Following last week’s Met Office amber extreme heat warning, a polymer specialist has warned current sustainable design must mitigate overheating in buildings as heat waves become more prevalent. Recent research of 520 M&E contractors and architects, 130 of which worked specifically on apartment buildings, in REHAU’s report ‘Designing Healthy Apartments,’ also raised similar concern. Efficient cooling methods The majority of these respondents felt that sustainabili...
Airthings, the pioneer in indoor air quality solutions and energy-saving technology, announces a strategic agreement with Edwards, a provider of fire detection and alarm solutions since 1872, and a part of Carrier Global Corporation, the global provider of healthy, safe, sustainable, and intelligent building solutions. The agreement commercializes Airthings’ business solution through more than 500 Edwards channel partners in the fire and security segment. Extending the distribution of Air...
LG Electronics Inc. made public its commitment to transition completely to renewable energy by 2050 as a key component of its sustainability strategy. The announcement in the LG Electronics Sustainability Report comes on top of its earlier commitment to carbon neutrality through the Zero Carbon 2030 initiative in which LG has pledged to reduce carbon emissions in the production stage to 50 percent of 2017 standards by 2030. The transformation will be implemented region by region starting in No...
Johnson Controls, the global pioneer for smart, healthy, and sustainable buildings announced it has surpassed a milestone by filing 200 U.S. utility patent applications for innovations surrounding its OpenBlue Central Utility Plant offering and related energy optimizing product offerings. Additionally, it received its 90th U.S. patent grant for innovations related to OpenBlue Central Utility Plant product and energy optimization innovations. Central Utility Plant is a key component of the newly...
Aircuity, the front-runner in creating healthy and sustainable buildings, announced its support for the recently launched WELL Performance Rating, a new standard for healthy indoor environments developed by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI). IWBI designed the new rating as a new designation that “uses dynamic human and building performance metrics to enhance the experience of the people inside.” This endorsement reflects Aircuity’s more than 20 years of experien...
The current Biden Administration’s renewed focus on climate change has expedited the phasedown of high-GWP refrigerants, kicked off by the passage of the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act, part of the December 2020 COVID stimulus bill. As the AIM Act phase-down schedule progresses, higher-GWP HFC refrigerants, while viable, have the potential to have a limited useful life and ultimately be eliminated. In response to pending changes, Johnson Controls has announced it will use...
Plans to decarbonize Britain’s homes will fail without a rise in heat pump installers, with warnings from the Environmental Audit Committee confirming that the supply chain needs to be strengthened. To see 600,000 heat pumps installed by 2028 in line with the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan, one need to see a rapid rise in the number of installers qualified to install the technology. There are over 22 training centers across the HPA membership alone, providing the ability to train over 7000 installers per year. However, an overhaul of the training pathway to becoming a heat pump installer has been needed for some time. Technology-Neutral course The Heat Pump Association has been working hard with key actors across the heating industry to simplify the training pathway for heat pumps and level the playing field between technology types. Led by CIPHE, the first part of this new pathway has developed into a new low temperature and hot water course that they believe will help to address the low carbon skills gap and turn the Governments aspirations for heat pumps into a reality. The course officially launches in May 2021. Low temperature and hot water course therefore begins with a technology-neutral course It is important that installers have the skills they need to install all heating systems to perform more efficiently. Low temperature and hot water course therefore begins with a technology-neutral course, covering essential skills for efficient heating that apply to all heating types. This includes heat loss calculations, hydraulic balancing, pipe and emitter sizing and low flow temperature heating. This two-day course has been positioned as a prerequisite for any technology-specific courses taken later on. Low carbon technologies Once an installer has completed the initial technology-neutral course detailed above, they will have the option to take up training in specific technologies. The HPA has also proposed a Low Carbon Skills Card to allow them to keep track of all courses undertaken and demonstrate their credentials to households. Customers will then benefit from the knowledge and peace of mind that their installer is trained and accredited to install low carbon technologies like heat pumps in line with plans to roll out low carbon heating in homes across Britain. The heat pump training pathway that exists today is outdated. Their proposed route, has been designed to simplify the training route and make it more accessible. The installer will first get to grips with the knowledge they need to install a heat pump, and then delve into each technology type. Heat Pump Foundation Course (2 days) Overview of heat pumps Installation guidelines Commissioning/Servicing End user training Individual Heat Pump Technology Course (1 day per technology) Air Source Course (1 day) Ground Source Course (1 day) Exhaust Air Course (1 day) Heat pump installer The course content must be updated to reflect any changes as and when needed to ensure that installers derive the most benefit from their training. This will be crucial as the market continues to innovate as growth occurs. The Climate Change Committee has advised the Government that buildings must be addressed in order to meet the 2050 net zero target. The course content must be updated to reflect any changes as and when needed With 37% of emissions arising from heating, the phase-out of fossil fuel heating is both essential and inevitable. It is therefore essential that the Government supports initiatives to train installers so that they can install the technologies that will be rolled out as an alternative. Installers need to see clear and unequivocal support for heat pumps from the Government through both stable long-term policies and financial support. Government support is particularly important when they consider that the costs associated with becoming a heat pump installer currently outweigh those needed to become a gas boiler installer. Gas safe register This clearly contradicts UK climate targets and is a challenge that must be overcome. The Government could help level the playing field between heating technologies through the introduction of regulatory measures that require all heating installers to undertake the newly launched low temperature and hot watercourse. These skills are not only needed for heat pumps and will help installers to adapt to the changing market as soon as possible. Every five years, installers are required to undertake Accreditation Certification Scheme (ACS) refresher modules to ensure they are on the gas safe register and working safely and legally. There is an opportunity for the low-temperature heating and hot water-dwelling module to be added to this established ACS re-accreditation framework and to provide a significant proportion of the market with the skills they need for the heating transition within the next five years.
The EME3625MD, a new, 3-inch deep, stationary Ruskin louver, approved by Miami-Dade, for its wind-driven rain resistance, is designed for structures in high-velocity hurricane zones that require louvers with basic impact protection. EME3625MD louver Mechanically fastened to add to its strength, the vertical louver also offers improved air and water performance over Ruskin’s previous Miami-Dade approved model, the EME3625DFLMD, and is AMCA 540 (Missile D) and 550 listed. We designed the EME3625MD for customers planning facilities that must resist extreme weather" “We designed the EME3625MD for customers planning facilities that must resist extreme weather, and that includes developing this louver with 53% free area and low pressure drop to reduce water penetration,” said Joe Rockhold, Louver Product Manager at Ruskin. Joe adds, “To boost its durability in coastal regions, the EME3625MD is constructed from extruded aluminum, offering a high resistance to corrosion and requiring only minimal maintenance after installation.” Airfoil blades Airfoil blades on the EME3625MD are vertically mounted and spaced at approximately 0.75 inches, center to center, to further ensure excellent water performance. The EME3625MD is available in sizes as small as 12-by-12 inches up to a 96-inch-tall louver with unlimited width. A full suite of manufactured options, including a variety of bird screens and numerous installation options (CMU, concrete, steel, aluminum, and wood), are also available. Additional features of the EME3625MD include: 20-year finish warranty 5-year product warranty Approved for applications with a design pressure of +/- 120 PSF (5.75 kPa) Texas Department of Insurance-approved Published performance ratings based on testing in accordance with AMCA 500-L With its improved performance capabilities, the release of the new EME3625MD will phase out the previous Ruskin model, EME3625DFLMD in the near future.
