Johnson Controls, the globally renowned company for smart, healthy and sustainable buildings, has announced results of independent surveys of 800+ building decision makers showing a clear shift to increased investment in healthy building trends and technologies. “At the center of a vision for a healthy world must be healthy buildings, and that means delivering on the most critical elements to serve People, Places and Planet,” said George Oliver, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of John...
Nidec Leroy-Somer (Nidec Leroy-Somer Holding), the world specialist with a wealth of experience in drive solutions for industrial refrigeration, has for more than 40 years provided refrigeration professionals with its state-of-the-art and energy efficient motors, and speed drives to effectively enhance productivity of industrial refrigeration applications. IE5 synchronous PM motors Nidec Leroy-Somer’s latest development, the Dyneo+ range of IE5 synchronous reluctance permanent magnet (PM...
Consumer advise experts at The Heating Hub have warned consumers not to get ‘hooked’ on the latest technologies in the drive to reduce carbon emissions, stating that they should focus on selecting the most appropriate system for their household requirements. The UK Government recently announced ambitious plans to install 600,000 heat pumps per year by 2028 and has committed to phasing out natural gas boilers in new build homes by 2025. Decarbonizing homes Decarbonizing homes is a...
Johnson Controls, the global front-runner for smart and sustainable buildings and the architect of OpenBlue connected solutions, has opened its new, state-of-the-art Ducted Systems Academy in Oklahoma City, OK, offering world-class commercial and residential HVAC training. The first-of-its-kind 30,000 square-foot training facility features two large classrooms and two extensive training labs, offering remote and hands-on classes, including virtual reality training. Real-Life Experience The vi...
It is important to properly size a water heater to meet the needs of a business or household and ensure optimum efficiency. As a result, Ariston has introduced a comprehensive guide to its portfolio of high-quality vented, unvented and instantaneous electric water heaters, outlining which models are best suited for a range of domestic and light commercial applications throughout the UK. The guide can be found in the new Ariston hot water brochure. Ariston’s water heating guide makes it si...
Goettl Air Conditioning and Plumbing, a provider of HVAC and plumbing services in the Southwest part of the country, has promoted its Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Kim Miramontes to Chief Operations Officer (COO). Miramontes’ experience will be a beneficial asset to Goettl’s predominately female executive team, a unique differentiator in the HVAC and plumbing industry. “Kim’s skills far outweigh those of seasoned executives I’ve have worked with in the past,”...
CoolSys - Refrigeration and HVAC Systems (CoolSys), parent to market-renowned refrigeration and HVAC service companies nationwide, has deployed several new technology initiatives to help combat global COVID-19 pandemic spread in recent months. Bipolar ionization Bipolar ionization is one of these technologies with the ability to create charged ions in the air to attach to airborne particles, increasing their size, and making them easier to trap with air filters. Scolari’s Food and Drug Company in Reno, Nevada is a CoolSys customer adopting the technology to combat COVID-19 virus, as they recently began work to expand a part of their facility that contains a casino gaming area and are focused on keeping customers safe. Technology solutions to counter COVID-19 spread “Businesses and companies are looking for solutions to minimize COVID-19 transmission as they re-open and bring back employees and customers to indoor workplaces and environments,” commented Adam Coffey, President and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at CoolSys. Adam adds, “As an industry renowned company in providing HVAC technologies, including bipolar ionization, CoolSys is doing its part to help slow the spread of COVID-19 virus among our customers across the country.” HVAC and air treatment technologies take center stage Bipolar ionization is among several tech-based approaches that CoolSys installs to help fight COVID-19 in indoor spaces Bipolar ionization is among several tech-based approaches that CoolSys installs to help fight COVID-19 in indoor spaces. These technologies are gaining wider adoption as COVID-19 has caused many formerly shuttered businesses to renew interest in proper air ventilation and sanitization. There is significant scientific consensus that COVID-19 is transmitted via aerosols, which has caused HVAC and air treatment technologies to take center stage for many businesses, especially those that welcome customers into their facilities for extended periods of time. Energy savings and odor elimination Bipolar ionization not only offers health benefits, but also the added value of energy reduction by reducing the amount of outdoor air that must be conditioned, as well as eliminating odors. “It’s more important than ever to place emphasis on safety. The ionization technology that CoolSys installs is high efficiency, low maintenance, and has a history of effective use. The added benefit of removing odors from the air doesn’t hurt either,” commented Jerry Scolari, COO at Scolari’s Food and Drug. Jerry adds, “We’re proud to be able to say we’re doing everything we can to protect our customers during such an uncertain time.”
