How grooved solutions have been making contractors and engineers reimagine the way they construct risers in vertical buildings? Enter into the right pub, or head to a city’s museum or town hall, and you can often find a picture of how the surrounding area used to look. An image from twenty years ago and the difference isn’t too vast. Fifty years back and there’s a definite change. A picture from over a hundred years ago and it’s practically unrecognizable. And what&rsquo...
Eurovent Product Group Air Handling Units’ (PG-AHU) has published the first edition of Eurovent Recommendation 6/15 – Air Leakages in Air Handling Units. The recommendation presents guidelines for improving Indoor Air Quality and correcting the performance of Air Handling Units due to internal leakages. Eurovent Recommendation 6/15 is the first comprehensive publication that gives an in-depth overview of the issue of air leakages in Air Handling Units, including: Explanation of l...
In 2020, the support programs of the Federal Office for Economics and Export Control (BAFA) and the Reconstruction Loan Corporation (KfW), which were increased as part of the climate package, ensured a significant market recovery. At the beginning of 2021, the Federal funding for efficient buildings (BEG) will come into effect, at least in part (individual measures in the grant variant) and will replace the previous programs. Federal funding for efficient buildings (BEG) Most of the funding c...
Attitudes about indoor air quality need to change, especially given the current pandemic that forces people to spend most of their time indoors. But addressing the pandemic through increased ventilation and better indoor air quality can be expensive. For example, the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second-largest in the nation, has spent $6 million on HVAC upgrades and new air filters in response to the pandemic and expects to pay about $1.7 million a month for ongoing inspections and...
The heating industry is barring consumers from exercising their rights to choose efficient heating systems, according to consumer advice experts at The Heating Hub. Jo Alsop, Founder of The Heating Hub, said “For too long the UK’s domestic heating industry has been focused on volume boiler sales rather than on providing consumers with good advice about how to choose long-lasting, efficient systems.” highest boiler replacement Rate The United Kingdom has one of the highest bo...
Trane Technologies, a global climate innovator, has announced that the company leadership will participate in a virtual fireside chat at the 2021 Citi Global Industrials Conference. They will speak at 11:20 AM ET on Wednesday, February 17, 2021. Global Industrials Conference The live webcast of the 2021 Citi Global Industrials Conference will be accessible on the Trane Technologies official website, under the investor relations section. An archive of the webcast will be available 30 days follo...
Motili, a globally renowned provider of property and HVAC technology solutions, has announced that effective immediately the company will begin offering Clean Comfort Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) products with every installation and repair job at multi-family, tenant-occupied properties. Clean Comfort IAQ products Motili’s decision to offer Clean Comfort IAQ products is in response to growing industry need. Tenant demand for indoor air quality purification and products has increased significantly in 2020, partly due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Motili is offering pleated air filters, media air cleaners, and air handler purification coils in an effort to improve filtration and purification of the indoor air. Combining UV light and air filters to clean air Poor indoor air quality can cause a variety of harmful effects to a home, its occupants and its contents. “Through a combination of UV light, which can help reduce airborne pollutants, and appropriate air filters, customers may achieve improved indoor air quality,” said Jonathan Cramer, Product Manager, Clean Comfort, adding “We are pleased Motili has joined the effort in supplying these important IAQ products to customers.” Poor indoor air quality can cause a variety of harmful effects to a home, its occupants and its contents. An overly humid indoor environment can lead to mold growth, mildew, and staining. An indoor environment that is too dry can crack drywall and plaster. Enhancing Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) "Indoor air quality is becoming top of mind with building owners and residents alike," said Matthew Sallee, VP Business Development, Motili, adding "Providing clean air in apartments and homes requires a variety of solutions and we're pleased to be working with Clean Comfort and our clients to improve the indoor air environment." Motili brings contractors, operations teams, and the industry’s most advanced property management technology platform together to assess and complete HVAC work requests from start to finish. Nationwide provider of HVAC and hot water services Motili automatically schedules, dispatches, manages and invoices job requests and its predictive analytics improves budgeting accuracy by predicting product life cycle. Motili leverages its nationwide network of over 2,000 contractors and 1,000 distribution centers to provide HVAC and hot water services, across the US, to customers large and small.
Despite the collapse of the most important markets outside Germany, including France, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, in the first half of the COVID-19 plagued year - 2020, the German heating industry achieved robust growth worldwide of at least 3.1% down. Growth in German heating market “The initially high losses in southern Europe and the United Kingdom were partially offset by a race to catch up in the second half of 2020, at least in Italy, France, and the UK, so that the sales level here was slightly below 2019,” said Uwe Glock, President of the BDH (Federation of German Heating Industry). Glock adds, “The fact that we are actually in the black is thanks to the dynamic growth in Germany with a good 13%. The Polish heating market also developed similarly in 2020.” Federal climate package for buildings Glock describes the federal government's climate package as a complete success for climate protection in buildings Glock describes the federal government's climate package as a complete success for climate protection in buildings. He adds, “The top runners of 2020, the heat pump and wood heating, benefited from this, with high growth rates due to the subsidies.” The association also focuses on the disproportionately high share of investments in condensing technology coupled with solar thermal energy. This renaissance of solar thermal energy can also be traced back to the ‘Heating with renewable energies’ funding program that has been running since the beginning of 2020. Dynamic growth in heating with renewable energies “The success of the climate package proves that the political ideas behind the grand coalition are right and with the dynamic growth in heating with renewable energies, the ambitious CO2 reduction targets of the Green Deal are within reach,” said Andreas Lücke, General Manager of the BDH (Federation of German Heating Industry). Andreas adds, “The German heating industry is Green Deal ready and already offers marketable solutions for achieving climate targets. What is now needed is continuity with the currently favorable framework conditions for investors in high efficiency and renewable energies.”
Plumbing, heating and green energy company, Heatforce (Heatforce Wales Ltd) has joined the Furniture & Home Improvement Ombudsman (FHIO), demonstrating their continuous dedication to promoting fair trade and protecting consumer’s rights. Ombudsman scheme The independent, not-for profit, and government approved Ombudsman scheme has offered a range of services to its members and their customers for more than a quarter of a century, including independent alternative dispute resolution, training, and advice. The Ombudsman helps to provide consumers with additional peace of mind and supports businesses and their customers in finding solutions when disputes occur, without the need for costly and lengthy litigation. Gas-fitting, electrical wiring and plumbing expert South Wales-based Heatforce was set up 40 years ago, over which period a team of specialists has been built and around 100 apprentices have been trained in the trades of gas-fitting, electrical wiring and plumbing services. It has contracts with local authorities, housing associations, charities, and utility companies to provide plumbing, heating, and renewable services. The company installs boiler, bathrooms and services central heating boilers and supplies and installs fires and fireplaces, right across the United Kingdom. Joined FHIO as commitment to raise standards By joining the FHIO, a business demonstrates a commitment to raising standards by signing up to a Code of Practice By joining the Furniture & Home Improvement Ombudsman (FHIO), a business demonstrates a commitment to raising standards by signing up to a Code of Practice and promoting consumer confidence in the sector in which they operate, so as to add another layer of protection for their customers. In addition, membership underlines industry best practice and an undertaking to manage complaints formally and at a level that is higher than the law prescribes. Access is provided to an established City & Guilds learning and development program, and a dedicated Ombudsman team who have expertise in dispute resolution and consumer law. Raising complaint with the Ombudsman Equally, consumers benefit as they will be able to raise a complaint with the Ombudsman for free, if they are unable to resolve the complaint through existing channels or internal procedures. Kevin Grix, CEO and Chief Ombudsman at Furniture and Home Improvement Ombudsman said, “Knowing that an organization subscribes to an Ombudsman demonstrates responsible business practice and provides reassurance to consumers and businesses alike. Hence, we would like to extend a warm welcome to new members Heatforce, as by joining our independent, government approved scheme, proves an ongoing commitment to protecting consumers’ rights and promoting fair trade.” Enhancing customer service Paul Maddocks, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Heatforce said, “We are delighted to join the FHIO and look forward to the additional training and support that comes with membership. I am also pleased that customers will have extra peace-of-mind when it comes to choosing Heatforce, knowing that our work will be 100% satisfactory every single time.”