Johnson Controls, the globally renowned company for smart, healthy, and sustainable building solutions, has significantly upgraded the testing lab facilities at its residential HVAC manufacturing plant in Wichita, Kan. upgrading HVAC testing facility The nearly US$ 15 million investment includes the addition of seven test chambers, automated testing and model shop equipment, and a new building, which adds 2,000 more square footage space, bringing the plant’s total testing facilities to 100,000 square feet total. Every product that the Wichita factory designs and manufactures undergo multiple rigorous tests at the lab, in order to ensure it operates safely and efficiently across a wide range of conditions, for years to come. Highly accelerated life testing (HALT) of equipment New advanced technology makes it possible for the lab team to better accommodate product development While Johnson Controls voluntarily performs highly accelerated life testing (HALT), which subjects equipment to extreme environmental conditions that replicate five years in the field, there is other testing that the government requires for all residential HVAC systems to ensure product safety, efficiency, and environmental sustainability. The additional space and new advanced technology make it possible for the lab team to better accommodate product development and testing for the vast number of systems that Johnson Controls produces for its YORK, Luxaire, Coleman, Champion and Fraser-Johnston brands, many of which are part of Johnson Controls' OpenBlue connected suite of technologies. Optimized testing process The following lab updates optimize the testing process to help ensure product reliability and performance: Seven 20 x 60-foot test chambers join nine existing cells used in the design and development phase to test, rate and qualify heating and cooling products for agency approval. These test chambers control temperatures within two-tenths of a degree for all rating points. This level of control provides confidence when rating equipment for SEER and EER. The additional cells will accommodate more equipment, which will help systems become available more quickly. A new automated heating lab and test stands allow technicians to setup and pre-program test stations. Compared to older, manual methods, automated testing of heating equipment, such as gas furnaces, is more efficient and precise to confirm reliability. Advanced model shop equipment, which includes a new water jet, bender, and press machine, allows model makers to precisely cut and form sheet metal to make prototype parts more quickly and efficiently. This will accelerate prototype testing and refinement so products can enter production faster. A spacious transit table building with rain capabilities gives technicians much greater control, during transit and rain tests. The new area offers better mounting, which makes installing systems for testing easier, while the enclosure improves precision during rain tests and accommodates a new high-pressure pump for recently required wind-driven rain testing for extreme conditions, which also reinforces Johnson Controls' commitment to quality. performance and reliability “When visitors tour the lab, they are simply overwhelmed by the extensive steps that we take to ensure each and every system developed in the labs are tested to ensure performance and reliability,” said Doug Dorrough, Director of Lab Operations, Johnson Controls. Doug adds, “The greater efficiency and unprecedented quality we can now achieve with this major investment will bring our premier products to market sooner and provide homeowners with enduring comfort and peace of mind.” Lab upgrades coincide with new efficiency standards The upgrades coincide with new efficiency standards, including the 2023 Department of Energy (DOE) efficiency standards and environmental sustainability requirements, including the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) low-global warming potential (GWP) refrigerant transition that will be required of all HVAC equipment manufactured by January 1, 2025. The expanded lab will better accommodate product development and testing schedules to ensure that each product meets or exceeds all requirements, as well as the high-quality standards Johnson Controls holds for its equipment. Johnson Controls will continue to invest in and expand the testing facilities in Wichita, Kan. over the next several years with new equipment and additional facilities to accommodate new product development and testing.
GE Appliances. (GEA), a Haier company is opening its newest production line making 4-door refrigerator models – the fastest-growing segment in high-end refrigeration – at its Louisville-based headquarters and largest U.S. manufacturing site. More than 245 new manufacturing jobs have been added to support the new production line. Foremost appliance manufacturer “Since 2016, GE Appliances has invested $1 billion in new products, technology and its U.S. operations, and created more than 2,000 new jobs, with close to 1,000 new jobs in Louisville,” said Kevin Nolan, President and Chief Executive Officer for GE Appliances. “We are committed to growing our manufacturing footprint in the United States to serve customers faster and better. This investment demonstrates our commitment to becoming the leading appliance manufacturer in the U.S. We are thrilled to produce these high-end refrigerators in the United States.” The $60 million investment, which increases manufacturing capacity, enhances the company’s ability to meet consumer demand and positions GEA for long-term growth. Innovator and jobs-creator “GE Appliances has a long history as an innovator and jobs-creator here in Louisville, and with today’s announcement is showing a renewed commitment to our commonwealth, our people and our growing manufacturing industry,” said Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, who also attended the event. “With more than 245 new jobs for Kentuckians, we are furthering our positive momentum and growth as we continue to build an economy that works for every Kentucky family.” Design and Installation of new line The plant expansion was completed during COVID and teams ensure progress without disrupting production Despite the pandemic, the GEA refrigeration team successfully navigated many challenges as they worked to design and install the new line. “The completion of this investment shines a light on the dedication of our workforce,” stated Bill Good, Vice President of Manufacturing for GE Appliances. “The plant expansion was completed during COVID, while suppliers and vendors were unable to travel to the plant and product demand was a record levels. Our teams worked tirelessly to ensure progress without disrupting production.” Product innovation The 4-door refrigerator consists of a traditional fresh food area, a freezer, and a convertible section that can be used as either a freezer or refrigerator. The plant will also add new quad-door and counter-depth models to its line-up in the future. Product sustainability The investment also marks another milestone in GEA’s ongoing commitment to creating more sustainable products and manufacturing processes. These new refrigerators use R600a, a low global warming potential refrigerant. These models are environmentally friendly refrigerators that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In 2008, GEA was the first appliance manufacturer to apply for and receive approval from the Environmental Protection Agency to begin using HFC-free refrigeration gases. In 2011, GEA launched the use of HFC-free foam insulation in its refrigerators and freezers. In 2012, GEA introduced the first-ever HFC-free refrigerator in the U.S.