Honeywell announces a new airborne particle analyzer that uses artificial intelligence and cloud computing to enable HVAC service providers and environmental testing professionals to better inform home and building owners of the quantity and type of particles present in the air. Airborne particles, allergens and spores affect the quality of life for more than 400 million people worldwide – for example, poor indoor air quality has been found to cause allergic rhinitis, which Americans spend more than $3 billion each year. Honeywell Air Detective is a breakthrough technology that can capture images and details of those allergens and particles in the air. Indoor air quality The Honeywell Air Detective allows HVAC service providers and environmental testing professionals to evaluate indoor air quality in near real-time with an easy-to-use mobile app that can be accessed on a tablet or emailed directly to the homeowner. This detailed evaluation, including images of the particles, can help homeowners and building managers make informed decisions about how to improve the air inside their homes or buildings. "Understanding what is in the air inside your home or building is a top priority for owners. HVAC, environmental testing, and other service professionals are looking for innovative solutions that will help them test air quality on the spot and determine the specific equipment, service and system upgrades needed to improve the indoor air quality," said Sarah Martin, president of Honeywell's Sensing and Internet of Things (IoT) business. Industrial analytics software This portable analyzer has already been deployed by environmental testing companies and HVAC distributors "We have developed a cost-effective, portable analyzer that uses holographic microscopy and cloud technology to 'take pictures' and classify airborne particles. Honeywell continues to provide solutions to help improve air quality for people while at home, on the job or when traveling." The Honeywell Air Detective is a handheld and lightweight, lens-less microscope that can be easily carried by a field technician to classify types of particles present in the air, including spores and various pollen species. It leverages powerful industrial analytics software and deep learning algorithms that are trained on specific pollen and spore species. This portable analyzer has already been deployed by environmental testing companies and HVAC distributors, such as Yandle-Witherspoon Supply, Inc. HVAC air cleaning systems "HVAC providers are being asked more and more to explain the specific airborne particles, spores and allergens in the air and suggest filters or solutions to improve air quality and comfort," said Philip Guy Jr., Territory Sales Manager, Yandle-Witherspoon. "Honeywell's particle analyzer has proved to be useful in field trials by helping our technicians pinpoint the specific pollen and spores present in the air so that we can work together with homeowners to make informed decisions and take action to improve their HVAC air cleaning systems and provide additional services." The Honeywell Air Detective uses disposable air analysis cartridges to collect particles, photograph them, and automate the classification process onsite. In the past, professionals would have collected and shipped the air sample off to a lab where a technician would be spending tedious hours analyzing the sample under a microscope before providing a detailed report. The device and consumable cartridges are available for sale at select HVAC distributors.
