Johnson Controls, the pioneer for smart, healthy and sustainable buildings, announces that its chairman and CEO George Oliver has been chosen by the Business Roundtable Chairman Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Walmart, to serve as chair of the organization’s Energy & Environment Committee. Business Roundtable is an association of chief executive officers of American companies. Through research and advocacy, Business Roundtable supports policies to spur job creation, improve U.S. c...
Johnson Controls, the globally renowned company for smart, healthy and sustainable buildings, has announced results of independent surveys of 800+ building decision makers showing a clear shift to increased investment in healthy building trends and technologies. “At the center of a vision for a healthy world must be healthy buildings, and that means delivering on the most critical elements to serve People, Places and Planet,” said George Oliver, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of John...
As we look back at 2020, we are all reflecting on the year that was, and what we have learned from it. In the HVAC space, the year provided us with opportunities for growth and change, as we adjusted to our “new normal.” Here’s a look at some of the HVAC trends we see happening now taking hold as we head into 2021. Advancements and applications in indoor air quality - especially in HVAC space (SF / MF / CRE) 2020 was filled with starts and stops with regards to innovation...
The LSAH 44.3 incorporates an optimized heat recovery system directly connected to the heating circuit, enabling it to reach leading electrical and thermal efficiency values. The LSAH 44.3 has been designed to be packaged into small natural gas generator sets built for combined production of heat and electricity. The main application of these gensets are residential and public buildings central heating. In order to maximize the heat recovery process, the LSAH 44.3 has been designed with a high-...
Nidec Leroy-Somer (Nidec Leroy-Somer Holding), the world specialist with a wealth of experience in drive solutions for industrial refrigeration, has for more than 40 years provided refrigeration professionals with its state-of-the-art and energy efficient motors, and speed drives to effectively enhance productivity of industrial refrigeration applications. IE5 synchronous PM motors Nidec Leroy-Somer’s latest development, the Dyneo+ range of IE5 synchronous reluctance permanent magnet (PM...
Consumer advise experts at The Heating Hub have warned consumers not to get ‘hooked’ on the latest technologies in the drive to reduce carbon emissions, stating that they should focus on selecting the most appropriate system for their household requirements. The UK Government recently announced ambitious plans to install 600,000 heat pumps per year by 2028 and has committed to phasing out natural gas boilers in new build homes by 2025. Decarbonizing homes Decarbonizing homes is a...
Carrier Global Corporation's BluEdge service platform continues to expand its reach with 1,000 signed service agreements in just six months and expanded geographic reach. The global, one of the best-in-class service programs that was originally launched in North America and Asia, is now available to Commercial HVAC customers in the Middle East and Europe. Through a deep understanding of customer needs and investments in cutting edge digital tools, BluEdge can help customers achieve enhanced equipment efficiency and performance - key components of Carrier's Healthy Buildings Program and Healthy, Safe, Sustainable Cold Chain Program. Carrier Global Corporation is a renowned global provider of healthy, safe and sustainable building and cold chain solutions. optimal equipment performance "We are thrilled with the positive customer response to our BluEdge platform and honored to hit this milestone so quickly," said Ajay Agrawal, Senior Vice President, Strategy & Services, Carrier. "The BluEdge tiered offerings are resonating with the customers since we designed them to meet their specific needs. BluEdge helps customers achieve optimal equipment performance and act on data-driven insights, which is becoming increasingly important as we look to the future. As a result, we are on track to hit a 30% conversion rate in Commercial HVAC this year." predictive AI-driven algorithms The Carrier team continues to innovate new ways for BluEdge to reach customers and improve outcomes The Carrier team continues to innovate new ways for BluEdge to reach customers and improve outcomes. Carrier Commercial Refrigeration, in partnership with EcoEnergy Insights, also a Carrier company, recently completed a successful pilot of its new Condition Based Maintenance (CBM) program that uses predictive AI-driven algorithms to proactively service refrigeration equipment in retail food stores. CBM is aimed at improving overall customer satisfaction levels by reducing equipment downtime. The pilot resulted in a 30% reduction in alarms related to equipment issues or breakdowns and a double-digit improvement in equipment uptime. Based on the pilot program's results, Carrier plans to expand this program to 10,000 stores across Europe by the end of 2023. peak equipment performance Central to BluEdge is a tiered-service model that provides customers with a range of dynamic options to meet the needs of their businesses. These tiers of service include: Core - Customers benefit from as-needed expert service to help ensure peak equipment performance and longevity. Enhance - Customers can customize on-demand and value-added services, such as multi-year service agreements, preventive maintenance and remote monitoring. Elite - Customers who want complete peace of mind can choose this comprehensive solution that can help optimize performance, and help maximize uptime and minimize cost.
Statement from Viessmann in response to the Climate Change Committee’s 6th Carbon Budget, from Darren McMahon, Viessmann Marketing Director: “We commend the ambition to reduce emissions in buildings to zero by 2050 in line with net zero legislation. The CCC report rightly notes that emissions reductions from heating have flatlined since 2015 and much further needs to be done to promote low carbon heating and efficiency investment in the 2020's. We are particularly encouraged by the proposed mixed approach to decarbonizing heat, under the balanced net zero pathway scenario set out in the CCC." fossil fuel boilers "If achieved, this would lead to the scaling up of the heat pump market to deliver 1 million installations by 2030, the expansion of heat networks and extended trials to test the viability of hydrogen for heat. This, accompanied by the proposed accelerated deployment of no-regret measures such as energy efficiency (over 1 million insulation measures proposed per year by 2025) can lead to a 34% reduction of emissions from heating by 2030." These changes are necessary to scale up the market for heat pumps, low-carbon heat networks" "These objectives are entirely feasible and in line with Viessmann’s vision on heating decarbonization in the UK which we have consistently advocated since 2015. This evolution in the heating market is something that Viessmann encourages and prepares for through innovation and investment across electric and hydrogen heating, efficiency and smart technology. We do recognize the need to phase out the installation of fossil fuel boilers, in advance of 2035, starting from new build by 2025 the latest." gas heating efficiency "These changes are necessary to scale up the market for heat pumps, low-carbon heat networks and hydrogen heating - if hydrogen proves viable in the 2020's. An area where the excellent CCC analysis could go further is in considering fully the opportunity to take gas heating efficiency further." "Rather than focusing on mandating hydrogen ready boilers - a solution which although straightforward to produce will not generate efficiency or carbon gains in the absence of mass hydrogen supply - it is important to evaluate properly and not overlook technology that allows cost-effective use of gas (transitioning to hydrogen eventually) such as gas CHP for district heating and fuel cells for residential heating, which generate electricity locally to power heat pumps and EVs."
