Amen Air, Inc. and YORK Factory Direct (YORK) partnered with Building Homes for Heroes during a Welcome Home ceremony in Lutz, FL. for Army Staff Sergeant Mylee Cardenas. Cardenas joined the military following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, citing her devastation over what occurred as her inspiration to serve. US Army veteran While deployed in Afghanistan, Cardenas found a lump on her breast, but did not seek medical attention as she did not want to abandon her all-female unit and t...
Johnson Controls, a global provider of smart, healthy, and sustainable buildings, introduces the new ENVIRCO IsoClean CM Portable HEPA Air Cleaning System from KOCH Filter. IsoClean CM provides the optimum combination of efficient HEPA air cleaning with multiple air changes per hour to continually improve indoor air quality (IAQ) and help minimize the spread of airborne pathogens including COVID-19. IsoClean CM comes equipped with two air filters - a MERV-8 anti-microbial prefilter to capture l...
How grooved solutions have been making contractors and engineers reimagine the way they construct risers in vertical buildings? Enter into the right pub, or head to a city’s museum or town hall, and you can often find a picture of how the surrounding area used to look. An image from twenty years ago and the difference isn’t too vast. Fifty years back and there’s a definite change. A picture from over a hundred years ago and it’s practically unrecognizable. And what&rsquo...
In 2020, the support programs of the Federal Office for Economics and Export Control (BAFA) and the Reconstruction Loan Corporation (KfW), which were increased as part of the climate package, ensured a significant market recovery. At the beginning of 2021, the Federal funding for efficient buildings (BEG) will come into effect, at least in part (individual measures in the grant variant) and will replace the previous programs. Federal funding for efficient buildings (BEG) Most of the funding c...
The heating industry is barring consumers from exercising their rights to choose efficient heating systems, according to consumer advice experts at The Heating Hub. Jo Alsop, Founder of The Heating Hub, said “For too long the UK’s domestic heating industry has been focused on volume boiler sales rather than on providing consumers with good advice about how to choose long-lasting, efficient systems.” highest boiler replacement Rate The United Kingdom has one of the highest bo...
Jobber, the provider of home service management software, announces a partnership with Wisetack to allow home service businesses to offer financing options to their customers. The new consumer financing feature gives homeowners the ability to pay for jobs such as home renovations, landscaping, roof repairs, a new furnace or air conditioner in monthly installments—giving them more flexibility to pursue large projects or deal with urgent and unexpected repairs. While homeowners will have th...
Innovative home appliances, consumer electronics, solar panels and HVAC technologies from LG Electronics are delivering high performance, unparalleled home connectivity, enhanced convenience, and energy efficiency to The New American Home (TNAH) and The New American Remodel (TNAR), the official show homes of the 2021 International Builders' Show virtual experience (IBSx). The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) chose LG as Platinum Partner for the show's two featured "Net Zero" homes in the heart of central Florida. TNAH and TNAR are state-of-the-art showcase houses illustrating how any home can be transformed into a high-performance, high-tech space when integrating today's building and appliance innovations to reduce energy consumption, increase efficiency and enhance daily life. Solar Energy Solutions Key to TNAH's and TNAR's environmental sustainability and aesthetically appealing designs are rooftop installations of high-efficiency solar modules from residential solar energy provider LG Business Solutions USA. LG NeON 2 60-cell solar panels, the company's best-selling modules, will help power both homes to support their Net Zero designs. Designed with aesthetics in mind, these panels use thin, circular-shaped wires that give it a minimalistic appearance, thanks to its award-winning Cello Technology. LG modules are popular in the U.S. for new construction and renewable-energy upgrades to existing homes The implementation of this technology also improves the opportunity for light absorption resulting in an increase of power output. LG modules are among the most popular in the U.S. residential solar market both for new construction and renewable-energy upgrades to existing homes. Across its portfolio, they feature high power outputs and outstanding durability that perform well in a variety of environments and weather conditions. innovative Smart Appliances The LG NeON 2 panels are high-efficiency modules that generate more power from the same amount of sunlight than lower-efficiency modules of the same size while blending in unobtrusively to the look and feel of the home's design. The NeON 2 panels are backed by LG's strong 25-year product and enhanced performance warranty. LG's innovative smart appliances in 2021's TNAH and TNAR deliver added convenience with advanced technologies and come equipped with elevated design and designer-grade finishes. Led by the "LG Ultimate Laundry Rooms," a number of home appliance innovations from the LG Builder division are featured, including: LG STUDIO WashTowerTM (model WSEX200HNA/WSGX201HNA): Featured in TNAH, this industry-first single-unit, vertical laundry solution takes up half the floor space, giving consumers the flexibility to elevate their laundry experience while still tackling ultra-large loads. With an exclusive form factor, the smartly designed LG STUDIO WashTower inspires users to reinvent their laundry room design and laundry routine. smart steam closet The LG STUDIO Styler refreshes, deodorizes, and sanitizes with the gentle power of steam Housed in a sleek package complete with LG STUDIO's exclusive Noble Steel finish, this laundry solution features the unique Center Control panel for the easiest access ever, built-in intelligence, and advanced cleaning to make laundry day easier than ever. The ENERGY STAR certified LG STUDIO WashTower also includes a large capacity washer at 5.0 cubic feet that can tackle king-size bedding and more and a custom dryer rack for added convenience. LG STUDIO Styler Steam Closet (model S5MSB): Also found in TNAH, the LG STUDIO Styler refreshes, deodorizes, and sanitizes with the gentle power of steam - no chemicals needed. The new model features expanded capacity with room for five hangers and an additional pants hanger in the door for perfect creases, delivering unmatched flexibility - no plumbing required. Featuring an LG STUDIO-exclusive finish, Black Tinted Mirror for a full-length reflection, this smart steam closet transitions easily into any décor or space and CERTIFIED asthma & allergy friendly by the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America. AI-powered customer support For the ultimate in convenience, all featured LG laundry products are equipped with smart technology and can be controlled from anywhere with the LG ThinQ mobile app or voice commands via Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant. Users of LG's smart appliances (not including LG Styler) also have the benefit of extra peace of mind with LG's AI-powered customer support innovation, LG Proactive Customer Care. Developed to reimagine the customer experience and help users get the most of their appliances, Proactive Customer Care immediately alerts owners to potential problems before they occur, expedites repairs when needed, and offering useful maintenance tips to keep LG appliances performing their best. The chef's kitchens in both homes feature built-in appliances - advanced pro-style ranges, column refrigerators, freezers, wine refrigerators, and more - from LG's fast-growing luxury brand, Signature Kitchen Suite. Home Entertainment Experience Bringing an immersive home entertainment experience to TNAH and TNAR, the homes feature a wide assortment of 4K Ultra HD TVs from LG Electronics, selected by the NAHB and the home designers as exclusive consumer electronics partner. Highlights include the unparalleled viewing experience of LG OLED 4K TVs, which offer perfect blacks and awesome color for impressive picture quality. Advanced TVs featured in TNAR include the award-winning LG OLED Gallery TV in the main great room Advanced TVs featured in TNAR include the award-winning 65-inch LG OLED Gallery TV in the main great room, a 45-inch LG OLED TV in the cabinet of the kitchen as well as a 55-inch pop-up TV in the second floor lounge and additional 50-inch LCD models in the first floor bedroom, exercise room and first floor office. Featured in TNAH are 77- and 65-inch LG OLED Gallery TVs in the family room adjacent to the kitchen. Air Conditioning Technologies Complemented by LG sound bars, the LG OLED TVs are also featured in the master bedroom and guest bedrooms while other top-of-the-line LG TVs are installed within the cabana. Home offices include LG UltraWide computer monitors. Featuring efficient advanced HVAC systems and controls from LG Air Conditioning Technologies USA, TNAR embeds LG air conditioning solutions that complement the home's unique design characteristics. TNAR boasts two award-winning LG Multi V S 5-ton Heat Recovery outdoor units. They are connected to several LG Vertical Air Handler units, which feature LG inverter technology and offer discrete and flexible installation, effortlessly complementing the high-end design of the home while ensuring unmatched comfort. Seamlessly integrated with LG's own controls solutions, these customizable home comfort solutions are easily controlled via wall-mount or with a smartphone using the LG ThinQ app. Green Building Standard Both homes have achieved National Green Building Standard "Emerald" certification, ENERGY STAR building certification, and Net Zero status from the U.S. Green Building Council. Thousands of building professionals from around the world come to tour the homes and learn how to incorporate countless ideas into their projects. Tours of the homes are offered virtually. One can visit The New American Home's virtual experience as well as The New American Remodel's virtual experience to learn more about the construction process, as well as the final showcase homes. The final version of the homes will be available indefinitely on The Builders' Show’s official website.