Carrier announced that it has expanded its AquaEdge 19DV water-cooled centrifugal chiller capacity range in North America by an additional 150 tons. With the capacity range now starting at 350 tons - previously 500-tons - the 19DV can accommodate customer requirements of smaller applications. The top of the range remains at 800 tons. The AquaEdge 19DV is the ultimate innovation in cooling and heating technology, and utilizes an environmentally sustainable refrigerant with the highest possible safety rating and an ultra-low global warming potential of ~1. Carrier is a part of Carrier Global Corporation, a renowned global provider of healthy, safe and sustainable building and cold chain solutions. expanding capacity range The AquaEdge 19DV was designed to minimize environmental impact while also providing good efficiency “The Carrier AquaEdge 19DV exemplifies the innovation that is at the heart of our company and it has been recognized around the world for its ability to meet and surpass our customers’ needs for performance and efficiency,” said Chris Opie, Vice President, Product Marketing & Platform Strategy, Carrier HVAC-Commercial. “With the expansion of the capacity range by an additional 150 tons, customers with lower-capacity applications will now be able to recognize all the benefits this ‘ultimate BTU machine’ delivers.” effective heat recovery The AquaEdge 19DV was designed to minimize environmental impact while also providing good efficiency. The 19DV’s unique EquiDrive two-stage back-to-back compression allows for effective heat recovery, which enables its excellent cooling efficiency at standard conditions to flex up to 120°F (48.9°C) for energy-saving hot water production. The 19DV also provides free cooling, a strategy for leveraging natural air temperatures, which can result in thousands of dollars in energy savings per year while reducing maintenance costs and mechanical room space. provides intelligent analytics Additional features include a Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) that protects the chiller against abnormalities in the power quality being delivered to a system and Carrier SMART Service, wireless technology that allows for remote diagnostics, long-term performance trending, benchmarking, decision analytics, and advanced notifications. AquaEdge 19DV first launched in Asia in 2016 and was subsequently introduced to other regions By leveraging insights, Carrier SMART Service provides intelligent analytics for maintenance staff that can proactively help improve equipment reliability and reduce energy usage, maintenance expenses and resource consumption. The innovative AquaEdge 19DV first launched in Asia in 2016 and was subsequently introduced to other regions, earning a reputation for reliability and efficiency. Awards and recognition The chiller has amassed an impressive list of accolades including, most recently, being named as the 2019 Innovative Manufacturer/Supplier of the Year in the Chillers category at the Climate Control Awards hosted by CPI Industry. Other honors from 2019 include being named as the Green Product of the Year in the Energy Management category at the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Green Building Awards in Dubai and the RAC Cooling Industry Award for Air Conditioning Product of the Year in the System/Standalone category in London. The water-cooled centrifugal chiller was also notably awarded Gold in the U.S.-based Consulting-Specifying Engineer Product of the Year Awards in the Boilers & Chillers category. provide sustainable solutions Last year’s honors followed a successful 2018 where the AquaEdge 19DV was named the winner of the SEC-Senoko Green Innovation Award at the Singapore Environmental Achievement Awards. One can learn more about the Carrier AquaEdge 19DV water-cooled centrifugal chiller by visiting the company’s official website. Founded by the inventor of modern air conditioning, Carrier is a global provider of high-technology heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration solutions. Carrier experts provide sustainable solutions, integrating energy-efficient products, building controls and energy services for residential, commercial, retail, transport and food service customers. Carrier is a part of Carrier Global Corporation, a renowned global provider of healthy, safe and sustainable building and cold chain solutions.
ASHRAE and the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) formalizing the organizations’ relationship. The MOU was signed by Charles E. Gulledge III, P.E., 2020-21 ASHRAE President and David Terry, NASEO Executive Director during a virtual signing ceremony on November 20. The agreement outlines how ASHRAE and NASEO will work cooperatively to promote the advancements of a more sustainable built environment through HVAC&R technologies and their applications. Areas of Collaboration The areas of collaboration include government advocacy, joint conferences and meetings, consistent leadership communication, publication development and distribution, education and professional development, technical activities coordination, and research. Supporting Sustainable Building Practices ASHRAE’s deep expertise in indoor air quality resonate with many State Energy Offices" “NASEO’s well-established relationships with state energy offices will serve as a bridge to bring ASHRAE’s unparalleled technical expertise in HVAC&R systems to improve the resiliency, sustainability, and health of our built environment,” said Gulledge. “Agreements like this serve the interests of both organizations and leverage our collective resources to support sustainable building practices where the benefits are felt on a large scale.” Deep Expertise “NASEO is thrilled to continue our constructive partnership with ASHRAE,” added Terry. “ASHRAE’s deep expertise in indoor air quality, high-performing, and grid-interactive buildings, and workforce development resonate with many State Energy Offices, especially as they navigate cross-cutting challenges to public health, the environment, and our economy.”
