Ahead of the summer heat across the United Kingdom, REHUA, the globally renowned polymer specialist, has upgraded their smart heating control, in order to be able to seamlessly transfer between heating and cooling. NEA Smart 2.0 Allowing developers and contractors to provide efficient heating and cooling from a single solution, the NEA Smart 2.0 uses a series of algorithms to regulate temperature. These algorithms allow the device to learn occupant habits and data from multiple sensors in floo...
Jobber, the provider of home service management software, announces the launch of its Come Through for Home Service video campaign across Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok. For every view the 30-second video receives between June 15-17, Jobber will add $1, up to $50,000, to Boost by Jobber, the company’s grant program. The Come Through for Home Service video highlights the importance of home service companies and celebrates the essential work these businesses do in the com...
It’s shaping up to be a long, hot summer for HVAC contractors and their customers. Disruptions in the nationwide supply chain that began during the COVID-19 pandemic still have not been resolved. Shutdowns last summer played havoc with the supply of parts, and suppliers are still playing catch up, as raw materials remain scarce. Furthermore, prices are going up among some components and key raw materials. Waiting times for parts can run into weeks or even months. Supply shortages of HVAC...
Hitachi introduces a new line of high-efficiency single-zone, mini-split systems, PRIMAIRY mini-split systems. Designed to meet the unique needs of small to mid-size properties such as shops, restaurants, and classrooms, the PRIMAIRY system is an energy-efficient and cost-effective option. Hitachi quality is evident throughout the product line. Features of the product line include: Brushless DC fan motors provide stable, precise, energy-efficient operation. Compact units and long piping ru...
Few data centers live in a world of ‘high’ density, a number that is a moving target, but many are moving to high[er] density environments. Owners of higher density data centers often aren’t aware of how many variables factor into cooling their equipment. The result is that they spend too much on shotgun solutions that waste capacity when they would be better served by taking a rifle shot approach. This means understanding the heat dispersion characteristics of each piece of eq...
Ahead of the summer heat across the UK, a polymer specialist has upgraded their smart heating control to be able to seamlessly transfer between heating and cooling. Allowing developers and contractors to provide efficient heating and cooling from a single solution, the NEA Smart 2.0 uses a series of algorithms to regulate temperature. These algorithms allow the device to learn occupant habits and data from multiple sensors in floors and walls, creating optimal conditions for occupants. Maintai...
Airedale has launched the latest in its EasiCool range of precision cooling units, EasiCool Evo². Updated with new technology and with an extended operating envelope, the efficient, compact, and flexible EasiCool Evo² has been specifically designed with the global small / edge data market in mind. Airedale R&D teams have worked hard to deliver improved efficiency, performance, and IoT functionality, with a cooling capacity of 31-98kW and an Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) that is up to 25% higher than the previous ranges. Design and features Airedale’s EasiCool range is the global reference in precision cooling, with installs spanning over 3,000 applications and 4 continents since 2005. This latest evolution builds on the reputation for compactness and efficiency, with up to 57% more cooling power than previous models. EasiCool Evo² also delivers more cooling kW per m2 following a complete redesign of the case layout, making it significantly more efficient and attractive to small and medium-sized data centers, computer rooms, and other on-site equipment rooms, where space is at a premium and precision temperature control is essential. Functions EasiCool Evo² offers various airflow configurations, with front, rear, top or base return air options, thus increasing the versatility of the product. An expanded operating envelope allows return air temperatures ranging from 18°C to 40°C and ambient temperatures of -20°C to +52°C. Downflow and upflow arrangements are available on all models for maximum versatility. helix™ controls platform has a complete overhaul for Evo², taking advantage of the latest IoT advancements It comes in 4 standard case sizes, with EC fans as standard, improved filtration options (standard filters ISO-C-75 or upgrade option is ISO -1-60), and variable heater bank options, meaning energy and air quality efficiency is maximized. There is also an option of a low-ambient kit if required. The introduction of dual-cool functionality, alongside the standard Chilled Water (CW) or Direct Expansion (DX) cooling options, offers reassurance to the most critically temperature-controlled environments. The existing helix™ controls platform has also had a complete overhaul for Evo², taking advantage of the latest IoT advancements to deliver faster start-up, improved diagnostic capabilities, and better unit-to-unit networking. Authority Comment Asim Ansari, Export Sales Manager for Airedale International explained, “EasiCool is a popular unit in our export markets, especially in the Middle East where Airedale has a dedicated office in Dubai and a strong network of business partners. EasiCool has been around since 2005 and has a strong pedigree in a wide range of applications, from computer rooms and labs up to colocation data centers. Its relatively small footprint, in comparison to other precision cooling units, makes it attractive to many of our export clients." “Airedale always strives to stay ahead of the game and the introduction of EasiCool Evo² has been much anticipated. Our R&D team have really delivered and I am excited to be able to offer it to new and existing clients who are looking for versatile precision cooling in a compact, efficient package.”
The EME3625MD is a stationary, wind-driven rain-resistant louver that is Miami Dade approved. Constructed of extruded aluminum for low maintenance and high resistance to corrosion, the EME3625MD is listed for AMCA 540 Impact Rating, Missile D, and AMCA 550 for High-Velocity Wind Driven Rain. It was made for high-velocity hurricane zones that require basic impact protection as well as dry room locations where limited wind driven rain is desired Extreme Performance Louver The HZ700MD is a double frame extreme performance louver that is Miami Dade approved. Its two-piece blade design provides protection from wind-driven rain penetration, reducing damage and additional operating expenses. The HZ700MD meets AMCA 550 and AMCA 540 standards for enhanced protection and has a low-pressure drop, which delivers greater energy savings. It can be paired with equipment that requires high-energy filters, resulting in improved air quality in critical facilities. The high-velocity, wind-driven rain, and Miami-Dade qualifications allow the HZ700MD to be used in essential facilities, such as hospitals and data centers, where high air quality is necessary in extreme weather. The HZ700MD has visible mullion construction and a horizontal front blade design for architecturally pleasing aesthetics.
Panasonic is pleased to announce its sponsorship of the Efficiency North - Building for Future Generations, a FREE virtual event to attend this year taking place on Tuesday 22nd June - Thursday 24th June 2021. About Efficiency North Efficiency North is bringing together its landlord membership, key stakeholders in the construction sector, industry leaders, and national policy makers to address how we make the right choices in housing and construction now that will have the most positive impact on tomorrow. Building good quality homes that are affordable for everyone has never been more important. A year of the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the link between inadequate housing and health and wellbeing. We also need to act fast to slow and reverse the effects of climate change on our planet. Decisions we make now will have a lasting impact for generations to come. Authority Comment Richard Bishop, Head of Marketing for Panasonic UK and Ireland commented: “We are delighted to offer our support and involvement in this important event to highlight the use of low carbon alternatives such as air source heat pumps to the sector and how this could be the answer to help us reach our net zero targets.” Investing in R&D development Panasonic is a frontrunner within the heating and cooling industry, with over 60 years of experience in producing innovative products. The company invests heavily in R&D to develop new solutions to advance the market, with a huge emphasis on environmental impact, hence the investment in emerging low carbon technologies such as air source heat pumps.
