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Importance Of Preventative Maintenance For Commercial Property Owners And Managers
Importance Of Preventative Maintenance For Commercial Property Owners And Managers

We visit the doctor for yearly check-ups and take our vehicles to a mechanic for maintenance and oil changes. The same idea applies to an HVAC system. An HVAC system can run around 2,000 hours per year and is a building system that is constantly expending energy. Without preventative maintenance, it is much more likely that a building owner could be overlooking silent issues that could cause a system to break down long before it should. Preventative maintenance is catching on for a reason. A 2021 survey from The Colling Media Snapshot asked homeowners across the US about preventative maintenance. The survey stated that during the last time they had an HVAC service, 41% of homeowners had a preventative maintenance inspection of their HVAC system. The importance of preventative maintenance is resonating with homeowners and commercial property owners are no exception. Below are three reasons why commercial property owners and managers should keep preventative maintenance top of mind: Tenant Satisfaction Preventative maintenance can affect the satisfaction and the length of stay of residents For commercial property owners, tenant satisfaction is a top priority. Preventative maintenance can affect the satisfaction and the length of stay of residents. The Rental Protection Agency states that repair problems are the third most common complaint in residents nationwide, which includes heating and cooling. Busy season for contractors occurs during the hot summers when outside temperatures are extreme and homeowners are excessively running their units. The typical HVAC contractor carries a backlog of 2-3 weeks’ worth of work during the busy season. Summers without air conditioning can be miserable for residents and detrimental to a building’s reputation and retention if system failures are not fixed quickly enough. Staying on top of preventative maintenance is a proactive strategy to mitigate emergencies. Capital Planning Planning for routine services is important for all HVAC owners and operators as neglecting preventative maintenance can devastate a budget. This is especially true if you are a commercial property owner or manager as overlooking preventive maintenance could cause failure to multiple HVAC systems and exponentially increase the cost of repair and throw a property owner even further out of budget. In addition to reducing last-minute emergencies, keeping the maintenance and replacement history of a building’s HVAC systems is important when it is time to sell a commercial property. How well a system is maintained can affect the sale price of a property, especially as buyers from the coasts expect up-to-date HVAC systems. Data-Driven Decision Making  IoT coupled with sensors and wireless networks provide perspective into both predictive and prescriptive analytics In commercial properties, HVAC systems consume more than 30 percent of the total energy use of a building. The Internet of Things (IoT) coupled with sensors and wireless networks provide perspective into both predictive and prescriptive analytics that can assist in decision making. With this data, building owners and maintenance techs can understand which systems are consuming the most energy, which ones are the most energy-efficient, and can identify when systems are breaking down. These actions provide a runway of time to proactively fix system failures before the cost to repair is greater than the cost of replacement.

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.

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Johnson Controls Celebrates 50 Years Of Innovation Of Commercial HVAC Manufacturing Facility At Norman, Oklahoma
Johnson Controls Celebrates 50 Years Of Innovation Of Commercial HVAC Manufacturing Facility At Norman, Oklahoma