Armstrong Fluid Technology announced that the company has moved to a new expanded facility for European production and warehousing of circulator products. New Expanded Facility The new facility, located in Jimbolia, Romania, offers greater capacity for the production of Armstrong high-efficiency and standard wet rotor circulators. Supported by Armstrong’s global supply chain, the site will employ 65 team members dedicated to producing circulators for customers worldwide. Reflecting on the expansion, Joachim Schulz, Global Commercial Director - Building Business at Armstrong Fluid Technology commented, “This new facility in Europe is a significant step towards greater production output and a faster pace of innovation. Increased production capacity will help with time-critical installations and service to global customers looking for high-quality, high-efficiency circulators.”
Eurovent has released the first edition of the Eurovent Recommendation 14/6 – Interpretation of Regulation (EU) 2019/2018 and of Regulation (EU) 2019/2024. The recommendation provides the European Commission with industry input for the future guidelines accompanying Regulations (EU) 2019/2018 and (EU) 2024/2019. Eurovent Recommendation 14/6 The aim of this code of good practice is to provide the industry interpretation in regard of the Regulation (EU) 2019/2018 and of the Regulation 2019/2024 and to support the European Commission in preparing the future guidelines accompanying both Regulations. This document was prepared in a joint effort by participants of the Eurovent Product Group ‘Commercial Refrigeration Equipment’ (PG-RDC), which represents a vast majority of all manufacturers of these products active on the EMEA market. Eurovent PG-RDC supports the European Commission Eurovent PG-RDC supported the European Commission since the early stage of the preparatory study" Mr. Pierluigi Schiesaro, Research & Development Director at Arneg and Chairman of the Eurovent Product Group ‘Commercial Refrigeration Equipment’, stated “The Eurovent PG-RDC supported the European Commission since the early stage of the preparatory study. In order to actively contribute to achieving the energy saving targets proposed, Eurovent and its Members deem an unambiguous interpretation of the requirements set out in these Regulations of fundamental importance. That is what we aim to provide with this Recommendation.” Mr. Francesco Scuderi, Eurovent Deputy Secretary General, said “The European industry welcomes these long-awaited Regulations and wants to make their implementation as effective as possible. To assist with this, Eurovent will host a webinar on 26 January 2021, to present the contents of the new Eurovent Recommendation 14/6, and to welcome all the questions coming from manufacturers, distributors, end-user, designers, policy makers, and MSAs.” The Eurovent Recommendation 14/6 is now available for download in the Eurovent Document Web Shop on its official website.
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.
