Packaged Units/RTU - Expert Commentary

The Invisible Risk Of Reopening Workplaces
The Invisible Risk Of Reopening Workplaces

Over the last year, we’ve become all too familiar with the risk posed by a deadly airborne virus, but, as we move out of lockdown, there are other airborne hazards we urgently need to fight. However, while advice and guidance are abundant in the use of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems in combating the spread of COVID-19, there has been very little said of the risk of using HVAC systems after a prolonged period of inactivity. As those familiar with HVAC systems know, air conditioning and ventilation systems are designed to be used regularly, if not constantly. Enclosed and moist environments As systems convey air and/or cool it, systems build up moisture and, having been inactive for many months, if not for a whole year, these humid, enclosed, and moist environments will have become a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and fungus. Mould or mildew can grow in air ducts, filters, or vents as well as in drip pans and coils Mould or mildew can grow in air ducts, filters, or vents as well as in drip pans and coils. It spreads through the production of microscopic spores which float through the air and deposit on surfaces. In the right environments, these spores can form mold colonies, where they can then produce more spores that can be spread further. Worse, these spores can survive and linger in an atmosphere for long periods, and some molds can be deadly. Exposure to mold Now imagine that a contaminated HVAC system, which has been inactive for weeks, months, or even a whole year, is switched back on: Immediately, a current of air carries the spores through the ducting before projecting them out across every inhabited space, ready for workers, shoppers or visitors who are venturing out after lockdown to touch, inhale, eat or drink. As well as smelling musty and unpleasant, mold exposure can cause cold or allergy-like symptoms such as a stuffy nose, cough, or sore throat as well as headaches, nausea, skin and respiratory diseases. It can also be particularly dangerous to people who are immunocompromised or who have conditions such as asthma. Routine maintenance It sounds disgusting, but the risk is very much real. Unfortunately, there has been very little advice or guidance from the UK government to make property managers or users aware of this issue and so many will have neglected to protect themselves and their workers or visitors. Mould has always been able to grow inside HVAC systems, and this is why owners are obliged to have them regularly serviced. But unless that routine maintenance has gone ahead as planned throughout the lockdowns, and unless their systems have been inspected and disinfected again before opening, COVID-19 will be just one of many airborne health hazards people will face this summer. No clear warnings Government guidance encourages the use of various HVAC systems as part of its COVID-secure strategies Of course, the UK is not the only country to have imposed lockdown restrictions, and, over in America, their health authority, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published warnings around this. But, here in the UK, there have been no such messages: Government guidance encourages the use of various HVAC systems as part of its COVID-secure strategies, but it makes no clear warnings about the particular risk of using these after a period of prolonged inactivity. Mitigated risks I suspect that while larger workplaces with dedicated property managers and close connections to professionals such as ourselves will be more likely to have mitigated these risks, countless other organizations will not: I’m particularly concerned about small offices, hotels, restaurants, pubs, holiday cottages, and shops which may have systems unchecked for years and which would have had their hands full with other problems that were more pressing than maintaining an HVAC systems no-one is using. Cleaning and disinfecting HVAC Enhanced cleaning in other respects could also have made matters worse; if, for example, a carpet was shampooed at the start of lockdown and the HVAC system was turned off, a property manager will have inadvertently created the perfect environment for mold to thrive. Fortunately, HVAC systems can be disinfected and cleaned to make them safe again, but with so little awareness, many system owners will not be taking these steps. Action against mold However, while there may not be specific guidance in relation to the risk of mold in HVAC systems after lockdown, there are still laws in place which oblige property managers to take action. These include the Health & Safety at Work Act, The Workplace Health, Safety & Welfare Regulations, Occupiers Liability Act, and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations. As a result, employers or property managers may be liable for illness or harm which may occur from the use of contaminated systems. As we approach the end of the lockdown restrictions, I would urge all HVAC engineers, property managers, and property maintenance professionals to immediately reach out to clients and warn them of this danger, because the last thing we need is another health crisis.