Johnson Controls, the globally renowned company for smart, healthy and sustainable building solutions, has launched the Johnson Controls Community College Partnership Program. As part of the program, Johnson Controls will give US$ 15 million, over the next five years, to support academic scholarships at non-profit community colleges. Community college Program Starting in the 2021‒2022 academic year, Johnson Controls’ program will endow a total of US$ 1 million to ten community colleges across the U.S. In addition to the funding, Johnson Controls employees will support the community colleges through volunteering and mentorships. The grants support the expansion of associate degree and certificate programs in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), fire and security, and digital building automation systems, all areas where the U.S. Bureau of Labor is predicting an increased need for skilled trade expertise in the coming years. Providing in-demand knowledge and skills A core objective of the program is to change the trajectory of the lives of students from underserved communities A core objective of the program is to change the trajectory of the lives of students from underserved communities, by equipping them with in-demand knowledge and skills that will support employment and a pathway for life-long careers upon graduation. “Just as smart, healthy buildings are critical to our well-being, well-educated and trained technicians are crucial to keeping our environments operating safely and efficiently. As a leader in the building industry for over a century, Johnson Controls is honored to share our expertise with the country's leading community colleges,” said Grady Crosby, Vice President of Public Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer at Johnson Controls. Providing funding for institutions Grady Crosby adds, “The Johnson Controls Community College Partnership Program supports institutions through its funding and supports their students through volunteerism and mentorships. We believe this will empower people to build life-long careers that will transform their lives and their cities.” The initial ten community colleges receiving grants are located in cities, where Johnson Controls has a significant customer base and employee presence. Funding for each community college differs based on its needs. In general, colleges will use the support to purchase and develop classroom materials, learning technologies, and student scholarships. Mentorship for students Local Johnson Controls employees in each market will serve as volunteer educators, providing students with counseling and real-world experiences. This mentoring will be directly incorporated into various college programs and also provide a pathway for student internships, and entry-level employment opportunities at Johnson Controls. 2021-2022 Community College Partnership award recipients include: Kennedy-King College (Chicago, IL): Founded in 1911, Kennedy-King College is part of the City Colleges of Chicago, a system of two-year education institutions. The college will use its funding to establish an HVAC certification boot camp, develop a job shadowing and field experience course, as well as provide students with their own HVAC toolsets. Suffolk County Community College (Selden, NY): Founded in 1959, Suffolk County Community College is a public community college, sponsored by SUNY and Suffolk County, NY. The college will use its funding to invest in state-of-the-art training simulators and the growth of a guided mentoring program, featuring Johnson Controls employees supporting peer mentoring and career counseling. Montgomery College (Rockville, MD): Founded in 1946, Montgomery College is a public community college in Montgomery County, Maryland. The college will use its funding to expand program marketing to local, low-income communities, hire additional faculty to serve as retention and recruitment associates, and create a Building Automation Systems lab. Community College of Baltimore County (Baltimore, MD): Founded in 1957, Community College of Baltimore County is a public community college with campuses across Baltimore County, Maryland. The college will use its funding to hire additional faculty and grow a guided mentoring program, featuring Johnson Controls employees supporting peer mentoring and career counseling. Lone Star College (Conroe, TX): Founded in 1992, Lone Star College is a Texas community college in The Woodlands, north of Houston. The college will use its funding to provide financial assistance for students to obtain HVAC toolkits, PPE, and learning materials, as well as tuition support. Further, the college will use the funding to grow programs that encourage students to go beyond HVAC/R certification courses and complete a full Associates Degree. Henry Ford College (Dearborn, MI): Founded in 1938, Henry Ford College is a public two-year college in Dearborn, west of Detroit, Michigan. The college will use its funding to expand the Energy Technology-HVAC program into modular units that will also be developed into open-source, online educational resources that can be shared and further developed by other learning institutions. Further, the college will purchase HVAC simulators, featuring industry-standard components. Essex Country Community College (Newark, NJ): Founded in 1968, Essex County College is a public community college in Essex County, New Jersey. The college will use its funding to purchase learning materials and training technologies, as well as create a partnership with CompTIA to expand IT certification programs for careers in IT and help desk positions. Camden County College (Blackwood, NJ): Founded in 1965, Camden County College is a public community college serving western central New Jersey and the greater Camden area. The college will use its funding to expand its HVAC technician training and Programmable Logic Controller Certificate of Achievement programs. Further, the college will develop a Programmable Logic Controller certificate program specifically tied to using Johnson Controls technology. Georgia Piedmont Technical College (Clarkston, GA): Founded in 1961, Georgia Piedmont Technical College is part of the Technical College System of Georgia, serving students in the greater metro Atlanta area. The college will use its funding to purchase additional lab equipment for the Building Automaton Systems program and upgrade hands-on training simulators. Further, the college will refresh its commercial refrigeration and welding programs, and update related program marketing to underserved communities. Milwaukee Area Technical College (Milwaukee, WI): Founded in 1912, Milwaukee Area Technical College is a public, two-year vocational-technical college. The college will use its funding to expand local recruitment for HVAC career training, as well as upgrade lab and training equipment. Cutting carbon emissions in buildings construction According to a 2020 report from the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction, part of the United Nations’ environment program, the buildings construction industry accounts for 40% of total global energy-related carbon emissions. And three-quarters of those emissions are attributable to building operations. Yet, the current renovation rate of buildings is less than one percent. It will take commitment and expertise across generations to reverse the damage already done to the environment and then continue with a new, sustainable way of life. Specialty knowledge is needed to develop more sustainable spaces and deploy and maintain operational and informational technologies that drive healthier buildings. Therefore, Johnson Controls is investing in the technicians of tomorrow, today.
GE Appliances (GEA), a Haier company, announced a new Vertical Terminal Air Conditioner (VTAC) poised to reinvent the design of Single Packaged Vertical Units (SPVU). The GE Zoneline Ultimate V10 was designed in collaboration with hotel and residential property owners and architects, to create a new way of installing the air conditioning chassis that makes installation 60% faster. GE Zoneline Ultimate V10 With additional features like ultra-quiet cooling, onboard diagnostics and SmartHQ WiFi capabilities, the GE Zoneline Ultimate V10 is a low maintenance unit providing guest comfort and reliable performance. “At GE Appliances, our goal is to design products that meet owners’ needs and create custom solutions for their environment,” said Kristi Saathoff, Senior Director of Product Management for GE Appliances. Kristi adds, “The Zoneline UltimateV10 is designed, engineered and assembled in the U.S. This allowed us to integrate customer feedback into our design to eliminate the most common pain points for the category, shorten lead times for customers, and add connected and diagnostic capabilities. This product is exemplary of our commitment to design and engineer innovative HVAC products that fit the needs of the North American marketplace.” Featuring new chassis and platform design The product, manufactured in Selmer, Tennessee, features a new chassis and platform design The product, manufactured in Selmer, Tennessee, features a new chassis and platform design with industry-exclusive features and multiple patents pending. GE Zoneline engineers collaborated with builders, property managers and architects to design the Insta-Platform, an innovative platform that is paired with a quick-install plenum and a perfect fit chassis, making the Ultimate V10 the easiest-to-install system on the market today. GE Zonelines are the industry’s quietest PTACs and GE Appliances has applied that knowledge to this product. The UltimateV10 is already the preferred VTAC for quiet performance and sound quality, when tested against competitors. In testing, 91% of participants preferred the Ultimate V10 air conditioner for superior sound quality and quieter operation. Onboard diagnostics and optional WiFi module Other features that optimize the guest and owner experience include onboard diagnostics that provide clear and fast diagnostics data. The units are also available with an optional WiFi module that integrates with GEA’s SmartHQ system allowing property managers to monitor multiple units remotely. “I have used GE Zoneline products in my hotels for years, and GE Appliances has proven to be a reliable partner for SINA Hospitality,” said Ravi Patel, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sina Hospitality. Ravi adds, “I am building a new Residence Inn property in Charleston, West Virginia and look forward to seeing this innovative product installed there. GE Appliances builds reliable products, and I am impressed with the features and quiet operation of this new VTAC. I look forward to our continued partnership.” GE Zoneline UV-C solution GEA is improving indoor air quality for hotel guests with an industry-exclusive kit for GE Zoneline PTACs GEA is improving indoor air quality for hotel guests with an industry-exclusive kit for GE Zoneline PTACs that uses UV-C light technology. The GE Zoneline UV-C solution is a perfect fit kit for Zoneline PTACs and designed to treat indoor air, as it cycles through the unit. Using a high-powered LED array for maximum intensity and efficiency, this new technology applies UV-C light to air as it passes through the unit, focused and channeled where most air movement occurs to reduce airborne virus concentrations. UV-C kit customized for GE Zoneline PTACs The new UV-C kit is customized for GE Zoneline PTACs and can be installed to existing products. The kits will be available in the coming months. Soon, GE Appliances will also offer GE Zoneline units with UV-C-technology factory installed. “Clean air is critical to ensuring guests and residents’ well-being,” said Brigitte Mader-Urschel, Commercial Director for HVAC at GE Appliances, adding “This kit is a great option to increase indoor air quality. It works when added to existing Zoneline PTACs and can also be added to new units. GEA invented the PTAC category, and we continue to innovate and respond to the changing needs of our customers and the environment.”