Danfoss Power Solutions has released a full expansion of its complete end-to-end connectivity solution, PLUS+1® Connect. The software platform provides all the elements necessary for OEMs to easily implement an effective connected solutions strategy, improving productivity, decreasing cost of ownership, and supporting sustainability initiatives. Danfoss identified a need for a comprehensive solution from one trusted source. PLUS+1® Connect combines telematics hardware, software infrastructure, user-friendly interface, and API integration on a single cloud platform to provide one cohesive, connected experience. Authority Comment “One of the biggest hurdles for OEMs when implementing connectivity is knowing how to apply the data they’re collecting to their business model and to take advantage of its full value,” said Ivan Teplyakov, Development Manager, Connected Solutions at Danfoss Power Solutions. “PLUS+1® Connect streamlines the entire process from front to back. The minute they don’t have to send a technician out in the field to do something, they see the return on their connectivity investment on that machine.” Leverage the full value of telematics PLUS+1® Connect opens the door to a wide variety of value-adding applications. These can include anything from basic asset management to monitoring maintenance schedules and machine usage. Improving efficiency and productivity is at the heart of PLUS+1® Connect Fleet managers can either set maintenance intervals for their machines or monitor connectivity statuses such as engine status, battery voltage, and fluid levels. Any of these can directly contribute toward avoiding costly downtime, but in a simpler manner than traditional methods. “Improving efficiency and productivity is at the heart of PLUS+1® Connect. Increased efficiency improves your bottom line with less effort and makes machines more sustainable. Being able to extend the life of your machine through connectivity is great, though having the capability to optimize fuel usage is even better. We’re seeing that sustainability is a major trend that is becoming more and more important to our customers and their customers too.” Enabling OEMs PLUS+1® Connect enables OEMs to provide their customers with the connected capabilities they’re asking for without needing to invest in costly, complicated in-house expertise. This includes the portfolio of hardware available to equip PLUS+1® Connect software. OEMs can choose the current PLUS+1® CS10 wireless gateway, CS100 cellular gateway offerings, or the upcoming CS500 IoT gateway offering depending on the level of connectivity required for their specific needs. These Danfoss hardware components are designed and engineered to work together with PLUS+1® Connect, which provides an added level of reliability and seamless integration. The newly-launched PLUS+1® Connect can be purchased online through Danfoss’s new e-commerce marketplace. Key product attributes Single Cloud Platform: All telematics components and services are connected on the same platform, streamlining the entire implementation process. This allows new services to be developed and added to meet evolving customer needs. User-Friendly: installation and activation processes are simple, removing complexities traditionally associated with telematics solutions. Versatile: PLUS+1® Connect is applicable to various machines and use cases, whether for asset management purposes or to track usage hours. Flexible and Secure: PLUS+1® Connect was developed as an in-house Danfoss solution, and is a reliable, modular platform.
Lennox International, a global company in the heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration markets, is revolutionizing the commercial HVAC industry by introducing the rooftop unit Ultimate Indoor Air Quality system as part of its Building Better Air initiative. The Ultimate IAQ system With the ability to remove 99% of the virus that causes COVID-19 from the air, Lennox has developed a rooftop unit that can help commercial businesses improve the health of their building. Using a factory-installed combination of MERV 16 filters and UVC Germicidal lamp, the Ultimate IAQ system has been third-party tested to show a 95% single-pass efficiency rate with a 70% virus reduction rate after five minutes and 99% reduction after 30 minutes. Lab-test healthy building solution "We are excited to bring to market a game-changing, healthy building solution with the Ultimate IAQ system," said Elliot Zimmer, EVP, president & COO of Lennox Commercial. The Ultimate IAQ system has been lab-tested by a third party so the customers can feel confident "When we kicked off the Building Better Air initiative last year, we promised to continue to develop innovative solutions to help our customers improve the indoor air quality of their buildings. The Ultimate IAQ system has been lab-tested by a third party so that our customers can feel confident they are making a positive impact on the health of their buildings." Promotes better air The Ultimate IAQ system uses a variety of technologies to promote better air in commercial spaces. The MERV 16 Filter eliminates 95% of particles down to 0.3 microns, an industry first for light commercial rooftop units. The factory-installed UVC lights target various viruses, bacteria, and mold spores by treating the interior surfaces of the unit. In addition to these purification technologies, the Ultimate IAQ system also uses Humiditrol™+ to efficiently remove excessive humidity from interior spaces and maintain year-round comfort for employees and customers. A safe, comfortable building environment "Our goal with the Ultimate IAQ system is to help businesses provide a safe, comfortable building environment for their customers and employees," said Bobby DiFulgentiz, vice president of commercial product management and marketing. "Our development focus was to effectively integrate air purification and humidity control features into our Model L rooftop line to deliver the best indoor air quality solution in the light commercial market.” “We are extremely proud to not only offer this to our customers but back it up with impactful testing data that confirms what the Ultimate IAQ system can do to improve a building's environment."
ABB’s Azipod® propulsion system has brought huge advances to the maritime industry, thanks to its efficiency gains, sustainability benefits and the increased maneuverability it offers any ship to which it’s fitted. Jukka Varis – responsible for this technology globally, who has worked with the system from the very beginning – and Ole-Jacob Irgens – an engineer by training, who now leads the sales and marketing initiative for ABB’s Azipod® system – share their experiences and knowledge. Azipod® propulsion is a gearless steerable propulsion system where the electric drive motor is housed within a pod outside the ship hull. Originally developed for icebreaking vessels, the Azipod® system can be adapted to suit almost any kind of ship. Today, over 25 different vessel types rely on Azipod® technology – from cruise ships to cargo carriers, icebreakers, ferries and superyachts. Efficiency and sustainability benefits Electrical power minimizes engine noise and vibration, ensuring a smoother, quieter ride Jukka explains: “Azipod® system looks similar to an outboard motor but is much bigger – the large unit weighs as much as a fully loaded Jumbo Jet. It can turn 360 degrees around its axis, creating thrust in any direction and resulting in much better maneuverability of the vessel.” Electrical power minimizes engine noise and vibration, ensuring a smoother, quieter ride. The true efficiency benefits of Azipod® propulsion have become more and more apparent over the past three decades, bringing higher performance, reliability and sustainability for vessels. cutting fuel consumption Azipod® system cuts fuel consumption by up to 20 percent compared to conventional shaftline propulsion. Ole-Jacob adds: “Since the first installation on a cruise ship 25 years ago, we have estimated that the industry has saved more than 1,000,000 tons of fuels from these cruise ships alone.” Vessels can have a shorter route between Europe and Asia, saving many days in transport" Azipod® propulsion has also opened opportunities for new shipping lanes that weren’t feasible before, such as the Northern Sea Route, cutting fuel consumption while negating the need for separate icebreaker assistance. Ole-Jacob explains: “Vessels can have a shorter route between Europe and Asia, saving many days in transport. To do that, you need vessels which can go through ice, something the unique features of Azipod® enable.” Azipod® propulsion With the varied benefits and many applications possible for Azipod® propulsion, the team is currently working on some interesting concepts. Ole-Jacob says: “One concept is to use Azipod® on floating power plants, which require thrusters to put them in position, keep them there and then be able to move again as required. Another interesting prospect is in the fish farming industry." "Traditionally, fish farms have been quite fixed but with these installations becoming bigger and bigger, they need to be more flexible and move around. There are definitely lots of groundbreaking applications coming in the future.”
