Lower prices in the oil and gas industry have led to job losses as the sector has contracted recently, and that was even before the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked additional havoc on the national and world economies. The COVID-19 crisis is accelerating what was already shaping up to be one of the oil industry’s most challenging years. More than a dozen oil companies have declared bankruptcy so far in the United States alone, and widespread industry layoffs are expected to continue. Oil field...
Security dealers now have the opportunity to offer their customers substantial energy savings while earning recurring monthly revenue (RMR) with a new integration developed between the Connect ONE cloud-hosted interface and ecobee WiFi SmartThermostats. Connect ONE Connect ONE, an award-winning service and management platform from Connected Technologies, now provides seamless support and control of popular ecobee, allowing dealers to expand into managed services for energy management and envir...
Viessmann welcomes announcement of a new Green Homes Grant by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak. The government will issue vouchers of up to £5,000 per household and up to £10,000 for low income households, to cover two-thirds of the cost of home improvements such as loft, wall and floor insulation, eco-friendly boilers, heat pumps, double or triple-glazed windows, low-energy lighting and energy-efficient doors. Fossil-Fuelled boilers “We know the government...
Jacques Technologies and Luxriot have officially announced the High Level Interface (HLI) between their systems. Combining Jacques’ quality audio intercom system with Luxriot’s renowned video management system, Evo, the solution captures and records audio streaming with the associated CCTV. Audio intercom System – Evo VMS Truly encapsulating the capabilities and benefits of third-party integration by efficiently using security resources, the integration between Jacques Techno...
Armstrong Fluid Technology has unveiled two new COMPASS R high efficiency models with ECM Motor Technology for up to 80% energy savings. COMPASS R circulators Featuring an air-cooled ECM motor and advanced Design Envelope variable speed technology, the new COMPASS R20-35 and R40-45 circulators can replace many competing models with bolt-for-bolt connection capability. The new COMPASS R models cover a wide performance range and are energy efficient upgrades for two and three-piece and wet roto...
HVAC systems are the most common home repair, representing 19 percent of service incidents facing homeowners. More than half of homeowners (53%) have faced a home repair emergency of some kind in the past 12 months. Furthermore, about a third of homeowners have US$ 500 or less set aside to pay for emergency home repairs, with some 17 percent having no money at all set aside for emergency home repair work. 10th Edition of the Biannual State of the Home Survey These are among the results of the...
As the world works to contain the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19, the team at Trane is adapting to this rapidly evolving situation, implementing safety measures, and taking care of each other, the partners and the customers. They have implemented steps in an effort to protect the Trane team, the customers and the people who work, play and heal in the facilities where they provide services and systems. Trane’s business is largely categorized as ‘critical’ by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. They heat, cool, ventilate and service essential spaces like homes, hospitals, pharmacies, nursing homes, supermarkets, emergency services, data centers, construction and much more. These functions are essential for the health and safety of the global community, especially in this time of national emergency. Remote service capabilities Trane’s team is working hard to support the infrastructure that people around the world rely upon. Trane is very much open and operating – and the people who build and service the products are working in the manufacturing plants and at the customer sites. Trane will not compromise their health and safety, and are following all guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and country health departments. Trane is doing all they can to make sure they continue their critical work, while safeguarding the health and safety of the employees and the customers. Business critical local visits to the customer sites by account managers or technicians are continuing, in line with the safety protocols. They are also leveraging virtual and remote service capabilities as needed. Health Self-Assessments Where possible, they have asked their team members to hold customer and partner meetings virtually As needed, Trane will temporarily close certain sales offices per state and city requirements, but continue to operate and serve customers remotely, as well as continue on-site work as permitted. To inhibit the spread of the virus, they have prohibited all travel to and from high-risk areas outlined by the CDC, and have restricted all other non-essential travel. Where possible, they have asked their team members to hold customer and partner meetings virtually. Any employee who can work from home is encouraged to do so. Trane requires that all employees not working from home perform daily health self-assessments before coming to work. Anyone who has traveled to a high-risk area, has had suspected contact with a person who is infected or is symptomatic is asked to stay home and self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to company or customer sites. Enhanced cleaning procedures Like many companies, Trane has implemented new visitor policies at all of the locations, prohibiting visits from people who have traveled to high-risk areas or those exhibiting acute respiratory symptoms. They are implementing additional safety measures at all facilities in line with guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and country health departments, including enhanced cleaning procedures and screenings, personal protective equipment usage and guidance, and communications on hand washing and other preventive measures. Ever-Changing circumstances The situation continues to evolve quickly, and they remain committed to supporting the people They have flexible work arrangements in place for employees who can work from home, country-specific benefits for employees on leave for quarantine or illness, U.S. access to back-up child and eldercare assistance, and a Helping Hand Fund, which assists employees around the world dealing with unexpected financial hardships. The situation continues to evolve quickly, and they remain committed to supporting the people, the customers and partners during this unprecedented time. Trane is prepared to lead their customers through the ever-changing circumstances as it relates to their facilities and building projects. The best way to stay in contact with Trane is through the local account manager, who can discuss the specific situation. In addition to new and existing projects or services, please reach out in any of the following categories as needed: How to operate facilities more efficiently with vacant spaces Available options for remote service and monitoring to avoid additional bodies in a building Answers to questions about air quality and ventilation solutions Temporary and rental solutions for new or expanded healthcare operations
IT Tech Packaging, Inc., a globally renowned manufacturer and distributor of diversified paper products in North China, has announced that its operating entity in China, Hebei Baoding Dongfang Paper Milling Company Limited (Dongfang Paper), expects to launch the construction of a combined heat and power generation project utilizing biomass technology (Biomass CHP project) with the total construction area of 80,373 square meters which is located in its Wei County production base. Biomass CHP The company's biomass CHP project included in the 13th Five-Year Biomass Power Generation Program of Hebei Province has recently been approved by the Development and Reform Commission of Xingtai Municipality. Biomass CHP, a kind of renewable energy power and heat generation, utilizes biomass resources, mainly crop straw and forestry waste. As one of the key industries encouraged and supported by the Chinese government, Biomass CHP, beneficial for both the environment and economy, can alleviate energy shortage, as well as improve the environment and employment to a certain extent. Biomass boilers and steam turbine units installed Dongfang Paper will construct two 75 t/h biomass boilers and two 4.5 MW back-pressure type steam turbine units According to the plan of the Biomass CHP project, Dongfang Paper expects to construct two 75 t/h biomass boilers and two 4.5 MW back-pressure type steam turbine units, as well as auxiliary production facilities. The whole project is expected to be finished at the end of 2021. With successful operation, the project is expected to generate annual electricity output of 56.45 million kw/h, from which the Company expects to generate revenue of RMB42.9 million per year based on the biomass electricity price of RMB0.76/kwh guided by the National Development and Reform Commission. Generation of large-scale heating steam The project is also expected to generate annual heating steam of 521,100 tons, from which the company expects to generate revenue of RMB114.64 million per year based on the heating steam's current market price of RMB220 per ton. Mr. Zhenyong Liu, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chairman at IT Tech Packaging, Inc. commented, "The biomass CHP project is expected to not only provide adequate power and gas supply to the Company's tissue paper production located in Wei County Industrial Park, but also provide bio gas for production of enterprises in the Wei County Industrial Park, as well as heating steam and electricity supply for nearby residents." He adds, “The construction and operation of the Biomass CHP is expected to enable us to expand to the renewable energy field and continue to diversify our offerings of products, which we believe will bring more stable revenue streams in the future."