Panasonic Corporation has developed VIXELL, a vacuum-insulated box that can store items in -70ºC environment for up to 18 days, using refrigerants such as dry ice. The transport of vaccines and other medical supplies requires strict temperature control. Up until now, conventional insulated boxes have been manufactured by joining vacuum-insulated panels (VIPs) together, but a drawback of this structure has been that cool air leaks through the gaps where the panels join. Panasonic has long been engaged in the research and development of VIPs, and has used them to reduce energy usage in refrigerators and other products. Utilizing its accumulated technologies and expertise, the company has eliminated this leakage, an inevitable issue when using VIPs, through the development of VIXELL. VIXELL boxes VIXELL boxes are created using a proprietary cast-molding method that completely prevents cool air from escaping through gaps seen in conventional boxes. The 57-liter type boxes use urethane foam and glass wool as an insulating material, and compared to previous Panasonic prototypes, improves coolness retention performance by around 30%. Inside VIXELL boxes are thermal storage units, and the temperature is maintained by filling the inside and outside of these units with refrigerant. By switching the types of these units and refrigerants, VIXELL can accommodate a diverse range of temperature zones, including the dry ice temperature zone (below -70ºC), the below -20ºC zone, and the 2ºC-8ºC zone. Shock-absorbing structure The shock-absorbing structure of VIXELL reduces the risk of damage to the plastic sheet Until now, the insulating material used in these cooling boxes has been covered in a plastic sheet. When using dry ice as a refrigerant, however, the temperature of this plastic drops below the ‘brittle temperature’, meaning it is more prone to damage when subjected to drops or vibrations during transport. The shock-absorbing structure of VIXELL reduces the risk of damage to this plastic sheet. This has enabled reliable, stable transportation even in the dry ice temperature zone. Panasonic will begin offering samples of VIXELL to pharmaceutical and logistics companies at the end of FY2021, ending in March 2021, with the aim for commercialization as soon as possible. Features Cast molded for outstanding thermal insulation The cast-molded box structure ensures cool air doesn't escape through gaps in VIPs. The 57-liter type uses both urethane foam and glass wool as an insulating material, and compared to previous Panasonic prototypes, improves coolness retention performance by around 30%. Coolness retention performance that caters to frozen transport below -70ºC The vacuum-insulated box contains a dry ice temperature zone thermal storage unit and can maintain a -70ºC environment for up to 18 days when filled with dry ice. Shock-absorbing structure When a vacuum-insulated box, which has been cooled to dry-ice temperature, is dropped or accidentally subjected to any other shock, the brittle plastic sheet covering the box is easily damaged. VIXELL's new shock-absorbing structure mitigates shock and reduces the risk of damage when the box is dropped.
Among companies in Japan, Panasonic is well-known for its long-term commitment to environmental sustainability. This commitment is underlined by Panasonic Corporation’s Founder, Konosuke Matsushita's belief that ‘a company is a public entity of society’. It would be nonsensical for industrial activities to wreak havoc on the environment and as a result, detract from people's happiness. The founder's philosophy continues to live on. Panasonic Environment Vision 2050 In June 2017, Panasonic formulated the ‘Panasonic Environment Vision 2050’. To realize both a better life and a sustainable environment, the global organization aims to use less energy than it creates. With this philosophy in mind, Panasonic Corporation is undertaking various initiatives to support the achievement of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). During the ‘Carbon Neutral Initiatives’ online seminar held in November 2020, representatives introduced the Panasonic Environment Vision 2050 and the company's efforts to reduce CO2 emissions to zero, to achieve carbon neutrality. Reducing CO2 emissions First, Panasonic Corporation’s Shoji Kusumoto talked about the Panasonic Environment Vision 2050 First, Panasonic Corporation’s Shoji Kusumoto talked about the Panasonic Environment Vision 2050. He explained that “This vision applies not only to manufacturing activities, but to procurement, logistics, and the use of products by our customers.” In 2019, the ratio between the energy used and energy created was 9:1, but by 2050, Panasonic aims to reverse this ratio. Globally, Panasonic emits 110 million tons of CO2 each year. This amount, most of which is emitted by products that Panasonic has sold, represents nearly 10% of the CO2 emitted by Japan as a whole. Promoting carbon neutral factories To reduce CO2 emissions, Panasonic will reduce the energy used during manufacturing and create more energy. One way of reducing the energy used is to promote carbon neutral factories. More specifically, the company has replaced the lighting with LEDs, installed solar power generation systems and storage battery systems, and is promoting the use of clean energy and FEMS (Factory Energy Management Systems). As a result, Panasonic has been able to achieve carbon neutrality in its factories in four countries, including Japan, Belgium, and Brazil in FY2019 and in Costa Rica in FY2020. The factory in Japan is the Panasonic Eco Technology Center (PETEC), Panasonic's home appliance recycling center located in Kato City, Hyogo Prefecture. Solar panels installed in Costa Rica Shoji Kusumoto said, “In Costa Rica's Panasonic Centroamericana, we started by making sure and steady steps. But eventually, it blossomed into a collaboration involving the Costa Rican government and the national utility company. The partnership has expanded in scale and we are now supplying renewable energy and are being provided solar panels.” Next, Panasonic Corporation’s Alex Ikenouchi talked about efforts to achieve carbon neutrality in Panasonic's flagship showroom, ‘Panasonic Center Tokyo’, located in Ariake, Tokyo, Japan. The Ministry of the Environment has defined CO2 and other greenhouse gases emitted during procurement of raw materials, manufacturing, shipping, sales, and disposal, as ‘supply-chain emissions’. Cutting down supply-chain emissions Panasonic Center Tokyo has become a zero-CO2 showroom by taking action in two phases Supply-chain emissions are divided into 15 categories, including scope 1 that includes gases directly emitted by Panasonic, scope 2 featuring gasses indirectly emitted by the use of energy supplied by other companies, and Scope 3 includes gases emitted by other activities including during employees' commute. Panasonic Center Tokyo has become a zero-CO2 showroom by taking action in two phases; the first phase is covered in Scope 1 and 2, the second phase in Scope 3. Based on the initiatives stated in Scope 1 and 2, Panasonic has been able to cut its showroom's CO2 emissions. From FY2019 to FY2021, the showroom has taken steps to achieve energy savings which include changing to LED lighting and applying thermal barrier film. These efforts have reduced CO2 emissions by 10%. Shifting to 100% biomass power generation Furthermore, to reduce the CO2 emitted by the energy procured, Panasonic will shift to 100% biomass power generation and offset carbon by utilizing the J-Credit Scheme and providing energy to the region. And from January 2021 the showroom will begin testing the pure hydrogen fuel cell generator which produces clean energy to get one step closer to carbon neutrality. Using the 700 W type prototype to be introduced to the market after 2022, the showroom will create clean energy to power its activities. With Scope 3, Panasonic has transformed the showroom operation and the way their employees work. One example is the reduction of CO2 emissions during movement. “Last year, customers came to the showroom and so did our employees, but due to COVID-19, the online shift has accelerated and 30% of our events are now held online. At the same time, 50% of our employees are working from home. Both of these efforts are helping to reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 68 tons,” explained Mr. Ikenouchi. Providing 100% renewable energy to employees Shigenori Jinbo, Senior Fellow of Nikkei BP Intelligence Group moderated the panel discussion during the second half of the seminar. When Mr. Jinbo asked, “What was most difficult about achieving carbon neutrality?” Shoji Kusumoto answered, “The biggest challenge was the cost. No one was against the vision, but people tend to be hesitant about making an environmental investment that takes 10, 20 years to recoup. This is because factories fixate on even saving 0.1 yen. This is the strength for a manufacturing company, but it can also be difficult when embarking on this kind of initiative.” Adapting to changing environment Jorge Sanchez learned about Panasonic's carbon neutral initiatives during his visit to Japan for training" Mr. Kusumoto adds, “Another challenge was the lack of a one-size-fits-all methodology. Depending on the characteristics of the region, what the factory is manufacturing, and its scale, the optimal combination changes. Moreover, there are an increasing number of uncertainties in this day and age, so requirements also change depending on the time frame.” He further stated, “But there are projects like Costa Rica which are quite enthusiastic. Mr. Jorge Sanchez learned about Panasonic's carbon neutral initiatives during his visit to Japan for training and took those ideas home. This is how the Costa Rica project came about. The local company President was also enthusiastic and in just two years, they had gained government support for the project.” Adhering to carbon neutral initiatives “In 2019, the President and the First Lady came and visited the Panasonic Center Tokyo, and their kind understanding for Panasonic's commitment to the environment played a role in making this project possible.” “What is also great is that they are taking the time to ensure that each employee and even their family