How SaaS Enables Sustainable Supermarkets: Food Waste Reduction and Energy Efficiency
How SaaS Enables Sustainable Supermarkets: Food Waste Reduction and Energy Efficiency

Across the globe, annual food loss amounts total to approximately 1.3 billion tons of waste and 4.4 gigatons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. To put that in perspective: If food waste were a country, it would rank as the third largest GHG emitting country in the world, surpassed only by the United States and China. The average supermarket, which brings in about $35M in annual revenue, will see $526,590 worth of food waste and 3,600 MWh worth of wasted energy use, where about 2,000 MWh is used for refrigeration—the equivalent of 170 households. SaaS for temperature monitoring Clearly, there is both an economic and sustainability burden to food loss besides the revenue loss and environmental impact. Luckily, this burden can be eased when using Software as a Service (SaaS), like food temperature monitoring. Supermarkets who monitor their food temperatures will improve their margins and overall profitability by selling food at its full price rather than marked down due to over ripening or close to expiration date. This, in turn, will deliver improved customer satisfaction because supermarkets will be able to continue to stock fresh food while minimizing the sale of old and ripened provisions.Supermarkets who monitor their food temperatures will improve their margins and overall profitability There are many benefits of using SaaS to improve supermarket efficiency, which can help to reduce food waste and lower energy costs in countless supermarkets worldwide. Many of the roughly 50,000 food retail locations that utilize electronics controllers use some level of SaaS technology like Alsense Food Retail Services, the newest cloud offering from Danfoss Climate Solutions for supermarkets and food retail applications. Alsense Food Retail Services is a sustainable, scalable, and secure modern platform that delivers tangible data to improve operational and energy efficiency while optimizing the performance of food retail operations. Its technology is engineered to provide supermarkets with actionable insights that allow you to track refrigeration asset performance, respond to alarms, integrate 24/7 monitoring, reduce energy consumption, and more to deliver savings as high as a 40% reduction in food waste and 30% decrease in energy costs. Examples of food loss prevention with Alsense Food Retail Services The sensor in the meat fridge notices a high temperature and submits an alarm to the cloud The alarm is analyzed by the Danfoss Enterprise Service Team (Managed services) The reason for the alarm is determined and a service provider is contacted The service provider is dispatched to the supermarket to fix the issue in the meat fridge to avoid food loss Danfoss’ advanced algorithms detect if the refrigeration systems are running efficiently or if they are over consuming energy Alsense Food Retail Services is a sustainable, scalable, and secure modern platform that delivers tangible data to improve operational and energy efficiency while optimizing the performance of food retail operations aktiv & irma, a supermarket in North Germany, has shown significant savingsWithout SaaS, the store’s ROI will take much longer than if you rely solely on the hardware as part of the Alsense Food Retail Services pilot program. In collaboration with Danfoss, they installed a solar photovoltaic system, storage system, and a charging station for guests. All major assets in the supermarket system are linked through the Alsense Food Retail Services cloud to manage loads and eliminate unnecessary peaks to best use each store’s energy. Regulating energy levels is accomplished through a variety of methods that offer potential savings: Load shifting: As high as 20 kW in additional peak reductions ($1,758.30 potential savings). Compressor curtailment Solar: 112 MWh electricity produced ($16,410.80 savings) Battery: Grid demand reduced by 40 kW ($3,516.60 savings) Peak load shaving: Charging station is throttled if needed to maintain target max peak level in the store. ($2,344.40 potential savings) aktiv & irma saved about 15% in additional energy costs and reduced over 70 tons of CO2 for a total savings of $20,168.80 compared to other supermarkets. For supermarkets that are considering marrying SaaS with their hardware expenditure, the return on investment (ROI) will depend largely on their level of SaaS investment. Without SaaS, the store’s ROI will take much longer than if you rely solely on the hardware. To put it simply, the more robust the SaaS program, the quicker supermarkets will see a return on the overall system investment. Alsense Food Retail Services? A zero-net, even net positive, billable energy supermarket is possible. The prerequisites to make these savings happen are based on energy efficiency, particularly reducing overall consumption and onsite heat and electricity generation and storage. Energy arbitrage services can enable energy bill optimization. Essentially, this means that energy can be stored in a battery and used when prices in the grid are high.Precooling can also be used to cool down cabinets before prices increase Precooling (curtailment) can also be used to cool down cabinets before prices increase. Another option is to turn off compressors for as long as possible when the energy prices are high. This means temperatures will drift upwards, so turn on the compressors before the temperature compromises food quality. Lastly, supermarkets have further potential to balance the grid via fast Frequency Response, peak Load Shifting, and seasonal Buffering. SaaS technology, like Alsense Food Retail Services, is a strong compliment to hardware assets that can help supermarkets achieve higher profitability and food loss and waste reduction. If a supermarket aims to go zero- or positive-net, the solution is to invest in both hardware and SaaS.