Johnson Controls, the globally renowned company in smart, healthy and sustainable building solutions, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the company’s commercial HVAC manufacturing plant in Norman, Oklahoma, USA. The 900,000 square-feet facility, known as Johnson Controls Rooftop Center of Excellence, serves as the company’s flagship location for industry research, manufacturing and testing of commercial rooftop units. Johnson Controls Rooftop Center of Excellence  In 1971, the facility shipped its first HVAC system, which was a pivotal milestone for the plant and the beginning of its long history of HVAC manufacturing and innovation. It was originally owned by Westinghouse, from 1971-1981 and subsequently purchased by YORK in 1981, which was acquired by Johnson Controls in 2005. “Over the last 50 years, there has been continuous improvement at the Norman facility to modernize and expand the plant, automate the manufacturing process, improve safety and ensure our products are built to the highest quality standards possible for our customers,” said Vicki Davis, Program Management Director, West region, at Johnson Controls. commercial rooftop units switch to refrigerant R-454B The most notable expansion that the Norman facility underwent was in April 2019 Vicki Davis adds, “These improvements will make it possible for us to ensure all commercial rooftop units meet and exceed DOE 2023 energy efficiency requirements, and will utilize the low-GWP refrigerant R-454B by 2025, to minimize our customers’ environmental impact and energy use.” The most notable expansion that the Norman facility underwent was in April 2019. The facility now features nearly 400,000 square-feet of incremental laboratory and manufacturing space, which includes a two-story, 52-foot high testing lab, which is roughly the size of one-and-a-half football fields. Extensive laboratory to conduct on-site development The extensive laboratory allows Johnson Controls to conduct on-site development, regulatory compliance, performance, safety, and reliability testing, including the ability to test a 150-ton rooftop unit, in climates ranging from -30ºF to 130ºF. The 2019 expansion also included renovations to more than 150,000 square-feet of office and meeting space. Since the facility has been operated by Johnson Controls, approximately 650,000 HVAC systems have been manufactured for Johnson Controls, under its brands of YORK, TempMaster, Luxaire, Coleman, Champion and Fraser Johnston brands. Today, approximately 1,100 people are employed at the facility. Pioneer in decarbonization of buildings With a history of making buildings more sustainable for 135 years, Johnson Controls is a worldwide company in the effort to decarbonize buildings. This includes developing solutions to facilitate the transition to electric-based heating and the development of OpenBlue, a suite of connected solutions that help drive building system efficiencies.

Johnson Controls Selects R-454B GWP Refrigerant In Their Ducted HVAC Equipment And Air-Cooled Scroll Chillers
Johnson Controls Selects R-454B GWP Refrigerant In Their Ducted HVAC Equipment And Air-Cooled Scroll Chillers

After extensive research, testing, and evaluation, Johnson Controls, the provider of smart, healthy, and sustainable buildings, has selected R-454B, a lower global warming potential (GWP) refrigerant, to replace R-410A in its ducted residential and commercial unitary products as well as air-cooled scroll chillers. Systems using the new refrigerant will be available for Johnson Controls, YORK®, Luxaire®, Coleman®, Champion®, TempMaster®, Fraser-Johnston®, Guardian®, Evcon™, and Quantech® branded products in North America, as well as specific international markets where codes are in alignment. High-GWP refrigerants This decision was made as the HVAC industry is preparing to phase out high-GWP refrigerants, such as R-410A, which are now being formally addressed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through the recently passed American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act. The AIM Act directs the EPA to phase down U.S. hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) production and use by approximately 85 percent over the next 15 years. Johnson Controls has determined R-454B be the best-in-class replacement refrigerant After evaluating several low-GWP alternatives on a variety of performance and market metrics, such as safety, capacity, efficiency, reliability, availability, and longevity, Johnson Controls has determined R-454B to be the best-in-class replacement refrigerant – a decision echoed by other HVAC manufacturers. R-454B has the lowest EPA SNAP approved GWP for unitary applications of all ASHRAE classified A2L (low-toxicity, mild flammability) refrigerants on the market, coming in at 466. Maximizing environmental benefits This is one-fifth the GWP of R-410A, far lower than the pending 750 GWP limits being proposed and offering the longest-term viability. “Utilizing R-454B was a clear decision, but one that took years of in-depth research, testing, and evaluation,” said Chris Forth, Executive Director of regulatory, codes, and environmental affairs, Ducted Systems, Johnson Controls. “This decision maximizes environmental benefits, which will help to avoid, if not completely avert, a second, near-term transition for the unitary sector. As the AIM Act phase-down schedule progresses, higher-GWP fluids such as R-32, while viable today, have the potential to be eliminated as an option due to their high-GWP values. Johnson Controls will continue to evaluate lower-GWP alternatives for future possibilities.” Improving system efficiency Existing R-410A equipment built prior to that date can be sold and installed indefinitely" In addition to reducing environmental impact, R-454B is more compatible with existing R-410A equipment designs, requires a less or similar refrigerant charge, and can reduce the energy use of HVAC systems and improve system efficiency. The similar operating characteristics with R-410A will make for a smoother transition for distributors, wholesalers, and contractors. “It’s important to note that these pending mandates from the EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) would only apply to the sale of new residential and commercial unitary equipment as well as air-cooled scroll chillers. As the pending regulations stipulate a specific manufacturing cutoff date of January 1, 2025, for residential and light commercial unitary products and January 1, 2024, for air-cooled scroll chillers, existing R-410A equipment built prior to that date can be sold and installed indefinitely,” said Forth. Rule-Making processes “EPA and CARB are scheduled to begin their formal rule-making processes this year, which will determine how long of a servicing period will be granted for R-410A equipment currently in service.” As we approach the refrigerant transition cutoff dates, safety standards and building codes must be updated prior to a widespread market introduction of mildly flammable, low-toxicity A2L refrigerants such as R-454B. Extensive, multi-year research and testing have been conducted by ASHRAE, AHRTI, and others to ensure A2Ls can be safely deployed. Proper training will be critical to ensure the safe use, transportation, and storage of A2L refrigerants. Johnson Controls is committed to ensuring the safe transition to R-454B by providing in-depth training for its contractors and technicians prior to the pending refrigerant transition dates.

