LG Air Conditioning Technologies USA has expanded its robust portfolio of single- and multi-zone products with LGRED (Reliable to Extreme Degrees) technology, bringing powerful heating capability to more single zone products, so as to push the industry forward in the electrification of residential and light commercial building sectors. Single zone products with LGRED Boasting superior heating capacity performance down to 5 °F and continuous heating operations down to -13 ˚F, products featu...
As the evidence around the health impacts of poor indoor air quality (IAQ) continues to build, experts from across the ventilation sector have come together to drive awareness amongst installers and the wider public that the Green Homes Grant can cover ventilation improvements alongside insulation installations. Green Homes Grant scheme The UK Government scheme, which launched back in September 2020, aims to support improvements to energy efficiency and indoor air quality (IAQ). The scheme hig...
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 experie...
The Luxaire® brand of Johnson Controls, the provider of smart and sustainable buildings and the architect of OpenBlue connected solutions, and distributor partner Design Air, rallied the communities of Wisconsin to help raise funds for children with critical illnesses during the Make-A-Wish® Wisconsin Walk For Wishes® event. The state-wide fundraiser garnered record-breaking funds of $250,000 compared to previous Milwaukee Walk for Wishes events, which will grant 50 wishes to Wiscon...
The 14th edition of Johnson Controls Energy Efficiency Indicator study surveyed 150 commercials, institutional, and industrial facility executives in the U.S. in September 2020. The COVID-19 pulse survey included questions on coronavirus-related improvements, investments, and impacts. Flexibility, Health, and Safety Drive With the pandemic, facility managers have new concerns about building health, changing their motivation for building investments. Increasing building flexibility to respond...
The YORK brand of Johnson Controls, the globally renowned company for smart and sustainable building solutions, and the architect of OpenBlue connected solutions, unveiled a new complete home comfort system with state-of-the-art zoning technology, offering improved, high-efficiency comfort with simplified installation and setup. Hx3 Communicating Zoning System The Hx3 Communicating Zoning System gives consumers ultimate control of individual room temperatures, in up to eight zones that they ca...
The European HVACR industry association, Eurovent has announced extending its scope of representation with the addition of J2 Innovations to its Associate Members list. Following a formal approval of the Eurovent Board of Directors, J2 Innovations, globally renowned provider of control and management software for HVACR equipment, has joined Eurovent (Association for Indoor Climate, Process Cooling and Food Cold Chain Technologies) as its newest Associate Member. FIN Framework software platform FIN Framwork enables partners to bring new products to the market faster, with the latest technology for competitive advantage Established in 2008, J2 Innovations is a provider of control and management software for HVACR equipment. They created the FIN Framework, the next generation software platform for building automation and IoT devices. FIN Framwork enables their partners to bring new products to the market faster, with the latest technology for competitive advantage. Mr. Chris Irwin, Vice President of Sales for EMEA and Global Marketing at J2 Innovations, said “At J2 Innovations, we are committed to supporting the indoor climate and HVAC industry through our open platform for smart buildings, smart equipment and IoT.” Close association with Eurovent Chris adds, “We are delighted to be an Associate Member of Eurovent, as we strongly believe in cooperation and collaboration, in order to help build a greener and better world. We look forward to working with Eurovent to help shape the future of our industry.” Mr. Felix Van Eyken, Secretary General of Eurovent Association, said “We are proud to welcome J2 Innovations to the Eurovent family. It is great to see our association grow with the different stakeholders of the European HVACR industry coming together around their common objectives.” Eurovent Associate Members Eurovent’s Associate Members are organizations that are engaged in activities related to sectors covered by the association. Associate Membership is open to, for example, associations of engineers and consultants, exhibition organizers, laboratories, universities, or software providers. Information on all Eurovent Associate Members can be found online on the Eurovent website.
Johnson Controls, a globally renowned solutions provider for smart and sustainable buildings, is offering a high efficiency pleated air filter that provides an affordable solution instead of costly HEPA filtration upgrades. Its MERV 13 performance rating make the filter an excellent upgrade in existing equipment for applications such as hospitals, laboratories and pharmaceutical plants, commercial office buildings, industrial plants, or any HVAC system in which a higher degree of clean air is desired. KOCH Multi-Pleat Green13 filter The KOCH Multi-Pleat Green13 filter can help improve indoor air quality and potentially reduce exposure to COVID-19 virus. The Multi-Pleat Green13, along with other lines of KOCH filter products, support Johnson Controls mission to help make buildings more safe, secure and sustainable. “As buildings re-open, air filtration and other HVAC system components are key to maintaining occupant safety by creating clean, healthy indoor environments,” said Mark Mattingly, Vice President and General Manager, Air Filtration Products, Johnson Controls. Enhanced air filtration capability The Multi-Pleat Green13 offers an increased level of protection over disposable and ordinary pleated filters Mark adds, “We developed the Multi-Pleat Green13 Filter with more than 55 years of air filtration research and development experience so our customers can be confident this product will introduce clean, highly-filtered air into their buildings.” In addition, many facilities are unable to afford costly upgrades needed to install new systems that support HEPA filtration. The Multi-Pleat Green13 offers an increased level of protection over disposable and ordinary pleated filters and can work in the majority of existing ventilation systems. Designed with electrostatically charged synthetic fibers The media in the Multi-Pleat Green13 is produced with a specialized blend of electrostatically charged synthetic fibers for use in extended surface air filtration. This unique fiber configuration ensures greater stability of the electrostatic charge, reduced pressure drop and prolonged efficiencies compared to other filter media. The performance data is based on ASHRAE Test Standard 52.2-2017. The KOCH Multi-Pleat Green13 is a sustainable component of green building development. With its high MERV 13 performance rating, the Green13 can earn points toward LEED certification in the US Green Building Council’s Green Building Rating System.