members share in the vision. They are also giving back to the local community. Everyone involved is promoting this project with pride, and they remain highly motivated. The combination of dedicated individuals and management support is one way to ensure a project's success.” Hydrogen, next-generation energy source The next theme was ‘The use of hydrogen, which holds the key to next-generation energy’. Panasonic will begin selling the 5 kW and 700 W pure hydrogen fuel cell generators that generate power using hydrogen from 2021 and 2022 respectively. In addition to mono-generation models that only generate power, Panasonic will also offer a co-generation model that will also use heat at the same time. The biggest feature is that this solution can simultaneously control multiple pure hydrogen fuel cell generators. This enables the management of both the 700 W model for homes as well as large scale models. According to Shoji Kusumoto, “This can help realize distributed energy.” After the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the area called ‘HARUMI FLAG’ where the Olympic village will be located will be equipped with a hydrogen infrastructure, so full-fledged social implementation is right on the horizon. ‘Communicating about the SDGs to the younger generation’ The third theme was on ‘Communicating about the SDGs to the younger generation’ The third theme was on ‘Communicating about the SDGs to the younger generation’. Panasonic’s Alex Ikenouchi noted that “Millennials and Generation Z have different sets of values than we do. And it's also a challenge to work out how best to talk to grade school and junior high school students.” Then he went onto describe the online seminars for youths that Panasonic organizes to promote the SDGs. Alex adds, “Young people already have an understanding about the SDGs, so a direct approach describing what SDGs are will not work. That is why we changed our approach and are organizing the 'Your Imagination and Creativity Will Light Up the World' online campaign which focuses on 'people's kindness' to discuss the SDGs until December 27, 2020.” He further stated, “Some themes may not seem directly related to the SDGs, but once they begin to dig deeper, they will see that it is actually interlinked. We have seen that younger generations feel and understand the importance of the SDGs if introduced through issues closer to them,” New CO2 free initiatives The fourth theme was on Panasonic's new CO2 free initiatives. This involves using ‘Non-fossil Fuel Energy Certificates’ given as proof that the electricity comes from renewable energy sources to provide 100% renewable energy to its employees. This project has also been well received by Panasonic's employees and both Mr. Kusumoto and Mr. Ikenouchi have already signed up for the program. Moreover, the staff under Mr. Kusumoto’s department has said that they want to make the shift to renewable energy for the future of their children. SDGs and zero CO2 emission future At the end of the seminar, Mr. Ikenouchi mentioned that “When we look at 2030 or even beyond, at 2050, we need to address the challenges right in front of us. I think this is our responsibility as a company that lives in this age.” Mr. Kusumoto concludes, “When you have the will, knowledge, and co-creation, the possibilities are endless. We want to achieve the vision, our goal by putting one foot in front of the other.” As their words indicate, SDGs and zero CO2 initiatives are a strategic move to ensure a prosperous future.
Johnson Controls, the globally renowned company for smart, healthy and sustainable buildings, has announced results of independent surveys of 800+ building decision makers showing a clear shift to increased investment in healthy building trends and technologies. “At the center of a vision for a healthy world must be healthy buildings, and that means delivering on the most critical elements to serve People, Places and Planet,” said George Oliver, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Johnson Controls. OpenBlue technologies Our OpenBlue technologies reinvent the building landscape, creating dynamic smart facilities" George adds, “Our OpenBlue technologies reinvent the building landscape, creating dynamic smart facilities that help businesses meet their sustainability commitments, while delivering healthy places, enriched experiences and cost savings. Johnson Controls leads the industry in translating new building technology capabilities into game-changing solutions that deliver on our focus of People, Places and Planet.” As the only recognized company in the category with 135 years of experience, Johnson Controls is ideally positioned with technologies and solutions that accelerate the reinvention of healthy buildings. The surveys confirmed the need is greater than ever, with 90 percent of responding firms having dedicated resources to healthy buildings initiatives. Helping businesses meet sustainability goals “Building owners are struggling to balance urgent and conflicting priorities between employee health and wellness with critically needed cost savings, increased revenue and sustainability targets,” said Michael Ellis, Executive Vice President and Chief Customer & Digital Officer at Johnson Controls, adding “Johnson Controls is best positioned to help businesses meet those sustainability commitments while delivering on our customers’ return on investment.” The 2020 pandemic showed that few customers were able to reduce building operating costs despite lower occupancy, highlighting the need for technologies to deliver flexibility. Energy and cost savings “Energy use should be dramatically lower when occupancy is low, but surprisingly less than one in ten building operators were able to reduce energy use more than 20 percent,” said Michael Ellis, adding “At a time when companies are aggressively pursuing energy and cost savings, customers need and want solutions that help them do better, while increasing the health profile of those buildings.” He further said, “Johnson Controls OpenBlue technologies deliver a unique, game-changing capability to solve for healthy places, while simultaneously serving sustainability goals.” The survey of facilities operators showed a range of specific investment priorities to meet goals for Healthy People, Healthy Places and a Healthy Planet. Healthy People Businesses are highly committed to employee health and wellness as a driver of high-performing teams Businesses are increasingly committed to employee health and wellness as a driver of high-performing teams. The studies show an increase in investments by organizations toward wellness, clean air and peace of mind. 80 percent of respondents stated that protecting the health and safety of building occupants during the COVID-19 pandemic and afterward is very or extremely important. New factors are being included in this mix, such as temperature control, disinfection, ventilation and air filtration which all require well maintained systems and equipment, enhanced through intelligent sensors and control software. Contactless access and contact tracing The realities of the COVID-19 pandemic have increased the potential benefit of these technologies and for contactless access and contact tracing. These capabilities can help increase overall building security through enhanced tracking of building guest and occupant access, flow and location, while maintaining trust. Johnson Controls delivers solutions for all of these needs and in support of broader wellness for people in shared spaces. Healthy Places Finding cost savings and making fast and informed decisions, supported by data, is a critical part of facility operations. In the Johnson Controls independent studies, 80 percent of facility executives stated that increasing flexibility to quickly respond to emergencies is a top driver for investment in technologies such as flexible facility monitoring and healthy air strategies. The spaces in which people work, shop, entertain and live become more inviting, more efficient and less expensive to operate over time. Space optimization and capital planning Space optimization, capital planning and increasing the uptime and lifetime of assets all support operational performance and lead to cost savings & increased revenue opportunities for building operators. Johnson Controls OpenBlue, a complete suite of connected solutions and services, leverages digital integration to optimize the performance of buildings and assets. Healthy Planet Energy efficiency, renewable energy and smart building technology are becoming more critical each year Improvements in energy efficiency, renewable energy and smart building technology are becoming more critical each year. In the studies, 76 percent of facility executives stated that energy cost savings are a top driver for investment. These investments also influence corporate sustainability rankings, an important metric for attracting and retaining investors, employees and customers. Buildings are responsible for about 40 percent of the planet’s total energy consumption and 36 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from energy use. But only 1 percent of buildings undergo energy efficient renovation every year. Achieving net zero carbon status Effective action is crucial in aligning to increased regulation, decreasing energy consumption and increasing sustainability. For the health of the planet, the studies revealed that 57 percent of organizations plan to achieve net zero carbon or positive energy status in at least one facility in the next ten years. Through ongoing efforts to create more healthy buildings, Johnson Controls has implemented more than 3,000 energy-savings performance contracting projects in North America alone. The result has been reductions of more than 29 million metric tons of carbon emissions from customer facilities and savings of US$ 6 billion in energy and operating costs driven by a comprehensive suite of product and technology solutions. In fiscal year 2019, almost half of Johnson Controls revenue came from products and services that reduce energy use and improve sustainability. Johnson Controls helps building owners and occupants make efficient, productive decisions in support of healthy people, healthy places and a healthy planet.