Alfa Laval, globally renowned company in heat transfer, centrifugal separation and fluid handling technology, has signed two frame agreements, running over the coming three years, for ballast water treatment systems. Alfa Laval PureBallast 3 The agreements comprise firm orders to deliver Alfa Laval PureBallast 3 to about 40 vessels, with options covering another 40 systems. Even as the shipping industry has been heavily hit by the current pandemic, Alfa Laval has continued working closely with its marine customers to secure their daily operations and keep them prepared for tomorrow. We are proud to have secured these orders - especially in these challenging times" "We are proud to have secured these orders - especially in these challenging times," said Sameer Kalra, President of the Marine Division at Alfa Laval, adding "This confirms PureBallast 3's status as a market-renowned solution, while also proving that our focus on business continuity has been successful. We have worked hard to ensure that we remain close to our customers and can support them when they need us, despite the limitations imposed by the pandemic." The value of the firm orders is approximately SEK 100 million, including Alfa Laval PureBallast 3 systems and in some cases, also deck houses and booster pump units. The orders will be booked in the Marine Separation & Heat Transfer unit. Energy efficient and heat recovery solutions expert Ships sailing in international waters are obliged to carry a ballast water cleaning system on board, to prevent invasive species potentially wiping out local ecosystems. Alfa Laval's innovative technologies are dedicated to purifying, refining, and reusing materials, promoting more responsible use of natural resources. They contribute to improved energy efficiency and heat recovery, better water treatment, and reduced emissions. The company is not only accelerating success for its customers, but also for the global population and the planet.
The Eurovent Product Groups ‘Air Conditioners’ (PG-AC) and ‘Liquid Chilling Packages and Heat Pumps’ (PG-LCP-HP) elected new Chairmen and Vice Chairmen, with a clear scope and timeline of activities. Mr. Henk Kranenberg was separately elected Chairman of both Products Groups. He is joined by Vice Chairman, Mr. Stefano Vit (De'Longhi Group) in the Air Conditioners Group and Vice Chairman, Mr. Mariano Covolo (Mitsubishi Electric Hydronics & IT Cooling Systems S.p.A.) in the Chillers Group. PG-AC and PG-LCP-HP Product Groups PG-AC and PG-LCP-HP met in quick succession, on 9 and 10 June, 2020 respectively, with a focus on defining the scope and timeline of future activities in light of important European and international developments in the area of legislation and standardization. Both Product Groups elected Mr. Henk Kranenberg, Eurovent Vice-President and Senior Manager at Daikin Environment Research Center, as Chairman. Eurovent Product Groups ‘Air Conditioners’ (PG-AC elected Mr. Stefano Vit, Patents and Technical Compliance Leader at De’Longhi Group as Vice Chairman, whereas PG-LCP-HP elected Mr. Mariano Covolo, Technology & Engineering Management Manager at Mitsubishi Electric Hydronics & IT Cooling Systems S.p.A. as Vice Chairman. The Product Groups will focus on the upcoming revisions of important pieces of EU legislation in the HVACR sector, including the Ecodesign and Energy Labelling Regulations for air conditioners (206/2012 and 626/2011), chillers (2016/2281), and space heaters (811/2013 and 813/2013), as well as the F-Gas Regulation (517/2014). Developments in standardization and testing The Product Groups will also follow developments in the area of standardization and testing The Product Groups will also follow developments in the area of standardization and testing, including EN14511, EN14825, the BAM testing method, VRF testing method, polyvalent heat pump testing method, EN378, and IEC EN 60335-2-40, and other important topics, including flammable refrigerants and the circular economy. Mr. Henk Kranenberg, newly elected Chairman of both Product Groups stated, “The European Green Deal is of great relevance for the HVACR industry, and sustainable heating and cooling have a major role to play in decarbonising the economy.” Developing sound European policies and standards Henk adds, “The reactivated Eurovent PG-AC and PG-LCP-HP will accompany the development of sound European policies and standards in support of the EU’s climate-neutrality vision. I urge all our industry colleagues to join us in this important work.” The next meetings are scheduled for 22 September, 2020 (PG-AC) and 23 September, 2020 (PG-LCP-HP).