NSK customers around the world, including those in Europe, are set to benefit from the construction of a new heat treatment facility at the organization’s NSK Toyama plant, in Japan. The move comes as part of a continuous effort to strengthen the structural resilience of the NSK Group, while simultaneously providing a productivity and efficiency boost. NSK Toyama heat treatment facility Following the completion of the ¥3 billion (approximately 23.78 million euros) heat treatment plant at NSK Toyama, the company has transferred a percentage of heat treatment processes from NSK Fujisawa to the new 3,641 sq. meter facility. BCP measure has been implemented to help protect supply chains in the event of a natural disaster This business continuity planning (BCP) measure has been implemented to help protect supply chains in the event of a natural disaster, such as an earthquake or flood. By distributing the company’s heat treatment requirements between plants, an inherent level of safeguarding is introduced to protect customers against unforeseen production stoppages. Streamlining heat treatment processes NSK has also taken this opportunity to streamline the company’s heat treatment processes and invest in cutting-edge technologies that are not only environmentally friendly, but further improve productivity and efficiency. For instance, NSK Toyama is currently working towards the implementation of autonomous parts transportation between processes. Operating since 1937, NSK Fujisawa focuses on the production of rolling bearings for industrial machinery. The plant undertakes principal manufacturing processes that include turning, heat treatment, grinding and assembly. Operations at NSK Toyama, which was established in 1966, have historically centered on the forging and turning of large rolling bearings, such as those used in wind turbines and railcars.
Carrier AquaSnap scroll chiller range is now available with R-32 refrigerant, which improves performance and reduces direct greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80%, compared to the previous range using R-410A refrigerant. The innovative air-cooled range meets requirements for the European F-Gas phase-down of HFC refrigerants and Ecodesign requirements for 2021. Carrier, a globally renowned provider of high-technology heating, air conditioning and refrigeration solutions, is a part of Carrier Global Corporation, an international organization in the field of innovative heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC), refrigeration, fire, security and building automation technologies. AquaSnap scroll chiller range Carrier selected R-32 refrigerant, which has a low global warming potential (GWP) of 675 Carrier selected R-32 refrigerant, which has a low global warming potential (GWP) of 675, for use in commercial scroll chiller ranges. R-32 has a GWP that is two thirds less than the GWP of the current R-410A version and this change, combined with a significant system refrigerant charge reduction – up to 30% – allows for an exceptional 80% reduction in direct greenhouse gas emissions. The AquaSnap range reaches an outstanding Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER12/7) of up to 5.33 and a Seasonal Coefficient of Performance (SCOP) of up to 3.77. The range covers capacities from 40 kW to 940 kW. Equipped with R-32 refrigerant “Carrier’s AquaSnap range with R-32 refrigerant allows our customers to anticipate compliance to Ecodesign 2021 requirements while supporting the next phase down steps of the European F-Gas regulation for HFC,” said Didier Genois, Vice President, Carrier HVAC-Commercial (Europe), adding “The range also provides customers with best-in-class performance in heating and cooling conditions.” The AquaSnap with R-32 refrigerant can meet the needs of a wide scope of applications. The range ½ covers an extended operating map, up to 48 degrees Celsius outdoor air temperature, and features Carrier’s best-in class technologies for maximum efficiency in all conditions, including: - Multiple scroll compressors able to match load requirements. - Brazed asymmetric plate heat exchangers with true dual-circuit design for high performance in both full and partial-load conditions. - Smart energy monitoring function providing real time capacity provided and energy consumption measurement. - Greenspeed intelligence on premium versions: variable-speed fans and variable-speed pumps.
Panasonic UK has announced today an end to its distributor agreement with TF Solutions. Alfredos Armaos, UK Country Manager for Panasonic UK commented “We would like to thank TF Solutions for their support and efforts over the last few years and wish them all the best in the future. Customers can rest assured that Panasonic will honor any ongoing agreements and warranties regarding Panasonic products which will be dealt with in the usual way.” Panasonic has a strong distribution network across the UK for its heating and cooling solutions and will continue with these relationships with AMP, DYSK, EasyAir, ESS, Heronhill, ICG, Logicool, Oceanair and Secon Solar.
Danfoss has announced updating and enhancing its service offering to create a more sustainable, scalable and secure cloud-based portal for managing food retail operations. Alsense IoT Food Retail Services Previously known as Danfoss Enterprise Services (DES), Alsense is optimized to provide new levels of efficiency. Supermarkets and food retail stores can reduce their net energy consumption by up to 30% with Alsense, saving money and reducing food waste. ”We’re excited to introduce this fully connected service platform featuring a modern interface and powerful capabilities,” says Peter Dee, Sales Director Food Retail, North America for Danfoss. Peter adds, “By providing insights and recommendations backed by real-time data, food retail customers can manage their refrigeration, HVAC and other IoT assets more efficiently and reduce expenses related to energy costs and food waste.” Increased efficiency and streamlined performance All services are integrated into one hub, offering a seamless user experience and added functionalities. Some of these functionalities include: Actionable insights — Alsense delivers relevant, easy-to-digest insights. This allows customers to take corrective actions faster, significantly reducing food and energy waste. Increased security and availability — Alsense allows for easy expansion to different regions, with higher serviceability and a new VPN structure for added security. Improved performance and stability — The new service platform on Microsoft Azure provides smoother service operation, faster reaction to alarms, reduced nuisance alarms and higher asset uptime. Dynamic feature roadmap — The feature provides customers with continued enhancements based on real-time feedback. Responsive portal — Whether on a mobile device, tablet or desktop, users will experience a seamless, responsive portal. This increases ease of use and accessibility to necessary information at a desk or on the go. Danfoss – Microsoft trusted partnership With the updated Alsense platform, customers can depend on the combined expertise of two notable enterprises With the updated Alsense platform, customers can depend on the combined expertise of two notable enterprises. Danfoss brings more than 80 years of engineering and mechanical experience to its cloud-based services enabled by the new platform powered by Microsoft Azure. Microsoft has the trusted security, scalability and sustainability that customers have come to expect in their digital tools. Danfoss and Microsoft announced the partnership in October 2019. The new Alsense platform is the first of many solutions to come from this IoT collaboration. Tangible benefits with an IoT platform “With Alsense Danfoss have proven the ability to understand and tackle device diversity and connectivity challenges of the food retail industry and deliver tangible benefits with an IoT platform that reduces operational costs and energy savings. This is how we empower enterprises to deliver sustainability through the smart use of technology,” said Nina Lund, EMEA Retail & Consumer Goods Lead at Microsoft. Existing DES customers will experience the added value of Alsense via an automatic update on the current platform. New customers can explore the solutions that best fit their needs by contacting a sales representative.