Air conditioning has become a huge part of our lives whether we know it or not. Most offices have them so that members of staff can enjoy a regulated working environment without having to shiver or overheat. This often makes the office a nice place to work in and helps staff to stay productive throughout the day, regardless of what is going on with the weather. Commercial air conditioning is something that we often take for granted because we barely realize that it’s there. The only time that we notice it is when it breaks down or it doesn’t function as efficiently as we want it to. Why is it important to regularly maintain an HVAC unit? When an AC unit isn’t looked after in the right way, there can be a number of things that can either go wrong Air conditioning maintenance is something that so many people overlook. This can be for a whole host of reasons, including whether it’s that they are unaware that it needs regular maintenance or they think it’s too costly to take on. These are often the most common reasons that air conditioning units aren’t looked after properly. When an air conditioner unit isn’t looked after in the right way, there can be a number of things that can either go wrong and disable air conditioning or just hinder its ability to do its job. Temperatures With a well looked after, fully functioning commercial air conditioner, you’ll find that the temperatures are very accurate and work as intended. This means that everything within your unit is in top condition and working well. For example, on a hot day, when you set your thermostat to a low temperature, you’ll get exactly that. Over time you may find that your air conditioning starts to struggle a little. This can be in a few different forms. You may detect that it takes a lot longer for your air conditioning to get up or down to the right temperature. This can be for a whole host of reasons and so keeping it regularly maintained will help to reduce this risk. Cost-effective As mentioned, a poorly maintained air conditioning unit will likely mean that it takes longer to get to the right temperatures or it may not be efficient enough to even reach the temperature you’re after. With that in mind, it can start to cost a lot more to run your HVAC system in this state. Due to the fact that it might take longer to reach your preferred temperature, you could end up paying more as time goes on. If you don’t rectify this problem, you may end up with an air conditioning unit that no longer works enough to be worth running. This will have adverse effects on the working environment and your members of staff. Safety of staff Depending on where you are in the world, heatstroke is also a very dangerous problem One of the biggest concerns for a business owner, the HR department and the individuals themselves, is that the office needs to be suitable to work in. From a health and safety standpoint, employees need to be safe and protected. Often air conditioning maintenance falls under this and is a necessity. Depending on where you are in the world, heatstroke is also a very dangerous problem. Having an inefficient air conditioning unit that can’t keep up with the rising temperatures could potentially put your employees at risk! The same also goes for those in more densely populated cities like London, New York City and even France. The air quality in and around these cities can be awful and so having air conditioning to clean and filter the air before it arrives in your office can make a big difference. Preventative maintenance Preventative maintenance is possibly one of the most important parts of owning any sort of machinery. Whether we’re talking about a car or air conditioning, preventative maintenance is a must. Preventative maintenance is just the act of regular maintenance throughout the lifetime of a product. It often involves changing of parts or fluids, even if they don’t need it in that instant. For example, if you take your car for a service and the engine oil is still sort of okay but will need replacing in 2 months’ time, would you just leave it or get it changed there and then? This type of preventative maintenance is designed to make sure that everything is in top condition and works perfectly all of the time. The biggest problem we face is that people think preventative maintenance isn’t necessary and while, yes your AC system will run without it, it’s likely to cost you so much more in the long run and could end up upsetting your staff too with a drop in temperatures. Employee satisfaction Commercial air conditioning is still a huge part of employee satisfaction Although at the time of writing this, many people are working from home, commercial air conditioning is still a huge part of employee satisfaction. Having an operating office, warehouse, school or indeed home, with air conditioning can help to keep people happy throughout the year. As a business owner, HR or general manager, it’s part of your job to keep employees happy and working in an optimal environment. Without this, employees may start to get fed up with attending an office that’s way too hot to work in. Importance of a regular maintenance plan A regular maintenance plan is going to help you keep your air conditioning system in the best state possible. You‘ll be able to detect faults and malfunctions before they have a direct impact on your commercial air conditioning system and prevent any further damage. Through the utilization of a proper plan, you should find that your system has a longer lifespan than those that don’t and should work more efficiently saving you time, money and the hassle of a broken system. Keeping your staff members happy is also a must and so dedicating some of your budget to air conditioning maintenance might just help you to keep morale and employee satisfaction on the right level.
The impact of COVID-19 has hit all areas of industry in a variety of different ways; with mass redundancies, restructures and the need for diversification now dominating the headlines. It has also made a lot of people question their own careers and what is important to them; in fact, Google searches for the term ‘career change’ are up more than 500% on this time last year. With more than half of the heating and plumbing industry’s workforce due to retire in the next decade, and so many people considering a career change (either through choice or necessity), is there a window of opportunity for the heating engineering and plumbing industry to attract men and women to the industry? Why is there a need for recruitment in the industry? In 2017, the Gas Safe Register’s ‘Decade in Review’ found that the average age of heating installers was 55, with over half of respondents being this age or older. The report also found that over 50 per cent of engineers are concerned about keeping up with advancing and unfamiliar technology. Over the next decade, this aging With more than half of the heating and plumbing industry’s workforce due to retire in the next decade, and so many people considering a career changeworkforce will begin to reduce their working hours or retire completely. With fewer young people deciding to train as a heating installer, the industry will quickly lose valuable experience as the workforce diminishes. In addition, a survey by the Centre for Ageing Better found that, of 500 employers, only 20% have considered how they will tackle an aging workforce, and 24% have no strategies in place. How can heating installers promote their career path? As of October 2020, the UK unemployment rate has risen to its highest level (4.5%) in over three years. According to the ONS, an estimated 1.5 million people were unemployed between June and August, while redundancies stood at 227,000. Of those now facing unemployment, about 300,000 are aged 16-24. With so many young people out of work, and plenty of adults looking to make the move from an office-based role to one that’s ‘more rewarding’, a career in the trade could be an attractive option. But, how can heating installers market themselves as a prosperous career path to these people? Be positive on social media Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn have provided installers with a way to market themselves to customers, share their successes, and connect with others in the industry. This is all great, but often heating installers use social media to vent their frustrations, complain about long hours and feeling tired, or even complaining about customer behaviour. While this is absolutely understandable (we all need to let off steam from time to time), this kind of content should be shared on private accounts only seen by family and friends. It may be worth setting up a second account which can be seen by the public and only share positive content there. This will show followers (who are potential recruits and customers) the more positive aspects of the career. Talk about benefits and progression opportunities When attracting young people to any profession, you need to emphasize the opportunities it offers in terms of progression, potential earnings, and other benefits such as being self-employed and therefore being able to manage your own hours and holidays. Offer an apprenticeship scheme By offering a paid apprenticeship scheme you can attract both young people and older career changers who have financial responsibilities to meet. You know better than any that it takes time to train as a heating installer, as well as a lot of on the job experience, and a paid apprenticeship could make the career a viable option for people with financial commitments. Make it clear to new recruits that they will be supported and mentored throughout their training. Will the Green Homes Grants scheme help the heating industry? Finally, it is important to address the government’s Green Homes Grants scheme which began accepting applications in September and will be open until 31st March 2021. The scheme offers £5,000 vouchers to homeowners in England to cover two-thirds of the cost of energy-saving improvements such as improving insulation and installing renewable heating systems like heat pumps, biomass boilers, and solar thermal panels. In addition to encouraging homeowners to reduce their carbon emissions in line with the government’s target of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050, the scheme Google searches for the term ‘career change’ are up more than 500% on this time last yearis also intended to boost employment. The increased interest and investment in the renewable energy sector could indeed open up more opportunities for the unemployed, but as the scheme is only open until March 2021, this does not seem to be a particularly long-term approach. Homeowners cannot use the grant to install a more efficient gas or oil boiler, so it is unlikely to help the heating industry to attract recruits who will become traditional boiler installers, but it may kickstart the renewable heating industry and encourage existing heating professionals to diversify their skillset. Of course, there is always the possibility that increased awareness of the need to reduce carbon emissions and make our homes more efficient will have a knock-on effect for the boiler installation industry, but only time will tell. Use digital advertising When people are looking for a job, or even when they are just passing the time at home during lockdown, they will usually be online. When you have a job opening or an apprenticeship on offer, be sure to advertize on digital platforms including job posting websites, LinkedIn, search engine and social media advertising. Be open to diversity If the industry is only open to attracting men of a certain age from a certain background, the number of potential recruits reduces rapidly. The heating industry is one of the least diverse, particularly in terms of gender as only 0.4 per cent of Gas Safe registered engineers are female. Heating installers and employers not only need to be willing to hire a more diverse workforce, but they also need to be proactive in their efforts to attract candidates to ensure everyone feels welcome and supported in the industry.