ABB is collaborating with its global strategic partner, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), on jointly developed technology to significantly reduce the energy consumption of high-performance supercomputers, while at the same time increasing their computing capacity and reliability. Answers to some of society’s most pressing challenges are buried in massive amounts of data. The world’s top research centers use supercomputers to find answers to some of the most complicated problems such as pandemic modeling, precision medicine, climate change and quantum mechanics. Reducing energy consumption HPE’s Cray supercomputers use a tailored ABB higher voltage direct current (DC) 1 power supply solution, which makes it possible to reduce the use of copper by a factor of 14. Another environmental and efficiency benefit of higher voltage DC is the vast reduction of power losses, which is estimated to be by as much as 95 percent. A connected solution furthermore enables power supply to ramp up power or scale down, depending on the computing load, creating peak efficiency during light computing loads as well as when the system is fully loaded. ABB - Hewlett Packard Enterprise partnership ABB and HPE are paving the way for sustainable high-performance data centers" “ABB and HPE are paving the way for sustainable high-performance data centers that can help humanity in its search for answers to existential problems such as predicting pandemics, fighting climate change and discovering new medicines,” said Peter Raadsen, Product Line Leader at ABB. “We need to be able to do more computing with fewer resources and energy inputs,” said HPE Chief Sustainability Officer, Christopher Wellise, adding “At HPE, we are committed to accelerating our path to a circular economy, and part of that is innovating technologies that overcome energy and resource constraints.” Real-time monitoring of supercomputers Real-time monitoring of thermal and power aspects of supercomputers adds another benefit. HPE servers offer embedded power and thermal monitors on critical components with output data aggregated and reported through HPE Integrated Lights Out (iLO), a proprietary and remote server management software that enables seamless and secure configuration, monitoring, and updating of HPE servers. iLO allows users to monitor equipment utilization, power consumption, and thermal output via tools, such as HPE OneView, HPE InfoSight, ABB Ability Data Center Automation, or 3rd party Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) and take action to optimize operations. Integration with ABB Ability Data Center Automation When combined with ABB Ability Data Center Automation, ABB’s industrial solution for on-premise and hybrid cloud environments, HPE and ABB are able to automate the correlation between workload and CPU dynamics with cooling of the data centers, resulting in a reduction of energy use of up to 30 percent. HPE and ABB have been global, strategic partners since November 2017. The relationship combines the best of ABB’s digital offerings with HPE’s renowned innovative connectivity, secure edge compute and hybrid information technology (IT) solutions, as well as new everything-as-a-service models.
Smart buildings innovator Igor announces the general availability of Nexos Intelligent Disinfection. The solution pairs ultraviolet (UV-C) lighting with Internet of Things (IoT) controls to enable widespread, automated disinfection of surfaces. According to Igor Founder and Chief Technology Officer Dwight Stewart, the patent-pending solution was inspired by the need for confidence in this time of uncertainty and risk. "As more spaces reopen, intelligent disinfection becomes even more crucial," said Stewart. Rapid-Deployment solution kit "Building owners and business operators are anxious about keeping their employees and customers safe. Igor's turn-key, rapid-deployment solution kit instantly provides maintenance-free automated disinfection, minimizes human contact and creates an audit trail of data." Healthy building scientists advise owners to incorporate a layered approach to disinfection in the design, operation and management of better buildings. Nexos Intelligent Disinfection fits well with this strategy, as the solution's Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) connectivity makes it easy to integrate several other disinfection systems beyond UV-C lighting, like intelligent air purifiers or gas vaporizers. Prevent virus outbreaks Aware of the potential dangers of UV-C lighting, Stewart and his team of Igor technologists designed NexosWith all solutions unified within Igor, executives have a comprehensive view and data-rich evidence of the proactive actions taken to prevent virus outbreaks in their buildings. Aware of the potential dangers of UV-C lighting, Stewart and his team of Igor technologists designed Nexos Intelligent Disinfection to connect with other smart devices, such as occupancy sensors and motion detectors. The solution can also be configured to work with smart locks and warning lights to further prevent humans from entering a space that is being cleaned. In May 2020, the Nexos Intelligent Disinfection solution received funding from Clean Energy Trust, a non-profit that supports early stage cleantech startups in the Mid-Continent region of the United States, to bring the solution to the global market. Democratizing building automation Clean Energy Trust utilized support from the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2) program, a technology innovation platform funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation and co-administered by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). "We're very excited about the possibilities Igor has opened up with its PoE-based smart building platform," said Erik Birkerts, chief executive officer of Clean Energy Trust. "Dwight's vision to solve very specific problems, exemplified by Nexos, has proven to be a game-changer for the built environment. He and the Igor team are democratizing building automation by innovating around very deployable, off-the-shelf technology."
Residential HVAC is a fulfilling business to be in. Whether be it servicing a furnace or installing an air conditioning unit, the individual is doing important work to help keep families in the community safe and comfortable. The work also comes with perks such as good margins, some great customers, and the ability to set varying pricing and schedule. If an individual is in a growing business in this space, chances are that they have seen more than a few hectic days. Days where it becomes difficult to juggle crews, instruct technicians on necessary job details, and answer client calls, all at the same time. In theory, this chaotic day-to-day is a good problem to have. In practice, it can get really tiring, pretty fast. Robust system to streamline operations The work can be extremely overwhelming and if the right systems aren’t in place, the business could suffer. Lines of communication can get crossed and if time is being spent working on the wrong things, the individual could miss out on opportunities to grow. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing a high growth HVAC business, by applying the right operational strategies, businesses can flourish. Coordinating requests while dispatching techs out to do work is where many administrators and operations managers hit a roadblock in business growth. This is precisely why businesses need to implement software that lets them track jobs, view technician schedules, and flag new jobs to crew members all in one place. This will eliminate the need to play ‘phone tag’ across the organization, which in turn will keep operations running smoothly and reduce manual errors. What’s more, if the software allows techs to automatically trigger an invoice that customers can pay on the spot, businesses can avoid hours of chasing down past-due payments and create a better cash flow. mobile apps: Picking The right software Businesses are encouraged to choose software with a mobile app where customers can enter the payment type Businesses are encouraged to choose software with a mobile app where customers can enter the payment type, such as cash, check, credit, debit and a receipt can be automatically emailed to customers. This will also cut out out-of-date operations, while giving businesses access to what they need (schedules, work orders, customer information and more) at anytime from anywhere. Having a central hub for keeping everything organized also creates the operational flexibility needed to take on work. To ensure businesses don’t have to turn new jobs down due to delayed responses or scheduling issues, a crew member can be kept flexible for this task. In order to do this right, businesses need to calculate how much emergency work they’re losing due to unavailability and adjust accordingly, by creating a schedule with allotted time. Spacing out work won’t impact the number of scheduled installs and replacements retained, while giving businesses added time and revenue to take on emergency repairs. This strategy is only doable if businesses have the requisite software that can provide an accurate and full look into employees’ workloads. pricing services Research Is Important A business in high-growth mode needs to ensure their pricing reflects the services being offered. This can be done with researching of other companies in the area that are charging for the same services offered, so that the business can have a number to compare to when setting prices and also prepare to justify higher price to customers. Setting prices higher can be advantageous for a business, if they can show customers the differentiators. Most people want work done right, and an added premium that ensures top service often won’t turn them away. Additionally, it’s