The modern technological world is filled with ‘extrusions’. They are all around us, in the form of small and not-so-small cross sections. The function of an extrusion is to form seals between components of complex machinery and keep them functional. And, depending on the ‘type’ used, they can make a big difference to how a machine operates. Some of the most desirable types of extrusion — and especially for use in HVAC systems — are those made from silicone. Silicone, which is a type of rubber, has a robust set of properties. For one, silicone can withstand extreme temperatures, both high and low. Semi-Exterior environments Ranging from -60°C to temperatures exceeding 200°C. (And there are even higher grades that can be manufactured to withstand temperatures well above 200°C.) Ideal for HVAC units that work round the clock to keep large numbers of people in large buildings comfortable in summer and winter conditions. In addition to this, silicone is also one of the more resistant properties to the constant vibrations of working machinery. It can be difficult to locate the source of the problem if a tiny extrusion has dislodged. Vibration-resistant properties make silicone extrusions less likely to disengage or fall out of place, therefore minimizing the need for costly repairs. Finally, silicone is also more durable than most other materials when it comes to exterior or semi-exterior environments, such as that of rain or ultraviolet light. Protecting electrical components Silicone is useful in HVAC systems because it offers enhanced sealing and compression protections As a result of this favorability, there is already a considerable number of different types of silicone extrusions that can be found in a lot of HVAC systems. These include HVAC sealing gaskets, hatch seals and vibration isolation pads. But also silicone sponges, which act as a protective layer of thermal insulation. As well as providing thermal insulation, silicone sponges can double-up as a form of acoustic insulation, with considerable noise reduction and anti-squeal properties. Silicone enclosure gaskets protect electrical components, and environmental seals — as the name suggests — help to keep everything protected from the sometimes harsh elements of the environment outside. Silicone is useful in HVAC systems because it offers enhanced sealing and compression protections over most other materials. Closed cell structure On a material level, silicone has a ‘closed cell structure’, which helps to keep out moisture ingress, along with water and dust. The combination of a closed cell structure, along with sealing and compression benefits, makes silicone ideal for exterior seals and gaskets in and around HVAC systems. The softer grades of Silicone have an excellent memory and low stress relaxation, which in turn helps to prevent common faults with HVAC systems — usually caused by gasket failures made from other materials that soften and compress inaccurately. The low stress relaxation properties require minimal force on behalf of the engineers sealing the enclosures, while the memory-properties of the silicone allow it to conform to awkward shapes and gaps of various widths. Manufacturing HVAC systems proactively with silicone in mind can allow more design flexibility on behalf of the engineers. Inevitable rapid movements General purpose solid silicone or silicone sponge is suitable for many HVAC applications And, as mentioned above, vibration isolation pads work as dampers to protect against the inevitable rapid movements of the systems as they power along. But also to help withstand the vibrations of HVAC units on transport systems, such as buses and trains, which naturally vibrate as they run over imperfections on rail and road tracks. As it happens, general purpose solid silicone or silicone sponge is suitable for many HVAC applications, not just those discussed above. The designs of the extrusions would be different, reflective of their function, but the material would be the same. In some instances, customers may also require a flame retardant silicone — certified to UL94 specifications — in order to meet safety standards in certain situations or environments. Great temperature ranges For all its material advantages, silicone is generally more expensive than the other types of material rubber that are used to manufacture extrusions, such as ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM). And while other materials do of course have stand-out benefits of their own — EPDM for example is more hard-wearing than silicone — silicone is still often the extrusion ‘type’ of choice because of its ability to withstand great temperature ranges. This is very important for heating and air conditioning systems. Because some of the most common factors that cause HVAC systems to break down are as a result of seal and gasket failure, which can come about as a result of an overheating unit. Very cold environment Chances of a unit overheating can be just as likely — in fact perhaps more so — where the system has to operate in a very cold environment. With the threat of climate change etched more than ever into the public discussion, we can predict that there will be a steady increase in the amount that this material is used to make up the HVAC seals. And not just because, as temperatures continue to increase and summers get hotter and more prolonged, there will be an increased demand for them. Effective public relations It is no secret that HVAC systems can be relatively expensive to run It will become a matter of effective public relations for managers, building regulators and transport officers to make sure that the equipment they are using — and making — is ‘green’. By using the right materials that help conserve energy and increase efficiency, this will not only sit right with the general public, it should also be more economical, too. It is no secret that HVAC systems can be relatively expensive to run. Minimizing wastage, and the time spent on call outs and repairs will make a notable difference. Of course there are many other ways to also set about making air conditioning and heating units more efficient. Using seals or gaskets made from silicone is just one small piece of the puzzle. But utilizing them will almost certainly be more beneficial than you might imagine. And anything that is a step in the right direction is a welcome change.