In HVAC and smart buildings, short-termism is an easy trap to fall into. We live in a world driven by returns, profit, KPIs and results; where short-term goals often trump long term ambitions as individuals at all levels are judged on their immediate targets. It is a facet of human nature that can cause us to be blind to the bigger picture. Yet for companies to operate not only more sustainably, but equally more effectively in the long run, sometimes the big picture needs to take precedence. Smart buildings and HVAC in the UK Let’s consider smart buildings and HVAC in the UK. While technologies such as the internet of things (IoT), automation, artificial intelligence and building information modelling (BIM) are all spoken about as cutting-edge industry trends and focal points in the here and now, their uptake remains relatively lacklustre. When I moved back to the UK two years ago, after 28 years in South Africa, I was surprised by what I found compared to what I had pictured and read about. I found a market where there’s lots of talk about innovating the built environment, but not a lot of action. Why? Because of impatience and misunderstanding. Companies are in too much of a rush – where they invest in these technologies, they want to see results now, not later. But this approach doesn’t work. The benefits of intelligent technologies Smart buildings and intelligent HVAC technologies can deliver a plethora of improvements from greener operations to lower costs, yet I believe these benefits need to be better defined. Here are just a few examples: Enhance productivity: According to a study from the World Green Building Council Study, improving ventilation and indoor air quality can enhance productivity by 8-11%. Equally, improving lighting can enhance productivity by 23%. Reduce costs: Albany Business Review states that buildings that enable smart technologies can reduce costs by an average of 15%. Reduce energy consumption: Smart buildings create a multitude of automation opportunities, such as motion-sensitive lighting or better HVAC management through a sensor-controlled system, driving down energy consumption – good for both cost reasons and the environment. Improve insights: IoT creates a multitude of data points that can be used to provide quantifiable and tangible insights (i.e., who is using a building, how they are using it, and when they are using it), which can inform actionable improvements. Enhance employee engagement: These insights can be visualised and communicated to make employees both more mindful of their own footprints, but equally such intent will likely improve retention and recruitment drives. Optimise maintenance: Sensors can monitor buildings’ performance to trigger maintenance alerts in real-time, making it faster, easier and cheaper to identify and fix potential issues. If a fault such as a clogged air filter resulting in hampered airflow goes undetected, HVAC systems may not only operate at suboptimal levels but, equally suffer from reduced lifespans. Improve hygiene: Smart building technologies can be used to improve everything from the movement of people to air quality, considerations that are top of mind within the COVID-19 context. Ensuring smart buildings don’t become another buzzword So, how can we better define these benefits, encourage widespread adoption, and ensure that smart buildings become an actionable approach to improving HVAC and construction rather than just another buzzword? When many organisations hear smart buildings or smart HVAC, they dismiss the idea with the assumption that such initiatives will require significant investment that is just not viable. First and foremost, policy needs to be reconsidered. While there are initiatives from the UK government that are working to encourage the optimisation and smart enhancement of buildings, there is a lack of key initiatives such as grants in the right areas to truly propel investment forward. In South Africa, this issue is tackled with private finance initiatives (PFI) that focus on designing buildings that incorporate smart building technologies to be greener and more efficient. PFIs are a means of financing public sector projects through the private sector, alleviating the government and taxpayers of an immediate financial burden by coming up with the capital for these projects. At a grassroots level, however, companies can also reconsider their approaches to smart building and HVAC technologies. When many organisations hear smart buildings or smart HVAC, they dismiss the idea with the assumption that such initiatives will require significant investment that is just not viable. Yet this doesn’t have to be the case. Yes, a smart building strategy and the associated investments can be expensive, but it can also start small, be cost-effective and focus on gradual, incremental improvement. Actionable advice Here are five core pieces of actionable industry advice that can help companies on their path towards smart building transition… Look at the big picture Start by considering your current operations. With so many new technologies being rolled out and marketed in the smart building, intelligent HVAC and eco-friendly arena, it can be easy to become side-tracked. While one innovation might appear to be extremely effective, it may not suit your building’s specific needs. To gain a better understanding of the latter, it is important to look holistically at what outputs to address, be it energy, water, air quality or other areas. Focus on the quick wins Once you have a better understanding of your building’s requirements, you will be able to work to identify where some of the quick wins may lie. Here, cost-effective improvements can be made. You might recognise that the lights or air conditioning are regularly left on in certain parts of the building when they don’t need to be, for example. By making some simple, easy changes, building efficiency can be drastically improved without breaking the bank. Get occupant buy-in At the point of implementation, it is important to ensure that all stakeholders are on the same page. From the IT department to the office cleaners to the MD, there should be a clear communication of goals. Remember those attempts to monitor and in turn reduce energy consumption by turning off lights and air conditioning units? They will only be successful should all employees embrace these actions. Monitor and adapt as you go While companies may quickly take some significant steps forward in realising some of the benefits available, it is important to note that a smart building transformation should never be a complete process. As technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, there will always be improvements that can be made. Be it tweaks to existing technologies or investment in others, it is vital to keep monitoring your building’s performance and responding to the data to further enhance long-term returns. Improve education Finally, it is important to regularly educate yourself and others. Unbeknownst to many, smart building and HVAC technologies that had previously been expensive are now much cheaper, reducing barriers to entry. Knowledge is not what it needs to be – to ensure you’re able to benefit as an early adopter, continual learning is crucial.