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.
Trane Technologies, a global climate innovator, has announced that the company leadership will participate in a virtual fireside chat at the 2021 Citi Global Industrials Conference. They will speak at 11:20 AM ET on Wednesday, February 17, 2021. Global Industrials Conference The live webcast of the 2021 Citi Global Industrials Conference will be accessible on the Trane Technologies official website, under the investor relations section. An archive of the webcast will be available 30 days following the event. Trane Technologies is a globally renowned climate innovator. Through their strategic brands, Trane and Thermo King, and environmentally responsible portfolio of products and services, the organization brings efficient and sustainable climate solutions to buildings, homes, and transportation.
Motili, a globally renowned provider of property and HVAC technology solutions, has announced that effective immediately the company will begin offering Clean Comfort Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) products with every installation and repair job at multi-family, tenant-occupied properties. Clean Comfort IAQ products Motili’s decision to offer Clean Comfort IAQ products is in response to growing industry need. Tenant demand for indoor air quality purification and products has increased significantly in 2020, partly due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Motili is offering pleated air filters, media air cleaners, and air handler purification coils in an effort to improve filtration and purification of the indoor air. Combining UV light and air filters to clean air Poor indoor air quality can cause a variety of harmful effects to a home, its occupants and its contents. “Through a combination of UV light, which can help reduce airborne pollutants, and appropriate air filters, customers may achieve improved indoor air quality,” said Jonathan Cramer, Product Manager, Clean Comfort, adding “We are pleased Motili has joined the effort in supplying these important IAQ products to customers.” Poor indoor air quality can cause a variety of harmful effects to a home, its occupants and its contents. An overly humid indoor environment can lead to mold growth, mildew, and staining. An indoor environment that is too dry can crack drywall and plaster. Enhancing Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) "Indoor air quality is becoming top of mind with building owners and residents alike," said Matthew Sallee, VP Business Development, Motili, adding "Providing clean air in apartments and homes requires a variety of solutions and we're pleased to be working with Clean Comfort and our clients to improve the indoor air environment." Motili brings contractors, operations teams, and the industry’s most advanced property management technology platform together to assess and complete HVAC work requests from start to finish. Nationwide provider of HVAC and hot water services Motili automatically schedules, dispatches, manages and invoices job requests and its predictive analytics improves budgeting accuracy by predicting product life cycle. Motili leverages its nationwide network of over 2,000 contractors and 1,000 distribution centers to provide HVAC and hot water services, across the US, to customers large and small.
Despite the collapse of the most important markets outside Germany, including France, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, in the first half of the COVID-19 plagued year - 2020, the German heating industry achieved robust growth worldwide of at least 3.1% down. Growth in German heating market “The initially high losses in southern Europe and the United Kingdom were partially offset by a race to catch up in the second half of 2020, at least in Italy, France, and the UK, so that the sales level here was slightly below 2019,” said Uwe Glock, President of the BDH (Federation of German Heating Industry). Glock adds, “The fact that we are actually in the black is thanks to the dynamic growth in Germany with a good 13%. The Polish heating market also developed similarly in 2020.” Federal climate package for buildings Glock describes the federal government's climate package as a complete success for climate protection in buildings Glock describes the federal government's climate package as a complete success for climate protection in buildings. He adds, “The top runners of 2020, the heat pump and wood heating, benefited from this, with high growth rates due to the subsidies.” The association also focuses on the disproportionately high share of investments in condensing technology coupled with solar thermal energy. This renaissance of solar thermal energy can also be traced back to the ‘Heating with renewable energies’ funding program that has been running since the beginning of 2020. Dynamic growth in heating with renewable energies “The success of the climate package proves that the political ideas behind the grand coalition are right and with the dynamic growth in heating with renewable energies, the ambitious CO2 reduction targets of the Green Deal are within reach,” said Andreas Lücke, General Manager of the BDH (Federation of German Heating Industry). Andreas adds, “The German heating industry is Green Deal ready and already offers marketable solutions for achieving climate targets. What is now needed is continuity with the currently favorable framework conditions for investors in high efficiency and renewable energies.”
Plumbing, heating and green energy company, Heatforce (Heatforce Wales Ltd) has joined the Furniture & Home Improvement Ombudsman (FHIO), demonstrating their continuous dedication to promoting fair trade and protecting consumer’s rights. Ombudsman scheme The independent, not-for profit, and government approved Ombudsman scheme has offered a range of services to its members and their customers for more than a quarter of a century, including independent alternative dispute resolution, training, and advice. The Ombudsman helps to provide consumers with additional peace of mind and supports businesses and their customers in finding solutions when disputes occur, without the need for costly and lengthy litigation. Gas-fitting, electrical wiring and plumbing expert South Wales-based Heatforce was set up 40 years ago, over which period a team of specialists has been built and around 100 apprentices have been trained in the trades of gas-fitting, electrical wiring and plumbing services. It has contracts with local authorities, housing associations, charities, and utility companies to provide plumbing, heating, and renewable services. The company installs boiler, bathrooms and services central heating boilers and supplies and installs fires and fireplaces, right across the United Kingdom. Joined FHIO as commitment to raise standards By joining the FHIO, a business demonstrates a commitment to raising standards by signing up to a Code of Practice By joining the Furniture & Home Improvement Ombudsman (FHIO), a business demonstrates a commitment to raising standards by signing up to a Code of Practice and promoting consumer confidence in the sector in which they operate, so as to add another layer of protection for their customers. In addition, membership underlines industry best practice and an undertaking to manage complaints formally and at a level that is higher than the law prescribes. Access is provided to an established City & Guilds learning and development program, and a dedicated Ombudsman team who have expertise in dispute resolution and consumer law. Raising complaint with the Ombudsman Equally, consumers benefit as they will be able to raise a complaint with the Ombudsman for free, if they are unable to resolve the complaint through existing channels or internal procedures. Kevin Grix, CEO and Chief Ombudsman at Furniture and Home Improvement Ombudsman said, “Knowing that an organization subscribes to an Ombudsman demonstrates responsible business practice and provides reassurance to consumers and businesses alike. Hence, we would like to extend a warm welcome to new members Heatforce, as by joining our independent, government approved scheme, proves an ongoing commitment to protecting consumers’ rights and promoting fair trade.” Enhancing customer service Paul Maddocks, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Heatforce said, “We are delighted to join the FHIO and look forward to the additional training and support that comes with membership. I am also pleased that customers will have extra peace-of-mind when it comes to choosing Heatforce, knowing that our work will be 100% satisfactory every single time.”