As a Managing Director of a company that provides temperature and humidity solutions to predominantly the warehousing and industrial sectors, I thought I would share my dilemma that I’m sure other business owners and managers also face. I don’t pretend to know the answers, but thought it might be worth sharing some of the considerations that I’m facing in whether to reshape, recruit and build or hunker down until the World, Europe and the UK offers some sort or predictability. I promise to not refer to ‘new normal’, masks or social distancing as this is extensively covered elsewhere. Context Our business has seen steady growth in the past 5 years, as a result of our efforts to create and retain relationships with customers who value our offer. Our focus has always been to offer solutions to large scale complex HVAC projects. We invest heavily in intellectual talent sponsoring PhD and MSc students, to keep us on our toes and develop leading edge solutions. We also feed off each other and our network of equally talented suppliers. My dilemma as Managing Director is do I continue our ambitious Research & Development (R&D), IP and Business Development or throttle back and take a cautionary approach until the economy offers a more certain platform? ‘Fortune favors the brave’ they say, but when you have a good business and employees look to business managers to ensure their livelihoods, how brave is brave? The Dilemma Immediate transactional or contractor resources are easy to obtain with the right screening and due diligence Immediate transactional or contractor resources are relatively easy to obtain with the right screening and due diligence, but for more developmental strategic roles, do you recruit in an emerging post pandemic, catastrophic employment forecast, that to in a mid/post Brexit world? From my personal perspective, it boils down to attitude, communication, enthusiasm and buy-in from everyone in the company. Nothing new there, but it feels that the stakes are higher so confidence is key. Do we or don’t we? Inaction is the riskiest response to the uncertainties of an economic crisis. Rash or scattershot action can be nearly as damaging. Rising anxiety (How much worse are things likely to get? and for how long is this going to last?) and the growing pressure to do something often produces a variety of moves that target the wrong problem or overshoot the right one. Within the world of HVAC, changes to legislation, environmental considerations, technological changes and research and development might be slowed or influenced, but won’t stop as a consequence of the immediate economy, which is a good thing. Recruiting on a need basis Many companies recruit when needed, to fill a vacant position or when a large project demands more manpower than the current headcount supports. This approach is obvious and addresses immediate transactional and resource needs. Using headcount as a KPI for growth, at a glimpse may illustrate positivity, but may be signaling a stop gap and may not be a true indicator of strategic growth. Of all the things I have observed over the last 5 months, reading the news, talking to colleagues and peers, a few things have stuck out for me, such as how companies have treated their employees, customers and suppliers, how creative and flexible some big organizations have been in responding to market changes and demands and how, despite uncertainty, their core business skills, intelligence and ability enabled them to prosper in a new and unforeseen environment. Finally, how companies will be remembered post crisis. Robust business planning The ability to respond quickly to market changes relies on creativity and attitude My belief is that those companies that have and continue to float to the top had the key ingredients of a successful business, enabled by capable enthusiastic talent that were given the opportunity to shine. These people weren’t hired to fill a stop gap, but rather these people were hired as part of a robust business plan. So, ‘do we or don’t we?’ Our philosophy at Jet Environmental Systems is to have a solid platform, identify future markets, trends and technologies and hire the absolute best people that we can to get us there. Recruitment in our business is a process that supports our strategic development and so for us our answer is yes, have confidence and continue to invest in the best talent. The ability to respond quickly to market changes relies on creativity and attitude with support from equally enthusiastic management who create the opportunity for individuals who present this talent to grow. Conclusion I hope the thought process I’ve shared has been useful, for me it has been a checkpoint in whether our choice of investment in people is right, not just now but in all situations. For me, it’s a resounding yes! I think we will create opportunities by having vision and giving people opportunity.
Residential HVAC is a fulfilling business to be in. Whether be it servicing a furnace or installing an air conditioning unit, the individual is doing important work to help keep families in the community safe and comfortable. The work also comes with perks such as good margins, some great customers, and the ability to set varying pricing and schedule. If an individual is in a growing business in this space, chances are that they have seen more than a few hectic days. Days where it becomes difficult to juggle crews, instruct technicians on necessary job details, and answer client calls, all at the same time. In theory, this chaotic day-to-day is a good problem to have. In practice, it can get really tiring, pretty fast. Robust system to streamline operations The work can be extremely overwhelming and if the right systems aren’t in place, the business could suffer. Lines of communication can get crossed and if time is being spent working on the wrong things, the individual could miss out on opportunities to grow. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing a high growth HVAC business, by applying the right operational strategies, businesses can flourish. Coordinating requests while dispatching techs out to do work is where many administrators and operations managers hit a roadblock in business growth. This is precisely why businesses need to implement software that lets them track jobs, view technician schedules, and flag new jobs to crew members all in one place. This will eliminate the need to play ‘phone tag’ across the organization, which in turn will keep operations running smoothly and reduce manual errors. What’s more, if the software allows techs to automatically trigger an invoice that customers can pay on the spot, businesses can avoid hours of chasing down past-due payments and create a better cash flow. mobile apps: Picking The right software Businesses are encouraged to choose software with a mobile app where customers can enter the payment type Businesses are encouraged to choose software with a mobile app where customers can enter the payment type, such as cash, check, credit, debit and a receipt can be automatically emailed to customers. This will also cut out out-of-date operations, while giving businesses access to what they need (schedules, work orders, customer information and more) at anytime from anywhere. Having a central hub for keeping everything organized also creates the operational flexibility needed to take on work. To ensure businesses don’t have to turn new jobs down due to delayed responses or scheduling issues, a crew member can be kept flexible for this task. In order to do this right, businesses need to calculate how much emergency work they’re losing due to unavailability and adjust accordingly, by creating a schedule with allotted time. Spacing out work won’t impact the number of scheduled installs and replacements retained, while giving businesses added time and revenue to take on emergency repairs. This strategy is only doable if businesses have the requisite software that can provide an accurate and full look into employees’ workloads. pricing services Research Is Important A business in high-growth mode needs to ensure their pricing reflects the services being offered. This can be done with researching of other companies in the area that are charging for the same services offered, so that the business can have a number to compare to when setting prices and also prepare to justify higher price to customers. Setting prices higher can be advantageous for a business, if they can show customers the differentiators. Most people want work done right, and an added premium that