Now, more than ever, Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is a major focus concerning the health and safety of students and faculty within the nation’s schools. As they prepare their facilities for a return to in-person learning, school officials are being forced to get an education in the most effective ventilation solutions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other infections. Even without factoring in airborne threats like COVID-19, poor IAQ can negatively affect the health and learning of students. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the presence of dampness and mold increases the risk of asthma and other respiratory diseases by 30-50%, and that students in well-ventilated classrooms tend to achieve higher scores on standardized tests than children in poorly-ventilated classrooms. Ventilation Improvements Guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control indicates that ventilation system improvements can increase the delivery of clean air and dilute potential contaminants. The World Health Organization (WHO) also emphasizes the important role that HVAC improvements can play in keeping people safe indoors: Use of Dedicated Outdoor Air Systems (DOAS) is one option to improve ventilation and IAQ "A well-maintained and operating system can reduce the spread of COVID-19 in indoor spaces by increasing the rate of air change, reducing air recirculation, and increasing the amount of outdoor air coming in. Settings that recirculate the air should not be used. HVAC systems should always be regularly inspected, maintained, and cleaned." One option to improve ventilation and IAQ that is growing in popularity is the use of Dedicated Outdoor Air Systems (DOAS). These units can process high volumes of fresh outside air, tempering and dehumidifying it to avoid putting an excessive load on the facility’s cooling and heating systems. Conditioning Air The introduction of large volumes of outside air does create some extra challenges. The process to condition the air can be energy-intensive if the conditions outside are especially hot, cold, dry, or humid. That’s led to the development of energy recovery devices, usually a plate heat exchanger or heat recovery wheel that can be used to offset the power demand of the HVAC system. The devices work by capturing energy from the previously conditioned relief air as it is expelled from the facility. The devices are typically 60% efficient allowing for a significant amount of energy can be saved. This makes the improved ventilation a far more cost-effective proposition and reduces the size of the mechanical systems needed to serve the space. Other Steps to Take In addition to increasing the ventilate rate in classrooms, facilities managers can take other steps to improve the IAQ in schools: Better filtration. Because of increased concern about pathogens, MERV 13-and-higher filters are increasingly being used in schools instead of the traditional MERV 8. The higher-rated filters are able to filter out much smaller particles, but there is a trade-off. Their usage leads to a greater indoor pressure drop than normal. This is being addressed on the manufacturer level with the increased use of electronically commutated motors within HVAC systems. Active neutralization. The CDC recommends ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) applications as a supplementary measure to improve IAQ within schools. Control dehumidification. There is a growing use of dedicated humidity control systems in facilities outside of the humid southern states. Humidity control units can dehumidify indoor air while maintaining comfortable room temperatures. Proper maintenance. When considering IAQ issues affecting schools, lack of proper maintenance of HVAC equipment can have tangible effects on the quality of life of students. According to the EPA, those schools without major maintenance backlogs have a higher average daily attendance (ADA) by an average of 4 to 5 students per 1,000 as well as a lower annual dropout rate by 10 to 13 students per 1,000. School Funding Opportunities As school systems across the U.S. evaluate the state of their HVAC systems, many will have to reckon with the need to meet modern codes and standards. Older buildings can require substantial improvements to their HVAC systems, so it is to be expected that this will be an ongoing concern. American Rescue Plan includes $130 billion in funding that school systems can also use to improve ventilation systems To lower financial barriers for schools, there are new federal funding opportunities to help local school systems improve classroom ventilation. The American Rescue Plan includes $130 billion in funding dedicated to K-12 education that school systems can also use to improve ventilation systems in their facilities. This joins the $54.3 billion that the U.S. Congress approved for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER II Fund) in 2020 to allow school systems to address “preparing schools for reopening, and testing, repairing, and upgrading projects to improve air quality in school buildings.” Innovation and Quest For Improvement The federal funding can provide the opportunity for a fresh start for schools, allowing them to upgrade their HVAC systems to meet modern standards. These standards continue to evolve and new metrics such as the Integrated Seasonal Moisture Removal Efficiency (ISMRE) will continue to be developed. The ISMRE has been incorporated into ASHRAE 90.1 as part of a measure to set minimum energy efficiency standards for DOAS applications. Thanks to the industry’s ongoing innovation and quest for improvement, there is an array of critical HVAC tools available that schools can use to protect the health, safety, and quality of life of students in the classroom. Upgrading school ventilation systems is the pathway to creating the comfortable, safe learning environments that all students deserve. Now with federal funding available, school systems have a better opportunity to update their heating and cooling systems to improve air quality while benefiting from reduced operational costs due to meeting modern efficiency standards.
When we think of remote working our thoughts often jump to office workers taking laptops to the kitchen table or of Zoom calls interrupted by needy pets. Remote working, however, isn’t just confined to office jobs. Within the HVAC industry, engineers have been working remotely for large parts of the pandemic thanks to advancements in connected technology and automation of HVAC systems. So, just how has technology enabled remote work in the HVAC industry, and is the rise of the ‘work from home HVAC engineer’ here to stay? Full remote potential It’s important to note that the HVAC industry has been going through a digital transformation for many years now, with the pandemic only uncovering new uses for connected technology, such as remote work. The technology that underpins these remote capabilities has been implemented across multiple environments for several years already, but the requirement of social distancing and ‘work from home where possible’ in early 2020 provided the catalyst for the industry to begin realizing the full remote potential of this technology. The HVAC industry has been going through a digital transformation for many years now However, with the restrictions of the pandemic beginning to lift, what is the continued benefit to sustaining these capabilities longer term? There are multiple beneficiaries to these new remote capabilities, including Facilities Maintenance companies, their paying clients, the engineers themselves and crucially, the environment. Remote work solutions With the development of new, controls agnostic technology, even organizations with legacy machines and HVAC infrastructure can utilize new remote work solutions to reap the benefits of connected technology without any disruption to existing infrastructure or expensive start-up costs. These ‘work-from-home’ capabilities not only facilitate remote fixes, but also enable more accurate diagnostics and insights into root cause, meaning engineers are much more likely to be able to achieve a first-time-fix as they are able to arrive to site with the right tools, parts and skills to solve the problem. These newly enabled efficiencies can lead to a reduction in return visits, an increase in average jobs per day and an improvement in long term health and availability of HVAC equipment. Facilities management contractors Remote diagnostics is a win-win for customers, engineers and facilities management companies In addition, in the current environment where the volume of people in any given location is being closely monitored and kept to a minimum, organizations, such as food retailers, are benefiting more than ever from a reduction of site visits and the remote control and management of critical assets. This increase in engineer efficiency also leads to a cost incentive for both facilities management contractors and the HVAC system owners. Engineers who are able to diagnose faults without having to physically visit a site will inevitably be more cost-effective for their customers, and in turn also become more profitable. In other words – remote diagnostics is a win-win for customers, engineers and facilities management companies. Write-Back capabilities With HVAC systems now being effectively managed remotely, the advanced capability for engineers to diagnose and even fix faults remotely leads to more accurate and efficient fixes for machine faults, and ultimately presents an opportunity to dramatically reduce the industry’s carbon footprint through fewer trucks on the road for contractor visits. Machine health and performance can be continually optimized, all from a remote location Sophisticated digitized write-back capabilities (the technical term for remote fixes) – of which some already exist and others are being developed – will further help to reduce the number of journeys by cementing the ability of engineers to work from afar. Furthermore, by analyzing the data collected through IoT sensors, machine health and performance can be continually optimized, all from a remote location. This optimization, combined with accurate diagnostics and efficient fixes, can also contribute to environmentally beneficial outcomes. Technology-Enabled engineering Ensuring machines are running as efficiently as possible means they consume a significantly reduced amount of energy which not only enables a more sustainable and environmentally friendly approach to HVAC, but also delivers huge cost benefits for all involved parties. Working from home has been one of the standout consequences of the pandemic across almost every industry. This period has also seen significant leaps forward in digital innovation, and the HVAC sector is set to benefit from both more widespread use of connected technology and the evolution of digital insights. With the environmental, financial and operational benefits of technology-enabled engineering proving hard to ignore, the rise of the remote engineer is no doubt here to stay.