Semco Maritime has won a study to identify the break-even point of HVDC and HVAC transmission for a large-scale offshore wind farm. Large-scale offshore wind farms are trending up in size as well as distance from connection onshore these days. A key technological aspect that is heavily influenced by this change is the transmission system, i.e. the technology used to transmit the generated wind power to the connection point onshore. This topic is the backbone of the study that Semco Maritime has won. The scope of the study is to evaluate the break-even point of an alternating current (HVAC) transmission design versus that of a direct current (HVDC) transmission design in two dimensions. The first dimension is the size of the wind farm (power output) and the second dimension is the distance to the connection point onshore. The output of the study will be technical concepts and life cycle costs for both solutions, i.e. capital investment needed and operational expenditures for the life time of the asset. wind transmission systems Semco Maritime has been part of the offshore wind transmission industry since the early 2000s Semco Maritime has been part of the offshore wind transmission industry since the early 2000s through engineer-procure-construct (EPC) projects with long-term partners Bladt Industries and ISC Consulting Engineers, as well as through offshore engineering studies related to high-voltage transmission, offshore foundation, substation structures, geotechnical assessments and high-voltage sea cabling. “We are very proud to have been selected for this exciting study as we recognize the increased need for performing these crucial evaluations at the very early concept stage of large-scale offshore wind farms located far off the coast”, says Tommy Flindt, Director of Engineering & Technology, Offshore Wind, Semco Maritime. “Given our 18+ years of experience within offshore wind transmission systems, we are confident that we can deliver this study with the needed accuracy, providing the input required for the right business decision-making for our client.”
Recently, J&W Heating and Air and YORK® Factory Direct partnered with Building Homes for Heroes in Orange Park, Florida to gift a new YORK® HVAC system in the mortgage-free home of Army Specialist Alberto Diaz. Diaz joined the military in 2012 because he wanted to provide a better life for his family. While deployed in Afghanistan, his truck rolled over an IED, causing severe injuries, such as bleeding in his brain, nerve damage in his face, and posttraumatic stress disorder, among other injuries. For his service to his country, Specialist Diaz was awarded a Purple Heart. Donated Thermostat & HVAC Installation To support Diaz, Johnson Controls and YORK Factory Direct donated a YORK® heating and cooling system with a Wi-Fi® enabled YORK touch-screen thermostat to better assist him with adjusting his home’s temperature without the need to get up. J&W Heating and Air donated the HVAC installation services for the veteran’s new home. Giving Back To The Community "We’re so grateful to be able to give back to our community by supporting an incredibly well-deserving local veteran and his family through Building Homes for Heroes,” said Brent Marler, President, J&W Heating and Air. “While we provided the labor and YORK Factory Direct donated the equipment, for us, it's an easy decision that will allow Specialist Diaz to live safely and focus on his recovery.” About Building Homes for Heroes Building Homes for Heroes is a national organization that recognizes those who serve in the United States Armed Forces by supporting the needs of severely wounded or disabled soldiers and their families. The organization strives to build or renovate quality homes and donate them, mortgage-free, to injured veterans nationwide. Hopeful Path To Bright Future “We are honored to partner with Johnson Controls, J&W Heating and Air, and YORK Factory Direct to gift a home to Army Specialist Diaz and his family,” said Andy Pujol, Founder and CEO of Building Homes for Heroes. “The customized amenities that companies like Johnson Controls bring to these homes provide not only a foundation for these heroes but a hopeful path to a bright future with the opportunity to reach dreams they may have never thought imaginable when injured.” Sponsorship, Recognition, Commitment The YORK brand of Johnson Controls has been a proud sponsor of Building Homes for Heroes since 2014. The company has been recognized by US Veterans Magazine as a top veteran-friendly company. Johnson Controls is also committed to hiring veterans and military spouses. Veteran employees are honored to design, engineer, and assemble systems that help improve the lives of fellow veterans.