Pete Mills, Commercial Technical Operations Manager at Bosch Commercial & Industrial outlines how cities are using heat networks to achieve UK carbon emission targets. Heat networks, or district heating, are becoming an ever-greater part of our industry’s involvement in larger scale schemes. The ability to help the decarbonization of heat both now and in the future has made them an attractive solution to the new-build sector, as well as those undergoing deep renovation works. Net zero 2050 The UK’s net zero 2050 target may seem like a long way off. But steps need to be made now in order to reach this, something that our leading cities have recognized. Many have set their own carbon targets to ensure they stay on track. This is why heat networks’ ability to provide efficient heat and hot water to multiple buildings (and as the name suggests, whole districts) is a particular reason why many cities up and down the country are turning to them as a solution. What are heat networks? Generally, heat networks are defined as a system of supply pipes with a centralized heat generator (Energy Centre) that serves multiple domestic or non-domestic dwellings. These are usually in different buildings, but sometimes within a single large building like an apartment block or a university campus.District heating is often used to describe larger scale systems District heating is often used to describe larger scale systems of this sort, where there will be many buildings connected over a larger geographic area. In these systems, although the heat is provided ‘off-dwelling’, it is also common to have more than one energy centre. The principle is that energy for heating (and sometimes cooling) is supplied through the system of pipes, with each individual user being metered for the energy they use. Minimize pipe lengths Heat networks offer a number of advantages but are best suited to areas where there is high heat density, that is to say where there are multiple ‘households’ close together in order to minimize the length of pipes within the network. One of the key advantages for heat networks is their adaptability to use any form of heat generation. A key advantage from an environmental perspective is that they make use of waste heat, from sources such as electricity generation, waste incineration and industry. Heat networks are defined as a system of supply pipes with a centralized heat generator that serves multiple domestic or non-domestic dwellings The scale of the combined heat requirements of all these dwellings also helps the inclusion of renewable energy sources, which may be more difficult and costly to achieve at the individual dwelling level. Overall, their flexibility to use whatever heat source is available, makes them easier to decarbonize in the future.Other key benefits for Local Authorities and Housing Associations have been the elimination of individual gas appliances within dwellings. This has significant cost savings reductions for Local Authorities and Housing Associations where gas landlord checks are eliminated, along with the issues associated with access. City developments Today City Councils and developers are opting for heat networks to provide the heating and hot water for new redevelopment projects. The largest of these is the ambitious Leeds Heat Network, which once completed is set to be one of the UK’s largest new heat networks, connecting 1,983 council homes and numerous businesses in Leeds. The first scheme under the City Region’s District Heating program, the green initiative looks to reduce carbon emissions for the area as well as energy bills for the residents living there.The green initiative looks to reduce carbon emissions for the area Even more innovative is how the network will connect to the Leeds Recycling and Energy Recovery Facility, which burns black bin bag waste to generate heat. In theory this would make the network fully sustainable. There will be back-up support from efficient Bosch Commercial & Industrial boilers, which will only be switched on when required, say the colder months where the need for heat is higher. Climate change targets An hour’s drive away from Leeds is the city with one of the most ambitious climate targets in the UK. Manchester intends to be carbon-neutral, climate resilient and zero waste by 2038 – 12 years before the overall UK net zero 2050 target needs to be hit.To help achieve its ambitions, work has been taking place on the Manchester Civic Quarter Heat Network (CQHN). Manchester hasshown the versatility of heat networks due to the number of commercial buildings it will support The project will generate low-carbon power, heat and hot water for initially six council buildings and some residential properties with the possibility for the network to grow and connect further buildings across the city centre. Some see district heating as a solution solely for residential purposes, however Manchester have shown the versatility of heat networks due to the number of commercial buildings it will support. The project itself has also given Manchester a new landmark, the impressive ‘Tower of Light’, which incorporates the five flues from the technology powering the network. This beacon not only represents the city’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint but also the innovative nature of district heating. Heating Battersea Power Station The final example lies in the Capital and may be one of the most famous developments in the UK at the moment. Battersea Power Station is not only one of the most iconic landmarks in London, but also the center piece of one of the most high-profile, large scale mixed-use redevelopment projects ever undertaken in the Capital.Battersea Power Station is a high-profile, large scale mixed-use redevelopment project The project involves the development of a district heating and cooling network, with a two-level underground energy centre – one of the largest of its kind. This complex heat, cooling and electricity network will continue to expand as the project continues to undergo its development stages. Looking ahead These are just a few examples of cities taking advantage of district heating and its many benefits, but near all cities in the UK have multiple heat network projects underway. Like with most innovations, smaller urban areas should then follow suit. The importance of district heating will no doubt become more and more prominent. Its ability to power whole areas and multiple buildings can already help efficiency levels, however its potential may be even greater in the future. One key energy transformation that is looking more and more likely is the decarbonization of the gas grid to hydrogen blends and ultimately 100% hydrogen. If these can be utilized in heat networks then the benefits will definitely put us and UK cities in a good place as we continue our journey towards net zero.
Artificial intelligence (AI) provides a tool to deliver significant savings and dramatically reduce carbon emissions, enabling a self-operating building. Because of AI’s ability to be proactive in buildings, rather than reactive, a 25% reduction in total energy costs is possible, along with a 20-40% decrease in carbon footprint. "Our mission is to fight climate change by bringing innovation and cutting-edge artificial intelligence to the built environment, making buildings smarter and greener," said Jean-Simon Venne, Co-Founder and CTO of BrainBox AI. BrainBox AI BrainBox AI is at the forefront of a new era in building automation and a leader in the green building transformation. Located in Montreal, Canada, BrainBox AI offers a technology that combines deep learning, cloud-based computing and autonomous decision-making to support a 24/7 self-operating building. BrainBox AI’s solution enables the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) system in a building to operate autonomously, in real-time. “Some 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions originate from buildings, and HVAC systems are responsible for over 50% of those emissions. BrainBox AI is comprised of experts in the fields of artificial intelligence (AI), data science, real estate, HVAC and energy efficiency, all working to create a better future,” said Jean-Simon Venne. AI technology thrives in logical environments AI technology thrives in logical environments, and HVAC systems are extremely logical" Venne adds, “AI is very stable and super predictive. AI technology thrives in logical environments, and HVAC systems are extremely logical. A fan, for example, will continuously have the same behavior, over and over again.” Due to HVAC’s predictability, AI can study a building and learn how it operates, identify each potential improvement opportunity, and then act on them. AI is also able to monitor a multitude of data points at once, so it’s more reliable in optimizing HVAC systems in real-time than humans alone. Communicating with HVAC controls Communicating with HVAC controls is a requirement of applying AI to the HVAC market. There are over 700 control languages currently being used for HVAC control. Looking at the big picture, about 20 of those 700 languages make up 80% of the market. BrainBox AI’s system focuses on the 20 or so dominant languages. Part of their minimum requirements for system integration is that the HVAC system must speak one of those 20 languages. Autonomous real-time cloud connection BrainBox AI also recently launched a driver for the Niagara Framework, the first AI application to use an autonomous real-time cloud connection to the platform, which is the leading open platform for the building automation market. Their Niagara driver allows the platform to connect to a building’s management system (BMS) through the cloud, thus decreasing the connection time to less than 30 minutes. “If you’re going to use AI, you really need to use the cloud, in order to use the proper computing power,” said Venne, adding "Using a cloud system makes it easier to store and share information. For example, if you’re a building owner, the cloud system can give the building owner visibility into all the data being collected and a holistic view into what’s happening in their buildings.” Autonomous AI HVAC system BrainBox AI's customer AMP Capital is now the first organization to install an autonomous AI HVAC system" Venne further stated, “BrainBox AI's customer AMP Capital is now the first organization in the world to install an autonomous AI HVAC system across its managed real estate portfolio. But how does an automated system adapt to the changing and possibly competing comfort preferences inside a building? It's an excellent question.” The AI solution is all about predictive behaviors, but that sometimes requires compromise. There will always have be someone who prefers to work in 60 degrees and someone else who prefers to work in 80 degrees. "Because BrainBox AI collects thousands of real-time data points such as outside temperature, sun/cloud positioning, fan speed, duct pressure, heater status, humidity levels, occupant density and more, we’re able to report a 60% improvement in occupant comfort thanks to an improved respecting of set points," adds Venne. Airborne Virus Mitigation Program In the age of a global pandemic, airborne viruses, such as COVID-19’s SARS-CoV-2, can be re-circulated non-deliberately throughout building HVAC systems, creating a liability to building owners and operators. To help proactively mitigate the potential spread of pathogens and improve air quality in buildings, BrainBox AI provides commercial buildings access to its Airborne Virus Mitigation Program (AVMP). Through AVMP, BrainBox AI instructs the HVAC system to operate as instructed to minimize the spread of contaminants and improve air quality, based on CDC and ASHRAE guidelines. BrainBox AI’s system focuses on the 20 or so dominant languages Supporting buildings with partial HVAC system shutdown Additionally, many commercial buildings are significantly less occupied than usual during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. BrainBox AI supports these buildings by proceeding with a complete or partial shutdown of their HVAC system(s). BrainBox AI’s cloud-based technology optimally instructs the networked HVAC system to decrease its operations to a minimum, enabling up to 30% in energy cost savings. BrainBox AI's go-to-market strategy is comprised of three different parts. First, the company has its own sales force, which is deployed mainly in North America, but also in APAC and EMEA, where they can sell directly to building owners and operators. The company also uses reseller partners for commercialization, which are usually system integrators or local integrators. These partners are typically already selling controls to different building owners and operators in regional markets. Now, they have the opportunity to provide their clients with BrainBox AI. They are also using this strategy globally. Partnerships with OEMs BrainBox AI is developing partnerships with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) Lastly, BrainBox AI is developing partnerships with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to help support their individual strategies of implementing artificial intelligence into their existing HVAC and controls products. “We’re just now starting to really see the impact that automating building HVAC systems can have,” said Venne, adding “Buildings have been non-adaptive for such a long time, but now with building automation, we’re really starting to change that. Right now, AI thrives on predictability, based on the thousands of data sets it’s able to collect. That being said, the weather keeps changing outside, with global warming continuously on the rise; building mechanics should react and adapt to that.” AI building blocks Venne further stated, “Humans are also not robots, they gather in different areas in the building and don’t always have the same patterns. It's a challenge to enable and train AI to be more adaptive in that sense. AI building blocks eventually will aggregate together and give more intelligent insights, ultimately creating a more intelligent city and eventually a much more intelligent world that can be operated by AI, under the watchful eye of humans.” “A misconception is that this technology will ‘steal’ jobs from humans and replace them,” stated Venne, adding “Naturally, that makes people a bit scared. Right now, every building has only a few people operating the building system. They are so frequently called to change an office’s thermostat that utilizing AI actually makes their job easier.” Controlling and optimizing building HVAC systems We’re reaching a very interesting time in terms of AI and technology in general" He adds, “By allowing BrainBox AI to control and optimize the HVAC systems in buildings, the building operators are able to spend more time running the building, rather than flipping switches and changing temperatures. We’re reaching a very interesting time in terms of AI and technology in general." Venne further stated, “All my life I was given limitations, hearing 'no, we can’t do this, the computers can’t handle this, etc.’ But right now we’re reaching the point where we’re not limited by our technology capabilities, we are only limited by our imagination." He concludes, “It’s just a matter of breaking that imagination wall to find a way to create even more value with the existing technology today. Things are accelerating and we’re going to need to move forward. We shouldn’t be scared, but rather embrace it and accelerate forward.”