Air conditioning has become a huge part of our lives whether we know it or not. Most offices have them so that members of staff can enjoy a regulated working environment without having to shiver or overheat. This often makes the office a nice place to work in and helps staff to stay productive throughout the day, regardless of what is going on with the weather. Commercial air conditioning is something that we often take for granted because we barely realize that it’s there. The only time that we notice it is when it breaks down or it doesn’t function as efficiently as we want it to. Why is it important to regularly maintain an HVAC unit? When an AC unit isn’t looked after in the right way, there can be a number of things that can either go wrong Air conditioning maintenance is something that so many people overlook. This can be for a whole host of reasons, including whether it’s that they are unaware that it needs regular maintenance or they think it’s too costly to take on. These are often the most common reasons that air conditioning units aren’t looked after properly. When an air conditioner unit isn’t looked after in the right way, there can be a number of things that can either go wrong and disable air conditioning or just hinder its ability to do its job. Temperatures With a well looked after, fully functioning commercial air conditioner, you’ll find that the temperatures are very accurate and work as intended. This means that everything within your unit is in top condition and working well. For example, on a hot day, when you set your thermostat to a low temperature, you’ll get exactly that. Over time you may find that your air conditioning starts to struggle a little. This can be in a few different forms. You may detect that it takes a lot longer for your air conditioning to get up or down to the right temperature. This can be for a whole host of reasons and so keeping it regularly maintained will help to reduce this risk. Cost-effective As mentioned, a poorly maintained air conditioning unit will likely mean that it takes longer to get to the right temperatures or it may not be efficient enough to even reach the temperature you’re after. With that in mind, it can start to cost a lot more to run your HVAC system in this state. Due to the fact that it might take longer to reach your preferred temperature, you could end up paying more as time goes on. If you don’t rectify this problem, you may end up with an air conditioning unit that no longer works enough to be worth running. This will have adverse effects on the working environment and your members of staff. Safety of staff Depending on where you are in the world, heatstroke is also a very dangerous problem One of the biggest concerns for a business owner, the HR department and the individuals themselves, is that the office needs to be suitable to work in. From a health and safety standpoint, employees need to be safe and protected. Often air conditioning maintenance falls under this and is a necessity. Depending on where you are in the world, heatstroke is also a very dangerous problem. Having an inefficient air conditioning unit that can’t keep up with the rising temperatures could potentially put your employees at risk! The same also goes for those in more densely populated cities like London, New York City and even France. The air quality in and around these cities can be awful and so having air conditioning to clean and filter the air before it arrives in your office can make a big difference. Preventative maintenance Preventative maintenance is possibly one of the most important parts of owning any sort of machinery. Whether we’re talking about a car or air conditioning, preventative maintenance is a must. Preventative maintenance is just the act of regular maintenance throughout the lifetime of a product. It often involves changing of parts or fluids, even if they don’t need it in that instant. For example, if you take your car for a service and the engine oil is still sort of okay but will need replacing in 2 months’ time, would you just leave it or get it changed there and then? This type of preventative maintenance is designed to make sure that everything is in top condition and works perfectly all of the time. The biggest problem we face is that people think preventative maintenance isn’t necessary and while, yes your AC system will run without it, it’s likely to cost you so much more in the long run and could end up upsetting your staff too with a drop in temperatures. Employee satisfaction Commercial air conditioning is still a huge part of employee satisfaction Although at the time of writing this, many people are working from home, commercial air conditioning is still a huge part of employee satisfaction. Having an operating office, warehouse, school or indeed home, with air conditioning can help to keep people happy throughout the year. As a business owner, HR or general manager, it’s part of your job to keep employees happy and working in an optimal environment. Without this, employees may start to get fed up with attending an office that’s way too hot to work in. Importance of a regular maintenance plan A regular maintenance plan is going to help you keep your air conditioning system in the best state possible. You‘ll be able to detect faults and malfunctions before they have a direct impact on your commercial air conditioning system and prevent any further damage. Through the utilization of a proper plan, you should find that your system has a longer lifespan than those that don’t and should work more efficiently saving you time, money and the hassle of a broken system. Keeping your staff members happy is also a must and so dedicating some of your budget to air conditioning maintenance might just help you to keep morale and employee satisfaction on the right level.
For designers, installers and operators of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems, energy efficiency is rightly the number one selection criteria. This applies particularly to fan motors. However, while EC fans - the popular solution that integrates a fan, motor and speed control – are regarded as something of a de-facto guarantee for efficiency, that is not always the case. When evaluating the efficiency of your fan, motor and speed control combination it is vital to consider the ‘wire to air’ efficiency. Therefore, the total effect of both electrical and mechanical performance must be taken into account. Some EC fans have the motor mounted inside the fan wheel which disrupts the air flow. The result is decreased aerodynamic efficiency, and that impacts the overall efficiency of the fan unit. In contrast, a fan ‘package’ that comprises a high efficiency motor operating in combination with a variable frequency drive (VFD) that matches the motor speed with the required load could offer superior overall efficiency. Part-load efficiency is crucial In most cases, EC fans are fitted with brushless DC motors, known also as permanent magnet (PM) motors. When operating at full speed they can offer efficiency better than the IE4 standard. That sounds good until you consider that their motor efficiency can drop rapidly at part loads. In fact, they might not even deliver IE3 efficiency at speeds below 60 percent. This part-load efficiency is crucial since the majority of HVAC installations operate at less than 80 percent speed for 99 percent of the time. A more cost-effective, and energy-efficient, alternative can be to reduce the dimensions of the mechanical components such as air handling units (AHUs), ducting and auxiliary equipment to match the most common operating conditions. This approach must make provision to over-speed the fan motors to handle the 1 percent peak requirement, accepting that for this brief period there will be slightly lower efficiency and increased audible noise. EC fans cannot be over-speeded. Yet with VFDs it could, for example, be possible to over-speed a motor by up to 15 percent of its nominal speed. ABB EC Titanium™ motors are a highly efficient integrated motor drive solution for HVAC applications Power factor makes an important difference Harmonic currents are an additional energy efficiency consideration as they lower the total true power factor (PF) of the network by increasing the total line current. This extra current is not active current, but reactive current that results in higher system losses. Harmonics can result in added infrastructure costs due to the need to over-size equipment such as transformers, cables and fuses. Electricity bills might be increased while some utilities also impose penalties on their commercial customers with a low power factor. When evaluating the efficiency of your fan, motor and speed control combination it is vital to consider the ‘wire to air’ efficiency A traditional EC motor might have a power factor of around 0.78, drawing some 25 to 40 percent more current from the network than its actual load. That is why many EC fan systems require the installation of costly, centralized harmonic mitigation equipment. Instead, a fan package approach enables the use of a state-of-the-art VFD with active front end (AFE) technology that eliminates harmonics at source. The benefit is a power factor of 1, so that the motor draws only the current it actually needs. What happens when motors need replacing? There is also a sustainability issue regarding the ease of servicing and replacement of the fan motors. Should an EC fan fail it is not serviceable and the complete unit will need replacing, with implications for both costs and the lead time to get a suitable replacement. With a separate drive, motor and fan set up based on standard equipment, if the VFD fails it can be replaced the same day, with no need to go inside the AHU. If the motor fails it can also be replaced the same day.
As a Managing Director of a company that provides temperature and humidity solutions to predominantly the warehousing and industrial sectors, I thought I would share my dilemma that I’m sure other business owners and managers also face. I don’t pretend to know the answers, but thought it might be worth sharing some of the considerations that I’m facing in whether to reshape, recruit and build or hunker down until the World, Europe and the UK offers some sort or predictability. I promise to not refer to ‘new normal’, masks or social distancing as this is extensively covered elsewhere. Context Our business has seen steady growth in the past 5 years, as a result of our efforts to create and retain relationships with customers who value our offer. Our focus has always been to offer solutions to large scale complex HVAC projects. We invest heavily in intellectual talent sponsoring PhD and MSc students, to keep us on our toes and develop leading edge solutions. We also feed off each other and our network of equally talented suppliers. My dilemma as Managing Director is do I continue our ambitious Research & Development (R&D), IP and Business Development or throttle back and take a cautionary approach until the economy offers a more certain platform? ‘Fortune favors the brave’ they say, but when you have a good business and employees look to business managers to ensure their livelihoods, how brave is brave? The Dilemma Immediate transactional or contractor resources are easy to obtain with the right screening and due diligence Immediate transactional or contractor resources are relatively easy to obtain with the right screening and due diligence, but for more developmental strategic roles, do you recruit in an emerging post pandemic, catastrophic employment forecast, that to in a mid/post Brexit world? From my personal perspective, it boils down to attitude, communication, enthusiasm and buy-in from everyone in the company. Nothing new there, but it feels that the stakes are higher so confidence is key. Do we or don’t we? Inaction is the riskiest response to the uncertainties of an economic crisis. Rash or scattershot action can be nearly as damaging. Rising anxiety (How much worse are things likely to get? and for how long is this going to last?) and the growing pressure to do something often produces a variety of moves that target the wrong problem or overshoot the right one. Within the world of HVAC, changes to legislation, environmental considerations, technological changes and research and development might be slowed or influenced, but won’t stop as a consequence of the immediate economy, which is a good thing. Recruiting on a need basis Many companies recruit when needed, to fill a vacant position or when a large project demands more manpower than the current headcount supports. This approach is obvious and addresses immediate transactional and resource needs. Using headcount as a KPI for growth, at a glimpse may illustrate positivity, but may be signaling a stop gap and may not be a true indicator of strategic growth. Of all the things I have observed over the last 5 months, reading the news, talking to colleagues and peers, a few things have stuck out for me, such as how companies have treated their employees, customers and suppliers, how creative and flexible some big organizations have been in responding to market changes and demands and how, despite uncertainty, their core business skills, intelligence and ability enabled them to prosper in a new and unforeseen environment. Finally, how companies will be remembered post crisis. Robust business planning The ability to respond quickly to market changes relies on creativity and attitude My belief is that those companies that have and continue to float to the top had the key ingredients of a successful business, enabled by capable enthusiastic talent that were given the opportunity to shine. These people weren’t hired to fill a stop gap, but rather these people were hired as part of a robust business plan. So, ‘do we or don’t we?’ Our philosophy at Jet Environmental Systems is to have a solid platform, identify future markets, trends and technologies and hire the absolute best people that we can to get us there. Recruitment in our business is a process that supports our strategic development and so for us our answer is yes, have confidence and continue to invest in the best talent. The ability to respond quickly to market changes relies on creativity and attitude with support from equally enthusiastic management who create the opportunity for individuals who present this talent to grow. Conclusion I hope the thought process I’ve shared has been useful, for me it has been a checkpoint in whether our choice of investment in people is right, not just now but in all situations. For me, it’s a resounding yes! I think we will create opportunities by having vision and giving people opportunity.