Viessmann has created an air ventilation solution to combat the spread of COVID-19 in schools. The company’s unique new hybrid ventilation unit, the Vitovent 200-P, provides closed rooms with constant air circulation of filtered air. This greatly reduces the risk of occupants breathing in contaminated aerosols which can spread across indoor spaces and hang in the air for hours, especially in winter when windows are more likely to be closed and heating operating. The Vitovent 200-P counteracts the danger of contaminated aerosols by applying the principle of displacement ventilation. This works by providing a constant supply of filtered fresh air into the room at low velocity through diffusers close to the floor, then extracting the air near ceiling height after it has risen due to heat exchange with occupants’ bodies. air containing CO2 and VOC Good air quality and a comfortable learning atmosphere are ensured by the constant supply of fresh air with heat and moisture recovery, the continuous air circulation, and the extraction of air containing CO2 and VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) pollution. As a 103-year-old family business, we are committed to designing living spaces for generations to come" Viessmann’s Co-CEO, Maximilian Viessmann, commented: “As a 103-year-old family business, we are committed to designing living spaces for generations to come. Right now, it is crucial that we quickly and pragmatically safeguard our children to maintain a part of their social life and access to education in these challenging times.” risk of coronavirus infection The effectiveness of the Vitovent 200-P was proven in a pilot project at the Hans-Viessmann-School, a vocational training institution with about 1,000 students in the town of Frankenberg, Germany. Occupants of the school commented on the system’s quiet operation and a noticeable improvement in air quality. Work has since begun on supplying the system - which can be easily and inexpensively retrofitted by replacing a window panel with an isopanel - to a further 50 schools and social institutions in Germany. A separate announcement will be made when the Vitovent 200-P becomes available in the UK. In addition to making schools safer, the system can be equally beneficial in universities and other indoor spaces which remain open and busy with people despite the risk of coronavirus infection. Improved air quality Viessmann has created an air ventilation solution to combat the spread of COVID-19 in schools The Viessmann Group also took measures earlier this year to help society fight the coronavirus pandemic by converting part of its manufacturing facilities in Allendorf, Germany, to produce its own ventilators, mobile intensive care units, respiratory protective face masks, and hand sanitizer. The design of Viessmann’s gas boilers, with their electronic gas and air connections, lent itself well to the design and development of a simplified ventilator in a short timeframe. Viessmann has created an air ventilation solution to combat the spread of COVID-19 in schools and enhance students' ability to concentrate through improved air quality. The image of the same can be viewed on the company’s official website. The Vitovent 200-P works by providing a constant supply of filtered fresh air into the room at low velocity through diffusers close to the floor, then extracting the air near ceiling height after it has risen due to heat exchange within occupants’ bodies. heating and cooling systems Viessmann is a renowned international manufacturer of domestic and commercial heating and cooling systems, with UK headquarters in Telford, Shropshire. The German family-owned business was founded in 1917 and employs over 12,300 members. Co-CEO Maximilian Viessmann represents the fourth generation of the Viessmann family. The company’s vision is to create living spaces for future generations.
Filti, an air filtration startup that produces nanofiber materials for face masks and HVAC filters, officially announced the launch of its new NF95 Respirator. The pre-certified NF95 Respirators are constructed using the company's state-of-the-art nanofiber technology and is proven to filter 95% of aerosolized, airborne particles - like COVID-19 - moving through the material. Unlike a traditional N95 mask, the nanofiber material mechanically filters out pollutants as opposed to electrostatically filtering them. Solid and liquid aerosols Expected approvals and standards for this product include: Expected - NIOSH approved N95 respirator Expected - Meets NIOSH 42 CFR 84 N95 requirements for a minimum 95% filtration efficiency against solid and liquid aerosols that do not contain oil NIOSH Approval Number - TBA Expected BFE and PFE (third-party testing results) Expected level 3 blood splatter Harmful airborne particles "We designed these respirators to safeguard our customers and their families from harmful airborne particles including bacteria and viruses," said Dakota Hendrickson, co-founder of Filti. "With limited, high-quality and cost-effective respirator options on the market, we knew we could use our technology to provide an excellent, low-cost option for American households. All 100% Made in the USA." Engineered for extreme comfort, with enhanced sealing capabilities and exceptional breathability, the Filti NF95 respirator is constructed with a spunbond, nonwoven and nanofiber composite media. During the soft launch phase, the company sold nearly 40,000 respirators.
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.
Our world plunged into a new set of uncomfortable norms in 2020. Mere months ago, life for much of the planet chugged along at its customary monotonous pace. Then, without forewarning, an insidious health threat thrust upon us. COVID-19, colloquial for SARS-CoV-2, is a novel coronavirus that originated in China in late 2019. It quickly burned around the globe like a dry brush fire. Not since a hundred years ago has humanity confronted mask wearing and social distancing in efforts to prevent suffering on a pandemic scale. A single COVID-19 viral particle is extremely small at 0.06 microns. This pure form of COVID-19 is not found outside a laboratory and would not survive even if it made its way into the environment. A single sneeze can eject 200 million COVID-19 particles into the airInstead, SARS-CoV-2, when expelled by infected human hosts, is encapsulated by mucus material. Hosts shed airborne viral particles in two modalities: droplets and aerosols. Droplets are about 1 micron while aerosols approximate 0.5 microns. Millions of viral droplets and aerosols are sloughed-off by talking, laughing, coughing, sneezing, singing or simply by breathing. A single sneeze can eject 200 million COVID-19 particles into the air. Portable air purifiers provide a potent tool in the fight to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The selection and deployment of an appropriate purifier are instrumental in lessening airborne viral droplets and aerosols. Advanced purification units can sterilize air as well as trap pathogens. This best-of-both-worlds approach to disease prevention is vitally important. HEPA Filtration An air purifier must have a medical-grade HEPA filter if the goal is trapping airborne pathogens. HEPA filters remove 99.97% of particles down to 0.3 microns in size. HEPA has different levels. The H-values of HEPA range from H10 through H14. Medical-grade HEPA is H13 or higher and provides filtration efficiencies of 99.95% of 0.1 micron-size particles per liter of air. As a result, medical-grade HEPA is highly effective in COVID-19 droplet and aerosol elimination. Clear Air Delivery Rate Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) is a critical metric of a purifier's ability to remove particles of a given size and is measured in Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM.) This drastically differs from a CFM metric alone. CFM as a standalone value demonstrates only the volume of air moved through a system without regard to particle removal. CADR is a compulsory and precise method of comparing air purifiers in a standardized manner. Choosing a purifier with the highest CADR is always preferable. Experts recommend devices with a CADR that moves the total air volume of a room through the purifier 5 to 6 times per hour. Portable air purifiers provide a potent tool in the fight to reduce the spread of COVID-19 Ultraviolent Light Ultraviolent Light (UV) is a powerful sterilization strategy. UV is used in medical settings worldwide for this purpose. While utilizing UV in a purifier is advantageous, selecting a device with UV in 254 nm wavelength is paramount. UV outside of this wavelength can excite oxygen into creating harmful ozone molecules consisting of 3 oxygen atoms. Cutting-edge air purifiers have 254 nm UV bulbs formulated with doped quartz. Such doping precludes secondary harmonic UV wavelengths from radiating from the bulb. UV is an invaluable element of air decontamination if ensured UV is 254 nm and doped bulbs are utilized. Photocatalysis Some air purifiers employ photocatalytic Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) membranes to complement their UV. The resulting photocatalysis dramatically enhances the sanitizing effects of UV. A TiO2 photocatalytic reaction under UV radiation provides additional disinfection pathways in addition to UV directly acting upon pathogens. Thus, both direct UV and photocatalysis provide exceedingly effective methods of microorganism degradation and destruction. Other Technologies Other technologies are found in purifiers, such as sophisticated filters to thwart VOC/TVOC compounds and negative ion generation. Negative ions have antibacterial properties, including marked reductions of acinetobacter transmission. Also, negative ions have the beneficial capacity to precipitate airborne PM1.0 and PM2.5 particulate matter, which are impurities that affects health. Advanced purification units can sterilize air as well as trap pathogens With the COVID-19 age upon us, portable air purifiers provide enormously powerful weapons in protecting the health of persons inside enclosed spaces. Air purification coupled with other air quality measures -- such as ensuring a suitable amount of outside air exchange, air agitation with fans and upgrading existing HVAC filters with MERV-13 -- present an effective and comprehensive approach to health and safety.