important to make sure all expenses are covered, down to the credit card fees. When pricing services, businesses need to build a file of overhead expenses, then determine the percentage profit want to charge clients. Different jobs require unique services, so prices should reflect that Varied pricing per customer Different jobs require unique services, so prices should reflect that. A business might charge more for commercial clients than homeowners. These minor adjustments will ensure that a business makes the profit that the work deserves. Feedback is also very important for repeat orders. If a business is not getting repeat clients due to pricing, they should keep that in mind when building profit margins. Pricing shouldn’t be static, continuous adjustments has to be made where it makes sense and extra time invested to do the research. Ensuring exceptional customer service It’s important to set up systems and expectations for teams to follow right out of the gate With business growth also comes customer growth, and for residential HVAC companies that physically go into a customer’s home, it’s crucial that their services reflect the highest quality. It’s important to set up systems and expectations for teams to follow right out of the gate. Helping crews do their best work from a technical and customer service perspective by establishing guidelines for what the business wants every homeowner to experience is the key. Open lines of communication Aside from ensuring that the crew keeps a clean workplace, keeping open lines of communication with customers should be a top priority for businesses. This can be as simple as answering the phone and getting a technician to a job site as soon as possible. Often, customers come from positions of stress due to broken equipment, so having quick response time is a key differentiator between good and bad service. A good solution for this is to evolve into automating key communications that allow techs to send ‘on my way’ text messages. How a business interacts with customers is a key signifier into how the company operates, so businesses need to ensure that have the best customer service practices in place. Never take valuable employees for granted While it sounds simple, a high-growth business needs reliable employees to scale, so that their competition does not swoop in and scoop up an employee who doesn’t feel valued. As business ramps up, it’s easy to miss that technicians are not being dispatched to jobs that they enjoy. If employees are constantly doing a job because they’re good at it and they don’t feel fulfilled doing that specific job, at the end of the day, they are not going to be happy. To avoid losing employees, businesses should take the time to ask what jobs they like to do and see if they can accommodate schedules to reflect their preferences. employee retention And loyalty A crucial factor in building a top performing team is employee retention and loyalty A crucial factor in building a top performing team is employee retention and loyalty. Businesses should focus on creating a great atmosphere to work in. This includes keeping a pulse on what’s happening in the team’s personal lives and use that to show appreciation in meaningful ways. One way to do this is by investing in the team’s education. For example, paying tuition fees for techs so they can get new certifications and licensing. These types of gestures show that the business cares about the success of their employees, while also helping them retain the most qualified crew members. Incorporating software solutions and automating tedious tasks Developing a high-growth residential HVAC company doesn’t have to be stressful if businesses know what systems and processes to implement to better manage operations. By adopting strategies that incorporate software solutions, like Jobber, to streamline operations, automate tedious tasks and improve customer communications, the opportunity for growth is more accessible for businesses. Organizations should focus on creating a solid operational system by doing research before pricing services, keeping customer service a top priority and not letting great employees slip away. All these strategies will work together to help maximize business growth.
Newer buildings tend to be designed to be ‘green’, but what about older existing buildings, which still represent the largest share of environmental impact? There is more work to be done in the retrofit sector; and improving environmental performance of older buildings often involves ‘deep retrofits’ that are costly and impact multiple factors inside a building. In the COVID-19 era, there is also growing concern about needs such as circulating outside air, increasing humidity, and improving filtration systems even as older buildings seek to become greener. The consistent theme is a need to work toward better-designed, more energy efficient and healthier buildings. Healthier Buildings for a Greener Future If you layer infrastructure issues with the new health challenges, it raises the issue to a higher level" “If you layer infrastructure issues with the new health challenges, it raises the issue to a higher level,” said Tony Cupido, Research Chair, Sustainability at Mohawk College, adding “You will see a greater need to provide health and wellness as we move forward.” Cupido said he was among the panelists at a ‘Healthier Buildings for a Greener Future’ Virtual Summit sponsored by Armstrong Fluid Technology. The discussion centered around the various aspects of “deep retrofits,” how to pay for such improvements and how to measure success. Balancing health features with energy-efficiency Achieving healthy and green buildings might involve working at cross purposes. “When we think about healthy buildings, we are seeing recommendations that tend to increase the energy needs of the buildings,” said Marta Schantz, Senior Vice President, Greenprint Center for Building Performance, Urban Land Institute, adding “For example, a better filtration system might require a more powerful motor to offset the added drag.” “In order to be both healthy and energy efficient, there are creative strategies,” said Schantz, adding “We should be thoughtful about how sensors and other technologies can address the challenge of balancing healthy features with energy-efficient features.” Deep retrofits “Deep retrofits are more complex from an engineering standpoint, especially when compared to other green issues such as LED lighting. Paving the way for more deep retrofits can include reining in that complexity by creating prefabricated or ‘canned’ solutions that are easier to implement,” said Peter Thomsen, Director/Global – Building System Solutions, Armstrong Fluid Technology. An obstacle to deep retrofits is lack of information about what technologies are available. “You don’t know what you don’t know,” said Schantz. The second obstacle is financing. One approach is to ‘bundle’ multiple projects to improve building performance, such as combining a fast-payback project (e.g., lighting) with a longer- (and larger-) payback project such as an air handling system. Another approach is to create pay-as-you-go models and/or ‘energy efficiency as a service’ plans that help to make the expenditures and budgeting more manageable. A step-by-step approach can achieve energy savings that will pay for each successive step. Efficiency of Building management systems Occupants of buildings today have a better understanding and are more informed through better technology" New metering, intelligence and transparency capabilities of building management systems can yield metrics and measurable results that can drive return-on-investment (ROI) considerations. Metrics also drive useful comparisons with other buildings in the same peer group, thus inspiring best practices to achieve better results compared to buildings of the same size and type. “Occupants of buildings today have a better understanding and are more informed through better technology,” said Cupido, adding “It will become even better over time as AI (artificial intelligence) looks at the pieces and fixes it themselves.” Widening scope of AI integration Better understanding equates to more buy-in by building occupants. “They are not only becoming more informed, but are more likely to buy into the technology,” said Schantz, adding “The long-term success depends on it. Everyone needs to be bought into the technologies to ensure long-term success, both on the health and wellness side, and the energy efficiency side.” A holistic approach is needed when planning deep retrofits, and care should be taken to ‘right-size’ the equipment by taking into account design changes that can lower system requirements. Advent of new building systems Designers should resist the temptation to ‘bulk up’ systems to exceed minimum requirements. For example, when specifying a rooftop unit, engineers should factor in any efficiency gains they have achieved by using tighter windows, LED lighting or other factors. Building owners face a learning curve in relation to new systems" “The idea is that you don’t replace it directly, but right-size it to the new requirements,” said Schantz, adding “Building owners face a learning curve in relation to new systems, and new building systems are “almost like a computer. It’s no longer a case of just turning building systems on and off. There is a risk that the building operations team does not know how to run the equipment.” Avoiding data overload Schantz further said, “Technology will not run as intended if it is not operated properly. It loses some of its value. The building operations staff needs to stay up to date and know how to operate the equipment. Peter Thomsen concludes, “One pitfall is to overwhelm building operators with too much data. “Data overload is too much and, as leaders, we need to avoid that.”