With ongoing efforts from governments across the globe to reduce carbon emissions and with an ever greater focus on sustainability, it is vital that the HVAC sector does its part in becoming more environmentally conscious. And, while there have been steps to become more sustainable, there is a huge amount that still needs to be done to make sure that many of the targets that have been set are attainable. In buildings, both large and small, industrial heating accounts for roughly two thirds of industrial energy demand and around a fifth of global energy consumption. Figures like this show the need to have efficient and environmentally-friendly HVAC equipment in place to make the crucial steps towards reducing the contributions these systems make to our carbon footprint. High energy consumption in construction sector A 2019 report by The International Environment Agency (IEA) showed that the buildings and construction sectors combined were responsible for over 30% of global energy consumption and nearly 40% of carbon emissions. This is indicative of the steps the sector needs to take to play its role in a more eco-friendly society, some of which are already underway. However, much more needs to be done if the UK is to reach its goal of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050. As we envisage what a post-COVID world might look like, businesses and governments are continuing to put sustainability and lower carbon emissions at the forefront of their planning and the HVAC sector is certainly no exception. But with change in the sector a daunting prospect, decision-makers often don’t know where to start. Smart Technology use in HVAC systems Smart HVAC uses sensors that integrate with a building’s automation system With the constant growth and greater deployment of smart technologies within the HVAC sector, this is certainly a way that systems can become more efficient. Smart HVAC uses sensors that integrate with a building’s automation system. These sensors then collect information about conditions throughout the building. Heat waves are now a far more common occurrence in the United Kingdom. The Met Office estimates they are up to 30 times more likely and will be a bi-annual occurrence by 2050. It is important that any uptake in HVAC usage doesn’t lead to a drastic increase in emission generation. This is one of the areas where smart systems will become crucial. Many scientists have been unequivocal in their sentiment that heat waves are a cause of greater emissions and expect temperature records in the UK and Europe to be broken more regularly, so sites will need to be equipped to handle these conditions. Regulating temperature with hand-held devices With wireless systems now much more commonplace, temperatures can be controlled easily from hand-held devices. With these new technologies, those managing the systems can also benefit from remote monitoring and maintenance, reducing the need to travel to the site for yet another environmental incentive. To accompany the smart systems, equipment including smart thermostats can be installed to maximize HVAC efficiency. Other smart systems available to businesses include smart furnaces and air conditioning units that are far easier to operate than their traditional counterparts. Reducing unnecessary ventilation While global temperatures continue to rise, air conditioning usage has increased and has contributed to greater levels of energy usage. A huge amount of needless emissions are generated by unnecessary ventilation, contributing heavily to heat loss and overall energy wastage. Recirculation of air is a traditionally lower energy cost method of retaining heat and keeping emissions low, however, we must be mindful of the risks associated with recirculating air. The risk of circulating diseases is negated somewhat with heat recovery ventilation, which both removes the risk of disease spreading and improves energy consumption. Efficiency performance of new AC units Air conditioning units in particular contribute significantly to a building’s energy consumption Air conditioning units in particular contribute significantly to a building’s energy consumption, equating to 10% of the UK’s electricity consumption and as such it is important that we bear in mind ways to counteract the emissions this creates. Global energy demand for air conditioning units is expected to triple by 2050, as temperatures continue to rise year on year. The efficiency performance of new air conditioning units will be the key, when it comes to ensuring that escalating demand does not equate to greater emissions. Another issue for suppliers and manufacturers to address is differing rates of consumption for AC units in different countries, with units sold in Japan and the EU typically more efficient than those found in China and the US. Modularization Modular HVACs have also become increasingly popular in recent years. Modular HVACs are responsible for heating, cooling and distributing air through an entire building, with their increase in popularity largely down to their greater levels of energy efficiency, cost effectiveness, flexibility and substantial ease of installation and maintenance. Modular HVACs can be tailored specifically for workspaces and they often allow work to be done on the systems without disturbing the workforce, achieved primarily through rooftop placement. Commercial workspaces are larger and often require differing needs to residential properties and can cater to a wide range of the specific requirements of work and commercial spaces. As we strive for lower carbon emissions, it seems that this trend will continue and will become a key area in reducing emissions that HVACs have traditionally generated. System maintenance and training To meet government and industry requirements, many new buildings will require HVAC systems that can be maintained simply in order to perform in a more energy efficient way. Many companies are looking at ways to become climate neutral and significantly reduce their footprint Many companies are looking at ways to become climate neutral and significantly reduce their footprint. Companies are following the likes of German-based company, Wilo Group, who have announced they are committing to sustainable manufacturing by developing a new carbon neutral plant and HQ in the next few years. Lowering carbon footprint As we continue to move towards an ever more environmentally conscious society, it will be of paramount importance for companies, governments and the public to think about ways in which we can lower carbon emissions. Smart technologies will certainly be at the forefront of this, negating many needless journeys and making it easier for industries to adjust settings and tackle issues remotely. Greater levels of training will help equip us with the tools to make sure we are best placed to reduce emissions and be more sustainable as a result. While the steps outlined above do show some progress and measures we can take, there is far more that we can do as a sector to significantly reduce HVAC’s carbon footprint and once we have moved beyond the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, this will surely be at the front of industry leader minds.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an emerging tool for a long list of applications, including the ability to analyze and ensure optimum performance of an HVAC system. Emerson’s Sensi Predict smart HVAC solution is an example of how AI can boost the capabilities of HVAC. It has been recognized with a Silver Edison Award in the Innovative Services – AI category. Sensi Predict smart HVAC solution Sensi Predict combines inputs from 10 sensors in an HVAC system and analyzes the performance of heating and cooling systems in real time. Intelligent monitoring alerts home owners and their contractors, when HVAC systems are not operating at full efficiency. The alerts, which can be accessed on a smartphone, can predict and prevent problems, ensure corrective maintenance, lower utility costs, and prolong the life of an HVAC system. Fault detection and diagnostics are a new frontier in HVAC technology, delivering a seamless and simple user experience. Sensi Predict HVAC system configuration Here is how the Sensi Predict system is configured: Sensors monitor the temperature of the air flowing from the HVAC system into the home, and also the return air temperature, coming from the home back into the system. Sensors also monitor temperatures in the liquid and vapor lines in the refrigerant loop, and the indoor and outdoor control lines, communicating back and forth from the thermostat to the outdoor unit. Other sensors monitor the current draw and indoor voltage of indoor units, and current and voltage to the outdoor units. Data from the sensors is used to analyze how well the HVAC is operating, including detailed monthly performance checks, with results issued to the home owner and the contractor. If a warning is detected, an alert will be sent in real time. 24/7 