During the coronavirus pandemic, UV-C systems have surged from a niche market to mass production capable of meeting historic demand levels. As a result, UV lamp manufacturers, as well as their component providers (e.g., glass suppliers), have struggled to meet the growing demand. Because of UV-C’s historic proven effectiveness, interest in and orders for UV disinfection equipment have increased exponentially during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, in July, lighting manufacturer Signify (previously Philips Lighting), reported increasing “UV-C light source production capacity by a factor of eight.” The pandemic has settled in the affirmative the question of whether 254 nm germicidal wavelength can inactivate the genetic material in the SARS-CoV-2 virus (that causes COVID-19). acute respiratory syndrome Moreover, when aerosolized, the COVID-19-causing virus is likely to be more susceptible to UV-C damage than other coronaviruses such as SARS-CoV-1 (that led to the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome) or MERS-CoV (that caused the 2012 Middle East respiratory syndrome). Delivering doses of SARS-CoV-2 virus vaccine is one of the greatest logistical challenges ever undertaken The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and ASHRAE [American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers] have recommended UV-C as a technology that can “reduce the risk of dissemination of infectious aerosols in buildings and transportation environments.” The need for the technology continues. Delivering billions of doses of the SARS-CoV-2 virus vaccine is one of the greatest logistical challenges ever undertaken. airstream disinfection As of this writing, experts do not agree on the number of vaccinated individuals necessary to outright extinguish the COVID-19 pandemic. “As there is no clear end in sight, there is no foreseeable decline in the demand for the germ-killing and airstream disinfection benefits offered by UV-C,” says Daniel Jones, President, UV Resources, a pioneering company in ultraviolet-C (UV-C) equipment. Specifiers and HVAC contractors should not be deterred from recommending and specifying the proven benefits of UV-C disinfection systems, Jones contends, as the industry is rapidly adapting to what might likely be the “new normal” level of demand. “In other words, we expect commercial and residential demand for UV solutions to remain high due to their ability to efficiently inactivate the SARS-CoV-2 virus,” he says. pharmaceutical processing plants The company reports that disease-defeating UV-C surface and airstream technologies are especially popular with facility managers servicing hospitals and nursing homes, commercial offices, as well as food and pharmaceutical processing plants. Upper-room UV-C fixtures have been a "go-to" technology in the battle against the spread of COVID-19, among restaurants, school and university classrooms, airport screening areas, correctional facilities and community shelters. COVID-19 pandemic has ingrained the need for ongoing infection mitigation systems" Even after the pandemic subsides, demand for UV solutions will continue to remain high as perception of the technology has shifted to a health and safety need, says Jones. “Although the current pace of demand for germicidal UV-C solutions may decrease, the COVID-19 pandemic has forever raised awareness and ingrained the need for ongoing infection mitigation systems,” he comments. indoor air quality Despite nearly eight decades of research and thousands of applications in hospital emergency and operating rooms, urgent-care centers, universities, and first-responder locations, UV-C has previously not been widely leveraged. During the 1990s and 2000s, drug-resistant “superbugs” and hospital-acquired infections renewed interest in UV-C, known to kill virtually any microorganism, including antibiotic-resistant germs. The current pandemic, however, has laid bare the societal health outcomes offered by the proven germ-killing technology. While antibacterial UV-C applications have improved indoor air quality for decades, it was the pandemic that took the technology’s use in the eyes of building managers from energy savings to infection mitigation. air conveyance systems HVAC systems operate better, longer and users are happier when UV-C is installed in air conveyance systems Now, the market is starting to view UV-C along the same lines as air filtration - providing a cleaner, healthier environment which will result in a decrease in absenteeism. Additionally, HVAC systems operate better, longer and users are happier when UV-C is installed in air conveyance systems. Higher demand has produced supply challenges for these products. How can HVAC engineers best navigate equipment/parts supply shortages? Facility engineers and HVAC contractors would be well advised to place orders as early as possible and to accept partial-order shipments, says Jones. This will ensure that HVAC firms have the components/fixtures in-house (or even installed) once the lamps finally arrive. Jones advises specifying engineers who are unfamiliar with UV-C and who are conducting their due diligence should investigate the following points when choosing a supplier: Market Longevity - There are only a handful of companies that have been selling UV-C for HVAC/R for years. EPA Registration - Examine a device manufacturer’s registration with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a pesticide device-producing establishment. Industry Credentials - Make sure products meet applicable safety standards and certifications (such as UL/CUL and CSA). Industry Participation - Look for manufacturers that routinely author technical articles, actively serve on regulatory and standards committees, and enjoy a solid industry reputation. surface disinfection system Selection of an air or surface disinfection system is based entirely on the application. UV Resources furnishes the following chart that summarizes the selection factors:
Artificial intelligence (AI) provides a tool to deliver significant savings and dramatically reduce carbon emissions, enabling a self-operating building. Because of AI’s ability to be proactive in buildings, rather than reactive, a 25% reduction in total energy costs is possible, along with a 20-40% decrease in carbon footprint. "Our mission is to fight climate change by bringing innovation and cutting-edge artificial intelligence to the built environment, making buildings smarter and greener," said Jean-Simon Venne, Co-Founder and CTO of BrainBox AI. BrainBox AI BrainBox AI is at the forefront of a new era in building automation and a leader in the green building transformation. Located in Montreal, Canada, BrainBox AI offers a technology that combines deep learning, cloud-based computing and autonomous decision-making to support a 24/7 self-operating building. BrainBox AI’s solution enables the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) system in a building to operate autonomously, in real-time. “Some 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions originate from buildings, and HVAC systems are responsible for over 50% of those emissions. BrainBox AI is comprised of experts in the fields of artificial intelligence (AI), data science, real estate, HVAC and energy efficiency, all working to create a better future,” said Jean-Simon Venne. AI technology thrives in logical environments AI technology thrives in logical environments, and HVAC systems are extremely logical" Venne adds, “AI is very stable and super predictive. AI technology thrives in logical environments, and HVAC systems are extremely logical. A fan, for example, will continuously have the same behavior, over and over again.” Due to HVAC’s predictability, AI can study a building and learn how it operates, identify each potential improvement opportunity, and then act on them. AI is also able to monitor a multitude of data points at once, so it’s more reliable in optimizing HVAC systems in real-time than humans alone. Communicating with HVAC controls Communicating with HVAC controls is a requirement of applying AI to the HVAC market. There are over 700 control languages currently being used for HVAC control. Looking at the big picture, about 20 of those 700 languages make up 80% of the market. BrainBox AI’s system focuses on the 20 or so dominant languages. Part of their minimum requirements for system integration is that the HVAC system must speak one of those 20 languages. Autonomous real-time cloud connection BrainBox AI also recently launched a driver for the Niagara Framework, the first AI application to use an autonomous real-time cloud connection to the platform, which is the leading open platform for the building automation market. Their Niagara driver allows the platform to connect to a building’s management system (BMS) through the cloud, thus decreasing the connection time to less than 30 minutes. “If you’re going to use AI, you really need to use the cloud, in order to use the proper computing power,” said Venne, adding "Using a cloud system makes it easier to store and share information. For example, if you’re a building owner, the cloud system can give the building owner visibility into all the data being collected and a holistic view into what’s happening in their buildings.” Autonomous AI HVAC system BrainBox AI's customer AMP Capital is now the first organization to install an autonomous AI HVAC system" Venne further stated, “BrainBox AI's customer AMP Capital is now the first organization in the world to install an autonomous AI HVAC system across its managed real estate portfolio. But how does an automated system adapt to the changing and possibly competing comfort preferences inside a building? It's an excellent question.” The AI solution is all about predictive behaviors, but that sometimes requires compromise. There will always have be someone who prefers to work in 60 degrees and someone else who prefers to work in 80 degrees. "Because BrainBox AI collects thousands of real-time