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Sila Services LLC Acquired Fahrenheit HVAC To Deliver Exceptional Home Comfort Solutions
Sila Services LLC Acquired Fahrenheit HVAC To Deliver Exceptional Home Comfort Solutions

Sila Services LLC recently acquired Fahrenheit HVAC, adding Fahrenheit's commitment to reliably professional same-day HVAC repairs and installations to Sila's already impressive portfolio of companies. Fahrenheit has provided outstanding and affordable care to its customers for over three decades. Sila is an HVAC industry veteran, with an unwavering commitment to customer satisfaction, and has been delivering exceptional home comfort in heating, AC, plumbing and electrical services, throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, since 1989. Home comfort expert "By extending our reach and adding the highly trained Fahrenheit technicians' services to our already premier packages, we're taking Sila to the next level," said Lou Pellegrini, CEO of Sila. "We're extremely pleased to be welcoming the Fahrenheit HVAC family into ours and there's a reason we are both household names in the Southeastern Pennsylvania area. Because we treat your home like we treat our own – ensuring you have efficiently running systems and invaluable peace of mind." Sila's factory-trained and certified technicians serve over 500 homes a day With over 7000 ‘A’ ratings on Angie's List, earning its prestigious super service award for multiple years running, Sila is the complete home comfort expert. A preferred partner of Carrier, Google Nest, Lennox, Mitsubishi, Unico, and other manufacturers, Sila's factory-trained and certified technicians serve over 500 homes a day, with 100% satisfaction guaranteed every single time. Saving customers money Repairs: Dependable and prompt repairs that ensure customers never have to wait too long to get back to living life in comfort. Tune-Ups and Maintenance: Prevention is key to keeping heating and AC systems in peak shape, ready for extreme weather. Annual Sila tune-ups include a 15-point safety inspection and filter change. Maintenance plans keep systems running reliably and efficiently – preventing breakdowns and saving customers money. Replacements and Installations: When replacements or new installations are necessary, Sila helps its customers select the perfect solutions for the home or office that fit nicely into any budget with attractive financing. Go Green: For those considering greener options for heating and AC, Sila offers geothermal systems that use natural, sustainable energy from the ground.

LENNOX EMEA, Standard Unit Coolers Compatible With A2L Refrigerants
LENNOX EMEA, Standard Unit Coolers Compatible With A2L Refrigerants