Having spent the last few months working from our sofas, dining tables and ironing boards, many of us have become accustomed to the world of remote working. But we’ve now arrived at a point where many businesses are starting to reopen their doors or have plans to do so in the near-future. Employers will be hoping that a return to work will prove productive, reinvigorating the workforce and driving growth. To this end, however, they will need to instill confidence by demonstrating how they can keep employees safe and comfortable. Bringing employees back to work will be complex. For a start, businesses have had to implement a large number of new safety measures in response to COVID-19. However, ensuring safety in the workplace goes beyond adhering to social distancing measures and anti-bacterial cleaning stations. Behind the scenes, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) play a crucial role in facilitating a safe workspace. Whether it’s the systems implemented to limit the spread of the virus, the ongoing servicing of these systems or their wider environmental impact, HVAC solutions and facilities managers (FMs) rest at the heart of a safer return to work. Embracing new strategies for clean air Walking in the building through a new automatic door, most office workers will be greeted with a queue for the lifts and plenty of signage reminding you to sanitise your hands and keep your distance. Some may have their body temperature scanned by a thermal detection camera on entry, which could also count how many people enter to ensure numbers are safe. Others could be met with an anti-virus access point that scans your face using facial recognition rather than a pass, and enforces hand hygiene by dispensing sanitiser before the lifts will open. Behind the scenes, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) play a crucial role in facilitating a safe workspace All of these measures, however strict, are part of the new normal: ‘contactless’ buildings. Designed to limit the potential spread of COVID-19, facilities managers have plenty of options when it comes to keeping people safe. But not all of them are so apparent when entering a building. Some of the most important measures are those we can’t see. A healthy and safe working environment has always relied on a building’s HVAC infrastructure – temperature control, good air flow, and a reliable level of comfort are top of most office workers’ priority lists. But the pandemic has taken this to a new level of importance. As a critical part of their wider health and safety plan, facilities managers can look to identify strategies to increase clean air levels further. This could include increasing outdoor air circulation to decrease pathogen exposure, with smart air handling units. These will enable managers to bring in more outside air to displace potentially contaminated air, by increasing ventilation and air change rates. Improving Filtration Methods Improving filtration methods is another possibility, by adding additional filters including high efficiency filters and HEPA filters, to trap more particles and increase the percentage of clean air in a building. Portable HEPA solutions are also an option for those who need more flexibility. In addition to air filtration and circulation, it is also possible to use UV-C lighting to effectively ‘disinfect’ the air or surfaces, using ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) to inactivate viral microorganisms. These can be installed brand new or retrofitted into existing facilities, to reduce costs for FMs and speed up implementation. These innovative uses of HVAC to limit the spread of infection could have a huge impact on the health and safety of occupants in any building – and this is by no means limited to offices. Within healthcare and laboratory facilities, for example, solutions like room pressurisation, air change rates, humidity and temperature controls are all critical to reduce contamination in the air and on surfaces. A healthy and safe working environment has always relied on a building’s HVAC infrastructure Safety is an ongoing process No matter which HVAC solutions a facilities manager chooses, it’s not a case of installing them and then waving goodbye. As with any good health and safety strategy, constant monitoring is crucial to ensure building occupants are well looked-after – and this also ensures you can get the most out of HVAC investments. For some this means keeping a close eye on how your HVAC equipment runs, to ensure that they’re reaching optimum performance and delivering the best ROI. Working with a partner who can provide continuous service and monitoring is critical, so that the pressure is off FMs themselves. Especially now, having remote monitoring capabilities is an added bonus, so that minor issues can be fixed without an engineer having to visit the site. For those with smart technologies in place, such as smart connected chillers, FMs may rather be reliant on predictive maintenance and monitoring tools, which use AI and automation to predict issues before they arise, and ensure equipment runs reliably and downtime can be minimised. Whether in person or remotely, good quality service and maintenance of HVAC equipment goes a long way – both to get the best return on investment, and to keep buildings as safe and comfortable as possible. Enabling a smarter and more sustainable workplace HVAC has always been critical to keeping employees happy and healthy at work – but for a long time this has had a negative impact on the planet. Inefficient HVAC systems can give a building a much bigger carbon footprint than it would ideally have. 75% of organizations plan to increase their investment in energy efficiency and smart building technologies Last year, our Energy Efficiency Indicator survey found that 75% of organizations plan to increase their investment in energy efficiency and smart building technologies. The opportunity, then, to overhaul HVAC systems in order to limit the spread of COVID-19 is also an opportunity to invest in more efficient, greener HVAC technologies, built for the future. Taking a holistic approach to your HVAC equipment is the best way to do this, to ensure efficiency gains can be made across an entire building or estate, by connecting intelligent systems. Chillers, for example, with efficiency and intelligence built in as standard can reduce energy use and carbon emissions for a building, or collection of buildings, helping FMs meet energy targets and keeping costs low. Choosing the optimal HVAC system Under current circumstances, the decisions made by FMs are pivotal in enabling business continuity and will ultimately impact building occupants’ comfort and safety. It should therefore come as no surprise that businesses are paying close attention to every move FMs make. Choosing the optimal HVAC system for your building and ensuring regular servicing and maintenance will prove cost-effective and energy efficient. Not only this, but smart HVAC technologies go a long way in enabling a safer, productive and more sustainable working environment. By picking the right tools for the job, businesses of every type can position themselves for growth while remaining as safe and secure as possible.