ensures top service often won’t turn them away. Additionally, it’s important to make sure all expenses are covered, down to the credit card fees. When pricing services, businesses need to build a file of overhead expenses, then determine the percentage profit want to charge clients. Different jobs require unique services, so prices should reflect that Varied pricing per customer Different jobs require unique services, so prices should reflect that. A business might charge more for commercial clients than homeowners. These minor adjustments will ensure that a business makes the profit that the work deserves. Feedback is also very important for repeat orders. If a business is not getting repeat clients due to pricing, they should keep that in mind when building profit margins. Pricing shouldn’t be static, continuous adjustments has to be made where it makes sense and extra time invested to do the research. Ensuring exceptional customer service It’s important to set up systems and expectations for teams to follow right out of the gate With business growth also comes customer growth, and for residential HVAC companies that physically go into a customer’s home, it’s crucial that their services reflect the highest quality. It’s important to set up systems and expectations for teams to follow right out of the gate. Helping crews do their best work from a technical and customer service perspective by establishing guidelines for what the business wants every homeowner to experience is the key. Open lines of communication Aside from ensuring that the crew keeps a clean workplace, keeping open lines of communication with customers should be a top priority for businesses. This can be as simple as answering the phone and getting a technician to a job site as soon as possible. Often, customers come from positions of stress due to broken equipment, so having quick response time is a key differentiator between good and bad service. A good solution for this is to evolve into automating key communications that allow techs to send ‘on my way’ text messages. How a business interacts with customers is a key signifier into how the company operates, so businesses need to ensure that have the best customer service practices in place. Never take valuable employees for granted While it sounds simple, a high-growth business needs reliable employees to scale, so that their competition does not swoop in and scoop up an employee who doesn’t feel valued. As business ramps up, it’s easy to miss that technicians are not being dispatched to jobs that they enjoy. If employees are constantly doing a job because they’re good at it and they don’t feel fulfilled doing that specific job, at the end of the day, they are not going to be happy. To avoid losing employees, businesses should take the time to ask what jobs they like to do and see if they can accommodate schedules to reflect their preferences. employee retention And loyalty A crucial factor in building a top performing team is employee retention and loyalty A crucial factor in building a top performing team is employee retention and loyalty. Businesses should focus on creating a great atmosphere to work in. This includes keeping a pulse on what’s happening in the team’s personal lives and use that to show appreciation in meaningful ways. One way to do this is by investing in the team’s education. For example, paying tuition fees for techs so they can get new certifications and licensing. These types of gestures show that the business cares about the success of their employees, while also helping them retain the most qualified crew members. Incorporating software solutions and automating tedious tasks Developing a high-growth residential HVAC company doesn’t have to be stressful if businesses know what systems and processes to implement to better manage operations. By adopting strategies that incorporate software solutions, like Jobber, to streamline operations, automate tedious tasks and improve customer communications, the opportunity for growth is more accessible for businesses. Organizations should focus on creating a solid operational system by doing research before pricing services, keeping customer service a top priority and not letting great employees slip away. All these strategies will work together to help maximize business growth.
The impact of HVAC systems on the spread of the novel coronavirus has been a hot topic since the beginning of the pandemic. However, it is striking that, even given all the discussions and guidance, there is still a lot that we do not know. Vaguely speaking, we know that crowded spaces with poor ventilation and/or low humidity levels tend to promote virus spread that filtration can help to remove the virus, and that measures such as UV-C radiation can help to disinfect indoor air. But even those suggestions are far from definitive and may be undermined by future study. In general, we ‘think’ that HVAC systems are a factor in spreading the virus, but we are not sure. Air flow Obviously, because the coronavirus is new, much information about the relationship between HVAC and virus spread is based on studies that were carried out in previous years related to other germs, such as SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, which are similar to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. But can this previous testing and studies really be extrapolated to apply to the new disease? The answer is that no one really knows; therefore, such information basically amounts to educated guesses. There have been some studies since the pandemic began about how HVAC and air flow impact disease spread, some of them in China. However, these studies involve smaller sample sizes and come with caveats, disclaimers, and fine print contained in footnotes about the limitations of the conclusions. Hypotheses are often formulated, but typically the authors have not conducted aerodynamic testing or used other techniques to confirm them. HVAC and the transmission of pathogens A rush to provide useful (if flawed) information is understandable in the midst of an emergency More study is needed, and more time is needed to complete those studies and expand our base of knowledge on this important subject. A rush to provide useful (if flawed) information is understandable in the midst of an emergency. Acting on imperfect information has likely saved thousands of lives. But that success does not diminish the need to pursue more detailed and accurate information. Those pursuits will likely extend years into the future and well past the aftermath of the pandemic. Studies are needed in specific areas to round out the knowledge base and prepare us to better understand the impact of HVAC on disease spread in the next pandemic. There are no clear answers, and the role of a building’s HVAC systems in transmission of pathogens requires more attention. Further areas of study Among other areas, we need studies to cover: Epidemiologic factors to measure the role of ventilation, recirculated air, and to adequately quantify ventilation rates Use of computer simulations to more accurately track the spread of fine-exhaled droplets. More robust examination of the direct role of HVAC in transmitting and removing viable viruses within respiratory droplets or short-range aerosols. More research by multi-disciplinary teams that include HVAC engineers, epidemiologists, virologists, infectious disease experts, and other experts working together. Broader studies should cover the fields of epidemiology, engineering and aerodynamics/aerobiology. More partnerships between building facilities management departments and those tasked with preventing infection. Will the pandemic change HVAC? The pandemic has impacted the HVAC market in many ways. As more of us spend time at home, we become more concerned about issues of air quality and indoor comfort. Some of the changes in our work-life patterns will likely be permanent, which will have a lasting impact on how office buildings are used – and how they are heated and cooled. It may be that the global pandemic changes the HVAC market for good, both challenging us to expand our technologies and providing opportunities to enhance our businesses. In the future, 2020 may become a pivotal date in the history of the HVAC market – a date after which nothing is ever quite the same. Establishing a sound scientific basis to direct the changing role of HVAC ‘after Covid’ will enable the industry to invest in safer technologies and innovative approaches to drive the future of the industry – and of the world.