As our urban centers grow, so does our demand for key resources, such as energy. Currently, cities are accountable for over 60% of resource use and an estimated 70% of global carbon emissions. In the Middle East particularly, countries have experienced unprecedented population growth, increased economic activity and consequently, increases in energy consumption. Integration of sustainable systems Fortunately, industry leaders and governments are placing sustainability at the heart of regional plans for urban development. The integration of sustainable systems is no longer a value-added benefit, but rather a necessary requirement. I believe a vital element for sustainable development in our cities is energy management. Energy is a costly commodity representing an average of 25% of all operating costs in office buildings. This cost, however, can be reduced by using energy management to optimize HVAC systems employed in a building. Effective energy management Energy management involves proactive tracking, systemic management and thoughtful optimization of energy consumption in a building, with the goal of improving energy efficiency. The concept of energy efficiency takes into account a variety of factors; we must consider system design, quality of installation and maintenance, efficiency rates and personal use. If we assume a system is designed with greatest efficiency in mind, its effectiveness is still deeply impacted by installation, maintenance and use. ‘Performance drift’ issues One challenge we face with the efficiency of HVAC systems is ‘performance drift’ One challenge we face with the efficiency of HVAC systems is ‘performance drift’. When first installed, and even in the first few months, HVAC systems operate immaculately. Over time, however, component efficiency and system conditions ‘drift’ away from the originally installed operating curve, meaning that efficiency and performance of the system can degrade incrementally. The deteriorating performance of HVAC systems has consequences, such as unnecessary use of energy, resulting in higher costs and emissions, in addition to reduced comfort for building occupants. Energy efficient HVAC pumps In order to truly have an impact on energy consumption, a holistic approach must be adopted. Only by carefully examining and optimizing each part of the HVAC system, can we then find ways to improve it. In my experience with Armstrong Fluid Technology, in the last decade, the technology for HVAC pumps has been enhanced to provide up to 70% energy efficiency savings through demand-based control and parallel pumping technology. These innovations enable the pumps to operate at optimum levels, consuming as little energy as possible. Innovative smart technology Systems that incorporate innovative smart technology enable more accurate system performance analysis and optimization. Pumps can function as highly accurate flow meters that provide valuable insight for building managers and operators. Data from the intelligent connected pumps can be collected through active performance management software, which enables the HVAC system to learn, predict and optimize to deliver even greater energy efficiency and cost savings through maintained optimized performance. Systems incorporating innovative smart technology enable more accurate system performance analysis Active performance management software Active performance management software enables real time and historical data reporting that directly demonstrates system efficiency and savings. Given the global shift towards sustainable building construction, legislation on energy reporting is inevitable, therefore employing systems with this in-built capability can prove to be extremely beneficial in the future. The software can also help maintain client comfort at all times by enabling predictive maintenance. Systems can provide alerts when they detect faults, allowing for early replacement before a full breakdown. This can be particularly helpful in mission critical applications such as hospitals. Importance of analyzed data in system optimization Without the ability to analyze data, buildings managers and operators cannot properly optimize mechanical systems Evidently, collecting data is essential for many reasons, including preventing, and even reversing, the loss of energy efficiency. Without the ability to analyze data, buildings managers and operators cannot properly optimize mechanical systems, which results in unnecessary energy use, insufficient maintenance practices and any related costs. There may be hesitation in the industry to incorporate more sophisticated systems as they require initial investment, however, the returns from using more efficient mechanical systems are impressive. Executing energy upgrades for HVAC systems Simple payback on energy upgrade projects is usually reached within 3 to 5 years. Furthermore, energy savings continue for the life of the system. Properly executed energy upgrades deliver up to 40% savings on energy consumption related to HVAC operation. Savings on that level for a large facility can be impactful for business operations. Energy efficiency is not ‘visible’ but has the potential to have a transformative effect on climate change, if embraced on a large scale. If we consume energy only as we need to, then we consume less of it. This, in turn, reduces our consumption of fossil fuels and consequently our greenhouse gas emissions. Aside from short-term benefits, such as costs savings and increased operation efficiency, energy management has the ability to help conserve energy for generations to come. Embracing energy saving solutions If we embrace innovative energy saving solutions in the building services industry, then we can begin to make a difference. With the recent launch of plans for sustainable development, such as the Dubai Master Plan 2040, green infrastructure, supporting solutions, will thrive. The global shift towards embracing sustainability has made individuals and organizations call into question their impact on our planet. Embracing sustainability is no longer a preference but a strategic business approach that helps to create long-term value on a social, economic and environmental level. The role of energy efficiency, and the systems that enable it, will inevitably play a key role in creating more sustainable buildings, communities and cities.
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.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way the world lives, escalating the need to prioritize health and safety where we live, work, learn and play. As organizations around the world respond to the pandemic, the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) has leveraged its expertise to help. Impact of building surroundings IWBI is a public benefit corporation focused on deploying “people-first places” to advance a global culture of health. The community has adopted the WELL Building Standard, which is the anchor in an ecosystem of certifications and ratings focused on creating and benchmarking health and well-being in built environments. IWBI understands that companies have realized the importance of feeling safe inside and the importance of mental health — and how building surroundings impact that. WELL Building Standard (WELL) IWBI is focused on the ways that buildings, and organizations, can improve comfort and enhance health and well-being IWBI is focused on the ways that buildings, communities, and organizations, and everything in them, can improve comfort, drive better choices and generally enhance health and well-being. The work is global, covering 2.5 billion square feet of real estate in nearly 100 countries as of June 2021. The WELL Building Standard (WELL) is a vehicle for buildings and organizations to deliver more thoughtful and intentional places that enhance human health and well-being, according to IWBI. It’s the standard for buildings, interior places, and communities seeking to implement, validate and measure features that support and advance human health and well-being, leading to official certification. Measures to become WELL Certified A building becomes WELL Certified (WELL Building) following the adoption of features from the WELL Building Standard, achieving a threshold based on measures that are validated by a third party. These measures include building performance and their impact on people’s health and well-being. HVAC is a key element of WELL buildings. The primary purpose of HVAC systems is usually to improve the environmental conditions for the building users. Introducing outdoor air combats the buildup of carbon dioxide and volatile organic compounds, which at high levels can lead to sick building syndrome. Particle filters can remove much of the pollution from traffic or forest fires before it is introduced indoors. Problems with HVAC But HVAC systems can create their own problems. For example, cooling coils and drain pans can become a habitat for mold growth if not properly maintained. The WELL Building Standard addresses issues related to air quality and HVAC systems with a holistic approach, with adaptable strategies covering air, thermal comfort, and material. WELL Certification The WELL Building Standard includes strategies in 10 WELL Concept areas, from HVAC systems to architectural details The WELL Building Standard is a global framework for creating and certifying places that advance health and well-being. It includes strategies in 10 WELL Concept areas, covering topics ranging from HVAC systems to