When a visionary industrial designer turns his attention to the HVAC industry, it’s probably wise to take note. Recently, technology entrepreneur and philanthropist, Elon Musk expressed his vision for residential HVAC, based in part on a new heat pump his engineers designed for the Tesla Model Y electric compact sport utility vehicle. Efficient, quiet home HVAC system According to several reports, Musk seeks to build an efficient and quiet HVAC system for the home, piggybacking on the technology used to make heaters for the newest Tesla Model Y. It’s the first of Tesla’s electric cars to use a heat pump, which is more efficient than previous electric heating systems. Tesla’s previous vehicle models used resistance heating, which is a battery hog Tesla’s previous vehicle models used resistance heating, which is a battery hog. The new heat pump component, including a compressor/chiller and liquid cooled condenser, is designed to be more energy-efficient and provides a more reliable vehicle operation range in cold weather conditions. Model Y heat pump “The model Y heat pump is some of the best engineering I’ve seen in a while,” said Musk on Twitter, adding “[The] team did next-level work.” Musk would ‘love to do HVAC that’s quiet and efficient with humidity control and HEPA filter’ for the home. Tesla car-inspired temperature controls Musk stated that he imagines a full-home HVAC system that is inspired by and maybe linked with the temperature controls inside someone’s Tesla vehicle. The proposal is in line with Musk’s mission to accelerate the advent of sustainable energy. He said, “Reducing a home’s energy usage while deploying solar power capacity are complementary goals”. High-efficiency particulate air filters Tesla HEPA filters are about 10 times larger than a normal automotive cabin air filter Tesla already has experience with HVAC systems and high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters used to clean the cabin air in their Model 5 and Model X vehicles. The Tesla HEPA filters are about 10 times larger than a normal automotive cabin air filter and about “100 times more effective,” according to the company. Tesla HEPA filters The filters remove at least 99.97% of the fine particulate matter and gaseous pollutants, as well as bacteria, viruses, pollen and mold spores. Tesla refers to the extreme level of air cleaning as ‘Bioweapon Defense Mode’. Among other benefits, the filtering system protected California drivers from smoke and kept the vehicles’ cabin air clean during the recent wildfires. Musk first mentioned home air conditioning systems about two years ago, alluding to a home HVAC system that is quiet and efficient with humidity control and a HEPA filter. HEPA filter in a home system “The use of a HEPA filter in a home system would be a ‘life changer’ for people with allergies”, says Musk. The growing popularity of home air purifier products supports the conclusion. Communication between a Tesla vehicle and a Tesla home climate system would allow an intelligent air conditioning system to ‘know’ exactly when a resident will get home and only cool the home as appropriate to save energy. Energy-efficient, high performance HVAC systems Musk has also questioned the wisdom of home air conditioner systems that make pure, fresh water Musk has also questioned the wisdom of home air conditioner systems that make pure, fresh water and then dump it on the ground. The HVAC market has had its share of innovation in recent years, as today’s more energy-efficient, quieter and better-performing systems can attest. Smart thermostats, climate control systems There has also been lots of development in the area of smart thermostats and climate control systems, with the results approximating what Musk envisions achieving with communications between his smart vehicles and smart home systems. But is it time to rethink the technologies again? There is certainly opportunity in the market for any systems that provide better, more sustainable performance, no matter where the ideas originate. Given Musk’s success envisioning a future of electric cars and lower-cost space travel (among other ideas), his thoughts on the future of the HVAC market are at least worth considering.