Is wall paint a feasible element in an HVAC system? That’s the supposition that underpins Thermic heat-generating paint, which is applied like conventional paint but then can heat up a room when it is connected to a safe level of 24 volts of electricity. The paint is a water-based, solvent-free and low-pollutant dispersion that provides a wafer-thin carbon specialty coating (about 0.4 mm), which can be connected to a low-current circuit to provide radiant heat. In effect, the product allows a house painter and/or an electrician to “install” a heating system. infrared heating panel “Thermic heat-generating paint can be processed particularly evenly and is so electrically conductive that a low voltage of 24 volts is sufficient to generate high outputs of up to 100 watts,” says Hans Schulte, Director of Thermic Coating Systems Ltd., based in Chester, United Kingdom. The low voltage is selected in accordance with the “toy safety directive,” so it is safe to touch. The coating can be applied to any wall, ceiling or floor and transform it, in effect, into an infrared heating panel, says the manufacturer. The company suggests the coating would be particularly useful for builders planning a low-energy house. One liter of Thermic Paint costs 149 Euros ($175). low energy requirement This requires technology that provides heat at short notice - at the time and place where it is needed" “In new buildings, the trend is toward intelligent heating solutions that flexibly cover the low energy requirement and adapt to the needs of the user,” says Schulte. “This requires technology that provides heat at short notice - at the time and place where it is needed." The responsiveness is an advantage when compared to heat pumps, which require a lead time of several hours to change the temperature in a room, says Schulte. The system is particularly useful for concrete surfaces, and normal walls made of brick or wood are sufficient. The combination of products also has an almost unlimited lifespan and does not require maintenance, says the manufacturer. The coating can be painted over with standard colors. Low energy use is another advantage, with Thermic Paint providing the highest infrared heat radiation at the lowest energy consumption, according to the company. wall coating system With an efficient layout and intelligent control, the wall coating system can save more than 50% of a required heat load. An area of one square meter can achieve a surface temperature of 118 degrees F, so a few such areas on walls or ceiling can provide a warm comfort level. In effect, 6 square meters of heating area would be needed to heat a 25 square meter (269 square foot) living room, according to Thermic Coating. The company’s website says they are amenable to “attractive opportunities for cooperation.” Transformers are used to supply electricity, transforming the mains voltage to the low operating voltage. Thermic Coatings sees use of large-sized infrared heaters on low temperature on walls and ceiling as the future. It is most efficient to locate the heat paint in the coldest parts of a room, says the company. The paint should cover an area as big as possible to ensure lowest energy consumption while still heating the room.
Closed and cramped environments are especially problematic to the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. A ‘smart’ glass-paneled bus stop shelter, developed in Korea, embodies new approaches to making such spaces safe, including elements of HVAC. Smart shelters The smart shelters are closed-in glass cubes that serve as bus stops in the Seongdong district in northeastern Seoul, South Korea. The local district office collaborated with LG Electronics to develop the futuristic technology, which is designed to combat summer heat, monsoon rain and the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Air conditioning and ultraviolet (UV) light sterilizers clean and cool the air Air conditioning and ultraviolet (UV) light sterilizers clean and cool the air. A solar panel on the roof provides back-up power. Surveillance cameras keep watch over the bus riders and intelligent video, an alert bell and an artificial intelligence (AI) noise sensor can provide information immediately to police and fire professionals, in case of an emergency response. Equipped with digital video screens Digital video screens provide warning when a bus approaches, and the sound system plays therapeutic music. Other amenities include free WiFi, charging stations for laptops or mobile phones, and even hand sanitizer. A thermal camera mounted at the entrance measures temperatures and allows entry through the automatic doors only to those with temperatures below 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit (37.5 degrees Celsius). Mounted at a lower height is a separate camera installed for children. Smart bus shelters to prevent COVID-19 spread A Seongdong district official said the smart shelters provide an environment where people can escape scorching weather and pouring rain, while preventing virus infections. The smart bus shelters represent a new approach to preventing coronavirus infection. Ideally, people should avoid small, closed-in spaces during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, crowded urban areas make it harder to do so. Also, the persistence of the pandemic and its continuation for months and likely into 2021, makes development of new solutions even more urgent. Technologies to protect against infection When social distancing is difficult, solutions such as the smart shelters will enable societies to return to some semblance of normalcy. However, people entering the shelter are still encouraged to wear masks, practice good hygiene and to stay one meter apart from others. Such technology developments will be crucial in large cities around the world, where crowded populations cannot return to their productive lives until additional mitigating approaches are developed to slow the virus spread. Avoiding disruption of transportation infrastructure Smart shelters contribute positively to economic recovery as the coronavirus impact subsides By helping to ensure operation of the transportation infrastructure, the smart shelters can contribute positively to economic recovery as the coronavirus impact subsides. However, the smart shelters are expensive, about a million dollars for the 10 units installed in South Korea or some US$ 84,000 for each shelter. Since they were installed, each shelter has been used by about 300 to 400 people a day. Obviously, many more of the shelters would be needed to provide a comprehensive solution. New innovations to counter continuous pandemic spread South Korea has not been spared by the novel coronavirus, despite deployment of widespread testing and tracing. The country is credited with waging one of the world’s most successful fights against COVID-19 and never imposed a nationwide lockdown. Of the country’s more than 50 million people, there have been around 23,000 cases and 385 deaths. However, as Asia’s fourth largest economy, the country has continued to suffer persistent outbreaks, especially in the more densely populated areas. The smart shelter demonstrates the need for new innovative solutions to address the novel coronavirus, and the important role of HVAC systems as a component of those solutions.