The disruption caused by coronavirus has put almost every business to the test. Special regulations have had to be rolled out for essential workers across many industries, including those in HVAC industry. Staff within these industries are key in preventing further disruption from adding to the already significant pressure on consumers and businesses in the current climate. While having to adapt to new working environments and an altered economic landscape themselves, it’s now imperative that these workers can be as efficient and productive as possible. While many business premises have temporarily shut their doors, hospitals, government departments, supermarkets and other critical facilities are busier than ever. In addition, for many, households have become their workplaces, schools or gyms. For both consumers and businesses alike, building maintenance has become both more urgent and spread over a bigger geographical footprint. To continue meeting the essential needs of customers in this trying time, businesses within the HVAC industry must find ways to be more agile and efficient, starting with the way they manage their workforce. Using technology to track productivity To continue meeting the essential needs of customers in this trying time, businesses within the HVAC industry must find ways to be more agile and efficient It may have been a growing trend before, but ditching paper records and digitalising the way engineers are dispatched, tracked and allocated jobs is now imperative for building services companies. By digitalising scheduling and dispatch tasks, building services companies can overcome inefficiencies in operations and improve worker productivity. This not only makes a real difference to customers’ businesses continuity, but also reducing the impact of the current climate on the bottom line of companies themselves. Monitoring each job in this way also means building services businesses can keep tabs on job progress in near real-time. If one overruns, they can adapt their schedules to dispatch another technician to the job. It can also help confirm workers are taking the breaks they need to stay alert, both on the job and on the road, in the context of engineers, fleet managers, dispatchers and drivers working longer hours to meet increased demand. Making the most of your platform In these uncertain times, businesses need tools to not only monitor the location of their mobile workforce, but also those which give workers reliable access to the resources they need to do their jobs. Many businesses may already have some form of digital solution in place to track vehicles, jobs, resources and many other assets. Getting these existing systems to talk to each other, however, can be problematic. It’s therefore important for new solutions to integrate with existing technology and help reduce complexity, rather than increase it. By digitalising scheduling and dispatch tasks, building services companies can overcome inefficiencies One of the best way of doing so is by making use of a dedicated staff-facing smartphone app. Cost effective, simple and quick to install, apps connected to central fleet management systems bring a range of agility benefits for businesses. For example, they can be set up to automatically notify workers in the field of upcoming jobs or the expected duration of certain visits. This affords field workers a high level of efficiency, and means customers get the essential support they need faster and more reliably. This access to maps, job instructions, quotes, invoices, customer information and more from their handheld device means engineers are better equipped to serve the customers who rely on them. Building services businesses can also track tools and other assets technicians might need to use to a complete a job, helping to dispatch only those with the right qualifications and tools to each job. The need for mobility in uncertain times While the majority of UK citizens are urged to stay at home, there are those for whom mobility is absolutely crucial. Field-based businesses must also contend with their own sources of disruption, such as unexpected events including vehicle breakdowns, vehicle theft and heavy traffic, all of which lead to lower levels of productivity and higher costs, not to mention the impact on the health and safety of staff. By implementing a solid foundation of workforce management, businesses can help keep people and assets safe and secure, whilst also affording greater visibility of overall operations. These are the key ingredients to caring for staff and customers, and to maintaining crucial mobility in a time when the world is otherwise at a standstill.
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.