Google’s Nest smart thermostat is testing a new capability that will alert homeowners of problems with the operation of their HVAC systems based on artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms that analyze system performance. The technology will empower Nest Learning thermostats to provide ‘early warning’ of HVAC problems and even direct homeowners to a repair company. The new capability will involve measuring factors such as how long it takes to heat or cool a room. If the required amount of time changes, it likely reflects an underlying problem with a system’s operation. And because the system ‘learns,’ the analytics capabilities will improve over time as the system becomes more familiar with operational norms of a home HVAC system. Providing early warning Signing up for the report is easily performed through the Nest app in the ‘settings’ section Homeowners are notified by email of a suspected problem. To take advantage of the capability, Nest customers must sign up for the monthly Nest Home Report, which is an email that includes metrics on monthly power usage and ‘safety events.’ Signing up for the report is easily performed through the Nest app in the ‘settings’ section. Anyone who doesn’t want the HVAC alerts can opt-out and still receive the monthly report. In addition to providing early warning of problems, Nest is partnering with Handy, an online repair service, to direct users to HVAC professionals who can help diagnose and repair any heating or cooling problem. Handy is a ‘gig’ marketplace platform for connecting individuals in search of household services with pre-screened independent service professionals, including HVAC specialists. Nest will take note of the changes, whether related to a cooling or heating system, usually before the homeowner could notice the variations Independent service professionals There is a ‘seamless’ 60-second booking process, secure payment and a satisfaction guarantee. HVAC providers can register as a Handy Professional at the Handy website. Handy is not an employer but specializes in connecting independent service professionals with customers. During an initial test period, Nest users in 20 U.S. cities will have the ability to book a technician through the alert system, including Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Las Vegas and San Diego. The capability will be made available in additional cities across the United States over time. Alternatively, a homeowner could show the information from a Nest alert to their own HVAC technician or book through another service. According to Google, the new feature will send email alerts if ‘the Nest thermostat detects unusual or unexpected patterns,’ based on the thermostat’s historical data and current weather. Providing advance notification The alert system would be unlikely to provide advance notification if a major component were about the fail Nest will take note of the changes, whether related to a cooling or heating system, usually before the homeowner could notice the variations. Although the option can provide useful alerts to undiagnosed problems, Google emphasizes that it should not be used as a substitute for periodic checkups by HVAC professionals. Furthermore, the alert system would be unlikely to provide advance notification if a major component were about the fail. However, regular maintenance checks would ensure advance notification of any component on the verge of failure. Also, customers might not need to notify a professional of a problem, for example, if they know of an explanation for the changes, such as a door left open. The ‘early warning’ alerts are an additional feature of the smart Nest Learning Thermostat, which can save up to 12% on heating bills and 15% on cooling bills. It can also create a schedule based on comfort preferences and energy usage targets. The anomaly detection alerts are a natural extension of Nest’s predictive capabilities.
Komax Systems, Inc., is recognized as a global provider of advanced mixing solutions for the municipal and wastewater treatment industries. Municipal and wastewater treatment plants with large open channels face enormous challenges and need solutions to effectively treat and use the water flows. Energy efficient and cost-effective solutions are needed for treatment systems to run properly. Large open channels need treatment for both influent raw water streams coming into a water treatment plant and wastewater and effluent water from wastewater treatment plants. Chemical injection and accurate dispersions are needed before the water can be released or consumed. Mixing Technology Solution Komax recognized that these problems need solutions and that in many cases custom modifications to the solution to fit within the plant's specific needs. The standard mechanical mixers and blades are not adequate for larger capacities along with the continual repairs and maintenance. The Komax channel static mixer utilizes non-clogging mixing technology for water treatment chemicals into water flowing through rectangular channels. The channel static mixer is used in water treatment for both influent raw water and effluent water treatment New pollution problems have placed additional burdens on wastewater treatment systems. Today's pollutants such as heavy metals, chemical compounds, and toxic substances are more difficult to remove from the water. Rising demands on the water supply only aggravate the problem. The increasing demands call on better wastewater treatment solutions. The channel static mixer is used in water treatment for both influent raw water and effluent water treatment. high efficiency mixing Influent water streams use the channel mixer to injection and mixing of coagulants and flocculants before the water goes to the clarifier. Effluent water from wastewater treatment plants also utilize the channel mixer to inject and mix chlorine and sodium bisulfite to disinfect the wastewater for safe discharge into large bodies, such as rivers, streams, or lakes. Komax has a proven reputation for product design and manufacturing quality that ensures outstanding performance. The static mixers manufactured by Komax provide cost-effective, high efficiency mixing. As the needs evolve so will Komax's solutions.
With the rise of veganism showing no signs of slowing down, plant-based meal provider, allplants decided to consolidate its seven sites into a single, central facility. When the contracting company, Forma London was presented with the challenge of sustainably fitting out the new building, it turned to Elta Fans to deliver an efficient ventilation solution. Vegan diets are becoming increasingly popular for a variety of different reasons, including health, climate change, and animal welfare. As plant-based diets become mainstream, there is a growing need for convenient, meat-free meals, and offering greater choice for consumers. Sustainable building solutions allplants set out to meet this demand, making delicious frozen meals and delivering them straight to customers’ doors. Its success derives from the passion of its two founders, JP and Alex, and has necessitated the consolidation of its multiple sites into one central facility. The new premises provided allplants the opportunity to fit out the building with sustainability at its core Moving to new premises provided allplants with the opportunity to fit out the building with sustainability at its core. All the desks, for example, are made from locally sourced, sustainable wood, but it was in the kitchen that the greatest challenge was posed. Forma London, a principal contractor based in the capital, was tasked with delivering the project. Combining construction expertise with eco and ethical credentials, the contractors began working on providing ventilation for the meal provider’s centerpiece, the development kitchen. Enhanced ventilation The kitchen is where the magic happens, allowing allplants to ensure the meals it produces are as tasty as possible. As specialists in microwavable food, the traditional ventilation set-up of a commercial kitchen was far greater than what the site needed. Anthony Afram, Building Services Manager at Forma London, said “Balancing energy efficiency with performance output is a priority in any project, but given the nature of the client, this took on a whole new level of importance.” He adds, “The challenge of equipping the kitchen with the right ventilation was highlighted by the two bifurcated axial fans that we were originally quoted. These would have been perfect for a busy commercial kitchen, but for this application they were overkill. In terms of expense and performance, they would have been much more than required, and ultimately incurred far higher running costs than necessary.” Energy-efficient ventilation systems It isn’t just for the purposes of corporate social responsibility or an altruistic mindset that businesses must pay close attention to the energy credentials of their ventilation systems. Building Regulations and Ecodesign Directives obligate everyone in the supply chain, from manufacturer through to contractor, to select and supply ventilation with maximum levels of efficiency. This means that most commercial and industrial fans need to be provided with functionality that allows control over fan speed and power. Skyflow SSRL EC axial roof fans For allplant’s kitchen, this meant specifying a fan that was appropriate for a busy, but pollutant-low kitchen In the context of allplant’s kitchen, this meant specifying a fan that was appropriate for a busy, but pollutant-low kitchen. Owing to its position as the first ErP compliant low silhouette axial roof fan on the market, the decision was made to turn to Elta Fans’ Skyflow SSRL EC. Equipped with an EC motor with an integral potentiometer commissioning device as standard, the fan is ideal for environments such as a light commercial kitchen. Intuitive controls Anthony continues, “For applications such as this, where ventilation requirements may be variable, the ability to control fan speed through intuitive controls is vital. “It also highlights the importance of not over-specifying, as it can be all too easy to opt for the highest performance available, without consideration of the energy expenditure. “Elta Fans’ Skyflow SSRL is a great example of the energy saving possibilities associated with the latest ventilation technology. Opting for the most efficient products can make a significant contribution to the overall energy credentials of a building, and projects such as this illustrate what is possible.” Energy savings and sustainable HVAC system allplants is understandably concerned with sustainability, and the fitting out of its premises necessarily reflects this. However, it is important to be aware that its growth as a company shows the overall trend towards an environmentally-conscious society. As legislation is introduced to reflect this, those tasked with providing ventilation must ensure they opt for solutions that balance performance with optimum energy efficiency.