data points such as outside temperature, sun/cloud positioning, fan speed, duct pressure, heater status, humidity levels, occupant density and more, we’re able to report a 60% improvement in occupant comfort thanks to an improved respecting of set points," adds Venne. Airborne Virus Mitigation Program In the age of a global pandemic, airborne viruses, such as COVID-19’s SARS-CoV-2, can be re-circulated non-deliberately throughout building HVAC systems, creating a liability to building owners and operators. To help proactively mitigate the potential spread of pathogens and improve air quality in buildings, BrainBox AI provides commercial buildings access to its Airborne Virus Mitigation Program (AVMP). Through AVMP, BrainBox AI instructs the HVAC system to operate as instructed to minimize the spread of contaminants and improve air quality, based on CDC and ASHRAE guidelines. BrainBox AI’s system focuses on the 20 or so dominant languages Supporting buildings with partial HVAC system shutdown Additionally, many commercial buildings are significantly less occupied than usual during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. BrainBox AI supports these buildings by proceeding with a complete or partial shutdown of their HVAC system(s). BrainBox AI’s cloud-based technology optimally instructs the networked HVAC system to decrease its operations to a minimum, enabling up to 30% in energy cost savings. BrainBox AI's go-to-market strategy is comprised of three different parts. First, the company has its own sales force, which is deployed mainly in North America, but also in APAC and EMEA, where they can sell directly to building owners and operators. The company also uses reseller partners for commercialization, which are usually system integrators or local integrators. These partners are typically already selling controls to different building owners and operators in regional markets. Now, they have the opportunity to provide their clients with BrainBox AI. They are also using this strategy globally. Partnerships with OEMs BrainBox AI is developing partnerships with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) Lastly, BrainBox AI is developing partnerships with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to help support their individual strategies of implementing artificial intelligence into their existing HVAC and controls products. “We’re just now starting to really see the impact that automating building HVAC systems can have,” said Venne, adding “Buildings have been non-adaptive for such a long time, but now with building automation, we’re really starting to change that. Right now, AI thrives on predictability, based on the thousands of data sets it’s able to collect. That being said, the weather keeps changing outside, with global warming continuously on the rise; building mechanics should react and adapt to that.” AI building blocks Venne further stated, “Humans are also not robots, they gather in different areas in the building and don’t always have the same patterns. It's a challenge to enable and train AI to be more adaptive in that sense. AI building blocks eventually will aggregate together and give more intelligent insights, ultimately creating a more intelligent city and eventually a much more intelligent world that can be operated by AI, under the watchful eye of humans.” “A misconception is that this technology will ‘steal’ jobs from humans and replace them,” stated Venne, adding “Naturally, that makes people a bit scared. Right now, every building has only a few people operating the building system. They are so frequently called to change an office’s thermostat that utilizing AI actually makes their job easier.” Controlling and optimizing building HVAC systems We’re reaching a very interesting time in terms of AI and technology in general" He adds, “By allowing BrainBox AI to control and optimize the HVAC systems in buildings, the building operators are able to spend more time running the building, rather than flipping switches and changing temperatures. We’re reaching a very interesting time in terms of AI and technology in general." Venne further stated, “All my life I was given limitations, hearing 'no, we can’t do this, the computers can’t handle this, etc.’ But right now we’re reaching the point where we’re not limited by our technology capabilities, we are only limited by our imagination." He concludes, “It’s just a matter of breaking that imagination wall to find a way to create even more value with the existing technology today. Things are accelerating and we’re going to need to move forward. We shouldn’t be scared, but rather embrace it and accelerate forward.”
Millennials have been shaped by their experiences growing up with technology and by their heightened awareness of the environment. These facets of a consumer market dominated by millennials will guide the future of the HVAC market over the next several years. Each generation reshapes markets in their own image. In the case of millennials, trends and behaviors are influencing how companies design new solutions, including those in the world of HVAC. Sustainable solutions and personalized experiences Millennials place a premium on sustainable solutions that reduce their environmental impact Millennials place a premium on sustainable solutions that reduce their environmental impact. Millennials also want more personalized and convenient experiences, and they value enhanced customer service support. New systems designed with a personalized and ecological mindset are amplifying efficiency and convenience and giving unprecedented control to create a truly connected home for technophilic millennials. Future HVAC products to cater to millennials The challenges of catering to millennials is one of the trends LG Electronics has listed among those likely to impact the HVAC industry in the months and years ahead. The trends are directly guiding LG’s product mix, including WiFi-enabled indoor units and LG’s Smart ThinQ application, which put the ability to control a home’s comfort system at the consumer’s fingertips. Here are some other trends to watch, listed by LG Electronics, when looking ahead to 2021 and beyond: Greener solutions on the horizon: Beyond appealing to millennial sensitivities, green solutions have a long list of their own advantages. Industry providers are responding by creating more sustainable and efficient products to enable customers to reduce their carbon footprints. LG Inverter air conditioning systems are designed to minimize efficiency losses, provide sustainable energy savings and contribute to lower lifecycle costs. More efficiency and reduced costs: Geothermal heat pumps have quickly proven themselves to be an alternative energy source, offering both warming and cooling capabilities. They are a highly effective and renewable energy source that can transfer heat from the ground to cool and heat buildings. Minimizing greenhouse gas emissions: Connecting HVAC to the electrical grid highlights the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Air-to-water heat pumps and other solutions can generate cooling and heating from one unit, thus furthering the transition from natural gas, fuel oil or coal. Fulfilling the need for new employees: The next generation of HVAC engineers and technicians requires training programs. LG Air Conditioning Academies provide training and skills programs around the world to empower the new generation of HVAC professionals. The impact of COVID-19: The pandemic has created a need for greater safety precautions within the HVAC industry. Remote working trends and additional precautions will likely continue to impact the industry even post-pandemic. LG HVAC systems are evolving to better aid the road to recovery and to prepare for the new normal with optimal solutions for the ever-changing challenges.
Panasonic Corporation has announced, in collaboration with Grab Holdings Inc. (Grab), the international superapp creator in Southeast Asia, to further raise GrabCar Premium standards by providing cleaner and more comfortable traveling experience for GrabCar Premium passengers, using nanoe X. The initiative will see 5,500 GrabCar Premium vehicles in five cities across four countries, including Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi (Vietnam), and Jakarta (Indonesia), to be equipped with nanoe X generators, which will be available from the middle of January 2021. Panasonic air quality solutions In recent years, interest in air quality has been increasing worldwide. Under the slogan of ‘Quality Air for Life’ mainly in Southeast Asia, Panasonic is providing air quality solutions that control temperature, humidity, ventilation, and airflow to deliver high-quality air environments tailored to homes, stores, offices, etc. At the core of these solutions is Panasonic’s proprietary nanoe clean technology. nanoe X nanoe X is a nanosized particulate ion produced by applying a high voltage to water in the air and contains hydroxyl radicals nanoe X is a nanosized particulate ion produced by applying a high voltage to water in the air and contains hydroxyl radicals (highly reactive components) that easily act on various substances. The production of these hydroxyl radicals has been increased tenfold, compared to conventional products. nanoe X is used in home appliances such as air purifiers, air conditioners, washing machines, and refrigerators, as well as in automobiles, trains, and commercial air conditioning equipment because of its various effects such as deodorization, suppression of bacteria and allergens. nanoe X generator The nanoe X generator, which will be installed in GrabCar Premium vehicles, is powered by a USB port and is compact enough to fit in a car cup-holder, making it easy to generate nanoe X to clean the air inside the car. Panasonic will continue to pursue the realization of ‘Quality Air for Life’ in various areas of everyday lives and society, including home appliances, automotive, and housing-related fields, to deliver a healthy lifestyle.
