Airthings, makers of indoor air quality and radon monitors for homeowners, businesses, and professionals, officially unveiled a brand-new capability for its business solution: the Airthings Virus Risk Indicator. Designed to create an indoor environment where people thrive, but viruses don’t, Airthings’ Virus Risk Indicator is now available to all new and existing Airthings for Business customers. The new feature helps people understand their indoor air quality and how it contributes...
The impact of COVID-19 has hit all areas of industry in a variety of different ways; with mass redundancies, restructures and the need for diversification now dominating the headlines. It has also made a lot of people question their own careers and what is important to them; in fact, Google searches for the term ‘career change’ are up more than 500% on this time last year. With more than half of the heating and plumbing industry’s workforce due to retire in the next decade, an...
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...
The entire economy has been severely impacted by COVID-19, with small businesses being hit the worst. These businesses make up 47% of the private labor force and contribute 44% to GDP in the United States. Thankfully, not all small businesses are the same. Jobber’s Home Service Economic Report: Summer Edition analyzes the performance of the Home Service category throughout 2020, and shows a positive path towards recovery. It shows that the Contracting segment, which includes HVAC busines...
The UK’s heating industry has failed to train and upskill boiler installers to the standards required to fit modern condensing boilers, and 86% of installers feel ‘let down’ by the sector, according to research from consumer advice specialists at The Heating Hub. Modern high efficiency boilers became mandatory in 2005 and since then around 20 million boilers have been sold. However, there has been no corresponding investment made to upskill the workforce in heating system desi...
In alignment with its strategic focus on enhancing customer experiences and differentiating through innovation, Uponor North America (Uponor) is pleased to announce the appointment of Brett Boyum to the position of Vice President of Marketing & Offerings and a member of the company’s Senior Management Committee. Growing Business In this critical role, Boyum will focus on growing business by accelerating the innovation pipeline, managing the product portfolio, connecting the technical...
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 highlights certain energy-efficiency measures, including insulation and double glazing, which make homes and buildings more airtight, leading to an increased risk of being exposed to indoor air pollution, which can significantly impact health and wellbeing. As a consequence of this potential harm to occupants, the Government’s scheme provides for ‘repairing and improving controlled ventilation’ alongside insulation measures, which presents a critical opportunity to tackle poor IAQ and maintain healthy homes.4-5 With increased awareness, more people will be asking for ventilation improvements and installers will be ensuring that this is achieved. Importance of ventilation installations It is essential that ventilation installations extract poor indoor air at the correct levels It is essential that ventilation installations extract poor indoor air at the correct levels and that these are installed alongside insulation measures to ensure the safety of occupants, as well as complying with building regulations. To help homeowners and installers identify which products meet these standards, the ventilation sector has established the ‘Green Homes Compliance Scheme’, which identifies those products that meet certain performance standards. As the UK enters another lockdown, the scheme comes at a poignant time given the growing evidence of the airborne transmission of COVID-19. This month, the World Health Organization (WHO) released information on the importance of ventilation in reducing the spread of COVID-19, and a Paper published in October 2020 by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and Environmental and Modelling Group (EMG) advocated for the important role played by ventilation. Enhancing ventilation and improving IAQ The Green Homes Grant and the new Green Homes Compliance Scheme offers a prime opportunity for improving ventilation and potentially opening the door to healthy and safe indoor environments in a post-COVID world. Commenting on the situation, Colin Timmins, Head of the My Health My Home campaign and Director of Member Services at BEAMA , stated “There is no doubting the potential value of the Green Homes Grant, however it is essential that installers and the public are aware that the vouchers can cover ventilation improvements alongside insulation installations.” Colin adds, “With the growing evidence-base around the health impacts of poor indoor air quality, this represents a key opportunity to drive ventilation standards and protect people’s health. The Green Homes Compliance Scheme seeks to facilitate this.”