Sustainability and environmental impact are core issues of the HVAC market in 2020 or any year. During the last year, HVACinformed.com has addressed multiple facets of sustainability in some of our most popular articles. This retrospective will highlight some of the sustainability articles published during 2020 at HVACInformed.com. An HVACInformed.com Expert Panel Roundtable commented on various aspects of sustainability, including the responsibility of HVAC manufacturers to develop more sustainable, energy-efficient products that can reduce a building’s reliance on fossil fuels. Energy consumption pattern Honeywell has launched a platform that incorporates newer technology. Combining self-learning algorithms with building automation, Honeywell Forge Energy Optimization is a cloud-based system that analyzes a building’s energy consumption pattern and adjusts its settings. Heat networks, or district heating, are becoming an ever-greater part of the industry’s involvement Pete Mills of Bosch Commercial & Industrial outlines how cities are using ‘heat networks’ to achieve carbon emission targets in the United Kingdom. Heat networks, or district heating, are becoming an ever-greater part of the 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. Centralized heat generator Generally, heat networks are defined as a system of supply pipes with a centralized heat generator (Energy Center) 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. Some U.S. cities are taking the lead to make building performance standards mandatory, thus providing additional incentive for customers to invest in new, more efficient and climate-friendly HVAC technologies. New York City has deployed its Carbon Mobilization Act, which will cut six million tons of CO2 annually by 2020. Washington D.C. adopted the first Building Energy Performance Standard, which will reduce energy use in buildings by more than 20%, thereby lowering carbon dioxide emissions by a million tons annually. Improving environmental performance 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 The consistent theme is a need to work toward better-designed, more energy efficient and healthier buildings. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is moving forward with rulemaking that sets limits and deadlines to decrease the use of refrigerants with global warming potential (GWP) in the commercial refrigeration market and in the residential and commercial stationary air conditioning equipment markets. Air conditioning systems California regulations are widely expected to influence the direction of other states seeking to regulate GWP of refrigerants. The addition of biodiesel lowers the carbon content (and thus the environmental impact) of heating oil. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says biodiesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions, including nitrogen oxide. The process of making biodiesel from renewable and organic sources also boosts the environmental profile. The Wyss Institute at Harvard University has developed an evaporative cooling system that uses a specially coated ceramic to cool air without adding humidity. Researchers say the approach can yield more affordable and environmentally friendly air conditioning systems for the future.
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.
Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US (METUS), the exclusive provider of Zoned Comfort Solutions® and a supplier of Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) heating and cooling systems, is pleased to support METUS distributor, S. G. Torrice Company, in its donation of Mitsubishi Electric equipment to Homes For Our Troops, a nonprofit organization that builds and donates specially adapted custom homes nationwide for severely injured post-9/11 veterans, to enable them to rebuild their lives. S. G. Torrice Company supplied equipment to outfit Homes For Our Troops’ control/equipment room in their Taunton, Massachusetts office. Specially adapted homes The new equipment replaces a malfunctioning 8-year-old system. The donated Mitsubishi Electric equipment included: (1) A/C Outdoor unit (PUYA12NKA7) (1) Wall-mounted Indoor Unit (PKAA12HA7) (1) Low Ambient Wind Baffle (WB-PA4) (1) Wall-mounted Remote Controller (PAR-40MAAU) “Homes For Our Troops does incredible work for injured veterans by building specially adapted homes so they can rebuild their lives,” says Stephen Torrice, president, S. G. Torrice Company. “We’re honored to support an organization whose focus is to support those who have sacrificed their previous way of life for our country.” Financial planning services Since 2004, Homes For Our Troops has been building and donating custom homes nationwide for injured post-9/11 veterans so they can rebuild their lives. These specially adapted custom homes enable veterans to focus on their recovery in a safe environment, and regain their freedom and independence. Veterans also receive financial planning services for long-term success after the home is built. S. G. Torrice Company is a full-service, family-owned HVAC distributor founded in 1958 by veteran Samuel G. Torrice. The company is headquartered in Wilmington, Massachusetts and has 12 locations serving residential and commercial HVAC dealers in Eastern Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.