Florida-based tanker transportation and fleet management company, Oakley Transport is no stranger to success. Its roots date back to 1961, starting out as an independent citrus fruit broker, before entering into the harvest and hauling sector of the citrus industry. Specialized tanker transport In 1986, Oakley Transport diversified into the transport of liquid food grade products and quickly became one of the top transporters in specialized tanker transportation services. And just four years ago, the company expanded once again, however, this time into the reefer segment. “With a request from key partners, we entered the refrigerated side of business in late 2016 to move many of the finished goods that came from the tanker division. It was a natural way to further diversify and a great growth opportunity,” said Thomas E. Oakley of Oakley Transport. It allowed us an opportunity to introduce the Thermo King brand into our fleet" Tom adds, “It also allowed us an opportunity to introduce the Thermo King brand into our fleet, an opportunity that continues to expand.” ISO 9001 and ISO 22000 certification Those opportunities are no accident. According to Thomas E. Oakley, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Oakley Transport, “The company has always aligned its vision with core values – and that has provided competitive advantages. Indeed Oakley Transport’s reputation for reliable service, dependable drivers, and industry leadership as early adopters of the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act and ELDs, has earned the organization certification in ISO 9001 and ISO 22000 standards, positioning them well throughout the industry.” TriPac Evolution auxiliary power units Reliability of equipment is paramount for Oakley Transport as it ensures timely deliveries, offers performance efficiencies and contributes to driver retention rates. Oakley was pleased with the quality its first Thermo King reefers provided so in 2019, decided to give the TriPac Evolution auxiliary power unit (APU) a try as well. The company conducted a pilot test of Thermo King’s TriPac Evolution APUs with the support of Thermo King of the Southeast (TKSE), the local Thermo King dealership. Reduced fuel consumption and emissions “We were looking to improve truck idle times and keep them in the single digits – nine percent or less,” said Pete Nativo, Vice President of fleet maintenance for Oakley Transport, adding “While APUs reduce fuel consumption, emissions and noise levels, they also keep the drivers comfortable – by providing heat and power for amenities that make road life a little more like home life.” Feedback from our drivers has been good – they like the TriPac’s easy-to-use controls" Pete Nativo adds, “Feedback from our drivers has been good – they like the TriPac’s easy-to-use controls. They also believe it starts easier. Most importantly, the TriPac has been very reliable. TKSE is a great local partner and if something does go wrong out on the road, Thermo King’s expansive dealer network allows for easy serviceability for our long-haul drivers.” He further states, “Bottom line is that Thermo King of the Southeast and Thermo King have proven to be trusting and reliable partners who offer consistent, quality service that aligns with our own standards.” Reliability of Tripac Evolution APUs The pilot of five TriPac Evolution auxiliary power units (APUs) in 2019 led to an order of approximately 200 more in 2020, demonstrating Oakley’s commitment to driver comfort and ultimately, retention. “We were really excited to work with Oakley Transport on the TriPac pilot as it allowed us the opportunity to demonstrate the performance and reliability of our APU with actual documentation on idling time, fuel consumption and more,” said Rob Race, Senior Account Executive at Thermo King of the Southeast (TKSE).
Karl Reeves, CEO of Consolidated Elevator Industries announced that his company has taken their initial delivery of Delos air filtration systems. Although one may only be in the cab for a few seconds, protecting commercial elevator passengers is one of the top priorities in the nationwide effort to keep buildings safe in the era of COVID-19. That's why at Consolidated Elevator, they’ve identified air filtration as one of the first and most important ways to ensure the confined space of an Elevator cab meets high standards of health and safety. Delos air filtration solutions To accomplish this, they have partnered with wellness experts at Delos to provide top-of-the-line air filtration options for the building owners of New York City. The Delos air filtration solutions installed by Consolidated Elevator feature High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filtration to help improve the quality of the air in the elevator cab. The Delos solution helps reduce air particles that may carry bacteria and viruses by targeting allergens, toxins, pathogens, pollen and other pollutants in the air. Even with air purification in place, face coverings should also be required at all times while in, and waiting for, the elevator. Building managers should ensure that there is signage stating this policy that is visible from a distance. This aligns with CDC recommendations on the use of cloth face coverings "in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain" to help slow the spread of the virus.
Boiler manufacturers Baxi Heating and Worcester Bosch have installed hydrogen burning boilers at ‘HyStreet’, in specially built demonstration houses at DNV GL’s specialist test site at Spadeadam in Northumberland, United Kingdom. The site has been used to complete over 200 tests, researching and proving the safety of converting homes and gas networks to hydrogen. The project is part of H21, a Network Innovation Competition project sponsored by Ofgem. Northern Gas Networks is leading the project with partners Cadent, Scottish Gas Networks, Wales & West Utilities, National Grid, DNV GL and the Health and Safety Executive’s science division. Combi boilers installed H21 is demonstrating how existing natural gas networks can be re-purposed to safely carry 100% hydrogen H21 is demonstrating how existing natural gas networks can be re-purposed to safely carry 100% hydrogen. For the first demonstration, both Worcester Bosch and Baxi Heating have installed combi boilers into the houses on HyStreet. The boilers have been developed as part of the UK Government-funded Hy4Heat program, which is also supporting the development of hydrogen-ready gas cookers, fires and gas meters. As around 85% of UK homes currently rely on natural gas for heating and hot water supply, re-purposing the natural gas grid for use with hydrogen would mean a low disruption option for householders to decarbonize their heating, without the need for extensive changes to their existing system. Tackling carbon emissions due to home heating Tackling carbon emissions resulting from home heating is utterly essential and one of the most difficult challenges in achieving net-zero emissions, given the need to make adaptations in almost every home. A growing library of studies and reports conclude that all viable scenarios for the UK to hit net-zero include hydrogen as a vital component. That is why Government and industry are working on various projects across the United Kingdom. Wide deployment of hydrogen boilers Tim Harwood, Northern Gas Networks’ Project Director for H21, said “Seeing the boilers in situ at Spadeadam is an exciting step in the journey to realizing our goal of a gas network transporting 100% hydrogen to customers. The hydrogen boiler looks and feels just like the natural gas version we all have today and is just as user-friendly, showing that a transition could cause minimal disruption to customers.” Dan Allason, Head of Research and Innovation, at DNV GL’s Spadeadam Research and Testing, said “Eight out of ten homes in the UK use a gas boiler to heat their homes and provide hot water and replacing all gas boilers with electric alternatives could be extremely costly. Both of the boiler manufacturers have developed options with their hydrogen ready prototypes to assist the switch to a lower carbon alternative.” Proof of concept and public acceptability We are delighted to be able to demonstrate this innovative new technology in a real-life setting in the UK" Dan adds, “Having these fitted to the HyStreet demonstration project at Spadeadam gives gravitas to the proof of concept and public acceptability of appliances such as these. The boilers are one of the first important steps.” Karen Boswell, Managing Director of Baxi Heating, said “This is an important step forward on our hydrogen journey and we are delighted to be able to demonstrate this innovative new technology in a real-life setting in the UK.” Zero-carbon alternative to natural gas Carl Arntzen, the Chief Executive Officer of Worcester Bosch commented “It is fantastic to see our prototype hydrogen boiler running successfully at this demonstration site. The boiler has operated seamlessly in its first month of operation and continues to provide both heating and hot water.” Carl adds, “It proves that hydrogen gas has great potential as a zero-carbon alternative to natural gas for heating and hot water in the UK and beyond. These initial tests are incredibly encouraging and will hopefully give key decision makers confidence to deploy hydrogen gas as a fuel for the future.”
Accommodating significant fleet growth and modernization, one of North America’s renowned refrigerated trucking companies, KLLM Transport Services, is adding 1,400 new Utility trailers refrigerated by Carrier Transicold units, equipped with the eSolutions telematics platform and TRU-Mount solar charging systems. Carrier Transicold is a part of Carrier Global Corporation, a globally renowned provider of healthy, safe and sustainable building and cold chain solutions. “Thanks to continued investments to replace and upgrade our equipment and technology, we are, today, a 57-year-old company with one of the youngest, most advanced fleets on the highway,” said Jim Richards, President of KLLM, a Top-3 refrigerated carrier, headquartered in Richland, Mississippi. Carrier Transicold refrigeration units “As a premier service provider, with more than 6,000 refrigerated trailers and domestic intermodal containers serving 48 states and Mexico, it is vital that we continuously renew our fleet,” said Richards, adding “This latest investment helps us keep our fleet new and modern for improved service, less downtime and to provide our customers with the advantage of the most current technology.” The new Carrier Transicold systems include 1,325 X4 7500 single-temperature trailer refrigeration units to be deployed by KLLM, and 75 Vector 8600MT multi-temperature units to be used by KLLM’s Dallas-based Frozen Foods Express (FFE) business. All refrigeration systems will be installed on 53-foot Utility 3000R insulated trailers by Carrier Transicold and Utility Trailer dealer, Southern States Utility Trailer Sales Inc., also located in Richland. eSolutions telematics platform Carrier Transicold’s eSolutions platform helps refrigerated transporters operate more efficiently by improving visibility of their cold chain assets and intelligently providing a centralized data stream about their transport refrigeration units (TRUs) and cargo. In addition to supplying critical data, such as temperatures, location and movement, the eSolutions platform will provide two-way control as well as analytic and diagnostic information about its refrigeration units. TRU-Mount solar charging system Carrier’s TRU-Mount solar charging system helps maintain the charge of the refrigeration unit battery Carrier’s high-performance TRU-Mount solar charging system helps maintain the charge of the refrigeration unit battery, which supports the eSolutions telematics system, even when the refrigeration unit is off. “The fact that the eSolutions system is integrated with the Carrier Transicold units is very important to us,” stated Jim Richards, adding “It will give us new abilities to download data and upgrade over the air, including our IntelliSet profiles, something we are certainly excited about.” IntelliSet feature software application The IntelliSet feature is a software application included with Carrier Transicold’s APX refrigeration unit controllers that allows custom configuration of multiple refrigeration parameters to create profiles based on specific commodities or customer preferences. With the eSolutions system, IntelliSet configurations can be selected remotely, and parameter updates can be done over the air rather than manually, saving time and resources. For additional details about Carrier Transicold’s transport refrigeration units, eSolutions platform and solar charging options, turn to the experts in Carrier Transicold’s North America dealer network.