A number of standard unit coolers from Friga-Bohn, which supplies a wide range of market-leading refrigeration solutions to the food industry, are fully compatible with A2L refrigerants. The unit coolers support use with both new A2L refrigerants such as R1234yf, R454C, and R455C, as well as existing HFC refrigerant solutions. As a result, a single unit can provide for present and future requirements, reducing inventory for wholesalers and easing selection choices for installers. The market for unit coolers is changing. The F-Gas regulation means that a ban is in place for new installations using refrigerants with a GWP (Global Warming Potential) of more than 2500. Furthermore, other refrigerants are having their availability limited by diminishing production quotas, which is consequently affecting prices. Refrigerant producers have to fall within a regulation-defined limit of Teq CO2 (carbon dioxide equivalent tonnes) per year. So opting to produce a refrigerant with a high GWP means less product availability, leading to a higher price. CO2 refrigerant Friga-Bohn can confirm that a number of its unit coolers offer compatibility with new A2L refrigerants CO2 has become the preferred refrigerant in high-capacity refrigeration installations due to its low GWP and good thermo-physic properties. However, for small/medium-capacity systems, the choice is not so obvious. CO2 is of course an option, but alternatives such as A2L refrigerants are very attractive as their constituent technology is similar to HFCs while offering a far lower GWP. To ensure simplicity of choice for installers, Friga-Bohn can confirm that a number of its unit coolers offer compatibility with new A2L refrigerants, as well as existing refrigerant solutions. This approach differs from other market systems, which are only suitable for one or the other. Wholesalers, therefore, benefit as they only need to stock a single type of unit cooler-one capable of meeting the requirements of both applications. A2L-compatible coolers The A2L-compatible coolers available from Friga-Bohn include MR and MH series ceiling units, NTA dual-discharge units, and 3C-A cubic units. Typical applications include cold rooms in cafes, hotels, bars, restaurants, local shops, minimarkets, and supermarkets, with options available to suit both positive and negative temperature conditions. Despite their low GWP (R1234yf, R454C, and R455C have a GWP of less than 150), A2L refrigerants carry a ‘slightly flammable’ security classification. For this reason, all Friga-Bohn unit coolers using A2L refrigerants have been subject to a comprehensive risk assessment, with INERIS, the French National Institute for Industrial Environment and Risks, providing full approval and validation. A2L refrigerants provide the opportunity to reduce environmental impact and comply with the F-Gas regulation A risk analysis is also necessary for each installation to ensure safety for users and the general public; a process that should take into account the entire refrigeration system as well as its environment over the product life cycle. Here, Friga-Bohn can offer several newly developed tools to help simplify this process for installers. The availability of these tools ensures that the ‘slightly flammable’ classification of A2L refrigerants should not be an obstacle in reducing the industry’s carbon footprint. Transitioning to lower GWP refrigerants In summary, A2L refrigerants are a good solution when transitioning to lower GWP refrigerants. They provide the opportunity to reduce environmental impact and comply with the F-Gas regulation for small/medium capacity installations. However, changing to A2L does require some technical knowledge. Here, Friga-Bohn is ahead of market competitors – the company is fully prepared and ready to help wholesalers and installers with any assistance they may require in helping the food sector achieve a safe and effective switch to a future based on low-GWP refrigerants. Friga-Bohn can also help wholesalers to educate installers about this important industry shift.

IWBI Announces New WELL Performance Rating Focused On Using Dynamic Human And Building Performance Metrics
IWBI Announces New WELL Performance Rating Focused On Using Dynamic Human And Building Performance Metrics

