizing this opportunity. Some 28,000 heat pumps are currently installed in the UK every year, and before the pandemic this number was rising annually at a rate of 15-30% This is evident in the heightened level of interest in the one-day introductory heat pump courses run nationwide by the Viessmann Academy. These courses provide a useful overview of what heat pump installations involve, helping participants decide whether or not they would like to go on to qualify with the MCS quality assurance scheme. This is a crucial decision, because having MCS certification is an obligation when installing equipment eligible for Domestic RHI payments. Some course participants decide to take the next step to MCS certification straight away, others decide to wait a while – but standing still in a fast-moving market can mean getting left behind! F-Gas Certification So what else must HVAC businesses and installers consider about heat pumps, in order to stay ahead of the game? In addition to MCS certification, F-Gas certification is also necessary when split air source heat pumps are installed. This is because the outdoor and indoor units have to be connected on-site with refrigerant pipework. Some installers choose to get F-Gas certified themselves, others sub-contract this part of the job to someone who’s suitably qualified. Of the UK’s 120,000 registered gas engineers, merely 600 or so are MCS-registered to install heat pumps It is possible to sidestep this need, however, when it is appropriate to install a monobloc heat pump – and the widening choice and affordability of monobloc designs is making them appropriate for a wider range of properties. A good example of this is Viessmann’s new Vitocal 100-A, an outdoors unit which has no need for a complementary indoor unit and is also easy to install because most components are integrated in the unit. New, compact and affordable air source heat pumps such as this, offering much-needed space-saving solutions for urban homes, are another reason why the heat pump market will boom. The Challenges Of Heat Pump Installation Though technological advances are making things easier, installing a heat pump isn’t ever going to be quite as straightforward as replacing an old boiler with a new one. Before starting an installation, first it is necessary to assess whether a heat pump is suitable for the property. This means checking that the property is well-enough insulated; checking the existing system’s radiators, which may need supplementing or replacing with bigger radiators or underfloor heating because of the lower flow temperatures of a heat pump system; and calculating the required size of the heat pump according to the building’s heat loss (and not including hot water demand). This period of subdued trading is a rare opportunity to get into better shape for when economic activity picks up At the installation stage itself, much of the work will be familiar to boiler installers, though weather compensating controls are obligatory for all MCS-approved work and as part of building regulations Part L. It’s also important to note that planning permission requires minimum distances between the heat pump’s outdoor unit, the plot’s borders, and neighboring properties. If this seems complicated, it doesn’t have to be: some heat pump manufacturers provide a calculator to simplify the task. Now Is The Time To Be Proactive Just as installers need a little time to assess whether a property should switch from a boiler to a heat pump, end-users also need a little thinking time, to consider adopting a technology new to them. By being proactive, HVAC businesses and installers can reap what they sow When customers get in touch because their existing boiler has broken down, the pressure for a quick fix can rule this out. But right now, when many of us have time on our hands, there’s the chance to inform customers of alternative heating solutions before their boiler needs replacing. Taking such pre-emptive action, by emailing information or mailing leaflets to customers, does require a little effort, but at least now there’s the time to do it. We are heading into a new era which will see boiler sales decline while heat pump sales rise. By making preparations for these profound changes, and by being proactive, HVAC businesses and installers can reap what they sow.
Situated almost halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles, Perris was a place where sheep casually roamed the valley, and where people discovered what the land had to offer; a moderate climate with rich soil good for farming. But Perris’s sleepy image began to change in the spring of 1886, when it became a stop along the Transcontinental Route of the Santa Fe Railroad. Perris continues to thrive. With a current population of 45,000, and continued population growth over the last several decades, dramatic improvements and expansion have been made to the Val Verde Unified School District. Val Verde, with its 23 school buildings serves a 60-mile radius, including Perris, Moreno Valley and Riverside County, California. To remain flexible in accommodating the number, as well as the individual needs of students, Val Verde employed modular construction techniques with many of its buildings. Prototype classroom Bard began solving the needs of schools by providing wall-mounted heating and cooling equipment These modular units are built off-site, employ a stucco wrap and have a flat roof and a wood floor. Although they are relatively inexpensive to build they do have the unfortunate characteristic in that they can also be noisy. “For a long time we were looking at ways to improve the quality of our building’s construction, and with them their acoustical environment,” said Todd Butcher, Director of Maintenance and Operation at Val Verde Unified School District. This idea led Val Verde to develop its own prototype classroom, one that used a sloped roof with a 4-foot overhang and a concrete floor. This prototype, which would create better sound insulation from outside noise while providing needed shade from the sun, would be used to build the