monitoring The 24/7 monitoring is summarized in a personalized home owner portal and monthly performance reports The 24/7 monitoring is summarized in a personalized home owner portal and monthly performance reports that include any alerts, loss of performance, runtime and estimated cost and filter status. Actionable alerts tell when a problem is detected, sent via an email with a straightforward explanation and recommended action. “Our heating and cooling systems are critical to the health and comfort of our families and the environment, yet we have little visibility into how they perform on a day-to-day basis,” said Jamie Froedge, Executive President of Emerson’s Commercial and Residential Solutions business. The Sensi Predict systems seek to provide additional visibility. Sharing real-time system insights The Edison Awards highlight top-tier new product innovation, service development and human-centered design. Named after inventor, Thomas Alva Edison, the awards recognize and honor global innovation. The award to Emerson’s Sensi Predict system recognizes it as a 21st-century solution to the maintenance of home heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, sharing real-time system insights, in order to help home owners monitor performance and prevent unexpected problems. Maximize system lifetime and minimize energy costs “We are honored to be recognized for this innovative technology that provides both awareness and peace of mind, when it comes to an essential component of the home,” said Jamie Froedge. Sensi Predict also provides benefits related to installation, by validating a quality install and eliminating call backs. Over time, it maximizes system lifetime and minimizes energy costs. service and maintenance information In terms of maintenance, the system provides information to ensure that all contractor truck rolls generate revenue and decrease the average time on site. The 24/7 monitoring limits home visits to only when needed and increases transparency to the customer of suggested repairs and upgrades. Home owners can access the Sensi Predict Homeowner Portal on the official website for detailed information, based on real-time data about how their system is functioning and its performance history, energy usages and costs and predicted maintenance needs.
The term ‘robotics’ refers to technology or machines that substitute or replicate human actions. ‘Human augmentation’ is another term, referring to the use of technology to reduce strain and fatigue as workers perform strenuous tasks over long periods of time. Hilti Group has introduced robots and semi-automated technologies to the construction trades, including HVAC. The role of these technologies in the HVAC market is to increase efficiency and accuracy, reduce costs, and decrease physical strain/injury of HVAC installers on the jobsite. Two Hilti products, Jaibot and the EXO-O1 exoskeleton, can make workers’ lives better by reducing risk on the jobsite, increasing productivity, and improving the quality and consistency of work. Reducing worker fatigue Jaibot is a semi-autonomous mobile, overhead drilling robot. It executes its tasks based on building information modeling (BIM) data. The robot is a cordless and easy-to-use system that does not require expert skills. It locates itself accurately indoors, drills the holes while controlling dust, and finally marks them according to trade. Jaibot provides faster, safer and more accurate execution of digitally coordinated mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) systems on the jobsite. Jaibot performs the ceiling drilling and marking, thus allowing the workforce to focus on installation Jaibot is designed to work with workers, not replace them, by taking on strenuous and repetitive tasks that have been shown to put workers’ health at risk. Guided by a trained operator, Jaibot performs the ceiling drilling and marking, thus allowing the workforce to focus on installation. This makes jobsite teams faster, more productive, reduces worker fatigue and enables them to deliver a constant plannable output, according to Hilti. Required drilling information “One of the few pitfalls the BIM process encounters is getting the digitally coordinated and designed project from the office and out onto the job site,” says Aidan Maguire, Business Unit Manager for Hilti North America’s Measuring, Layout and Robotics technologies. “While traditional methods will take the BIM model and print out paper or utilize 2D blueprints to use to install anchors, the Jaibot works directly from the coordinated digital design or BIM model using a point cloud of the anchor locations. Jaibot can also read the required drilling information such as drilling diameter, drilling depth, trade or system from the BIM model. This allows the semi-autonomous Jaibot to operate directly from the most up-to-date digital model.” The Hilti EXO-O1 is a wearable human augmentation system designed to reduce fatigue and strain. The exoskeleton is designed for workers performing strenuous overhead tasks for long periods of time. Performing overhead work Long-term, the EXO-O1 contributes to prevention of musculoskeletal disorders This system will allow its user to perform the overhead installation of HVAC systems while reducing the injuries and errors that come with the normal fatigue common from this type of work. Hilti’s research shows that users who perform overhead work for more than 60% of their time benefit from up to 47% reduction of load on their shoulders. With decreasing strain and fatigue, the EXO-O1 allows users to remain productive while working safer for longer periods. Long-term, the EXO-O1 contributes to prevention of musculoskeletal disorders. The upfront costs of these systems are designed to be competitive when compared to traditional methods, says Maguire. “The other benefits of the systems such as rework, injuries, and labor costs, while increasing productivity and accuracy all provide extensive and sometimes immeasurable benefits for the systems’ operators,” Maguire adds. Human augmentation systems Human augmentation systems help overcome labor shortages in the HVAC trade in several ways. They are not designed to replace workers but rather to augment the workforce by taking over strenuous and repetitive tasks that have been shown to put workers’ health at risk. The augmentation systems help to reduce absentee days, fill gaps caused by a diminishing qualified workforce, and allow the workforce to focus on more value-adding tasks, thus contributing to higher and more consistent outputs. These systems help construction companies retain the tenured workforce already in place These systems help construction companies retain the tenured workforce already in place and attract new talent to the industry by offering more attractive working conditions and the opportunity to work with state-of-the-art technologies. The cost of a robotic system like Jaibot can be directly compared to other methods of overhead drilling all the way down to a per-point cost. Quicker project delivery These systems have a direct impact on the time and labor required to complete these tasks and can provide value through supplementing the requirement for skilled labor, reducing labor cost, and providing time savings on the critical path of a project to enable quicker project delivery and potentially meeting targeted schedule bonuses. Additionally, while these technologies are relatively new to the construction industry, as the utilization of these systems increases there will be the opportunity to study and quantify the health and safety savings over time. Both the Hilti Jaibot and EXO-O1 exoskeleton are new innovations currently being rolled out across the United States. “As with all innovations, it is often not the technology that drives adoption, but human beings,” says Maguire. Adopting new technologies The key to overcoming this mindset is to closely support the first adopters of this technology" “While we see a clear advantage of deploying mobile robotic or human augmentation solutions for certain tasks and observe an increase in activity in the market, it is hard to predict how long this will take. We envisage that significant progress will be made over the next five years. As the construction industry continues to move towards digitalization, more and more companies will look for technology that gives them an advantage over their competitors, and Jaibot and EXO-O1 will help them do exactly that.” The biggest obstacle for greater deployment is the construction industries’ resistance to change, says Maguire. The phrase ‘because this is how we’ve always done it’ is prevalent in construction. Many construction companies are risk-adverse and prefer to continue to utilize the tried-and-tested methods of the past. “The key to overcoming this mindset is to closely support the first adopters of this technology in order to quantify and provide proof of the many benefits of adopting these new technologies and methods,” says Maguire.