Millennials have been shaped by their experiences growing up with technology and by their heightened awareness of the environment. These facets of a consumer market dominated by millennials will guide the future of the HVAC market over the next several years. Each generation reshapes markets in their own image. In the case of millennials, trends and behaviors are influencing how companies design new solutions, including those in the world of HVAC. Sustainable solutions and personalized experiences Millennials place a premium on sustainable solutions that reduce their environmental impact Millennials place a premium on sustainable solutions that reduce their environmental impact. Millennials also want more personalized and convenient experiences, and they value enhanced customer service support. New systems designed with a personalized and ecological mindset are amplifying efficiency and convenience and giving unprecedented control to create a truly connected home for technophilic millennials. Future HVAC products to cater to millennials The challenges of catering to millennials is one of the trends LG Electronics has listed among those likely to impact the HVAC industry in the months and years ahead. The trends are directly guiding LG’s product mix, including WiFi-enabled indoor units and LG’s Smart ThinQ application, which put the ability to control a home’s comfort system at the consumer’s fingertips. Here are some other trends to watch, listed by LG Electronics, when looking ahead to 2021 and beyond: Greener solutions on the horizon: Beyond appealing to millennial sensitivities, green solutions have a long list of their own advantages. Industry providers are responding by creating more sustainable and efficient products to enable customers to reduce their carbon footprints. LG Inverter air conditioning systems are designed to minimize efficiency losses, provide sustainable energy savings and contribute to lower lifecycle costs. More efficiency and reduced costs: Geothermal heat pumps have quickly proven themselves to be an alternative energy source, offering both warming and cooling capabilities. They are a highly effective and renewable energy source that can transfer heat from the ground to cool and heat buildings. Minimizing greenhouse gas emissions: Connecting HVAC to the electrical grid highlights the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Air-to-water heat pumps and other solutions can generate cooling and heating from one unit, thus furthering the transition from natural gas, fuel oil or coal. Fulfilling the need for new employees: The next generation of HVAC engineers and technicians requires training programs. LG Air Conditioning Academies provide training and skills programs around the world to empower the new generation of HVAC professionals. The impact of COVID-19: The pandemic has created a need for greater safety precautions within the HVAC industry. Remote working trends and additional precautions will likely continue to impact the industry even post-pandemic. LG HVAC systems are evolving to better aid the road to recovery and to prepare for the new normal with optimal solutions for the ever-changing challenges.
In an economic sense, the COVID-19 pandemic has created winners and losers. While the tragic human and societal consequences are undeniable, when it comes to economics, some businesses have clearly fared better than others. For example, the hospitality industry has basically been decimated. Meanwhile, the HVAC business has thrived during the pandemic. Part of our success has been driven by increasing awareness of the role of air ventilation in fighting the virus. There has been renewed interest in air filtration, not to mention the benefits of UV-C to mitigate germs circulating in the air. Useful And Timely Information When customers wonder about how HVAC can be leveraged to make home and office environments safer, our industry’s business owners and technicians have mostly provided useful and timely information, while resisting (hopefully) any tendencies to exaggerate product claims or oversell possible solutions. The most successful HVAC professionals during this time have been the ones who have educated their customers without taking advantage of their understandable anxieties about the spread of the virus. Importance Of Comfort Work-from-home movement has increased awareness about the importance of comfort as we spent more time in our homesThe whole work-from-home movement has arguably increased awareness about the importance of comfort as we have spent more time in our homes. Staying at home makes consumers more conscious of how well – or badly – their HVAC systems are operating. Investing to improve home systems makes an even better economic sense if we are spending more time at home. In contrast, for instance, to an urge to invest more in our cars and trucks because we were spending all that time commuting. Pandemic Shutdown Shielding the HVAC market from the worst of the pandemic’s economic downside was the designation of HVAC industry employees among “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During the COVID-19 Response” by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The designation, in effect, enabled HVAC companies to continue to operate throughout various pandemic shutdowns. Challenges Faced Furthermore, HVAC technicians and companies have risen to the challenges of social distancing and wearing masks as they are invited into customers’ homes and businesses during the pandemic. Personally, “I experienced a couple of visits from my local HVAC technicians early in the pandemic, and they could not have been more considerate and compliant with the prevailing norms to promote good health.” Renovation Of Spaces Business shutdowns also provided a window of opportunity to renovate spaces (including HVAC upgrades) without any worry about interfering with a customer’s operations. Many facilities were manned by skeleton crews or completed shut down, and the quiet operation eliminated any of the usual concerns about disruption of business operations to address HVAC repairs or maintenance. Business Opportunities HVAC systems became the focus of strategies to make environments safer There have certainly been business challenges during the pandemic, and some installer companies saw a slowdown during the worst of it. However, when it came time to open up businesses and schools again, HVAC systems became the focus of strategies to make environments safer. These requirements also provided new business opportunities for HVAC professionals and helped to keep their employees engaged and employed. Negative And Positive Effect The impact of a global pandemic can be devastating for any industry. As the COVID-19 pandemic has played out, the tremendous impacts can be seen in almost any market sector. However, as these things go, the pandemic has translated into a pretty good year for many HVAC companies, certainly better than some of the other small- to medium-sized businesses in a long list of industries. The pandemic’s impact on increased demand for the HVAC industry’s products and services provided new opportunities to serve customer needs and solve their problems. 2020 has been a challenging year for all of us, but hopefully, HVAC businesses will finish the year in decent shape and looking ahead to an even more prosperous 2021.
Panasonic Corporation has announced, in collaboration with Grab Holdings Inc. (Grab), the international superapp creator in Southeast Asia, to further raise GrabCar Premium standards by providing cleaner and more comfortable traveling experience for GrabCar Premium passengers, using nanoe X. The initiative will see 5,500 GrabCar Premium vehicles in five cities across four countries, including Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi (Vietnam), and Jakarta (Indonesia), to be equipped with nanoe X generators, which will be available from the middle of January 2021. Panasonic air quality solutions In recent years, interest in air quality has been increasing worldwide. Under the slogan of ‘Quality Air for Life’ mainly in Southeast Asia, Panasonic is providing air quality solutions that control temperature, humidity, ventilation, and airflow to deliver high-quality air environments tailored to homes, stores, offices, etc. At the core of these solutions is Panasonic’s proprietary nanoe clean technology. nanoe X nanoe X is a nanosized particulate ion produced by applying a high voltage to water in the air and contains hydroxyl radicals nanoe X is a nanosized particulate ion produced by applying a high voltage to water in the air and contains hydroxyl radicals (highly reactive components) that easily act on various substances. The production of these hydroxyl radicals has been increased tenfold, compared to conventional products. nanoe X is used in home appliances such as air purifiers, air conditioners, washing machines, and refrigerators, as well as in automobiles, trains, and commercial air conditioning equipment because of its various effects such as deodorization, suppression of bacteria and allergens. nanoe X generator The nanoe X generator, which will be installed in GrabCar Premium vehicles, is powered by a USB port and is compact enough to fit in a car cup-holder, making it easy to generate nanoe X to clean the air inside the car. Panasonic will continue to pursue the realization of ‘Quality Air for Life’ in various areas of everyday lives and society, including home appliances, automotive, and housing-related fields, to deliver a healthy lifestyle.