new May Ranch Elementary School slated for opening in 2008. Bard selection Thirty years ago, Bard began solving the comfort needs of schools across the country by providing wall-mounted heating and cooling equipment. Bard’s products offer a combination of quiet operation, patented ventilation packages, unsurpassed quality and dependability that make them a choice of many school officials. With three, state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities and a global distribution network, Bard’s commitment to quality and product innovation begins with its commitment to research and development. With features like self-diagnostics and self-programming energy monitors, Bard delivers products that provide tangible solutions for today’s modern school facilities. Bard’s Contribution We quickly ascertained that Bard’s Quiet Climate 2 series was the perfect option for what they needed" “In conjunction with our prototype construction, we also wanted to see if we could obtain quieter operating air conditioning units,” said Butcher. “Our ultimate goal was to additionally reduce the overall decibel levels within each of our classrooms.” That’s when Val Verde turned to Geary Pacific, the local distributor of Bard HVAC equipment. “Based upon their needs, we quickly ascertained that Bard’s Quiet Climate 2 series was the perfect option for what they needed,” said Dave Gorman, Head of School Sales for Geary Pacific. Already impressed from their previous working experience with Bard, Val Verde decided to test the Quiet Climate 2 in the single best environment for testing noise levels – Val Verde’s Audiology Laboratory where student’s hearing is tested. “The environment for evaluating our students has improved by at least 200%,” said Randy Lerner, District Audiologist for Val Verde Unified School District. Ambient noise level Since the Bard Quiet Climate 2 has been installed, the overall ambient noise level in the clinic has dropped considerably from 58 dbA to 37 dbA (decibels recorded ten feet in front of the unit). “With the old unit, I used to have to turn it off during a testing session because it sounded like there was a farm tractor outside the window,” says Lerner. “Now students comment on how quiet the lab is – and that’s when the unit is on!” The Quiet Climate 2 provides operating sound levels that are 20 to 35 times quieter than a standard wall-mounted heat pump Bard’s Quiet-Climate 2 heat pump is an innovative wall-mount ever made. Designed specifically to provide quiet operation in classrooms, the Quiet Climate 2 provides operating sound levels that are 20 to 35 times quieter than a standard wall-mounted heat pump. Ventilation and IAQ Bard’s Quiet Climate 2 can provide the following features: A one-piece factory unit designed for fast installation and easy servicing Higher energy efficiency Additional sound curbing accessories including, an isolation curb and return air and supply air plenums Improved ventilation Enhanced IAQ Val Verde’s Results “Bard overwhelmingly proved to us that they are able to help us reduce the sound levels in our school’s classrooms”, said Butcher. “If they can make our audiologist as confident as he is with the Laboratory’s ambient noise level, we know the units will perform just as well in our regular classrooms.” Comfortable environment Val Verde Unified is planning to use Quiet Climate 2 units in its new May Ranch Elementary School Because of its success with the Audiology Laboratory, Val Verde Unified is planning to use Quiet Climate 2 units in its new May Ranch Elementary School. “It’s great that a company like Bard has not only the reputation that they do for making quiet units, but that they also have an interest in helping create a quiet, comfortable environment in which our children can better learn,” added Lerner. Bard’s experience working with school systems around the country helps them design, manufacture and support the best HVAC systems on the market. Bard units operate quietly, are energy efficient and are also able to save customers money on their maintenance costs because they are simple to maintain and service. “Working together with Geary Pacific and Bard, we were able to create an even more quiet, comfortable environment in which our students can better hear and learn in,” added Butcher.
It is common knowledge that a geothermal heating and cooling system provides a school with one of the most energy efficient climate control options available. What tends to be overlooked is that there are several geothermal system options available, which offer varying degrees of cost savings. Bard offers a type of geothermal system that provides the climate control and ventilation that a classroom deserves and maximizes cost savings. This was the challenge recently posed to Bill Stalker, a Marketing Manager for the Tennessee Valley Authority. To assist his efforts, Mr. Stalker called on Blake Neville, P.E., of Neville Engineering to perform an independent study of two different geothermal systems. Bard system chosen for the study The Bard system chosen for the study featured a 4-ton packaged QW series ground source heat pump The Bard system chosen for the study featured a 4-ton packaged QW series ground source heat pump with its patented, built-in energy recovery ventilator. The other system consisted of a 3-ton console heat pump and a separate, dedicated ventilation air unit (both provided by two widely-used, well-known HVAC manufacturers.) General assumptions like the number of occupants, ventilation loads, cooling/heating hours, installation costs and well drilling expenses were identical for both systems. Increases Savings Per Classroom Based on the study’s numbers, the Bard unit would not only save a school district $1,300 per classroom in upfront installation costs, it would continue to save them $493 per classroom every year in operating costs. Multiply both the upfront and operating savings by the number of classrooms in one’s school, and it all adds up to additional budget money for a few more field trips, a few more library books, a few more teaching supplies, etc.