What do customers want from their HVAC company? It’s a challenging question, and the answers reveal a path to a more successful and customer-centric company. There are numerous articles written that offer consumers advice on choosing an HVAC company. In the simplest terms, wouldn’t it be possible to ‘reverse engineer’ that advice to provide a roadmap to guide HVAC companies in how to succeed? Addressing consumer concerns Often, consumers’ concerns surround whether a company is a reputable and/or a well-managed business. Answering questions about basic requirements, such as insurance should be easy. Another element of consumer-oriented advice on choosing an HVAC company is to find one that is qualified to do the job. For example, able to work on the specific type of equipment a consumer has, whether central air conditioning, humidifiers, heating sources, or whatever. From the perspective of the HVAC contractor, this advice points to a need for constant training and updating of skills related to various equipment types. Seeking HVAC specialists Customers may be looking for specialty service, specific to a certain type of equipment or type of installation Consumers are also advised to seek out specialists in the work they need doing, whether a repair, a new installation or related to a specific type of equipment. Contractors must both understand their own strengths and weaknesses and be able to communicate them clearly to put customers at ease. Consumers will also be looking for contractors, who are experienced in repairing the brand or type of system they have. Customers may be looking for specialty service, specific to a certain type of equipment or type of installation. Contractors should constantly evaluate their skills-sets, their strengths and weaknesses, and provide full transparency to enable customers to make the most informed decisions. Better to walk away from a job than to overextend or misrepresent a contractor’s skillset. Such overreach never ends well and can damage a contractor’s broader reputation. HVAC contractors come in all sizes Customers will also be looking to evaluate the size and stability of the HVAC company that they work with. HVAC contractors come in all sizes, of course, and the size of a company does not necessarily reflect on the quality of work. However, stability and a good reputation are essential, especially for a smaller company or one-man shop. Consumers are often advised to ask for references, especially if dealing with a smaller contractor. HVAC businesses can be proactive in this regard by keeping references handy and even collecting customer testimonials to share with prospective customers. Positive reviews a key indicator Online reviews, hopefully all positive, are another element that can help to put prospective customers’ minds at ease. Ideally, if an HVAC contractor is doing a good job, positive reviews, testimonials and references will happen organically. Consumers are often advised to ask for certifications to document an installer’s skillset, so keeping up with the related paperwork will ensure that a customer is comfortable with any contractor’s skill level. Specific HVAC contractor license requirements Specific contractor license requirements vary by state and even at the local level Specific contractor license requirements vary by state and even at the local level. Required license numbers should be displayed on websites and promotional materials, and most states have an online directory listing of licensed contractors. Be attentive to other requirements, too, such as the special EPA certifications required to use refrigerant. Consumers expect their HVAC contractors to guide their buying decision, whether determining the correct size HVAC unit to serve a specific home size, analyzing flow rates, or recommending systems to meet specific needs. Striking a balance between simplicity and technical detail Delivering on these expectations requires a delicate balance between simplicity and technical detail. The customer needs to be comfortable that the installer knows his stuff but does not want to be overwhelmed by arcane technical discussions or puzzling acronyms. Best by far is to keep it simple (and be willing to provide additional detail – described in layman’s terms – if the customer has questions). Membership in local trade associations can provide additional credibility to a contractor, and provide additional sales and networking opportunities, too. Importance of warranties Warranties are another critical issue for consumers. Everyone offers manufacturers’ warranties, but there is an opportunity for HVAC contractors to offer even more, whether an extended warranty, inclusion of labor, as well as parts, work guarantee on repairs, and/or an extended maintenance contract. Availability 24/7 could enable a contractor to take work away from a competitor Customers should be warned that maintenance or repairs performed by an unqualified company may void the manufacturer warranty. Availability in an emergency or on short notice is another way HVAC companies can differentiate themselves among consumers. Availability 24/7 could enable a contractor to take work away from a competitor who is closed for the weekend. Emphasizing on customer services Customer service also requires a personal touch, so an ability to communicate well with potential customers can generate extra business. Emphasize listening skills and make sure customers know they are being heard. In all dealings with customers, be straightforward and honest in order to build long-term trust. To grow a successful HVAC business, prepare proactively to answer the questions customers are most likely to ask.
Working alongside Sunflag Iron and Steel Company Ltd. in Bhandara, India, global technology company ABB has achieved successful integration of its ABB Ability™ Data Analytics Platform for metals, tying together all manufacturing and operational data of steel melt shop and rolling mills to improve production planning and plant performance optimization. The plant, which has a capacity to produce 500,000 metric tons of high-quality special steel per annum, now has the platform to integrate data sources across 17 operational areas, including non-ABB systems. A key example is that information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) has converged to positively impact Sunflag’s steel melt shop (SMS) and rolling mills. ABB Ability™ Data Analytics Platform ABB integrated with the existing automation systems for process and quality monitoring in real time, aligning with user-friendly operator dashboards available via a web page on mobile. The platform enables identification and diagnosis of issues or use of extra resources. “Together we’re looking forward to realizing the full benefits of enhanced operations and quality,” said Ragunath Satyan, Industry Lead for Metals, ABB India. “ABB Ability™ Data Analytics Platform for metals will provide clear advantages in terms of monitoring and troubleshooting daily process and quality issues.” It is one of the first global implementations of ABB’s integrated plant monitoring system in the metals industry “We have ensured that Sunflag Steel’s people have visualization of real time plant operations on the most modern dashboards. This will allow for better decision making and will ultimately show returns in productivity, quality and resource efficiency.” digital transformation engagement It is one of the first global implementations of ABB’s integrated plant monitoring system in the metals industry, and is part of a long-term vision across process industries for a future where the physical and digital worlds are connected, scalable and harness machine learning potential. The project has been part of a wider digital transformation engagement with the customer, with ABB providing domain expertise for systems that improve overall process visibility to enable data driven business decision making. resource efficiency “We’re proud to have had the opportunity with Sunflag Steel to showcase and implement ABB Ability™ Data Analytics Platform for metals for all manufacturing and operational data of steel melt shop and rolling mills on site,” added Ragunath Satyan. ABB Ability™ solutions combine ABB’s deep domain expertise with connectivity and software innovation to empower real time, data-driven decisions for safer, smarter operations that maximize resource efficiency and contribute to a low-carbon future. A large portfolio of digital solutions helps organizations automate, optimize and future proof their business to achieve new heights of performance and drive sustainable progress.
The mining industry uses a variety of corrosive chemicals in the extraction process of minerals such as gold, silver, platinum and other valuable raw materials. In the extraction of gold, for example, chemicals that are used in the process (ie., sodium hydroxide and sodium cyanide), require to be constantly heated at certain temperatures in large containers (up to 50,000 gallons). Replaceable heating elements These temperatures also require precise controls in order to maintain their consistency and effectiveness. The mining industry has used Wattco immersion heaters to help them solve this problem. With the help of highly resistant alloys used with our tubular elements, seamless tubing as well as a well calculated watt density, Wattco was able to provide replaceable heating elements that would heat up the chemical solutions to efficient levels using digital SCR controllers to help maintain the required temperatures. Skid mounted systems were also used in sister facilities that assisted in transport A redundancy system was also engineered to allow for emergency situations and help protect the valuable product and avoid any downtime in the process. Skid mounted systems were also used in sister facilities that assisted in transport and modularized the heating system in anticipation of additional heating and power requirements. Benefits of Wattco immersion heaters are as follows: Even dangerous and corrosive liquids can use electric heating to assist in the extraction of valuable commodities without the use of flammable heating source such as gas. Safety and virtually maintenance free electric heating can be used in large tanks without the need of access holes from the side of the tank. Precise controls can be used to maintain sensitive temperatures in dangerous areas.