The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) announces the upcoming launch of the WELL Performance Rating, a new designation rewarding building owners and operators for using measurable and validated building and human performance metrics to gain insights into health and well-being of the people inside and enhance conditions in their spaces based on those insights. The rating will consist of features drawn from the WELL Building Standard (WELL) along with new pathways and beta features that will be informed by the IWBI Performance Advisory, WELL Performance Testing Organizations (PTOs) and a host of industry pioneers in smart building technologies. Smart building technologies “The industry has done a great job of capturing environmental building performance metrics on site – energy and water use, for example – but we need to be able to marry these eco-friendly indicators with health performance metrics to enable balanced choices about the health of planet and the health of people,” said Rachel Hodgdon, President and CEO of IWBI. The industry has done a great job of capturing environmental building performance metrics on site" “With this incredible and diverse array of partners, advisors and other contributors, we are confident that the new rating will unlock and accelerate the use of smarter, more integrated approaches to improve and enhance well-being and performance.” The WELL Performance Rating will be comprised of WELL features specific leadership thresholds air and water quality, thermal comfort, acoustics, lighting and experience, helping projects both quantitative and qualitative to track, monitor and improve the performance of both the buildings and the people inside. Stand-Alone designation IWBI’s global network of 42 WELL Performance Testing Organizations, IWBI member organizations and its broader community of over 18,000 WELL Accredited Professionals (WELL APs) and registrants in more than 100 countries will support customers in their pursuit of the WELL Performance Rating. This new designation will add to a growing suite of WELL ratings that includes the WELL Health-Safety Rating and the forthcoming WELL Health Equity Rating. Each can be achieved as a stand-alone designation or milestone along the way to WELL Certification at Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum level. For WELL Portfolio participants, achieving these ratings will contribute to their WELL Score. IWBI members contributing to the development of the WELL Performance Rating include Aircuity, Carrier, CETEC, Cognian Technologies, Honeywell, Johnson Controls, Kaiterra, Lennox International, Schneider Electric, SGS, Thornton Tomasetti and Trane Technologies. Creating healthy buildings We have led the industry in HVAC and building health and are currently pursuing certification" What industry pioneers say about the WELL Performance Rating: “Like WELL, we have long been committed to taking a holistic approach to the full spectrum of factors that create healthy buildings for people, including air quality, safety, and [functional] conditions such as thermal comfort, lighting, sound and environmental issues that contribute to better cognitive function and well-being.” “We have led the industry in HVAC and building health and are currently pursuing certification under the rigorous WELL v2 standard at our own world headquarters. Carrier is proud to support the WELL Performance Rating, which will provide people with confidence to return to the things and places they love and missed,” said David Gitlin, Chairman and CEO, Carrier. Innovative building solutions “At Honeywell, we’re not waiting for the future, we’re making it by creating innovative building solutions that foster and improve well-being and unlock positive outcomes at scale. By collaborating with IWBI on the WELL Performance Rating, we’re ushering in a new era of building performance, bridging building health while being conscious of environmental impact, and equally important, inspiring innovation and spurring market transformation that advances occupant well-being and productivity,” said Vimal Kapur, President and CEO, Honeywell Building Technologies (HBT). At Honeywell, we’re not waiting for the future, we’re making it by creating innovative building solutions" “As we continue to build on our history of more than 135 years delivering smart, healthy and sustainable buildings, we are excited about the opportunity to collaborate on the launch of IWBI’s WELL Performance Rating. The Rating will serve as a powerful accelerant that we know the market needs right now to help us all realize our shared vision for healthy buildings, while also aligning seamlessly with our proven and leading work to improve operating efficiency, boost productivity and advance sustainability,” said George Oliver, Chairman and CEO, Johnson Controls. Pioneering integrated solutions “As we move more decisively and strategically to meet our decarbonization goals in all buildings all around the globe, it’s imperative that we are just as ambitious in seizing the accompanying opportunity to optimize these spaces for the health of the people inside.” “By leveraging the science behind WELL and with today’s launch of the WELL Performance Rating, we are poised to chart a path to remake the buildings of the future and continue to deliver on Schneider Electric’s longstanding mission to pioneer integrated solutions that leverage the power of digitalization to achieve peak performance, efficiency and reliability, all while enhancing occupant health,” said Jean-Pascal Tricoire, Chairman & CEO, Schneider Electric. Improving human experience Now more than ever, people need safer, healthier, and more efficient indoor spaces" “Now more than ever, people need safer, healthier, and more efficient indoor spaces. We focus on helping building owners and operators assess, mitigate and monitor indoor environmental quality to ensure occupants’ well-being and the building’s performance. The WELL Performance Rating helps validate that the right measures are being taken for people to thrive in the spaces where they live, learn, work and play,” said Dave Regnery, CEO, Trane Technologies. “AI and IoT technologies perform at their best when employed to improve human experience. We are proud to collaborate with IWBI through the WELL Performance Rating as we evolve our services to deploy technology-based solutions to address changing market needs. This initiative supports us on our journey to becoming a more sustainable, data-driven company and our commitment to enabling a better, safer and more interconnected world for all our stakeholders,” said Frankie NG, CEO, SGS, WELL Performance Testing Organization. Evidence-Based solutions "IWBI has been instrumental in driving the evolution of building occupant health and well-being, cementing scientific rigor and robust measurable goals as a means to advance building performance. The innovative WELL Performance Rating is set to become another ground-breaking tool,” said Adam Garnys, Principal Consultant Strategy, and Dr. Vyt Garnys, Managing Director & Principal Consultant, CETEC, WELL Performance Testing Organization. “There is new urgency in how we shape, guide and foster advancements in building performance to better align with the science of supporting human health. Through this collaborative launch of the WELL Performance Rating, we are doubling down on that promise of actionable, evidence-based solutions to drive continuous improvement across the key health metrics that help enhance productivity, increase comfort and support well-being,” said Liam Bates, Co-Founder and CEO, Kaiterra, IWBI Performance Advisor.

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