Florida-based tanker transportation and fleet management company, Oakley Transport is no stranger to success. Its roots date back to 1961, starting out as an independent citrus fruit broker, before entering into the harvest and hauling sector of the citrus industry. Specialized tanker transport In 1986, Oakley Transport diversified into the transport of liquid food grade products and quickly became one of the top transporters in specialized tanker transportation services. And just four years ago, the company expanded once again, however, this time into the reefer segment. “With a request from key partners, we entered the refrigerated side of business in late 2016 to move many of the finished goods that came from the tanker division. It was a natural way to further diversify and a great growth opportunity,” said Thomas E. Oakley of Oakley Transport. It allowed us an opportunity to introduce the Thermo King brand into our fleet" Tom adds, “It also allowed us an opportunity to introduce the Thermo King brand into our fleet, an opportunity that continues to expand.” ISO 9001 and ISO 22000 certification Those opportunities are no accident. According to Thomas E. Oakley, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Oakley Transport, “The company has always aligned its vision with core values – and that has provided competitive advantages. Indeed Oakley Transport’s reputation for reliable service, dependable drivers, and industry leadership as early adopters of the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act and ELDs, has earned the organization certification in ISO 9001 and ISO 22000 standards, positioning them well throughout the industry.” TriPac Evolution auxiliary power units Reliability of equipment is paramount for Oakley Transport as it ensures timely deliveries, offers performance efficiencies and contributes to driver retention rates. Oakley was pleased with the quality its first Thermo King reefers provided so in 2019, decided to give the TriPac Evolution auxiliary power unit (APU) a try as well. The company conducted a pilot test of Thermo King’s TriPac Evolution APUs with the support of Thermo King of the Southeast (TKSE), the local Thermo King dealership. Reduced fuel consumption and emissions “We were looking to improve truck idle times and keep them in the single digits – nine percent or less,” said Pete Nativo, Vice President of fleet maintenance for Oakley Transport, adding “While APUs reduce fuel consumption, emissions and noise levels, they also keep the drivers comfortable – by providing heat and power for amenities that make road life a little more like home life.” Feedback from our drivers has been good – they like the TriPac’s easy-to-use controls" Pete Nativo adds, “Feedback from our drivers has been good – they like the TriPac’s easy-to-use controls. They also believe it starts easier. Most importantly, the TriPac has been very reliable. TKSE is a great local partner and if something does go wrong out on the road, Thermo King’s expansive dealer network allows for easy serviceability for our long-haul drivers.” He further states, “Bottom line is that Thermo King of the Southeast and Thermo King have proven to be trusting and reliable partners who offer consistent, quality service that aligns with our own standards.” Reliability of Tripac Evolution APUs The pilot of five TriPac Evolution auxiliary power units (APUs) in 2019 led to an order of approximately 200 more in 2020, demonstrating Oakley’s commitment to driver comfort and ultimately, retention. “We were really excited to work with Oakley Transport on the TriPac pilot as it allowed us the opportunity to demonstrate the performance and reliability of our APU with actual documentation on idling time, fuel consumption and more,” said Rob Race, Senior Account Executive at Thermo King of the Southeast (TKSE).
Boiler manufacturers Baxi Heating and Worcester Bosch have installed hydrogen burning boilers at ‘HyStreet’, in specially built demonstration houses at DNV GL’s specialist test site at Spadeadam in Northumberland, United Kingdom. The site has been used to complete over 200 tests, researching and proving the safety of converting homes and gas networks to hydrogen. The project is part of H21, a Network Innovation Competition project sponsored by Ofgem. Northern Gas Networks is leading the project with partners Cadent, Scottish Gas Networks, Wales & West Utilities, National Grid, DNV GL and the Health and Safety Executive’s science division. Combi boilers installed H21 is demonstrating how existing natural gas networks can be re-purposed to safely carry 100% hydrogen H21 is demonstrating how existing natural gas networks can be re-purposed to safely carry 100% hydrogen. For the first demonstration, both Worcester Bosch and Baxi Heating have installed combi boilers into the houses on HyStreet. The boilers have been developed as part of the UK Government-funded Hy4Heat program, which is also supporting the development of hydrogen-ready gas cookers, fires and gas meters. As around 85% of UK homes currently rely on natural gas for heating and hot water supply, re-purposing the natural gas grid for use with hydrogen would mean a low disruption option for householders to decarbonize their heating, without the need for extensive changes to their existing system. Tackling carbon emissions due to home heating Tackling carbon emissions resulting from home heating is utterly essential and one of the most difficult challenges in achieving net-zero emissions, given the need to make adaptations in almost every home. A growing library of studies and reports conclude that all viable scenarios for the UK to hit net-zero include hydrogen as a vital component. That is why Government and industry are working on various projects across the United Kingdom. Wide deployment of hydrogen boilers Tim Harwood, Northern Gas Networks’ Project Director for H21, said “Seeing the boilers in situ at Spadeadam is an exciting step in the journey to realizing our goal of a gas network transporting 100% hydrogen to customers. The hydrogen boiler looks and feels just like the natural gas version we all have today and is just as user-friendly, showing that a transition could cause minimal disruption to customers.” Dan Allason, Head of Research and Innovation, at DNV GL’s Spadeadam Research and Testing, said “Eight out of ten homes in the UK use a gas boiler to heat their homes and provide hot water and replacing all gas boilers with electric alternatives could be extremely costly. Both of the boiler manufacturers have developed options with their hydrogen ready prototypes to assist the switch to a lower carbon alternative.” Proof of concept and public acceptability We are delighted to be able to demonstrate this innovative new technology in a real-life setting in the UK" Dan adds, “Having these fitted to the HyStreet demonstration project at Spadeadam gives gravitas to the proof of concept and public acceptability of appliances such as these. The boilers are one of the first important steps.” Karen Boswell, Managing Director of Baxi Heating, said “This is an important step forward on our hydrogen journey and we are delighted to be able to demonstrate this innovative new technology in a real-life setting in the UK.” Zero-carbon alternative to natural gas Carl Arntzen, the Chief Executive Officer of Worcester Bosch commented “It is fantastic to see our prototype hydrogen boiler running successfully at this demonstration site. The boiler has operated seamlessly in its first month of operation and continues to provide both heating and hot water.” Carl adds, “It proves that hydrogen gas has great potential as a zero-carbon alternative to natural gas for heating and hot water in the UK and beyond. These initial tests are incredibly encouraging and will hopefully give key decision makers confidence to deploy hydrogen gas as a fuel for the future.”