Renowned boiler manufacturer, Baxi Heating UK and Ireland, part of BDR Thermea Group, has promised to revolutionize the way one heats their homes and buildings. The announcement coincides with the Prime Minister’s 10-point plan for a Green Industrial Revolution and places Baxi Heating at the heart of the ‘heating transformation’ that is required to achieve the UK’s climate targets. Karen Boswell OBE, recently appointed Managing Director of Baxi Heating, said: “Future generations will judge us by our actions. Our pledge is to be carbon neutral in all our operations by 2030, and to lead the phase-out of carbon intensive heating by ensuring every product we make from 2025 will work with low carbon energy.” smart electric water heating The company has committed to a portfolio of cleaner, greener products, that will work with low carbon fuels by 2025, either directly such as hydrogen boilers, heat pumps, smart electric water heating and heat networks or hydrogen ready boilers than can be converted after installation. Heating is responsible for 37% of the UK’s total contribution to greenhouse gases today Baxi Heating plays a prominent role in the residential and commercial heating market, providing heating and hot water solutions to UK homes and businesses. As such, it has a huge responsibility to drive positive change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Heating is responsible for 37% of the UK’s total contribution to greenhouse gases today. Committee on Climate change To tackle that figure and decarbonize existing homes by 2050, all new heating installations must be low carbon by 2035 at the latest according to the UK’s official climate advisor, the Committee on Climate change (CCC). New builds will also have to have low carbon heating from the mid-2020s. Baxi Heating is committed to delivering low carbon solutions to homes and businesses and to driving down costs through innovation and product evolution - building on its ambition to make the world a better place for future generations. As part of the Green Industrial Plan, the Prime Minister has committed to create the first hydrogen heated neighborhood by 2023, the first village by 2025 and the first entire town by the end of the decade. annual heat pump installation To date, Baxi Heating has been involved in the UK’s hydrogen taskforce, Hy4Heat, HyDeploy and USER projects Baxi Heating and BDR Thermea Group intend to be at the vanguard of this mission and are currently developing and testing one of the UK’s first 100% hydrogen boilers. The boiler manufacturer has been working closely with Government to trial hydrogen and other low-carbon heating technologies. To date, Baxi Heating has been involved in the UK’s hydrogen taskforce, Hy4Heat, HyDeploy and USER projects. It has also recently introduced a new range of low-carbon heat pumps to its portfolio of sustainable heating products, which will be targeted towards a wide range of markets. These include new build and rural properties, supporting a UK wide aspiration for 600,000 annual heat pump installations by 2028. environmentally conscious business Karen Boswell continued: “It is our vision to be a sustainable leader in the heating and hot water sector, today and tomorrow. We have a responsibility to tackle climate change not only for ourselves, but for future generations. This doesn’t stop at our products, but also how we operate as a more efficient and environmentally conscious business." "Delivering cleaner and greener heating systems is fundamental to achieving net zero and it will also be central to the growth of our business over the next ten years. The bottom line is that our customers desire sustainable, affordable and reliable warmth - particularly during this period of economic uncertainty.”
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 Wisconsin Make-A-Wish kids, despite being held virtually due to the Coronavirus. Valued distributor partners Throughout the week-long event, participants were welcomed to walk or run within their local neighborhood and participate in an interactive virtual scavenger hunt to support the cause and for the chance to win prizes. In total, 750 people participated, including hundreds of wish family members. “Supporting the communities where our employees and partners live through Make-A-Wish is an incredibly important commitment of Johnson Controls,” said Nina LoCicero, director of marketing and digital, Ducted Systems, Johnson Controls. “It’s particularly gratifying when we have the opportunity to join efforts with our valued distributor partners to benefit local Make-A-Wish chapters.” Helping grant wishes We are proud to partner with Luxaire and Johnson Controls in supporting our local chapter of Make-A-Wish" As title sponsors, Johnson Controls and Luxaire helped grant wishes to Austyn, 16, who wished for an online shopping spree, and Remy, 4, who wished for a camper. Design Air helped grant wishes to Hannah, 17, who wished to go to Hawaii, and Evan, 10, who wished for a UTV. Evan’s wish was granted through Design Air’s Statewide Matching Gift Donation for all walk participants the week of the event. “We are proud to partner with Luxaire and Johnson Controls in supporting our local chapter of Make-A-Wish,” said Mike Gallagher, president, Design Air. “It means the world to our team to have the opportunity to help fulfill the wishes of Make-A-Wish children.” Air conditioning equipment Luxaire has supported Make-A-Wish since 2001. To date, Luxaire and its partners, including Design Air, have donated a total of $4.6 million to the organization, granting children across the United States more than 500 wishes. “Since 2001, the Luxaire brand of heating and air conditioning equipment has been a strong supporter of Make-A-Wish - so have hundreds of Luxaire distributors and dealers across the country,” said Patti Gorsky, president & CEO, Make-A-Wish Wisconsin. “Make-A-Wish Wisconsin is proud of our partnership with Luxaire, as we work together to grant wishes to children with critical illnesses.”