architectural details to human resource programs. WELL Certification is granted following a third-party review that these requirements have been met in a process that involves both submissions of documentation and on-site testing and inspection. Organizations can also enroll groups of projects in the WELL Portfolio, enabling them to document and celebrate their incremental progress in WELL feature achievement and employ the strategies at scale. Professional engagement Stakeholder engagement, including engagement by professionals in the HVAC space, has always been a key part of the development of WELL. For example, there was a 6-month public comment period to solicit feedback on the WELL v2 pilot before its graduation in 2020. Also, just before completing WELL v2, a Task Force on COVID-19 and Other Respiratory Diseases sought to identify any additions that could be added in light of the pandemic. There is also a network of more than 230 experts who participate in 14 IWBI advisories. Within this, there is an advisory for each of the 10 WELL Concepts, including 35 advisors in the Air and Thermal Comfort advisories. Challenges The most important challenge IWBI faces is the same one facing all others: Recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the ticking clock of climate change — and all that goes along with it. “As we continue to combat COVID-19, we recognize that feeling comfortable and safe inside is more important than ever,” says Nathan Stodola, Chief Engineer at the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI). “The pandemic has taught us the importance of air quality in preventing the spread of disease. This is a critical moment to keep the public informed on the latest scientific findings and best practices.” Adding a human element to buildings IWBI is working toward a future where buildings are designed with people — the human element — in mind" “We have also learned the value and importance of mental health, and how much employees want their employers to know that,” Stodola adds. “And IWBI is working toward a future where buildings are designed with people — the human element — in mind. There is an interconnectedness to all of this, and that’s how IWBI is working to serve the needs of the public.” WELL Health-Safety Rating In response to a rising need in the wake of COVID-19, IWBI introduced the WELL Health-Safety Rating for Facility Operations and Management in June 2020, a third-party validated tool designed to build confidence in the safety of a building. The WELL Health-Safety Rating provides an efficient and effective opportunity to guide, validate, recognize and scale the efforts of owners and operators on critical health and safety issues. Strategies undertaken Specific to the HVAC arena, many strategies that have come to light in the pandemic have been part of WELL since its inception, including sufficient ventilation rates, operable windows, awareness of mental health needs, and proper ergonomic design of workstations. But the Task Force on COVID-19 and Other Respiratory Infections also identified changes that have been implemented in the program, such as treating or eliminating recirculated ventilation air or allowing virtual training courses rather than requiring in-person classes. Most strategies in WELL are “evergreen:” They will continue to have benefits to building users even after the risk of COVID-19 diminishes, says IWBI. Programs and resources IWBI offers several education programs and resources, as well as professional credential courses, for people in the architecture, engineering, construction, and design industries--and beyond. IWBI offers a training program for schools to educate people on how to maintain a healthy and safe school environment The WELL Accredited Professional (AP) program is designed for those looking to gain skills to help inform WELL projects to further advance human health and well-being in buildings and communities IWBI also offers a training program for schools to educate people on how to maintain a healthy and safe school environment. Focus on health and well-being WELL buildings are not just about design and construction, but also about how to operate space and create policies that change people’s behavior for advanced health and well-being, says IWBI. For instance, the Nourishment Concept is about providing access to healthy food, and biophilia features can help improve people’s mental health. Caters to all markets and budgets Additionally, people tend to think that WELL buildings are expensive or only for the luxury market. WELL applies to all types of places and can be implemented with various budget sizes based on individual projects’ health and well-being needs. Air and Thermal Comfort concepts The HVAC requirements in WELL are dependent on the facilities team in addition to the design team. People need buildings to provide places to live and work, and buildings need people to care for their systems. There are several features in the Air and Thermal Comfort concepts related to the ongoing measurement of conditions within the space and maintenance of the ventilation system.
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 equipment Summer weather increases the demand for HVAC equipment, especially in hotter climates. A spike in air conditioner demand is generally welcomed by most contractors, but supply shortages make it difficult to deliver on customer needs. Managing a backlog of impatient customers is a new challenge for many HVAC companies. The shortages impact materials, such as steel, aluminum, copper and plastics, whose costs are expected to rise in coming months. Among metals, the price hikes could be 20 to 30%, while prices of plastics could almost triple. Copper futures recently reached an all-time high, and steel price indexes are also at record levels. Shortages of electrical components Shortages have been reported of copper and electrical components, such as motors and compressors Shortages have been reported of copper and electrical components, such as motors and compressors, which are specific to the units that use them. There is also a shortage of microchips that are components in high-efficiency systems and furnaces, and resins used in the evaporator coil pans are scarce. Some HVAC supply firms have had difficulty obtaining evaporator coils used in air conditioners. Specialty items such as control boards have a wait time of up to two to three weeks, or longer. Shortages projected till end of 2021 The shortages are projected to continue until the end of 2021. Even as small shipments trickle in, they are often sold quickly. The situation is unfamiliar to the HVAC trade, which has traditionally not had issues with equipment availability. Shortages in the HVAC market are a reflection of broader supply and cost challenges of the construction market. Prices for goods used in residential construction have increased almost 10% over the past 12 months, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Higher transportation costs impact supply chain Higher transportation costs are impacting both the supply chain and HVAC contractors. Personnel shortages continue to plague many HVAC companies, too, and a technician shortage is also contributing to longer wait times in some areas. A scarcity of labor has been a 20-year challenge for the HVAC industry, but it is reaching new levels as days go by. Order in advance and stockpiling equipment Alternatively, HVAC contractors may seek to switch brands to help ease availability issues One approach contractors are taking to the problem is to order equipment in advance and stockpile it for when they need it. One Denver contractor reportedly ordered almost a million dollars of equipment in advance. Alternatively, HVAC contractors may seek to switch brands to help ease availability issues. Identifying a manufacturer that has stock available can ease the inconvenience of customers having to wait for new equipment. need for regular HVAC maintenance Another approach is to educate homeowners about the importance of maintenance, such as changing filters, which can avoid a need for larger repairs involving equipment that is in short supply. Maintenance service is doable because it doesn’t require new equipment, replacements or add-ons that can be hard to come by. Unfortunately, among consumers, maintenance may have been delayed or ignored during the pandemic, which is aggravating the urgency of the current situation.
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.
Teknotherm Marine España S.L. (Teknotherm) has landed its first new building contract. Teknotherm Marine España S.L. will deliver the complete HVAC maintenance and service, including installation work, on a suction dredger, to be built by Nodosa Shipyard. HVAC service for Omvac Catorce Nodosa Shipyard will build and design the 63.3 meters dredger, called Omvac Catorce, for Canlemar. Canlemar is dedicated to carrying out all kinds of maritime works, such as deepening and maintenance dredging in ports and bays, and construction of docks. Omvac Catorce is the third dredger that Canlemar has ordered with Nodosa Shipyard. Omvac Catorce will have a dredging capacity of 1200 m3 and a dredging depth of 30 m. The ship accommodates a crew of 10. The ship will comply with the IMO TIER III regulations of the International Maritime Organization, regarding the control and reduction of polluting and greenhouse emissions. With its adaptation to these regulations, this dredger will be able to navigate and operate anywhere in the world.