Johnson Controls HVAC Manufacturing Plant Powered By 100 Percent Renewable Wind Energy
Johnson Controls HVAC Manufacturing Plant Powered By 100 Percent Renewable Wind Energy

Johnson Controls, a global provider of smart, healthy, and sustainable buildings, is leading the charge on sustainable manufacturing with its continued commitment to green energy. The company’s 1.3 million square-foot HVAC manufacturing plant in Wichita, KS, is now powered by 100 percent wind energy. The plant manufactures residential heating and air conditioning equipment for the YORK, Luxaire, Coleman, and Champion brands. With this switch to renewable energy, the plant’s electricity is offset by zero carbon electricity, which represents 19 percent of Johnson Controls U.S. manufacturing electricity consumption. local wind power “With the Wichita plant now operating on 100 percent local wind power, this is not only a major achievement for Johnson Controls, but also the community. This change has dramatically reduced emissions and the plant’s environmental impact for many years to come,” said Joe Oliveri, Vice President and General Manager, Global Ducted Systems, Johnson Controls. “This is a prime example of Johnson Controls commitment to sustainability and a healthier planet.” Johnson Controls Wichita plant is receiving its wind energy from Evergy’s Soldier Creek Wind Farm, a 300-megawatt wind farm in Nemaha County, Kansas, that was completed in November 2020. The energy cost savings projections from the wind power agreement are expected to be approximately $2.7 million over the life of the 20-year contract - the equivalent of taking 100,000 passenger vehicles off the road. improved capacitor banks Evergy applauds Johnson Controls leadership in sustainability by using local, renewable energy" In addition, Johnson Controls will be installing improved capacitor banks to more efficiently consume the plant’s wind energy. This will lower the plant’s energy consumption by nearly 5 percent, equaling an additional energy savings of $3 million over the next 20 years. “Evergy applauds Johnson Controls leadership in sustainability by using local, renewable energy,” said Jeff Martin, Vice President, Community and Customer Operations, Evergy. “This commitment helps grow wind development in our area, driving investment in local communities and creating green jobs.” renewable electricity usage Since 2017, Johnson Controls reduced its GHG emissions intensity by 26 percent and energy intensity by nearly 6 percent. Building on this history of success, in 2021, Johnson Controls set new ambitious environmental sustainability commitments such as aiming to achieve zero carbon emissions before 2040 as well as reducing the company’s operational emissions by 55 percent and reducing customers’ emissions by 16 percent before 2030. In addition, the company aims to achieve 100 percent renewable electricity usage globally by 2040.

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