Nicknamed the gateway to Southern California, the city of Ontario, as well as neighboring city Montclair, is home to the third largest elementary school district in California, the Ontario-Montclair School District (OMSD). Founded in 1884, the district also incorporates portions of the city of Upland, and unincorporated areas of San Bernardino County, comprising 24,000 students in 26 elementary schools and six middle schools. Ontario-Montclair School District Ontario-Montclair School District’s overall mission is simple yet speaks volumes to its dedication to all students, to do whatever it takes to guarantee its commitment in providing the highest quality education for all students. To meet this mission head-on, OMSD contracted with TMAD Taylor Gaines, a professional engineering consulting and services firm. Ontario Montclair School District was interested in reducing their overall energy costs by 20%" “Ontario Montclair School District was interested in reducing their overall energy costs by 20%, they along with other school districts throughout California were mandated to reduce their overall energy costs,” said John Simmons, RCDD, LEED AP, and Project Manager for TMAD Taylor Gaines. He adds, “We initially ran some numbers based upon information we found on Bard HVAC’s website, and through consultation with Geary Pacific Supply, Bard’s largest West Coast distributor.” Geary Pacific, distributor of new HVAC units Based upon the scope of the projects in consideration, the money available to fund them and the overall cost of the units in consideration, as well as overall potential energy savings, TMAD Taylor Gaines recommended that OMSD select Geary Pacific as the distributor of the new HVAC units. “We considered other companies as part of our overall recommendation but in all honesty we were impressed by a couple of things. First, Bard Manufacturing had a wealth of product and technical information about their products on their website, including case studies of other customer successes. That in combination with Geary Pacific’s previous experience working successfully with the School District made our recommendation a simple one,” added John Simmons. Bard wall-mounted HVAC units deployed “Our District was already familiar with Bard because we had success using some of their other wall mounted units on several of our modular school buildings,” said Craig Misso, Director of Facility Planning & Operation at Ontario Montclair School District, adding “Our goal was to not only upgrade our facilities and make them more energy efficient, but also work to reduce some of the HVAC noise inside the classroom, as well as save on the purchase, operation and maintenance of all of the units at our schools.” TMAD Taylor Gaines and Geary Pacific’s approach was to do the retrofit in several phases. The pilot project encompassed one site, Sultana Elementary School, which included 24 re-locatable buildings, made up of both newer and some older construction. Bard WG*S Step Capacity Series units with CO2 sensors TMAD Taylor Gaines and Geary Pacific started doing groups of schools, encompassing 14 different building sites “Sultana was a great school for the pilot because there were a lot of little issues to contend with and work through,” stated Simmons, adding “The Bard WG*S Step Capacity Series units with Energy Recovery Ventilators and CO2 sensors worked great and we were initially very surprised at how quiet they actually operated.” After that, TMAD Taylor Gaines and Geary Pacific started doing groups of schools, encompassing 14 different building sites. Group one included 6 schools and approximately 83 units while Group 2 included 8 schools and 101 units. It was during the second group of installations that TMAD Taylor Gaines realized that putting in units that required the installation of underground gas piping was not the best solution for all classrooms. Bard’s Quiet Climate 2 units That’s when Geary Pacific recommended utilizing Bard’s Quiet Climate 2 units with Energy Recovery Ventilators and CO2 sensors in about 1/3 of the overall installation. “Bard’s Quiet Climate 2 units are some of the most energy-efficient HVAC units on the market today,” said Maury Tiernan of Geary Pacific, adding “Plus the operational sound level is extremely low and is greatly appreciated by the students and teachers.” John Simmons said, “We were really pleased at how easily these units were able to be retrofitted into the re-locatable classrooms. There are almost no changes and smooth sailing in almost all cases.” Quiet, efficient operation The dramatic reduction in operating noise levels was an added improvement and benefit for which Craig Misso was particularly proud. “At Sultana, we invited some of the teachers and our principal over to see the new classrooms. Our principal asked, ‘Why aren’t the new HVAC units running’? I had to laugh, because I knew they were on. They were just so quiet nobody could tell that they were working. That moment sold every teacher on the Bard units,” added Craig Misso of Ontario Montclair School District. “From the very beginning, Geary Pacific became our partner in the success of the project,” stated Simmons, adding “Always available to answer questions on-site and knowledgeable about all aspects of the product and installation I can honestly say they can’t do anything wrong by me. Geary Pacific and the engineers at Bard Manufacturing came through in every way possible and more.” Wall-mounted heating and cooling equipment expert Bard’s HVAC products offer a combination of quiet operation, and energy efficiency Over thirty years ago, Bard Manufacturing began solving the comfort needs of schools across the country by providing wall-mounted heating and cooling equipment. Bard’s HVAC products offer a combination of quiet operation, and energy efficiency, with unsurpassed quality and dependability that make them the #1 choice for schools. With three, state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities and a global distribution network, Bard’s commitment to quality and product innovation begins with its commitment to research and development. With features like self-diagnostics and self-programming energy monitors, Bard delivers products that provide tangible solutions for any school. Energy and cost savings “The Bard units reduced ambient classroom noise levels by over 75% and further gave us a 50% savings in energy,” said Misso, adding “This savings allowed us to also install software on our computers that automatically turns off the lights and the AC, when the classrooms are unoccupied, which further increased our savings. Our hope is to have the funds necessary to install all 280 Bard units as specified by TMAD Taylor Gaines.” Misso concluded, “Geary Pacific has been extremely professional and service oriented throughout the project. Because of our School Board’s commitment to energy conservation, our District will receive a dual reward, recognized energy savings and efficiency with an enhanced classroom environment for our students and teachers. We couldn’t ask for anything more.”
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