The YMCA Association of Greater Rochester, New York, is one of the oldest associations in the United States. They currently have fifteen thriving locations built over the last century that range in size from 50,000 to more than 70,000 square feet. While the size and age of the facilities vary, high standards for energy efficiency and indoor air quality (IAQ) are key objectives in the design, construction, and operation of these buildings. "Good indoor air quality is very important" notes Eastside Family YMCA Executive Director Kevin Fitzpatrick. "Our members are quick to note if there is a problem." Indoor air pollution Indoor air quality is a constant challenge at a fitness center. Pollutants are present everywhere. In some respects, the effects of indoor air pollution are heightened in fitness centers because occupants are breathing heavily during workouts and inhaling more air through their mouths; this air forgoes the filters in the nose and travels deeper into the lungs. There is also a risk of mold growth and odor from sweaty garments and towels in the locker room There is also a risk of mold growth and odor from sweaty garments and towels in the locker room, or from moist air emanating from a swimming area. The work to mitigate the odors and air quality hazards associated with any fitness center requires diligence and careful planning. For example, the Eastside Family YMCA, the newest and largest branch in the Rochester Association, opens as early as 5:00 am and closes at 10:30 pm on weekdays. Healthy indoor environment After hours, cleaning crews work to refresh the space while ventilation operates 24/7 to keep the facility fresh and odor free. Even before the day-to-day upkeep of a facility, the managers of these modern fitness centers proactively specified HVAC solutions at the construction or renovation phases to ensure a clean and healthy environment. Exhausting contaminated air and continually replacing it with fresh outside air is an effective method of maintaining a healthy indoor environment. The drawback to high ventilation rates is increased heating and cooling costs to replace the exhausted air. Facilities can marginalize these increased costs, however, by utilizing an energy recovery ventilation (ERV) solution that can reduce outdoor air energy costs up to 80%. Outdoor energy challenges Airxchange wheels have proven reliable in multiple buildings over a number of years" All branches of the Rochester YMCA Association use ERV systems to overcome the outdoor energy challenges presented by Rochester's cold winters and hot, humid summers. According to Christopher Marks, Vice President of Properties, the association leadership team prefers Airxchange for all new installations because of their excellent reliability. "Airxchange wheels have proven reliable in multiple buildings over a number of years. We will specify Airxchange wheels in all buildings that utilize an ERV." Including ERVs in their buildings during construction or renovation allows the HVAC system designers to specify smaller and more efficient heating and cooling units, reducing the upfront cost and enabling the high ventilation rates that provide clean, healthy air. Unitary rooftop system The Eastside facility is an award winning building, recognized by the national YMCA as a ‘Top Ten’ building in the USA. At that facility, the Child Watch, gym, locker rooms and community spaces are all ventilated using energy recovery wheels as part of the commercial unitary rooftop system. "In the eight years since this HVAC system was installed, there have been no maintenance issues, and system reliability has been excellent," adds Fitzpatrick. The robust energy recovery performance of the Airxchange wheels also resulted in them being specified for an upcoming addition to the facility. When the addition is completed, the facility will be a total of 105,000 sq. ft., making it the largest branch in the region. Gas heat exchangers LaBella Associates chose to pretreat incoming outside air with energy recovery According to the principal engineers who designed the addition to the Eastside YMCA, Kathleen VanderZwaag and Casey Bernhard of LaBella Associates, because of the many energy savings measures used on the project, including energy recovery, the facility was awarded rebates from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) that assisted in reducing the up-front costs of the new space. They also note that Labella uses ERVs in any building where repurposing the energy in exhaust air allows them to reduce the size of the heating and cooling units. At the Eastside YMCA, LaBella Associates chose to pretreat incoming outside air with energy recovery in order to raise the temperature of the air on a winter design day, reducing the load of the gas heat exchangers. Enhancing patron experience LaBella has had great success with Airxchange over the last decade and continues to specify their products on new projects in the region. The fresh, clean air that enhances the patron experience is the result of the attention to air quality by the entire Rochester YMCA Association. These buildings are bright, airy, and inviting family destination. The proactive approach to building design and maintenance offers a fine example for any fitness center.
Ductless and VRF manufacturer, Samsung HVAC, headquartered in Roanoke, Texas, has collaborated with the developers of The Metroport Chamber located in downtown Roanoke to provide individual zone control, energy efficiency, and innovative indoor units to a brand-new office building in an up-and-coming area. Designed as a member-focused building, the new Roanoke location offers co-working space, lease space, and conference room availability for the Chamber’s membership and staff. The new offices directly meet The Metroport Chamber’s mission to create, promote, and enhance opportunity and growth for the business community. Heat recovery system The member-focused building will serve as an incubator for entrepreneurs and small businesses to start, grow, and build their companies. The building offers two open workspace areas for co-working, seven fully furnished leasable offices, and three conference rooms with audio and visual equipment. The new space is conditioned by a Samsung Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) heat recovery system. Samsung HVAC provided two of their flagship products to condition the space The Samsung VRF system provides simultaneous heating and cooling, including individual room control - allowing the Chamber to condition each space as needed. Samsung HVAC provided two of their flagship products to condition the space, the 360 Cassette and the WindFree™ 4-Way Cassette. The 360 Cassette features a circular design that blends harmoniously into any type of interior design space. Advanced cooling technology The 360-degree directional winds created by the round heat exchanger distribute air into the space evenly. Additionally, WindFree™ advanced cooling technology provides Metroport Chamber occupants with a cool and comfortable space while allowing for optimal energy efficiency without the discomfort of direct cold airflow experienced in many conference rooms. Developer on the project is The Integrity Group, LLC with RGA Architects, Inc. as the architect and G&A | McAdams Co. as the engineer. Project partners for the building include: City of Roanoke, FastSigns Alliance, G&A | McAdams Co., Integrity Group, LLC, Integrity Land Title, LLC, iOffice JA Design Solutions, Kelly Hart & Hallman LLP, Pinnacle Bank, RGA Architects, Inc, and Samsung HVAC.