The Visual Arts Building (VAB) at the University of Iowa is a marvel of both aesthetic design and mechanical engineering. Six years in the making and completed in October 2016, the award-winning, 126,000 square-foot structure blends the artistry of the renowned Steven Holl Architects (New York) with an array of innovative mechanical systems that smoothly integrate with Holl’s aesthetics while meeting the numerous, industrial-like requirements of this challenging space. Thanks to these mechanical systems, the VAB is projected to consume 60 percent less energy than a building in compliance with ASHRAE 90.1. A Verification Report prepared by a local utility, MidAmerican Energy, converted that percentage into an annual cost savings of nearly $300,000. The utility calculated the final payback on the “incremental costs associated with energy conservation strategy investments” at a comparatively swift 2.1 years. For this project performance, the university earned an incentive payment of more than $550,000 for the building, which recently achieved LEED Gold certification. incredible level of system integration Infelt was specifically referring to the thermally activated slab (TAS) heating and cooling system her firm helped design “Every time we talk about this building and the incredible level of system integration throughout the space, I’m amazed we pulled it off,” says Amy Infelt, P.E., LEED AP — and only half-jokingly. Infelt is Managing Principal for the Cedar Rapids-based Design Engineers (DE), the mechanical and electrical engineering consultant on the VAB project, for which she served as project manager. She was assisted by mechanical engineer Tim Lentz, P.E., LEED AP; and electrical engineer Eric B. Bruxvoort, P.E. In her comment above, Infelt was specifically referring to the thermally activated slab (TAS) heating and cooling system her firm helped design with internationally renowned sustainability specialist, Transsolar, a KlimaEngineering firm based in Stuttgart, Germany. Providing baseline comfort for the five-story structure, this six-level slab system incorporates 67 miles, or more than 353,000 feet, of ⅝-inch Wirsbo hePEX tubing, manufactured by Uponor North America in Apple Valley, Minn. maximize transmittance of light However, Infelt could just as easily have been referring to the bubble-deck structural slab itself: The VAB is one of the few buildings worldwide to integrate TAS with void slab construction. Or, she might have noted several other innovations that Transsolar brought to the project, such as: The metal-shading device (right) that covers the windows on the southern and western sides of the building; or The interior shading device that sits 10 feet below the 30-foot x 40-foot skylight over the atrium that spans the full length of the structure; or The insulated channel glass found at numerous points around the exterior. Each of the above items is intended, in the service of both comfort and energy efficiency, to maximize the transmittance of light into the interior, while minimizing heat gain or loss. energy consumption-reduction You cannot overestimate the impact of having an architect of the international stature of Steven Holl" What drove all this innovation at VAB? Infelt credits the University of Iowa and its decision to recruit a highly regarded “design architect” to create an aesthetically compelling structure for the new home of the art and art history departments. This was necessitated when the predecessor building, which had been slated for extensive renovation, was ruined by a flood in 2008. “You cannot overestimate the impact of having an architect of the international stature of Steven Holl,” says Infelt. “Their firm’s reputation rides on every building they create, so they pay incredible attention to every detail in the design and construction. This attention to detail inevitably impacts the design of all the mechanical systems in the building.” At the same time, the university had also set “very defined objectives for energy efficiency and energy consumption-reduction,” notes Infelt. “Their focus is to design buildings for the lowest energy costs for the long term.” overall system efficiency SHA’s uncompromizing aesthetics and the university’s lofty efficiency goals were not the only challenges for the mechanical system designers. The VAB is more than a building of offices and classrooms. It is also an active, buzzing and humming collection of studio-art workshops, full of highly creative students busily making and building all manner of objects. Which is why the building houses not one, not two, but 10 different dust-collection systems, pulling exhaust from woodworking and metalworking shops, a kiln room with seven industrial-grade kilns, a sculpture studio with a forge and a crucible furnace, an acid room for print-making, plus various studios for ceramics, painting, welding and plasma-cutting — even bicycle-building. In sum, the mechanical systems in this complex space had to maximize occupant comfort and productivity as well as overall system efficiency. Integrated design Integrated design is a huge buzzword in the AEC world right now but this building is truly integrated" The extent to which the structure’s designers and builders accomplished those twin objectives is a testament to the high level of collaboration within the building team. The latter included the Des Moines, Iowa, office of BNIM, which served as project architect, assisting SHA. “Integrated design is a huge buzzword in the AEC world right now, but this building is truly integrated,” says Infelt, explaining how the mechanical systems DE and Transsolar created had to be designed to support the VAB’s overall aesthetic goals, while meeting the widely varying needs of the many different users of the facility. Among the highlights of the VAB, none is more architecturally striking than its atrium (previous page), spanning the entire 150-foot depth of the five-story structure and extending 70 feet vertically. Ductwork, piping and conduit for mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems are typically concealed above the ceiling in commercial buildings. utility routing zones But the VAB has very few ceilings, and the design intent was for the atrium to remain clear of any exposed MEP systems. Everything is fully exposed through the rooms surrounding the atrium, including ductwork mains routed through a tunnel below the atrium. That meant its thousands of feet of piping and conduit had to be meticulously coordinated, so that systems were arranged in fastidiously neat and precisely parallel runs, rather than the less rigorous style of most above-the-ceiling construction. “We created what we called ‘utility routing zones’ — specific areas within each room through which all ductwork, pipe and conduit could be routed, with a special hanging system for each zone,” says Infelt. “We even coordinated how the piping and conduit were identified and labeled. All the systems are labeled with the identification in the same color and with identical graphics: black letters on a white background. The specific font and sizes of lettering were both coordinated by SHA.” Thermally activated slab system In short, no detail at the VAB was too small to escape scrutiny and close coordination In short, no detail at the VAB was too small to escape scrutiny and close coordination. As Infelt remarks in her firm’s own literature on the VAB, “The installation of the thermally activated slab heating and cooling system required especially close coordination.” In part, that’s because the slab itself is not solid concrete, but what is called voided biaxial slab, or bubble deck, construction. The VAB bubble deck consists of hundreds of empty, but watertight, plastic balls — or the preferred term, “voids” — 7.5 inches in diameter and sandwiched between layers of criss-crossing rebar and all of it buried in 12.5 inches of concrete along with the Uponor Wirsbo hePEX. The latter, like most radiant installations, is laid out, six inches on center, in a serpentine fashion. sacrificing the integrity of the slab The special challenge for DE and the installing contractor: The Wirsbo hePEX had to be looped carefully into the slab in a way that avoided the voids (as well as all the rebar). The rationale for this type of slab is straightforward enough: All those spherical voids allow for less concrete to be poured, without lessening the thickness nor sacrificing the integrity of the slab itself. Less concrete means a smaller load, which in turn permits weight-bearing column spacing to be far wider — an absolutely critical need inside the expansive, SHA-designed atrium. More frequently seen in Europe, this type of void slab remains a rarity in North America, most especially in the Midwest. Equally rare in the Midwest is a TAS system that provides not just heating, but also cooling. Concerns about condensation leave many building designers reluctant to specify radiant cooling. heating and cooling The six slabs at VAB contain no insulation, so a portion of the energy radiates upward However, inside the VAB, which uses TAS construction on six different levels, “the system allows you to provide cooling in a way that keeps the slab surface temperatures above the point where condensation is produced,” says Infelt. “What makes a TAS different is its use of the full concrete mass to store its heating and cooling longer,” she continues. “The six slabs at VAB contain no insulation, so a portion of the energy radiates upward. But the Wirsbo hePEX is positioned five-eighths of an inch from the bottom of the slab. As a result, most of the radiation is downward, conditioning the space below.” Radiant was an obvious fit for the new VAB with its large, loft-like, atrium space. activated-slab heating Whatever misgivings the university construction team and Controls and Maintenance Group