The nationwide lockdown in November, which was necessary due to the high number of infections in the second corona wave, has been accompanied by considerable restrictions. It is therefore all the more important to continue to secure the indispensable work in public institutions and especially, teaching in schools. In order to provide a decisive solution to the problem, Viessmann has developed a new air ventilation unit, the Vitovent 200-P. This is a unique hybrid ventilation unit that provides rooms with a continuous supply of fresh air and simultaneously cleans the air. Continuous air circulation Constant air circulation reduces aerosols and supplies closed rooms with fresh outside air again and again, so that pupils and teachers are best protected against the virus and learning performance is improved. "As a 103-year-old family business, we are committed to designing living spaces for generations to come," says Viessmann Co-CEO Maximilian Viessmann. A direct and continuous air circulation is guaranteed with a fresh air supply at floor level “Right now it is crucial that we quickly and pragmatically safeguard our children to maintain a part of their social life and access to education in these challenging times.” Vitovent 200-P uses the so-called displacement ventilation principle: A direct and continuous air circulation is guaranteed with a fresh air supply at floor level which then rises due to heat exchange with the occupants’ bodies. Comfortable learning atmosphere Consequently, used air rises to the top and travels into the units and is cleaned there, before being returned into the room as fresh air at floor level. The permanent supply of fresh air with heat and moisture recovery ensures a comfortable learning atmosphere and good air quality, even without window ventilation. Vitovent 200-P units have already been successfully tested in a pilot project at the Hans-Viessmann Vocational School in Frankenberg, North Hesse. The feedback from students and teachers has been overwhelmingly positive. In particular, it was positively highlighted that the unit runs very quietly and creates a comfortable indoor climate- it was also noted how in the prior absence of frequent ventilation, an additional health risk in winter when outside temperatures are very low, not only did the indoor air dry out excessively, but the schools' energy consumption and CO2 emissions were driven up too. Short term development Viessmann successfully demonstrated that the company was prepared to fulfill its social responsibility The devices can be retrofitted easily and at low cost by replacing a window pane with an isopanel. Thus, they offer the possibility to keep heavily occupied lounges and public facilities open despite a generally high risk of infection. The Viessmann Group together with the Viessmann Foundation announces that it will donate the first 50 Vitovent 200-P air cleaning units worth a six-figure sum to schools and social institutions, and will assume the full cost of installation. The company is thus fulfilling its purpose ‘We create living spaces for generations to come’ to a great extent. Already at the beginning of the outbreak of the pandemic, Viessmann successfully demonstrated that the company was prepared to fulfill its social responsibility and made a tangible contribution to the community through the short term development and provision of respiratory ventilators, mouth and nose masks and disinfectant - all of which are summarized as ‘ViAid’.
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.
The Visual Arts Building (VAB) at the University of Iowa is a marvel of both aesthetic design and mechanical engineering. Six years in the making and completed in October 2016, the award-winning, 126,000 square-foot structure blends the artistry of the renowned Steven Holl Architects (New York) with an array of innovative mechanical systems that smoothly integrate with Holl’s aesthetics while meeting the numerous, industrial-like requirements of this challenging space. Thanks to these mechanical systems, the VAB is projected to consume 60 percent less energy than a building in compliance with ASHRAE 90.1. A Verification Report prepared by a local utility, MidAmerican Energy, converted that percentage into an annual cost savings of nearly $300,000. The utility calculated the final payback on the “incremental costs associated with energy conservation strategy investments” at a comparatively swift 2.1 years. For this project performance, the university earned an incentive payment of more than $550,000 for the building, which recently achieved LEED Gold certification. incredible level of system integration Infelt was specifically referring to the thermally activated slab (TAS) heating and cooling system her firm helped design “Every time we talk about this building and the incredible level of system integration throughout the space, I’m amazed we pulled it off,” says Amy Infelt, P.E., LEED AP — and only half-jokingly. Infelt is Managing Principal for the Cedar Rapids-based Design Engineers (DE), the mechanical and electrical engineering consultant on the VAB project, for which she served as project manager. She was assisted by mechanical engineer Tim Lentz, P.E., LEED AP; and electrical engineer Eric B. Bruxvoort, P.E. In her comment above, Infelt was specifically referring to the thermally activated slab (TAS) heating and cooling system her firm helped design with internationally renowned sustainability specialist, Transsolar, a KlimaEngineering firm based in Stuttgart, Germany. Providing baseline comfort for the five-story structure, this six-level slab system incorporates 67 miles, or more than 353,000 feet, of ⅝-inch Wirsbo hePEX tubing, manufactured by Uponor North America in Apple Valley, Minn. maximize transmittance of light However, Infelt could just as easily have been referring to the bubble-deck structural slab itself: The VAB is one of the few buildings worldwide to integrate TAS with void slab construction. Or, she might have noted several other innovations that Transsolar brought to the project, such as: The metal-shading device (right) that covers the windows on the southern and western sides of the building; or The interior shading device that sits 10 feet below the 30-foot x 40-foot skylight over the atrium that spans the full length of the structure; or The insulated channel glass found at numerous points around the exterior. Each of the above items is intended, in the service of both comfort and energy efficiency, to maximize the transmittance of light into the interior, while minimizing heat gain or loss. energy consumption-reduction You cannot overestimate the impact of having an architect of the international stature of Steven Holl" What drove all this innovation at VAB? Infelt credits the University of Iowa and its decision to recruit a highly regarded “design architect” to create an aesthetically compelling structure for the new home of the art and art history departments. This was necessitated when the predecessor building, which had been slated for extensive renovation, was ruined by a flood in 2008. “You cannot overestimate the impact of having an architect of the international stature of Steven Holl,” says Infelt. “Their firm’s reputation rides on every building they create, so they pay incredible attention to every detail in the design and construction. This attention to detail inevitably impacts the design of all the mechanical systems in the building.” At the same time, the university had also set “very defined objectives for energy efficiency and energy consumption-reduction,” notes Infelt. “Their focus is to design buildings for the lowest energy costs for the long term.” overall system efficiency SHA’s uncompromizing aesthetics and the university’s lofty efficiency