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.”
Mitsubishi Electric Hydronics & IT Cooling Systems, though its brand Climaveneta, has supplied the cooling system for Smurfit Kappa Piteå production facilities in Sweden. Smurfit Kappa manufactures kraftliner, which is a type of paper used to produce high-grade corrugated cardboard. Kraftliner means that the paper is entirely or mostly made of wood raw material, which produces a paper of excellent strength, moisture resistance and printability, and it is chemically and biologically clean. This means that is possible to use in contact with food. The factory produces 700,000 tons of kraftliner each year, making Smurfit Kappa the largest kraftliner factory in Europe. Focus on environment and emissions With over 55 years of experience, Smurfit Kappa strives for ‘sustainability in each fiber’ and has high environmental awareness in their production process. In fact, kraftliner is made up of 80% wood and 20% recycled fiber from corrugated cardboard boxes. At the Piteå factory, there is a very big focus on environment and emissions. In normal operation, the factory uses no fossil fuels. A biotech boiler is used as the energy source, where residual products from production, such as bark, sludge, and plastics are burnt. The company has also considered the cooling system in their goal to be free of fossil fuels, which is why for their process cooling, Smurfit Kappa installed 1 Climaveneta high efficiency water cooled chiller FOCS2-W/CA 7803 for a total cooling capacity of 1858 kW. The FOCS2-W units are characterized by highly innovative optimized compressors and the high performing heat exchangers.
Viessmann heating, cooling and ventilation products have been selected by PERI GmbH, one of the suppliers of formwork and scaffolding systems, as well as civil engineering solutions, for Germany’s first 3D-printed house. Located in the North Rhine-Westphalian town of Beckum, the two-storey, 160 m² single-family home is currently under construction. The 3D printing process has already been applied to the walls of the house. A nozzle applies special concrete in layers. The print head moves over three axes on a fixed frame and is controlled by just two people. It takes just five minutes to print one square meter of a double-shelled wall. Energy efficiency rating This innovative technology saves more than time compared to conventional construction methods; it also significantly reduces resources and allows for greater freedom in building design. When completed, the first home will be heated and cooled by a high-efficiency Vitocal 200-S air/water heat pump and ventilated by the Vitovent 300-W ventilation system. The temperature will be perfectly regulated all year round. The new Vitoset heat pump-hybrid cylinder WPU 300/100L will be installed as a heating buffer and DHW cylinder The heat pump is highly efficient with a COP (coefficient of performance) of up to 5.0 (EN 14511 at A7/W35°C) and has an energy efficiency rating of A++. The new Vitoset heat pump-hybrid cylinder WPU 300/100L will be installed as a heating buffer and DHW cylinder. The hybrid cylinder solution saves a lot of space since it consists of one 300-liter enamel DHW cylinder and a 100-liter buffer cylinder. The cylinder is delivered in one piece and is completely insulated. Additional residential projects Fresh, clean, and especially germ-free ambient air is more important than ever in times of COVID-19, and so the Vitovent 300-W central home ventilation system will also be installed in Germany’s first 3D-printed house. This quiet ventilation system is particularly quiet and compact and recovers up to 92 per cent of the heat from extracted air during the cold weather, saving heating costs. In combination with the Vitocal 200-S heat pump, the ventilation can be conveniently controlled using the free ViCare app on a smartphone. PERI GmbH expects 3D printing to gain in importance in the next few years, and additional residential projects are already in preparation.
BG Energy Solutions (BGES) has been appointed to design building management systems for Keadby 2, a new 840MW gas-fired power station under construction in North Lincolnshire. Keadby 2 power station Keadby 2 is expected to become the cleanest and most-efficient gas-fired power station in Europe, enabling the UK to move away from coal in the 2020s and to integrate more renewables into the power grid. It will also be capable of being upgraded to further decarbonize its generation through carbon capture or hydrogen technology, as routes to market develop. When completed, the power station will provide electricity to up to 840,000 homes and businesses in the UK. Siemens Energy is the principle contractor delivering the power station, with specialist HVAC company, Exyte Hargreaves supporting the delivery of mechanical and electrical / HVAC within five buildings on the site. BGES has been appointed to design the building management systems, which will be commissioned in spring 2021. BMS and energy solutions major BGES is a member of the Engineering Construction Industry Association and adheres to the NAECI framework BGES is one of the UK’s renowned BMS and energy solutions companies, with roots dating back to 1995. The company has offices in Sheffield and London and is known for its unique approach to customer challenges, using state-of-the-art technologies. BGES is a member of the Engineering Construction Industry Association and adheres to the NAECI framework (the National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry). Adrian Woodhead, Project Lead at Exyte Hargreaves said “As a committed and responsible member of Britain’s Energy Cluster we are delighted with this appointment. Our delivery build methodology incorporates the use of our MMC Offsite Assembly Facility to supply horizontal modules, vertical risers and a prefabricated plant room, housing the centric energy center and heating distribution for the whole facility.” Design and build BMS systems Simon Shaw, Project Director at BG Energy Solutions (BGES) said “We are delighted on our appointment to design and build BMS systems for the world-renowned Keadby 2project. In doing so we’re proud to play our part in delivering a future-ready power station that will help the UK transition to a net zero energy system.” Commercial operation of Keadby 2 is scheduled for 2022 as coal power plant closures come into effect.
