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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Johnson Controls Develop Industry-First AI Driven Digital Solution To Manage Clean Air, Energy, Sustainability, Comfort And Cost In Buildings
Johnson Controls Develop Industry-First AI Driven Digital Solution To Manage Clean Air, Energy, Sustainability, Comfort And Cost In Buildings

Johnson Controls, the globally renowned company for smart, healthy and sustainable building solutions, has introduced an all-in-one solution that empowers building operators to track sustainability, health and wellness metrics, while also reducing energy use, water use, waste, and carbon footprint. OpenBlue Performance Advisor The new OpenBlue Performance Advisor application expands on the rich capabilities of Johnson Controls OpenBlue Enterprise Manager solution, supporting organizations seeking to achieve clean air and sustainability targets through data tracking software, artificial intelligence and intuitive dashboards that follow indoor air quality and energy consumption, and deliver clean air and decarbonization recommendations in one clear, comprehensive view. The intelligent software also supports the management of employee health, productivity, and tenant experiences while helping to improve indoor air quality and comfort. OpenBlue Enterprise Manager OpenBlue Enterprise Manager solution helps facilities managers to optimize building portfolio performance Johnson Controls’ OpenBlue Enterprise Manager solution helps facilities managers to optimize building portfolio performance, through advanced data analytics and artificial intelligence. The solution is a comprehensive suite of applications from Johnson Controls used to monitor and improve indoor air quality, energy efficiency, tenant satisfaction, asset performance, maintenance operations, space performance, and the comfort of all occupants. OpenBlue Enterprise Manager supports smart building capabilities for property portfolios, ranging across commercial offices, healthcare, mixed-use high-end, transportation, retail, and K-12 school systems. Performance Advisor application The new OpenBlue Enterprise Manager Performance Advisor application follows Johnson Controls’ single pane of glass approach, bringing together various sources of data into a single view that makes it simple to monitor and act on a variety of factors at the same time. Analytics and AI solutions have historically focused on solving for one goal at a time – clean air, energy/carbon, wellness, asset health, comfort, experience, space utilization, etc. However, the OpenBlue Enterprise Manager Performance Advisor application gives users control over making integrated choices traversing data silos, rather than following static standard operating procedures. Johnson Controls’ proprietary algorithm measures a variety of parameters, such as zone size, occupancy, mask usage, and weather forecasts, and predicts chances of infection spread. It provides recommendations to facilities managers that improve the building performance, ranging from maximum disinfection to energy minimization, depending on the given needs of space at a specific moment in time. A key element of this solution is the OpenBlue Infection Risk Score, providing additional information to enable the best decision-making. Supporting healthy and sustainable buildings “Supporting healthy and sustainable buildings is at the core of Johnson Controls priorities and the solutions and services we bring to market. Helping our planet heal and reducing the impact of climate change is part of being a good global citizen and a key moral imperative that drives our business,” said Mike Ellis, Executive Vice President and Chief Customer & Digital Officer at Johnson Controls. Mike Ellis adds, “Environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors continue to grow in importance for building owners and facilities managers in attracting additional investment and tenants. An all-in-one solution that supports elevation of ESG goals while also ensuring occupant safety and comfort addresses the priority needs of our customers in a single, elegant solution.” Right-sizing automated energy efficiency One example of customer value is in right-sizing automated energy efficiency One example of customer value is in right-sizing automated energy efficiency. The solution’s algorithms use historical operating data and space characteristics to build a dynamic model of each room in a structure, to predict future temperature, air quality and airflow. Models are then used to optimize the desired performance criteria such as energy cost or infection risk. The Performance Advisor application also optimizes space utilization. The application leverages occupancy tracking data and recommends the movement of people to alternate spaces. This approach supports the movement of people and resources from over-utilized spaces to under-utilized spaces, while also suggesting adjustments to HVAC and lighting systems. Validating Performance Advisor application effectiveness To validate the effectiveness of the Performance Advisor application, Johnson Controls collaborated with Martin Z. Bazant, professor of Chemical Engineering and Mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, on the accuracy of infection transmission and air flow models, which are core underlying mathematical models for the Performance Advisor solution. Martin Z. Bazant said, “These models are the first to predict the risk of airborne disease transmission in realistic building simulations, thus allowing HVAC systems to be optimized for public health, as well as comfort and energy efficiency.”

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.”

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