might have had about radiant were largely resolved by an off-site visit to Chicago and to the Loyola University Information Commons, which uses a similar TAS system. "The extended, 25-year warranty provided by the Wirsbo hePEX was also a key factor in ensuring the University’s comfort with the TAS,” says Infelt. “Uponor played a key role in bringing us up to speed on activated-slab heating and cooling technology and then worked closely with us on the VAB design.” Of particular value were the thermal modelings on the heating and cooling capacity of the slab, performed by Uponor Sales Engineer Him Ly. Using the slab depth, the tubing diameter, the depth of the Wirsbo hePEX inside the slab and the temperature of the water moving through the tubing, Ly calculated how many heating or cooling BTUs per square foot the slab could provide. construction of the interior walls Built into the walls, these cabinets contain isolation valves, balancing valves and other hydronic accessories “Once we understood the slab’s true capacity for heating and for cooling, we could best determine what supplemental systems were needed,” says Infelt, “and what type of system would work best in a given space inside the VAB.” All the Wirsbo hePEX was installed in the six slabs before any interior walls were set. This tubing was routed out of the slabs through 71 different manifold cabinets with 634 circuits or loops of tubing. Built into the walls, these cabinets contain isolation valves, balancing valves and other hydronic accessories supplied by Uponor. “The tubing is distributed via a supply-and-return manifold to a maximum of 12 loops per cabinet,” says Infelt. The installed Wirsbo hePEX was left capped and hanging for an extended period, awaiting the construction of the interior walls and the final placement of the cabinets. Supplemental HVAC systems How did the installation crews assure that none of the tubing was somehow damaged during this wait time? “All the tubing was pressurized, and each of the 71 manifold cabinets was equipped with its own pressure gauge for its particular set of loops,” Infelt explains. “Once in the morning and once at the end of the workday, the installation team would inspect each of the 71 gauges, comparing the two readings. Wherever there was a pressure drop, the contractor knew something happened that particular day to damage the tubing. Doing these inspections daily made it easier to isolate and immediately fix any problems.” retain heating or cooling capacity The capacity of the slab to heat or cool is what it is — a constant,” says Infelt The VAB TAS is a “passive” system, with minimal active control, who’s mass can be counted on to retain heating or cooling capacity over long periods. But that consistency also prevents it from reacting quickly to changing loads — such as a busy classroom with large numbers of students regularly moving in and out of the space. “The capacity of the slab to heat or cool is what it is — a constant,” says Infelt. “That is why we designated it the baseline heating and cooling system for the building. We then created extra heating or cooling capacity with our supplemental systems, which can react more quickly — and actively — to changing loads.” adding supplemental HVAC systems The “changing loads” can be triggered not only by student and faculty movements about the building, but also by the various specialized “industrial” processes taking place in its busy workshops. Another, equally important factor are the weather extremes in Iowa whose outdoor ambient temperature can range from subzero Fahrenheit in the winter to several days, even weeks, above 90°F in the summer. To help Transsolar understand the temperature ranges for the project area, Infelt would email them each time the area experienced temperature extremes. Not surprisingly, DE ultimately chose to enhance Transsolar’s innovative TAS concept by adding supplemental HVAC systems that would support the teaching mission of the facility, while fitting in with its structure and climate. variable air volume (VAV) terminal units These systems include: Outdoor and exhaust air systems: This system provides general exhaust for the building occupants, as well as exhaust from the industrial equipment and processes. In addition, these systems introduce outdoor air to provide ventilation air for indoor air quality, as required by ASHRAE 62.1 and to replace the exhaust air. These systems also maintain the building at a positive pressure relative to the outdoors. The outdoor air is delivered via variable air volume (VAV) terminal units with reheat coils and provides supplemental cooling and heating for the areas served. Because of the number and type of industrial processes that occur inside the VAB, a considerable amount of makeup air from the outside is required for both replacement and ventilation air. This outdoor air is pretreated by a custom air-handling unit (AHU) that maintains separate air streams: one running through a total energy, desiccant recovery wheel; and the second, through a sensible heat pipe. refrigerant-charged heat pipe This exhaust-air stream routes through the refrigerant-charged heat pipe where its heat is recovered and transferred Located in the VAB’s lower-level mechanical room, the AHU pulls heat from some of the building’s exhaust before expelling it outdoors. At the same time, the air handler transfers that recovered heat to the incoming outdoor air before it moves into the building. This transfer is done through a slow-spinning desiccant wheel, handling the incoming interior exhaust on one side of the wheel and outgoing outdoor air on the other. “We call it an ‘energy wheel,’” explains Infelt, “because it allows us to transfer both latent and sensible energy.” But not all exhaust is permitted to move through the wheel. Exhaust from the various industrial processes is, of course, “dusty, smelly, even hazardous,” says Infelt, and therefore may not be transferred to the incoming outdoor air. This exhaust-air stream routes through the refrigerant-charged heat pipe where its heat is recovered and transferred to the incoming outdoor air. air-handling unit “The heat pipe is a heat-recovery device only,” says Infelt. “It can capture only sensible energy, while keeping contaminants and odors on its side of the air-handling unit.” While less efficient than the wheel, the heat pipe is “still able to recover the heat from the exhaust from the industrial spaces.” Fan coil units: These units provide supplemental heating and cooling where the demand is beyond the capacity available from the TAS and the ventilation air system. Radiant heating, installed in designated places on the building perimeter: The TAS structural slab at the VAB is covered by a three-inch-thick topping slab. Wherever insulated channel glass has been installed around the exterior, a three-foot-wide strip of radiant heating — again using Wirsbo hePEX — was installed inside the topping layer. Controlled separately from the TAS system, this perimeter radiant install provides heating only during the colder months, shutting down in the summer. No insulation is used, because the 12.5-inch structural slab directs all the heating upward, where it is needed. Single-zone displacement ventilation system: This energy-efficient system serves the 76-seat classroom by supplying air at a low — and therefore quiet — velocity, befitting an academic environment. The desired comfort temperature where students and faculty congregate at floor-level (the “occupied zone”) is maintained, while the air space above is permitted to become progressively warmer as you near the ceiling. comfortable environment for the occupants The activated-slab system is such a good fit for large commercial projects with high-ceilinged, open areas Post-construction tests have yet to be run, comparing the actual performance of the VAB with its ambitious, 60-percent savings target. But Infelt reports that the UI Controls and Maintenance Group, which is responsible for the building’s operation, has found the TAS and its supplemental HVAC systems to be “very robust, providing a very comfortable environment for the occupants.” Given that the activated-slab system is such a good fit for large commercial projects with high-ceilinged, open areas, is DE looking to apply what it learned on the VAB to other commercial jobs? “We would sure like to,” she responds. “But TAS is still not a very common, accepted system. Going that route takes a client like the University of Iowa — a group or institution willing to embrace what is new and different to achieve something special.” sustainability and energy efficiency Infelt recalls an early telephone conversation she had one evening a decade ago with Transsolar founder Matthias Schuler, exploring whether they might collaborate on the VAB project. “Transsolar develops the concepts and ideas for the new things they want to implement. But they need a mechanical engineer to partner closely with them — to make the plans and do the drawings and work with them to realize these new and innovative concepts. As an engineering firm, DE is fully committed to sustainability and energy efficiency,” she continues. “Where others might see uncomfortable risk, we saw great opportunity in working with someone like Matthias and Transsolar. By the end of our conversation that night, Matthias understood that DE was willing to partner with Transsolar, turning their innovative vision into an architectural reality.”
Round table discussion
New technologies continue to drive change in the HVAC market. HVAC’s image as a mature and stable industry can overshadow the high level of innovation taking place. Meeting environmental challenges and creating more cost-efficient systems are among the forces fueling the change. We asked our Expert Panel Roundtable: What will be the next big product trend in the HVAC market?