goals were not the only challenges for the mechanical system designers. The VAB is more than a building of offices and classrooms. It is also an active, buzzing and humming collection of studio-art workshops, full of highly creative students busily making and building all manner of objects. Which is why the building houses not one, not two, but 10 different dust-collection systems, pulling exhaust from woodworking and metalworking shops, a kiln room with seven industrial-grade kilns, a sculpture studio with a forge and a crucible furnace, an acid room for print-making, plus various studios for ceramics, painting, welding and plasma-cutting — even bicycle-building. In sum, the mechanical systems in this complex space had to maximize occupant comfort and productivity as well as overall system efficiency. Integrated design Integrated design is a huge buzzword in the AEC world right now but this building is truly integrated" The extent to which the structure’s designers and builders accomplished those twin objectives is a testament to the high level of collaboration within the building team. The latter included the Des Moines, Iowa, office of BNIM, which served as project architect, assisting SHA. “Integrated design is a huge buzzword in the AEC world right now, but this building is truly integrated,” says Infelt, explaining how the mechanical systems DE and Transsolar created had to be designed to support the VAB’s overall aesthetic goals, while meeting the widely varying needs of the many different users of the facility. Among the highlights of the VAB, none is more architecturally striking than its atrium (previous page), spanning the entire 150-foot depth of the five-story structure and extending 70 feet vertically. Ductwork, piping and conduit for mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems are typically concealed above the ceiling in commercial buildings. utility routing zones But the VAB has very few ceilings, and the design intent was for the atrium to remain clear of any exposed MEP systems. Everything is fully exposed through the rooms surrounding the atrium, including ductwork mains routed through a tunnel below the atrium. That meant its thousands of feet of piping and conduit had to be meticulously coordinated, so that systems were arranged in fastidiously neat and precisely parallel runs, rather than the less rigorous style of most above-the-ceiling construction. “We created what we called ‘utility routing zones’ — specific areas within each room through which all ductwork, pipe and conduit could be routed, with a special hanging system for each zone,” says Infelt. “We even coordinated how the piping and conduit were identified and labeled. All the systems are labeled with the identification in the same color and with identical graphics: black letters on a white background. The specific font and sizes of lettering were both coordinated by SHA.” Thermally activated slab system In short, no detail at the VAB was too small to escape scrutiny and close coordination In short, no detail at the VAB was too small to escape scrutiny and close coordination. As Infelt remarks in her firm’s own literature on the VAB, “The installation of the thermally activated slab heating and cooling system required especially close coordination.” In part, that’s because the slab itself is not solid concrete, but what is called voided biaxial slab, or bubble deck, construction. The VAB bubble deck consists of hundreds of empty, but watertight, plastic balls — or the preferred term, “voids” — 7.5 inches in diameter and sandwiched between layers of criss-crossing rebar and all of it buried in 12.5 inches of concrete along with the Uponor Wirsbo hePEX. The latter, like most radiant installations, is laid out, six inches on center, in a serpentine fashion. sacrificing the integrity of the slab The special challenge for DE and the installing contractor: The Wirsbo hePEX had to be looped carefully into the slab in a way that avoided the voids (as well as all the rebar). The rationale for this type of slab is straightforward enough: All those spherical voids allow for less concrete to be poured, without lessening the thickness nor sacrificing the integrity of the slab itself. Less concrete means a smaller load, which in turn permits weight-bearing column spacing to be far wider — an absolutely critical need inside the expansive, SHA-designed atrium. More frequently seen in Europe, this type of void slab remains a rarity in North America, most especially in the Midwest. Equally rare in the Midwest is a TAS system that provides not just heating, but also cooling. Concerns about condensation leave many building designers reluctant to specify radiant cooling. heating and cooling The six slabs at VAB contain no insulation, so a portion of the energy radiates upward However, inside the VAB, which uses TAS construction on six different levels, “the system allows you to provide cooling in a way that keeps the slab surface temperatures above the point where condensation is produced,” says Infelt. “What makes a TAS different is its use of the full concrete mass to store its heating and cooling longer,” she continues. “The six slabs at VAB contain no insulation, so a portion of the energy radiates upward. But the Wirsbo hePEX is positioned five-eighths of an inch from the bottom of the slab. As a result, most of the radiation is downward, conditioning the space below.” Radiant was an obvious fit for the new VAB with its large, loft-like, atrium space. activated-slab heating Whatever misgivings the university construction team and Controls and Maintenance Group might have had about radiant were largely resolved by an off-site visit to Chicago and to the Loyola University Information Commons, which uses a similar TAS system. "The extended, 25-year warranty provided by the Wirsbo hePEX was also a key factor in ensuring the University’s comfort with the TAS,” says Infelt. “Uponor played a key role in bringing us up to speed on activated-slab heating and cooling technology and then worked closely with us on the VAB design.” Of particular value were the thermal modelings on the heating and cooling capacity of the slab, performed by Uponor Sales Engineer Him Ly. Using the slab depth, the tubing diameter, the depth of the Wirsbo hePEX inside the slab and the temperature of the water moving through the tubing, Ly calculated how many heating or cooling BTUs per square foot the slab could provide. construction of the interior walls Built into the walls, these cabinets contain isolation valves, balancing valves and other hydronic accessories “Once we understood the slab’s true capacity for heating and for cooling, we could best determine what supplemental systems were needed,” says Infelt, “and what type of system would work best in a given space inside the VAB.” All the Wirsbo hePEX was installed in the six slabs before any interior walls were set. This tubing was routed out of the slabs through 71 different manifold cabinets with 634 circuits or loops of tubing. Built into the walls, these cabinets contain isolation valves, balancing valves and other hydronic accessories supplied by Uponor. “The tubing is distributed via a supply-and-return manifold to a maximum of 12 loops per cabinet,” says Infelt. The installed Wirsbo hePEX was left capped and hanging for an extended period, awaiting the construction of the interior walls and the final placement of the cabinets. Supplemental HVAC systems How did the installation crews assure that none of the tubing was somehow damaged during this wait time? “All the tubing was pressurized, and each of the 71 manifold cabinets was equipped with its own pressure gauge for its particular set of loops,” Infelt explains. “Once in the morning and once at the end of the workday, the