Located in Worcester Massachusetts, Doherty Memorial High School is typical of many schools designed in the 1960’s. With two classroom wings joined together by hallways and anchored by an auditorium and gymnasium, the red brick school is home to approximately 1500 students. After 40 years, the school needed to replace the original hot water boilers and unit ventilators serving the upper and lower classroom wings. To design their new heating and ventilating system, the school enlisted the services of Shooshanian Engineering (SEi), Boston, Massachusetts. Outdoor air ventilation The original system design incorporated two gas fired hot water boilers sized to provide individual classroom unit ventilators with enough heating capacity to condition both the return and outdoor air loads. Rooftop exhaust fans pulled room air from each class-room to complete the ventilation process. ERVs recycle energy from building exhaust air to efficiently precondition outdoor air ventilation As recommended by the EPA and DOE, SEi evaluated the use of Energy Recovery Ventilation (ERV) as part of the new design. ERVs recycle energy from building exhaust air to efficiently precondition outdoor air ventilation, thereby reducing annual operating costs and boiler size requirements. After evaluating several ERV strategies, including fixed plate and run around loop, SEi determined that an ERV incorporating Airxchange rotary energy recovery wheels provided the best value. Estimates of installation and operating costs were evaluated for two designs: one with ERV and one without. As expected, the ERV based design provided the lowest operating cost. Capital equipment savings However, SEi was pleasantly surprised to discover the ERV based design, incorporating a smaller boiler and less expensive fan coil units, also provided the lowest installed cost. The capital equipment savings, made possible by incorporating Energy Recovery Ventilation in the design, more than offset the added cost of the ERV’s resulting in an instant payback. Installation included thirteen rooftop ERV units, each supplying from 1200 to 4600 cfm of ventilation air along with a single boiler to replace the two original boilers. Existing exhaust ducts provided exhaust air to the ERVs while new ductwork was added to deliver fresh outdoor air to each classroom. The design called for removal of the outdoor air intakes in the walls and installation of fan coil units in place of unit ventilators. Automated Logic software Performance of the new system is monitored using Automated Logic software Performance of the new system is monitored using Automated Logic software. The new system has received positive comments from teachers who expressed appreciation for the added fresh air and the ability of the classrooms to come up to temperature quickly at the beginning of the school day. “Even at the coldest temperatures the comfort of the supply air is amazing,” said Jeffrey Lassey, Director of Facilities with Worcester Public Schools. “You can feel the class-room come up to temperature much faster than with the old unit ventilators, and with the ERV system, we’ve reduced our energy costs considerably,” he added. Reduction in energy use over a 20 year period is expected to save approximately 3400 tons of CO2 emissions and $625,540 at current energy prices. Reducing energy consumption “Selecting the ERVs was a good shift away from unit ventilators, since it significantly reduces our energy consumption. This is particularly important because the cost of energy is heading nowhere but up.” - Jeffrey Lassey, Director of Facilities Worcester Public Schools. NSTAR, the local gas utility serving the city of Worcester, provides incentives for installation of energy efficient equipment through an energy rebate program funded by its commercial customer base. For the installation of an ERV based system and reduced boiler size, Doherty Memorial High School was awarded a $32,000 rebate from NSTAR. “Make sure to select Energy Recovery Ventilation from the outset in the design process in order to take full advantage of utility rebates slated for energy efficiency.” - Tom Angelo, NSTAR.
A large manufacturer of steel cables from Detroit, Michigan contacted Wattco with a problem that the cables they manufactured were corroding in their warehouse and needed a solution to prevent this from happening. Steel products that often sat in inventory for long periods of time were more prone to corrosion. Traditionally, light lubricating oil was used to coat the cables, preventing rust from settling in. The cables were exposed to a steam heating tank, containing light oil at ninety-five degrees Fahrenheit. The problem was that the oil had a lower than average viscosity and tended to disappear after a period of time. Oil immersion heaters Oil that has a higher viscosity can solve this problem. It would coat the cables and offer a longer storage life than before Oil that has a higher viscosity can solve this problem. It would coat the cables and offer a longer storage life than before. The trick was to heat it up to 220F, and make the oil more viscous without sacrificing the quality of the cables. Wattco provided 12 immersion heaters, each with 9KW 480V 3PH that had control panels and a redundancy system that prevented downtime. Thermocouples for heater safety Two thermocouples were used – one for temperature control and the other for high limit shutoff to safeguard the heaters. The heaters were also overrated to provide the customer additional power available. 120,000 LBS of cable was able to be treated with oil reaching 210 degrees temperature. Wattco suggested a high limit setting of 275 degrees to avoid overheating. This was easily programmed in the digital temperature controllers. Once we installed the new system, the process was monitored for 6 months and found no additional signs of corrosion. Benefits include: No maintenance costs on process heaters Safety temperature controller that prevents overheating Cables are fully protected from corrosion Electric industrial heaters are fairly inexpensive and last for years
AET Flexible Space has completed a major upgrade of the underfloor air conditioning system at a historic building located in the Clerkenwell area of London, The Bond Works building at 77-79 Farringdon Road. The building was originally constructed in 1882 as the London premises of Lincolnshire-based engineering firm, Marshall & Sons, and previously underwent a full redevelopment in 2007 by a group of private investors. The eight-story building is located on a prominent corner position, with floor-to-ceiling glazing ensuring that each floor benefits from optimum natural light. The exposed brick and ironwork grants a contemporary warehouse-style finish to the six extensively refurbished floors. Underfloor air conditioning Underfloor air conditioning was specified and installed for the height-restricted building in 2007, along with other energy-saving design features such as nighttime ice storage. As part of the recent works, AET Flexible Space was successful in its bid to upgrade the existing downflow unit controls and replace all fan terminals on the six refurbished floors with AET Fantiles. Integrated controlling systems With underfloor air conditioning systems, fully conditioned air is fed into the plenum by zonal downflow units (CAM), which are then supplied into the workspace via fan terminal units (Fantile). The Fantile units feature integrated controllers where users can personally adjust fan speed and temperature The Fantile units feature integrated controllers where users can personally adjust fan speed and temperature to suit their own comfort. Systems can be configured with underfloor or high-level return and can easily integrate with passive or other ventilation systems. The existing system at Farringdon Road is the equivalent to an AET CAM-V system, supplying conditioned air via the floor plenum and receiving spent, used air back at a high level for re-conditioning. Upgraded the existing units Working for Twenty1 Construction and new building owners, NFU Mutual, AET engineers upgraded the existing units with AET control boards, associated cabling, new actuators, and filters. 140 TU4-AC Fantiles were supplied for the six floors of speculative Cat-A accommodation with the capacity to add additional terminals for tenant fit-out. The final result is a spectacular, contemporary “cutting edge meets heritage” workspace, blending historic features with new modern services in the heart of the Clerkenwell business district.