The cannabis industry offers unique challenges to the HVAC market, including the need to create an optimum indoor grow room environment that perfectly balances variables such as temperature, humidity and airflow at each stage of a plant’s growth cycle. The consequence of a system failure could be the catastrophic financial loss of an entire crop. Despite these weighty challenges, there is opportunity aplenty for HVAC installers in the emerging cannabis industry. Legalized cannabis is expanding - there are currently 33 states that have legalized marijuana for medical use and 14 that allow recreational use of the drug among adults. Changing attitudes toward marijuana suggest a trend toward even greater acceptance - and growth. According to a Pew Research study, 67% of Americans believe marijuana use should be legalized, a number that has doubled since 2000. federal government guidelines The percentage of adults aged 50 to 64 who report using marijuana has also doubled in the past decade to 9%, and use among adults 65 and older has jumped seven times to 3% in the last 10 years. Even wider acceptance has grown around cannabidiol or CBD oil, a natural compound found in cannabis plants that is non-psychoactive and provides a variety of health benefits such as relieving pain, lowering anxiety, and fighting depression. However, marijuana is still considered a controlled substance under U.S. federal government guidelines However, marijuana is still considered a controlled substance under U.S. federal government guidelines. A practical impact of the prohibition is a hesitancy of banks to provide services to these businesses lest they face money laundering charges. However, the American Bankers’ Association has been seeking to bridge the gap between federal and state law and achieve legal clarity. plant life cycles In addition to providing easier capital for cannabis businesses, access to banking would lower the risks and inconvenience of marijuana companies having to operate on a cash basis. For thousands of years, cannabis grew outdoors. However, its prohibition drove cultivation indoors without the aid of sunlight. In any case, an indoor environment can be more closely controlled. However, finely tuned growing environments are a recent development since growing became legal. Cultivation techniques that are less-than-ideal are a lingering result of the Black Market era. A big challenge for HVAC professionals looking to enter the cannabis market is a requirement to understand the unique needs of growers, from controlling humidity and heat to understanding plant life cycles. Controlling these elements maximizes the health and chemical profile of the final product. An integrated, centralized system can manage temperature and humidity most effectively. control air flow Syncing a system with smart devices can help to display real-time conditions and enable adjustments on the fly. Higher levels of engineering and design skills are involved. There is no one-size-fits-all system because needs vary according to the specific strains and desired potency of plants. Specific ranges of temperature and humidity vary for each crop. Odor management is another issue that must be mitigated. Applying the industry’s current menu of options to a cannabis facility may not yield suitable results One option is an Indirect-Direct Evaporative Cooling (IDEC) system, which uses up to 80% less energy and provides flexibility to control air flow and humidity. The costs of an HVAC system for a grow room are high - four to five times as much as a traditional system. Even a small project could cost $50,000 or more. remote monitoring systems Applying the industry’s current menu of options to a cannabis facility may not yield suitable results; rather, there are new systems being developed that are specifically geared toward the new industry’s needs. Specialized HVAC systems for cannabis will continue to emerge. Because so much is at stake in case of an HVAC failure in a cannabis application, there is greater need for remote monitoring systems that can provide an instant alert of any issue with the HVAC system. There is also a greater need for redundancies to avoid failure. Technicians must be on-call 24 hours a day. Energy consumption is another concern. In addition to power-hungry HVAC systems, energy is also needed for specialized lighting that may be on 24 hours a day. Alternative technology such as solar panels can reduce operating costs.
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.”
Adcock Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Ltd. (Adcock) looks after all the air conditioning, water chillers and AHU equipment at the Birmingham site, where Smurfit Kappa provides a reliable service for cardboard and paper recycling. Quarterly maintenance and service Adcock carries out maintenance visits every quarter and has engineers on hand to provide 24-hours support to assist the smooth site’s operation. The condenser and evaporator coils get clogged up quickly due to the humid conditions and they also corrode because of the acidic atmosphere on site. Corrosion occurs within 3 to 4 years, even after being treated with specialist long-lasting corrosion protection. Leak repair formula to repair evaporator coils Adcock is currently looking to test a new leak repair formula that will temporarily repair coils Adcock Refrigeration and Air Conditioning’s biggest challenge with the HVAC system maintenance and repair work was to cope with the need for quick turnaround of repairs and reduce the long lead times that are very common for evaporator coil replacements, largely due to the need for the coils to be specially coated. Adcock is, therefore, currently looking to test a new leak repair formula that will temporarily repair coils. The company has designed and installed a number of 100% back-up systems in critical areas at Smurfit Kappa’s Birmingham site, so as to cut down-time and keep it to a minimal, especially during any breakdown. Complete turkey solution Adcock has developed their technology through meticulous research and development. Their engineers carry out a comprehensive survey, provide precision design and fast and efficient installations, in order to provide a complete 'turnkey' solution to cater to varied climate and temperature setting needs for commercial and residential HVAC systems.