installation team would inspect each of the 71 gauges, comparing the two readings. Wherever there was a pressure drop, the contractor knew something happened that particular day to damage the tubing. Doing these inspections daily made it easier to isolate and immediately fix any problems.” retain heating or cooling capacity The capacity of the slab to heat or cool is what it is — a constant,” says Infelt The VAB TAS is a “passive” system, with minimal active control, who’s mass can be counted on to retain heating or cooling capacity over long periods. But that consistency also prevents it from reacting quickly to changing loads — such as a busy classroom with large numbers of students regularly moving in and out of the space. “The capacity of the slab to heat or cool is what it is — a constant,” says Infelt. “That is why we designated it the baseline heating and cooling system for the building. We then created extra heating or cooling capacity with our supplemental systems, which can react more quickly — and actively — to changing loads.” adding supplemental HVAC systems The “changing loads” can be triggered not only by student and faculty movements about the building, but also by the various specialized “industrial” processes taking place in its busy workshops. Another, equally important factor are the weather extremes in Iowa whose outdoor ambient temperature can range from subzero Fahrenheit in the winter to several days, even weeks, above 90°F in the summer. To help Transsolar understand the temperature ranges for the project area, Infelt would email them each time the area experienced temperature extremes. Not surprisingly, DE ultimately chose to enhance Transsolar’s innovative TAS concept by adding supplemental HVAC systems that would support the teaching mission of the facility, while fitting in with its structure and climate. variable air volume (VAV) terminal units These systems include: Outdoor and exhaust air systems: This system provides general exhaust for the building occupants, as well as exhaust from the industrial equipment and processes. In addition, these systems introduce outdoor air to provide ventilation air for indoor air quality, as required by ASHRAE 62.1 and to replace the exhaust air. These systems also maintain the building at a positive pressure relative to the outdoors. The outdoor air is delivered via variable air volume (VAV) terminal units with reheat coils and provides supplemental cooling and heating for the areas served. Because of the number and type of industrial processes that occur inside the VAB, a considerable amount of makeup air from the outside is required for both replacement and ventilation air. This outdoor air is pretreated by a custom air-handling unit (AHU) that maintains separate air streams: one running through a total energy, desiccant recovery wheel; and the second, through a sensible heat pipe. refrigerant-charged heat pipe This exhaust-air stream routes through the refrigerant-charged heat pipe where its heat is recovered and transferred Located in the VAB’s lower-level mechanical room, the AHU pulls heat from some of the building’s exhaust before expelling it outdoors. At the same time, the air handler transfers that recovered heat to the incoming outdoor air before it moves into the building. This transfer is done through a slow-spinning desiccant wheel, handling the incoming interior exhaust on one side of the wheel and outgoing outdoor air on the other. “We call it an ‘energy wheel,’” explains Infelt, “because it allows us to transfer both latent and sensible energy.” But not all exhaust is permitted to move through the wheel. Exhaust from the various industrial processes is, of course, “dusty, smelly, even hazardous,” says Infelt, and therefore may not be transferred to the incoming outdoor air. This exhaust-air stream routes through the refrigerant-charged heat pipe where its heat is recovered and transferred to the incoming outdoor air. air-handling unit “The heat pipe is a heat-recovery device only,” says Infelt. “It can capture only sensible energy, while keeping contaminants and odors on its side of the air-handling unit.” While less efficient than the wheel, the heat pipe is “still able to recover the heat from the exhaust from the industrial spaces.” Fan coil units: These units provide supplemental heating and cooling where the demand is beyond the capacity available from the TAS and the ventilation air system. Radiant heating, installed in designated places on the building perimeter: The TAS structural slab at the VAB is covered by a three-inch-thick topping slab. Wherever insulated channel glass has been installed around the exterior, a three-foot-wide strip of radiant heating — again using Wirsbo hePEX — was installed inside the topping layer. Controlled separately from the TAS system, this perimeter radiant install provides heating only during the colder months, shutting down in the summer. No insulation is used, because the 12.5-inch structural slab directs all the heating upward, where it is needed. Single-zone displacement ventilation system: This energy-efficient system serves the 76-seat classroom by supplying air at a low — and therefore quiet — velocity, befitting an academic environment. The desired comfort temperature where students and faculty congregate at floor-level (the “occupied zone”) is maintained, while the air space above is permitted to become progressively warmer as you near the ceiling. comfortable environment for the occupants The activated-slab system is such a good fit for large commercial projects with high-ceilinged, open areas Post-construction tests have yet to be run, comparing the actual performance of the VAB with its ambitious, 60-percent savings target. But Infelt reports that the UI Controls and Maintenance Group, which is responsible for the building’s operation, has found the TAS and its supplemental HVAC systems to be “very robust, providing a very comfortable environment for the occupants.” Given that the activated-slab system is such a good fit for large commercial projects with high-ceilinged, open areas, is DE looking to apply what it learned on the VAB to other commercial jobs? “We would sure like to,” she responds. “But TAS is still not a very common, accepted system. Going that route takes a client like the University of Iowa — a group or institution willing to embrace what is new and different to achieve something special.” sustainability and energy efficiency Infelt recalls an early telephone conversation she had one evening a decade ago with Transsolar founder Matthias Schuler, exploring whether they might collaborate on the VAB project. “Transsolar develops the concepts and ideas for the new things they want to implement. But they need a mechanical engineer to partner closely with them — to make the plans and do the drawings and work with them to realize these new and innovative concepts. As an engineering firm, DE is fully committed to sustainability and energy efficiency,” she continues. “Where others might see uncomfortable risk, we saw great opportunity in working with someone like Matthias and Transsolar. By the end of our conversation that night, Matthias understood that DE was willing to partner with Transsolar, turning their innovative vision into an architectural reality.”
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?
New technologies continue to drive change in the HVAC market. HVAC’s image as a mature and stable industry can overshadow the high level of innovation taking place. Meeting environmental challenges and creating more cost-efficient systems are among the forces fueling the change. We asked our Expert Panel Roundtable: What will be the next big product trend in the HVAC market?
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?