Underfloor air conditioning systems and HVAC systems pioneer, AET Flexible Space, has announced that the company won the title of ‘Retrofit Project of the Year’, at the H&V News Awards 2020, for its work supplying its HVAC system for the refurbishment of the 24 St James Square building, in London, United Kingdom. Underfloor AC system installation The judges commented that the project was ‘an innovative use of building services, which addressed the challenge of a historic site with low ceiling height and extensive period features’. They also particularly highlighted the benefits of the flexibility of AET’s underfloor air conditioning technology. They highlighted the benefits of the flexibility of AET’s underfloor air conditioning technology One of the key challenges presented by the refurbishment of the Grade 2 listed 24 St James Square property was the need to simultaneously preserve key architectural features of the building, while at the same time, also providing flexible, modern, and premium office space that would suit the requirements of incoming tenants. Flexible air conditioning at each floor plate The re-modeling of the office interiors at all levels of 24 St James Square building was driven by seeking to maximise floor space and take full advantage of views from the double aspect interior, as well as providing flexible air conditioning at each floor plate. This would simply not have been possible with a conventional ceiling-based air conditioning system. M&E Consultant for the 24 St James’s Square project, Vic Holloway, from Edward Pearce LLP commented, “At the outset of the design process, it was clear that the refurbishment delivered significant challenges in delivering fully serviced accommodation, while maintaining respectable floor to ceiling heights.” AET downflow units installed Vic Holloway adds, “The AET downflow units promptly stood out as the obvious candidate for several reasons, including having the absolute minimum requirement for floor void height, and offering excellent distribution of cooling, heating and ventilation evenly across the whole floor, whilst reducing energy consumption.” Underfloor air conditioning CAM-V system AET Flexible Space’s underfloor air conditioning CAM-V system was perfectly suited to this complex project AET Flexible Space’s underfloor air conditioning CAM-V system was perfectly suited to this complex project, because it makes use of the space beneath a raised access floor, in order to create the air ventilation path, eliminating the need for ceiling-based services and associated duct and pipework, and thereby maximizing floor to ceiling heights. The high floor-to-ceiling heights and preservation of the windows and original ceilings also created a brighter and more airy office environment. Converting residential buildings into Class A office space Refurbishment of existing buildings has been identified as a key way to increase the sustainability of the construction industry, especially in densely built-up cities like London. However, converting residential buildings into Class A office environments is often a major challenge. AET’s underfloor systems are perfectly adapted to this challenge, as they require minimal adjustments for installation, and provide all the necessary heating and cooling for a commercial building. The 24 St James project has already won the ‘Best Office Architecture London’ award at the 2019 International Property Awards, and space is currently being let as Grade A listed office space, by BNP Paribas Real Estate.
High rise buildings and skyscrapers increasingly dominate skylines all over the world; London for example has around 450 skyscrapers planned for the next few years. They have the ability to spearhead regeneration and provide inspiration through changing the focal nature of a skyline. In this article, AET Flexible Space discusses the merits of adopting underfloor air conditioning in tall buildings, drawing from examples from Hong Kong and China. Maintaining Design balance The term “skyscraper” typically describes a building more than 100m tall with at least 40-50 floors, although in London this could be just 20 floors, and they are mostly designed for offices, commercial and residential use. Skyscraper design is considered to be especially complex, particularly given the balance required between economics, engineering and construction management, and also their interdependency with surrounding buildings. International standards Specification to international standards such as BCO guidelines, BREEAM, LEED and WELL plays an important role in the credibility of tall structures, often increasing construction costs, but given the sheer size and scale of these buildings, smart and sustainable design of such buildings can lend itself to potentially staggering savings through space management, reduction of construction materials and time on site, not to mention the ongoing operational costs. Architectural design approach One architectural design approach to building tall is to adopt functional shapes and forms to keep costs down. Another design technique is to feature larger floor plates at higher levels to maximise rental revenue, and off-set cores typically enable innovation in services design, but towers typically retain traditional MEP design allowances to provide resilience and offer future flexibility to the changing needs of tenants, essential when you consider that development periods exceeding ten years typically transcend market cycles. Service strategy Services specification level, interfaces and distribution are critical but also difficult and costly to change later in the design With any project, considering the services strategy early in the design phase is recommended and even more so in tall buildings. Services specification level, interfaces and distribution are critical but also difficult and costly to change later in the design. It is recommended to incorporate client and speculative tenant requirements at this stage as well as engage with contractors, to accommodate their advice and construction experience so that designers can design out waste and inefficiencies and create maximum value. Underfloor air conditioning Underfloor air conditioning has been adopted in a number of tall buildings around the world. One example of where the developer truly embraced services innovation can be seen in the world’s fifth tallest building, The Center in Hong Kong, sold in November 2017 for $5.2 billion, the biggest transaction for the sale of a single building on record. cable management and ventilation zone AET worked closely with consultants Ove Arup and developer Li Ka Shing during the design phase of this impressive building; the first in Asia to adopt the concept of underfloor air conditioning, doubling up the use of the plenum beneath the raised access floor as the ventilation zone, as well as essential cable management. This double usage of the plenum means that the ventilation zone in the ceiling void can be eliminated, a saving of 600mm. A minimum floor void of 150mm can be increased to around 300mm to accommodate the floor recessed fan terminals, still amounting to an overall space saving per floor of around 450mm. Underfloor services By adopting underfloor services, The Center, standing at 352m tall saved around 35m in overall height, amounting to 10% overall height saving. Simple calculations at the time showed that this 35m of additional structure would have cost around $7million on façade materials alone, not taking into consideration labor and other construction costs. A different approach could also be applied in this scenario; the developer could have chosen to maintain the original height of the building and save the wasted space by adding ten floors to the building design, consequently generating increased rental income. Energy saving Energy saving is paramount in any building, not least in tall structures. A 2003 study of comparable Hong Kong towers showed 3kW/h/m2 increase in energy use per storey. Incidentally the biggest increase was energy used for HVAC. Underfloor systems are typically zonal systems, which with supervision and control, energy consumption can be regulated according to the changing use of the space, attracting LEED points and generally encouraging operational efficiency. Flexible with plug and play equipment Underfloor systems are inherently flexible and the modular plug and play equipment makes it relatively simple Underfloor systems are inherently flexible and the modular plug and play equipment makes it relatively simple to adapt to changing requirements of the space. Zone layouts can also easily be reconfigured and transforming space from Cat-A to Cat-B for tenant occupation is fast and cost effective with little pipe or ductwork to reconfigure, and no working at height in the ceiling service zone. This is a huge benefit to these super structures which have a lengthy development period and to some extent must predict occupier requirements years ahead. Easy introduction of fresh air Fresh air intake must be carefully considered in high rise buildings which are often located in dense urban locations with poor outdoor air quality. The zoned nature of underfloor systems means that fresh air can easily be introduced directly into the system to enhance indoor air quality and with each zone served by an individual downflow unit, cross contamination is reduced. Design of the system is critical Taking an example from another building in Hong Kong, the 320m tall Nina Tower, ventilation was carefully designed in conjunction with the underfloor air conditioning system to deliver sufficient fresh air to the commercial office space on seventeen floors. The building was awarded “Excellent Class” for Indoor Air Quality in 2011, and continues to maintain the same standard. Looking at the above examples, it is evident that applied thinking to the design of services in tall buildings is of critical importance. It can also present opportunities for developers and clients to maximise their return and upscale their investment. Underfloor air conditioning, the only way is up.
Round table discussion
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?
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