Custodian Data Center, winner of the Data Center Leaders Awards ‘Green’ category, designed its data center with the highest environmental efficiencies in mind. Working in direct partnership, Airedale designed and built an intelligent, energy efficient data center cooling solution that significantly reduces the need for mechanical cooling and provides fresh air free cooling up to 80% of the year. Preventative maintenance solution Airedale was selected for its ability to design and integrate control logic across multiple protocols, hardware and systems and for its pioneering free cooling technology and high specification chillers. With a system using direct fresh air in a data center cooling environment, Airedale software is also critical in ensuring temperature set point and humidity are maintained. Airedale’s solution effectively controls the Air Handling Units (AHUs), Airedale free cooling chillers and legacy Building Management System (BMS). 2 x 30 to 450kW Ultima™ Compact super quiet chillers 1 x 75 to 450kW Ultima™ Compact FreeCool chiller Design and integration of industry standard SNMP protocol controls and ACIS™ software to systems and proprietary BMS Airedale commissioning, critical service and preventative maintenance solution Chilled water temperature Airedale’s ACIS™ control system manages temperature and humidity in the data center The AHU dampers are controlled by Airedale’s bespoke control logic to maximize the effect of free cooling even when the outside temperature is above the supply air set point. When required, two external Airedale mechanical cooling chillers provide cold water to coils in the AHUs. Chillers are programmed to operate with a dynamic chilled water temperature set point, ensuring water is provided at the optimum temperature required by the system and allowing free cooling whenever the ambient is below the return water temperature. Airedale’s ACIS™ control system manages temperature and humidity in the data center, with each control panel integrating with Custodian’s BMS to provide 24/7 monitoring. Critical service solution PUE figures below 1.15 are regularly achieved, meaning that for every 1kW of power used by equipment hosted in the data center, 0.15kW of power is required to operate all related areas of infrastructure. The collaborative approach resulted in a scalable solution, with infrastructure and pipework installed at the start allowing further air handling and chiller units to be added with minimum disruption and without incurring unnecessary additional cost as data center demand grows. Airedale’s dedicated commissioning and critical service solution ensures the system performed from day one and provides round-the-clock support and quarterly preventative maintenance to ensure optimum system performance. Leak detection monitoring “Airedale provided us with a fast, reliable and most importantly bespoke solution. From initial business to present day they have provided us with continuous support,” said Robert Williams, Technical Director. Fresh air free cooling 80% of the year minimizes carbon footprint Achievable PUE of < 1.15 (ratio of total facility power usage divided by IT equipment power usage) Constant temperature, humidity and leak detection monitoring, generating real-time SMS/email/pager updates Full N+1 redundancy Scalable bespoke solution
Egton Medical Information Systems Ltd (EMIS), based in Leeds, is estimated to hold the data for around 39 million patient records. It is the supplier of healthcare software and related services to GP practices. EMIS required a new 24/7 data center as expansion to the existing facility in order to increase its secure and resilient capacity as it extends its range of services to GPs. The data center incorporates a highly efficient, reliable cooling and monitoring solution designed by Airedale. “We are aiming for a Gold CEEDA when the data center is fully populated. Airedale cooling solution should guarantee an annualized PUE of 1.3 for the room,” said Mike Marchant, Data Center Manager, EMIS. Airedale solutions used 4 x InRak™ chilled water 33kW in-row coolers with an EER of 18.47 (EC fan, N + 1) 2 x DeltaChill™ FreeCool 180kW ExtraQuiet compact chillers with N + 1 resilience ACIS™ building energy management system 24/7 service support The InRak™ units sit within a medium density cold aisle containment. Each InRak™ cools three racks at an average 7kW critical load per rack, with the ability to scale up to 20kW per rack. Chilled water is provided to the InRak™ units via a pipe distribution system by two DeltaChill™ FreeCool 180kW ExtraQuiet compact chillers offering N + 1 redundancy. Energy management system The ACIS™ building energy management system monitors power to all the data center areas and calculates live PUE The data center was designed and built by Sudlows. Says Gary Frith, Sudlows Mechanical Director: “Airedale’s chilled water packaged solution is perfect for this application and the project-specific building energy management system designed and installed by Airedale is a winner with our customer.” With the data center operating 24/7 and the temperature in the cold aisle containment typically at 23.5°C, up to 92% of the year can be spent with free-cooling active. The ACIS™ building energy management system monitors power to all the data center areas and calculates live PUE. Via a touch screen interface, the operator can monitor room temperature and pressure; the fresh air unit and the UPS battery life, run time and load. Fully managed services ACIS™ also provides chiller sequencing, alarm management and fire and water detection. Airedale provides a full managed service including an emergency helpline, professional support and call-out service, with guaranteed response times by qualified engineers. “The InRak™ makes the aisle containment far more efficient. The InRak™ is perfectly designed, directing air sideways across the racks like a curtain, providing even cooling top and bottom. The units are very clever; they communicate with each other to maintain pressure and temperature consistent with the room. The InRak’s EC fans are great – they are all linked to the ACIS™ and ramp up and down according to demand. ACIS™ gives us 24/7 control of the operation and peace of mind,” said Mike Marchant, Data Center Manager, EMIS.