The task facing Donovan & Son’s, Inc., Plumbing/HVAC in Middletown, RI was to propose and install heating system boilers that allow the Preservation Society of Newport County to conserve on fuel costs, more closely match varying building heat loads, and coexist with the tremendously large water content of a gravity system. The historic mansions of Newport, RI are known for their elegance and remind its visitors of a bygone era of social and financial preeminence during the turn of the twentieth century in America. Cornelius Vanderbilt II, grandson of railroad industrialist Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877) had the 70 room Italian renaissance inspired mansion built on the site of a wood-framed house which was destroyed by fire in 1892. gravity feed system The Breakers is now owned and operated by the Preservation Society of Newport County A year later, Architect Richard Morris Hunt, deployed an international team of craftsmen and artisans to create the mansion, which is considered to be the most elegant of the Newport summer cottages. The Breakers is now owned and operated by the Preservation Society of Newport County. The preservation society recently replaced an old inefficient boiler with two high efficiency model MPC9 boilers (up to 88.6% efficiency). The old boiler operated at minimal efficiency, especially during the spring and fall when the building demand only required partial load. The mansion, built during the dawn of electricity, used a gravity feed system with large 18-inch supply and return mains. This large supply and return mains divide up into a network of several smaller mains that feed scores of cast iron radiators hidden away in the walls of the structure. heat distribution system The radiation that heats The Breakers is built into the walls of the building and is for the most part out of sight. The heat distribution system consists of radiators lying horizontally in vertical structural chase ways throughout the building. Air connects upwards through these chase way-mounted radiators and is distributed into the rooms via ornately cut grilles in the marble walls allowing the system to exist without being seen. The task facing Donovan & Son’s, Inc., Plumbing/HVAC in Middletown, RI was to propose and install heating system boilers that allow the Preservation Society of Newport County to conserve on fuel costs, more closely match varying building heat loads, and coexist with the tremendously large water content of a gravity system. The boilers had to be installed as part of a century old high-mass gravity feed system. system injection piping MPC boilers have built-in return water temperature protection in the form of a return water mixing tube (RWMT) To do this, Donovan & Son’s converted the near boiler piping to a primary/secondary configuration consisting of a boiler room loop with boiler and system injection piping. The purpose of the boiler room loop was to create a buffer area where heated water from the boilers is no longer in direct contact with the cooler system return water as each boiler injects its heated water into the boiler room loop and in turn heated water from the boiler room loop is transferred into 18-inch supply and return mains, utilizing several small pumped connections. desired minimum temperature This configuration assists the flow of the gravity system to operate as it always has, by simply keeping the large system supply main hot and the boiler loop well above a desired minimum temperature. Such a large water volume in the system loop required that added consideration be given to boiler protection. MPC boilers have built-in return water temperature protection in the form of a return water mixing tube (RWMT). The RWMT protects the boiler from low return temperatures by distributing cool return water evenly throughout the length of the boiler, virtually eliminating concerns of thermal shock and providing balanced flow through each casting. Operating parameters for the MPC, with the RWMT, require a minimum 130ºF supply temperature, minimum 80ºF return temperature and a maximum of 80ºF ∆T. modulate supply water temperature Modular boiler systems provide redundancy if a mechanical device fails to operate during the winter months System operation is controlled by a Tekmar 264 boiler staging control allowing for two individual sets of high-low firing, or four stages of firing. The control also modulates supply water temperature based on outdoor air temperature fluctuations. Domestic hot water is generated using a Burnham Alliance indirect water heater which replaced a separate oil fired water heater. Staging the boilers, modulating the system set-point based on outdoor air temperature and installing the indirect water heater, all combined with the MPC’s high-efficient three-pass sectional design are key factors in reducing energy costs. A recent jobsite visit showed the outdoor temperature to be 38°F and the system water temperature at 155°F with one boiler sustaining the load on low fire. greatly reduced fuel costs The ultimate benefits of The Breakers’ new boiler system will be greatly reduced fuel costs and greater building comfort, by more closely matching the building heat load. Additionally, modular boiler systems provide redundancy if a mechanical device fails to operate during the winter months. The building can now be heated with as low as 25% of the total boiler capacity on the plentiful amount of moderate days that we encounter during the heating season. This will be a boiler system that will offer considerable payback for many years to come. To find out more about the Burnham Commercial MPC boiler and how the user can put the MPC to work for them, visit Burnham Commercial’s all new website.
Two new Burnham model MPC™ high efficiency commercial boilers were recently installed by The Witmer Company of New Holland, PA in the historic ‘High Point’ Mansion located in Hershey, PA. The Model MPC boilers will provide space heating for the 22-room Mansion which was built in 1908 as the home of Milton and Catherine Hershey. Mr. Hershey was the founder of the Hershey Chocolate Company, now known as The Hershey Company. Today, ‘High Point’ Mansion serves as the headquarters location for the Hershey Trust Company which, among other things, oversees the continued philanthropic efforts that were founded by Milton Hershey. Exceptional heat transfer Two, five-section model MPC boilers were selected to provide heat for the building through a combination of 5 air handlers, 52 fan coils and commercial finned tube radiation. The MPC’s are well suited for the job with their unique 3-pass flue design and Return Water Mixing Tube, which translates into exceptional heat transfer as well as the ability to accept return water temperatures as low as 80°F. The MPC’s 4-inch insulation blanket insulates the boilers so well that the jackets stay cool to the touch The MPC’s are manufactured in nearby Lancaster, PA using BC25-HSi cast iron sections, which contain high levels of silicon for exceptional flexibility and heat transfer capabilities. Even at start-up a big difference could be noticed – the boiler room temperature had dropped 30-degrees from the previous boilers. The MPC’s 4-inch insulation blanket insulates the boilers so well that the jackets stay cool to the touch, and the boiler room at the Hershey Mansion is now a much more comfortable place to work. Heat distribution systems Heat transfer and high efficiency is only part of the equation in this new installation, with a variety of heat distribution systems and controls the MPC’s needed to integrate with an advanced control system. The power burners were ordered with the powerful new Burnham SBC™ – or Sage Boiler Control, which made the control portion of this job simple for the Witmer crew. The SBC’s control many of the boiler room functions such as outdoor reset, multiple boiler modulation, lead-lag boiler rotation, combustion air louvers, and pump controls, all without the need for additional control systems. And the SBC’s tie right into the existing building management system so the whole system works together to deliver comfortable, efficient heat throughout the beautiful historic Hershey Mansion.