BG Energy Solutions (BGES) has been appointed to design building management systems for Keadby 2, a new 840MW gas-fired power station under construction in North Lincolnshire. Keadby 2 power station Keadby 2 is expected to become the cleanest and most-efficient gas-fired power station in Europe, enabling the UK to move away from coal in the 2020s and to integrate more renewables into the power grid. It will also be capable of being upgraded to further decarbonize its generation through carbon capture or hydrogen technology, as routes to market develop. When completed, the power station will provide electricity to up to 840,000 homes and businesses in the UK. Siemens Energy is the principle contractor delivering the power station, with specialist HVAC company, Exyte Hargreaves supporting the delivery of mechanical and electrical / HVAC within five buildings on the site. BGES has been appointed to design the building management systems, which will be commissioned in spring 2021. BMS and energy solutions major BGES is a member of the Engineering Construction Industry Association and adheres to the NAECI framework BGES is one of the UK’s renowned BMS and energy solutions companies, with roots dating back to 1995. The company has offices in Sheffield and London and is known for its unique approach to customer challenges, using state-of-the-art technologies. BGES is a member of the Engineering Construction Industry Association and adheres to the NAECI framework (the National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry). Adrian Woodhead, Project Lead at Exyte Hargreaves said “As a committed and responsible member of Britain’s Energy Cluster we are delighted with this appointment. Our delivery build methodology incorporates the use of our MMC Offsite Assembly Facility to supply horizontal modules, vertical risers and a prefabricated plant room, housing the centric energy center and heating distribution for the whole facility.” Design and build BMS systems Simon Shaw, Project Director at BG Energy Solutions (BGES) said “We are delighted on our appointment to design and build BMS systems for the world-renowned Keadby 2project. In doing so we’re proud to play our part in delivering a future-ready power station that will help the UK transition to a net zero energy system.” Commercial operation of Keadby 2 is scheduled for 2022 as coal power plant closures come into effect.
Infinitum Electric, creator of the breakthrough printed circuit board (PCB) motor, has announced the first product shipment from its revolutionary line of IoT-enabled electric motors to Comefri USA, a renowned HVAC fan original equipment manufacturer (OEM). Twenty-five trillion kilowatt hours of electricity are consumed per year, of which 45 percent is consumed by electric motors. This leaves a significant opportunity for many industries, including HVAC, to develop or replace machines using traditional motors with more efficient electric motors, which consume far less energy. Infinitum Electric is enabling this transition with its IEs series of motors. IoT-enabled IEs series electric motors Infinitum Electric’s IEs205 10 horsepower electric motor will be used by Comefri to power more efficient, space-saving commercial plenum fans, used in commercial and industrial buildings to deliver more sustainable heating and cooling airflow, along with helping in fighting climate change. The company’s award-winning electric motors meet the industry’s highest standards for efficiency and are significantly quieter than the competition. By replacing traditional iron and copper wire winding components with an IoT-enabled circuit board, Infinitum Electric motors are not only smaller, quieter and up to 50% lighter, but they have fewer structural requirements than others on the market. Cloud-connected IoT capabilities The motor’s cloud-connected IoT capabilities enable remote monitoring of key operational data Additionally, the motor’s cloud-connected IoT capabilities enable remote monitoring of key operational data, such as power, speed and temperature, for superior smart building and HVAC equipment intelligence. Over-the-air software updates to motors also enable customers to benefit from new features and enhance existing efficiency and operations. “Infinitum Electric’s motor provides Comefri USA’s independent design team with access to the latest high horsepower, integrated control, EC motor technology for projects of all sizes, in a robust, and field repairable package,” said Sylvie Braun, Chief Operations Officer (COO) of Comefri. Sylvie adds, “We’re excited to lead the way in innovative, environmentally-responsible HVAC design and look forward to the impact it will have in the marketplace.” Integrated with printed circuit board (PCB) technology Unlike 20-week lead times required by other motor competitors, Infinitum Electric’s motors can be manufactured with common printed circuit board (PCB) technology, drastically reducing the cost and complexity involved in motor manufacturing. Once production is fully ramped, Infinitum Electric’s standard lead time will be less than six weeks. “Much like an LED light bulb, our next-generation, integrated electric motors help HVAC customers like Comefri stand out as the planet’s most sustainable choice to power the world’s heating and cooling systems,” said Ben Schuler, Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Infinitum Electric. Ben adds, “In addition to being the responsible choice for our environment, they contribute to a much lower cost of ownership over time. We’re thrilled to achieve this major milestone of shipping our first product and look forward to ramping up production to deliver a myriad of units in the coming years for customers in the HVAC, home appliance, electric vehicle and other industries.”
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?