Situated almost halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles, Perris was a place where sheep casually roamed the valley, and where people discovered what the land had to offer; a moderate climate with rich soil good for farming. But Perris’s sleepy image began to change in the spring of 1886, when it became a stop along the Transcontinental Route of the Santa Fe Railroad. Perris continues to thrive. With a current population of 45,000, and continued population growth over the last several decades, dramatic improvements and expansion have been made to the Val Verde Unified School District. Val Verde, with its 23 school buildings serves a 60-mile radius, including Perris, Moreno Valley and Riverside County, California. To remain flexible in accommodating the number, as well as the individual needs of students, Val Verde employed modular construction techniques with many of its buildings. Prototype classroom Bard began solving the needs of schools by providing wall-mounted heating and cooling equipment These modular units are built off-site, employ a stucco wrap and have a flat roof and a wood floor. Although they are relatively inexpensive to build they do have the unfortunate characteristic in that they can also be noisy. “For a long time we were looking at ways to improve the quality of our building’s construction, and with them their acoustical environment,” said Todd Butcher, Director of Maintenance and Operation at Val Verde Unified School District. This idea led Val Verde to develop its own prototype classroom, one that used a sloped roof with a 4-foot overhang and a concrete floor. This prototype, which would create better sound insulation from outside noise while providing needed shade from the sun, would be used to build the new May Ranch Elementary School slated for opening in 2008. Bard selection Thirty years ago, Bard began solving the comfort needs of schools across the country by providing wall-mounted heating and cooling equipment. Bard’s products offer a combination of quiet operation, patented ventilation packages, unsurpassed quality and dependability that make them a choice of many school officials. With three, state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities and a global distribution network, Bard’s commitment to quality and product innovation begins with its commitment to research and development. With features like self-diagnostics and self-programming energy monitors, Bard delivers products that provide tangible solutions for today’s modern school facilities. Bard’s Contribution We quickly ascertained that Bard’s Quiet Climate 2 series was the perfect option for what they needed" “In conjunction with our prototype construction, we also wanted to see if we could obtain quieter operating air conditioning units,” said Butcher. “Our ultimate goal was to additionally reduce the overall decibel levels within each of our classrooms.” That’s when Val Verde turned to Geary Pacific, the local distributor of Bard HVAC equipment. “Based upon their needs, we quickly ascertained that Bard’s Quiet Climate 2 series was the perfect option for what they needed,” said Dave Gorman, Head of School Sales for Geary Pacific. Already impressed from their previous working experience with Bard, Val Verde decided to test the Quiet Climate 2 in the single best environment for testing noise levels – Val Verde’s Audiology Laboratory where student’s hearing is tested. “The environment for evaluating our students has improved by at least 200%,” said Randy Lerner, District Audiologist for Val Verde Unified School District. Ambient noise level Since the Bard Quiet Climate 2 has been installed, the overall ambient noise level in the clinic has dropped considerably from 58 dbA to 37 dbA (decibels recorded ten feet in front of the unit). “With the old unit, I used to have to turn it off during a testing session because it sounded like there was a farm tractor outside the window,” says Lerner. “Now students comment on how quiet the lab is – and that’s when the unit is on!” The Quiet Climate 2 provides operating sound levels that are 20 to 35 times quieter than a standard wall-mounted heat pump Bard’s Quiet-Climate 2 heat pump is an innovative wall-mount ever made. Designed specifically to provide quiet operation in classrooms, the Quiet Climate 2 provides operating sound levels that are 20 to 35 times quieter than a standard wall-mounted heat pump. Ventilation and IAQ Bard’s Quiet Climate 2 can provide the following features: A one-piece factory unit designed for fast installation and easy servicing Higher energy efficiency Additional sound curbing accessories including, an isolation curb and return air and supply air plenums Improved ventilation Enhanced IAQ Val Verde’s Results “Bard overwhelmingly proved to us that they are able to help us reduce the sound levels in our school’s classrooms”, said Butcher. “If they can make our audiologist as confident as he is with the Laboratory’s ambient noise level, we know the units will perform just as well in our regular classrooms.” Comfortable environment Val Verde Unified is planning to use Quiet Climate 2 units in its new May Ranch Elementary School Because of its success with the Audiology Laboratory, Val Verde Unified is planning to use Quiet Climate 2 units in its new May Ranch Elementary School. “It’s great that a company like Bard has not only the reputation that they do for making quiet units, but that they also have an interest in helping create a quiet, comfortable environment in which our children can better learn,” added Lerner. Bard’s experience working with school systems around the country helps them design, manufacture and support the best HVAC systems on the market. Bard units operate quietly, are energy efficient and are also able to save customers money on their maintenance costs because they are simple to maintain and service. “Working together with Geary Pacific and Bard, we were able to create an even more quiet, comfortable environment in which our students can better hear and learn in,” added Butcher.
Accommodating significant fleet growth and modernization, one of North America’s renowned refrigerated trucking companies, KLLM Transport Services, is adding 1,400 new Utility trailers refrigerated by Carrier Transicold units, equipped with the eSolutions telematics platform and TRU-Mount solar charging systems. Carrier Transicold is a part of Carrier Global Corporation, a globally renowned provider of healthy, safe and sustainable building and cold chain solutions. “Thanks to continued investments to replace and upgrade our equipment and technology, we are, today, a 57-year-old company with one of the youngest, most advanced fleets on the highway,” said Jim Richards, President of KLLM, a Top-3 refrigerated carrier, headquartered in Richland, Mississippi. Carrier Transicold refrigeration units “As a premier service provider, with more than 6,000 refrigerated trailers and domestic intermodal containers serving 48 states and Mexico, it is vital that we continuously renew our fleet,” said Richards, adding “This latest investment helps us keep our fleet new and modern for improved service, less downtime and to provide our customers with the advantage of the most current technology.” The new Carrier Transicold systems include 1,325 X4 7500 single-temperature trailer refrigeration units to be deployed by KLLM, and 75 Vector 8600MT multi-temperature units to be used by KLLM’s Dallas-based Frozen Foods Express (FFE) business. All refrigeration systems will be installed on 53-foot Utility 3000R insulated trailers by Carrier Transicold and Utility Trailer dealer, Southern States Utility Trailer Sales Inc., also located in Richland. eSolutions telematics platform Carrier Transicold’s eSolutions platform helps refrigerated transporters operate more efficiently by improving visibility of their cold chain assets and intelligently providing a centralized data stream about their transport refrigeration units (TRUs) and cargo. In addition to supplying critical data, such as temperatures, location and movement, the eSolutions platform will provide two-way control as well as analytic and diagnostic information about its refrigeration units. TRU-Mount solar charging system Carrier’s TRU-Mount solar charging system helps maintain the charge of the refrigeration unit battery Carrier’s high-performance TRU-Mount solar charging system helps maintain the charge of the refrigeration unit battery, which supports the eSolutions telematics system, even when the refrigeration unit is off. “The fact that the eSolutions system is integrated with the Carrier Transicold units is very important to us,” stated Jim Richards, adding “It will give us new abilities to download data and upgrade over the air, including our IntelliSet profiles, something we are certainly excited about.” IntelliSet feature software application The IntelliSet feature is a software application included with Carrier Transicold’s APX refrigeration unit controllers that allows custom configuration of multiple refrigeration parameters to create profiles based on specific commodities or customer preferences. With the eSolutions system, IntelliSet configurations can be selected remotely, and parameter updates can be done over the air rather than manually, saving time and resources. For additional details about Carrier Transicold’s transport refrigeration units, eSolutions platform and solar charging options, turn to the experts in Carrier Transicold’s North America dealer network.
Adcock Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Ltd. (Adcock) looks after all the air conditioning, water chillers and AHU equipment at the Birmingham site, where Smurfit Kappa provides a reliable service for cardboard and paper recycling. Quarterly maintenance and service Adcock carries out maintenance visits every quarter and has engineers on hand to provide 24-hours support to assist the smooth site’s operation. The condenser and evaporator coils get clogged up quickly due to the humid conditions and they also corrode because of the acidic atmosphere on site. Corrosion occurs within 3 to 4 years, even after being treated with specialist long-lasting corrosion protection. Leak repair formula to repair evaporator coils Adcock is currently looking to test a new leak repair formula that will temporarily repair coils Adcock Refrigeration and Air Conditioning’s biggest challenge with the HVAC system maintenance and repair work was to cope with the need for quick turnaround of repairs and reduce the long lead times that are very common for evaporator coil replacements, largely due to the need for the coils to be specially coated. Adcock is, therefore, currently looking to test a new leak repair formula that will temporarily repair coils. The company has designed and installed a number of 100% back-up systems in critical areas at Smurfit Kappa’s Birmingham site, so as to cut down-time and keep it to a minimal, especially during any breakdown. Complete turkey solution Adcock has developed their technology through meticulous research and development. Their engineers carry out a comprehensive survey, provide precision design and fast and efficient installations, in order to provide a complete 'turnkey' solution to cater to varied climate and temperature setting needs for commercial and residential HVAC systems.
Round table discussion
Sustainability has been a core concept in the HVAC industry for decades. Environmental concerns often drive product innovation, for example. However, environmental challenges persist and there is ongoing pressure on the industry to respond responsibly. We asked our Expert Panel Roundtable: What steps is the HVAC industry taking to address climate change and sustainability?
Welcome to our Expert Panel Roundtable, a new feature of HVACInformed.com. We will be asking timely questions about the HVAC market and seeking out experts in the field to provide responses. Our goal is to promote a useful exchange of information on a variety of topics and to create a forum for discussion of important issues facing the industry. Launching this new feature in the middle of a global pandemic made choosing our first question quite easy. We asked our Expert Panel Roundtable: What has been the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the HVAC market?