Alfa Laval, a globally renowned company in the field of heat transfer, centrifugal separation and fluid handling, has announced winning an order to supply compact heat exchangers to a refinery and petrochemical plant in China. The order has a value of approximately SEK 95 million. It is booked in the welded heat exchangers unit and the gasketed plate heat exchangers unit of the Energy Division, with delivery scheduled for 2021. Alfa Laval compact heat exchangers The order comprises Alfa Laval compact heat exchangers which will be used to recover and reuse heat in the refinery The order comprises Alfa Laval compact heat exchangers which will be used to recover and reuse heat in the refinery and petrochemical complex, which produces both transportation fuels and petrochemical products. “With China slowly recovering after the pandemic, I am very pleased to announce this order for our energy efficient heat exchangers from one of our refinery and petrochemical customers.” said Susanne Pahlen Aklundh, President of the Energy Division at Alfa Laval. She adds, “Our products and solutions play a vital role in maintaining a functioning society by providing fundamental basics such as energy supply.” Safety protocol In China, the Alfa Laval offices and sites were closed one extra week after the Chinese New Year and were then re-opened with a clear safety protocol to ensure the health and safety of the employees, as well as to maintain the continuity of the business. Jan Debruyn, President of North East Asia & Alfa Laval China commented, “It is very encouraging that we during these challenging times could work together with our customer to secure the order. By using digital communication channels, we were able to move our business forward.” HVAC products in critical infrastructure Alfa Laval’s equipment and solutions often play an integral role in their customers’ processes, and are part of critical infrastructure in areas such as food and pharmaceutical production, sanitation, HVAC, electricity generation, etc.
The Hawaiian Islands have a lot to offer – pristine beaches, natural beauty and friendly citizens. And now, with the help of Ruskin and its partner contractors, it also has a state-of-the-art middle school campus. In order to accommodate the continued growth of Kapolei, the Kapolei School District recently constructed a new middle school campus. Located on Hawaii’s most populated island, Oahu, the new Kapolei Middle School is a perfect example of how new architecture can be used to enhance and serve the community. “Our new school is designed to educate up to 1,600 students with multi-track schedules ensuring the community may continue to grow,” says Annette Nishikawa, Principal at the school. “We are pleased with our new facilities.” Protecting ventilation openings Working with a local architect, Mitsunaga & Associates, Inc., the district developed a design that includes Ruskin’s ELF520DD rain resistant and sight proof louvers. Located in the block wall and metal roofed structures of the administration, classroom and cultural center buildings, these louvers serve a dual purpose – to protect the ventilation openings against environmental elements and enhance the exterior of the campus buildings. Additional Ruskin louvers were used to protect the ground level openings of the unit ventilators for each classroom The design team used the horizontal lines of the louvers to highlight the canopy on the entrance of the cultural center and accent the gables on several buildings. Additional Ruskin louvers were used to protect the ground level openings of the unit ventilators for each classroom. The general contractor, Albert C. Kobayashi, Inc., coordinated construction of the campus. Building roofing and louver systems The building roofing and louver systems were installed by Quality Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Company Limited. The project challenged Ruskin’s design and manufacturing team with a number of unique shapes and angles. To successfully meet the specifications, the ELF520DD louvers were precision fabricated to ensure it would fit each of the openings. “Ruskin’s attention to detail resulted in a seamless installation,” reports Roy Kawakami Jr. of Quality S/M & A/C Co. Ltd. Coordinating the louver portion of the project, Ruskin’s representative, Norman Wright Mechanical Equipment Corporation, Inc., worked closely with Quality S/M ensuring the quantities, sizes and types of louvers were correct. “The various shapes and changing opening dimensions as this project developed, kept us on our toes,” says Curtis Kenmostu, Norman Wright’s Hawaii Manager. “Ruskin’s timely response and complete and accurate CAD drawings eliminated potential installation problems.” Highly weather-Resistant Located on Hawaii’s Oahu Island, Kapolei Middle School was designed to blend with the natural beauty of the Pacific islands. When the school district expanded their middle school facilities, they chose the Ruskin ELF520DD rain resistant and sight proof louvers. Custom built to Hawaii’s ‘Second City’ district specifications, these specialty louvers are in a class of their own. In addition to being sight proof, they also protect ventilation opening from water penetration In addition to being sight proof, they also protect ventilation opening from water penetration. Coated with a highly weather-resistant KYNAR finish, these louvers enhance the school’s appearance and will give the school years of exceptional, maintenance-free service. To help create an island oasis for the students and faculty, exterior finishes and colors were chosen to complement the architecture of the neighborhood. Providing quality products “Ruskin’s computer matching automated finishing system eliminated the need for field finishing the louvers,” says Curtis. “All of the louvers include a 20-year warranted factory applied Kynar finish.” Protection of any HVAC openings in buildings challenges the architect for functionality and appearance. The Kapolei Middle School project is just one example of Ruskin’s commitment to meeting these challenges by providing quality products and excellent service. Ruskin continues to research new louver solutions like the recently released models to resist wind driven rain and hurricane force winds. With both horizontal and vertical blade louver designs, Ruskin louvers will enhance the exterior appearance of one's building without compromising performance. With more than 40 years of experience designing, testing and manufacturing louvers, Ruskin knows what it takes to deliver “real” solutions for current louver applications.