The underfloor system at the prominently positioned Mayfair offices was originally installed in the year 2000 for Japanese construction company Teisei and has proved to be an adaptable services solution for the building over the past 18 years. The system at Hanover Street is the CAM-C system with underfloor supply air and underfloor return air. Each floor is effectively one zone, with a single CAM downflow unit supplying conditioned air to the underfloor plenum. Access flooring system This conditioned air is supplied into the workspace via fan terminal units, known as Fantiles which are recessed into the floor plenum. Approximately 80 standard size TU4 Fantiles are located over the building’s five floors and a fully stringered Nesite raised access flooring system supplied by AET is installed throughout. AET engineers worked with fit-out contractor Think-inside on the recent Cat-B works The original refurbishment of the property was specified to a high standard, designed by Architect, D.E.G.W offering a large, open plan floorplate, a generous floor to ceiling height of 2.7m, featuring full height glazing, 600mm2 carpet tiles for added flexibility and a high specification metal tile ceiling. M+E Consultant, Roger Preston & Partners specified the underfloor services solution to permit this high specification and offer maximum flexibility for future change and reconfiguration according to tenant demands. AET engineers worked with fit-out contractor Think-inside on the recent Cat-B works. Granting additional privacy The space had been returned to Cat-A status after the previous tenancy ended, leaving a blank canvas for new first floor occupier Quadreal. An initial validation survey of the UfAC system on the first floor identified repairs required to the underfloor baffle and a number of damaged return air grilles to be replaced. The underfloor baffle being essential to maintain properly as it divides the underfloor plenum into supply and return air paths. As well as the essential repairs, three additional Fantiles were supplied to cater for occupational increase and Quadreal opted to install sound attenuator boxes beneath all Fantiles in order to minimize noise transfer between cellular offices and grant additional privacy. Five Flextouch wall controllers were installed in the boardroom and offices permitting users easy control of temperature and fan speed as well as CO2 monitoring. The services upgrade and interior fit-out works were completed in April 2018 with Quadreal occupying the space immediately after completion.
Drury Southwest is a Missouri-based, family owned and operated hotel system with more than 130 hotels in 21 states. Founded in 1973, the Drury brands include Drury Inn & Suites®, Drury Inn®, Drury Plaza Hotel®, Drury Suites®, Pear Tree Inn by Drury®, and other brands. The company’s focus on exceptional customer service, spotless rooms, and best-in-class value earned the company a JD Power and Associates ranking of ‘Highest in Guest Satisfaction’ award from 2006-2014. Exceptional indoor air quality (IAQ) has long been a highlight of the guest experience at any Drury Hotel. Many hotels simply ventilate hallways and rely on bathroom exhaust fans to ventilate rooms by drawing fresh air through undercut doors. Delivering fresh outside air In contrast, Drury has delivered fresh outside air directly into each guest room for more than three decades. At the same time, return vents continually extract and exhaust stale air from each room. The management of Drury Southwest, currently headed by company president Dennis Vollink, believes that entering a room that smells and feels fresh is a key to guest satisfaction and repeat business. We feel that mold and humidity control is also an important factor in maintaining our buildings" “We believe that our strategy of bringing fresh air directly into our customer rooms and ventilating appropriately contributed to our winning of the JD Power and Associates Award for Guest Satisfaction, year over year,” shares Vollink. “We feel that mold and humidity control is also an important factor in maintaining our buildings,” adds Gregg Mrzlak, the Mechanical Project Manager for new constructions and renovations at Drury Southwest. Energy recovery wheels The challenge of prioritizing IAQ and using high ventilation rates is to cost effectively treat the fresh outdoor air for temperature and humidity. For the past fifteen years, Drury Southwest has utilized rotary energy recovery wheels manufactured by Airxchange, Inc. in new hotel constructions and HVAC system renovations of older buildings. Using an energy recovery wheel to recycle up to 80 percent of the energy in room exhaust air provides ‘free’ conditioning of the fresh outdoor air. For hotels located in humid climates, energy recovery wheels can be configured with desiccant that momentarily extracts water molecules from the incoming airstream and deposits them into the exhaust airstream, greatly decreasing the moisture load for building dehumidifiers. “ERV’s make it affordable to bring in the ever increasing large amounts of outside air required by both codes (ASHRAE 62.2) and our own in house standards,” notes Mrzlak. High ventilation rates Airxchange used by the Drury design team in 2006 at the Alamo Bank Building in San Antonio A pair of similar projects spanning a decade show how Airxchange wheels can be of particular use in the renovation of HVAC systems within the older buildings that are frequently refurbished and converted to Drury hotels. Airxchange used by the Drury design team in 2006 at the Alamo Bank Building in San Antonio, which was converted into a 370-room Drury Plaza Hotel. As part of the HVAC design, Dennis Vollink, acting as the principal mechanical engineer in addition to his role as company president, specified Airxchange cassettes. Long an advocate of using ERV technology to enable high ventilation rates, he was also faced with installation challenges and access limitations for the 100 year old building. The HVAC system would be located in a small attic and needed to be brought into the space through normal door-ways and stairwells. With flexibility in mind, Vollink selected an Airxchange’s ‘split-wheel,’ also known as the Field Assembled Cassette, that could be assembled onsite. Innovative polymer material The energy recovery surface is a durable and innovative polymer material that has proven to last for over 30 years in comfort HVAC applications. The polymer is formed into a matrix and segmented for easy removal or installation from the rigid stainless steel frame, making Airxchange wheels both light and serviceable. Drury uses ERVs in every project, whether it is a new build or a historic renovation" “Without Airxchange’s split wheel design, we would have had a very difficult time finding a way to install the ERV system,” offers Gregg Mrzlak. “Drury uses ERVs in every project, whether it is a new build or a historic renovation. The historic renovations are usually quite challenging as we have had to design and specify units that have to be brought into the building in pieces, with the largest piece small enough to fit into an elevator and then assembled in place.” Electric heater downstream The Drury team’s innovation at the Alamo Bank conversion did not stop with use of the split-wheel design. Drury decided to implement a unique strategy for providing heat, deciding to implement a central electric heater downstream from the Airxchange wheel. The effective pre-conditioning by the wheel minimized the required heating load enough that only supplemental heating was required. This design proved to have a lower first cost and Drury Hotels found it to be an efficient and practical solution. A similar theme is evident in one of Drury’s latest renovation projects, the 2015 transformation of the historic Board of Education building into a 180-room Drury Plaza Hotel. Working in tandem with the Cleveland Landmarks Commission to preserve the ornate appearance of the East Sixth Street building, Drury is initiating a complete internal renovation, including the installation of a new HVAC system. Air handling units were recently purchased from an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) that met their exact specifications, with one exception: Drury specifically requested that the energy recovery wheels that are normally included with those units be replaced.
Round table discussion
Shifting demographics suggest a need for ‘new blood’ in the HVAC industry. It has never been a more important time to attract new applicants into the industry. Fortunately, there is a range of exciting opportunities for applicants of any age, including new disciplines and skills needed as HVAC systems transform in the digital age. We asked our Expert Panel Roundtable: What are the emerging career opportunities in the HVAC industry?
The practice of working from home soared during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and many observers see a likely continuation of the trend, as infection risks gradually subside. Both environments – home and office – depend on HVAC systems to keep occupants comfortable (and safe!). Therefore, the industry stands to be impacted whichever way the trend plays out. We asked our Expert Panel Roundtable: How will remote working affect residential and commercial HVAC?
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects embedded with sensors, software and other technologies to facilitate connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the internet. Use of the IoT is expanding among both business and residential applications. However, there are hurdles to overcome, including security, privacy and networking challenges. As more HVAC devices embrace the IoT, we asked our Expert Panel Roundtable: What is the impact of the Internet of Things (IoT) on the HVAC market?