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 to coronavirus and other emergency conditions was second in priority only to cost savings in driving investment during the pandemic. 81% said increasing the flexibility of facilities to quickly respond to a variety of emergency conditions (e.g., pandemic, natural disaster) was extremely or very important as a driver of investment 63% said protecting the health and safety of building occupants during the coronavirus pandemic was extremely or very important as a driver of investment Occupant Health And Safety Improving occupant health and safety while reducing energy costs during both pandemic and new normal occupancy conditions are also high priorities for these organizations. The percentage of organizations saying that improving occupant health and wellness was an extremely or very important driver of investment increased from 62 percent to 74 percent in 2020. 85 percent said energy cost savings was an extremely or very important driver of investment. Air Treatments and Ventilation Recommendations on various changes to indoor spaces to help control the spread of the virus Industry, trade, and public health organizations have recommended various changes to indoor spaces to help control the spread of the virus. In addition to increasing work schedule flexibility and reducing occupancy density, more than half of organizations have performed indoor air quality assessments, introduced elevated temperature scanning systems, and increased air filtration. More than 60% plan to install air treatment solutions, increase outdoor ventilation, and recommission building systems and equipment 20% of organizations used economic stimulus and recovery funds to pay for building improvements COVID-19 Related Building Investments Increase work schedule flexibility Perform an indoor air quality assessment Introduce occupant elevated temperature scanning systems Reduce occupant density Increase air filtration Install air treatment system (e.g., UV-C, bi-polar ionization) Increase outdoor air ventilation rates Recommission building systems and equipment Introduce touchless entry and access Add pre-scheduled occupant isolation rooms Introduce social distance tracking and tracing systems Reduced Energy Consumption Increasing outdoor air ventilation and air filtration can significantly increase energy use depending on building type and locations. This creates real potential for energy efficiency. During the pandemic, less than 10 percent of organizations have experienced an energy use reduction of greater than 20 percent despite significantly reduced building occupancy.
Ariston’s super slim Velis Evo electric storage water heaters have been designed with the leisure and holiday accommodation sectors in mind. Providing a perfect combination of comfort and design, the units are suitable for applications such as country cottages, mobile homes, glamping pods and cabins - which are all currently in high demand as UK residents look to enjoy a summer ‘staycation’. For owners and managers of park home, camping sites and other leisure facilities seeking a high quality, reliable and efficient source of hot water, the Velis Evo has everything required to keep guests happy, comfortable and clean for the duration of their holiday. Each unit benefits from space-saving twin-tank technology; measuring a slim 27cm in depth, the products are simple to fit in holiday accommodation. risk assessment procedures The Velis Evo also boasts the best in-class ErP rating, as well as fast reheat times to ensure end users do not have to wait long for their shower to be ready. Its energy efficiency credentials are further enhanced by a low 1.5kW power supply, which is ideal when installing in leisure or off-site applications as an alternative to hot water cylinders. Hot water hygiene is also important, with the British Holiday and Home Parks Association (BHHPA) encouraging leisure sites to regularly review their legionella risk assessment procedures and follow advice from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE). The Velis Evo allows park owners and managers to adhere to this legislation, as all units have an anti-legionella function that automatically increases the temperature of the water up to 65°C once a month. electric storage water heaters Velis Evo electric storage water heaters are also fitted with Ariston’s ABS Safety System Doing so reduces the risk of legionella bacteria developing inside the tank to ensure healthier water. Velis Evo electric storage water heaters are also fitted with Ariston’s ABS Safety System; this includes ‘Anti-Overheating’, ‘Anti-Freezing’ and ‘Dry Heating Self-Diagnosis’ functions, protecting products in the event of energy or water failures - providing the owners and managers of leisure facilities with absolute peace of mind. Commenting on the super-fast electric storage water heaters, Victoria Gutierrez, Marketing Manager at Ariston, said: “With a higher number of people looking to spend their holidays on ‘staycation’ this year, it’s important their accommodation has a reliable supply of hot water. Our Velis Evo range has been designed with leisure applications in mind, with its slim design ensuring it can be installed in compact spaces without affecting its water heating performance." health and safety requirements "In addition to adhering to all health and safety requirements, park home and glamping site operators will also benefit from higher levels of efficiency - and lower energy bills." All Velis Evo units have an easy to configure, smart ‘blue tech’ touchscreen, and are supplied with an unvented kit, as well as a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty as standard.
Renowned water heating manufacturer, Ariston has a range of high quality, energy efficient products designed with landlords, HMOs and rental properties in mind. Ariston’s electric water heaters are reliable, robust and suitable for buy-to-let applications including apartments, family homes, bed sits and en-suite rooms as an alternative to traditional cylinders. UK landlords are legally responsible for ensuring their tenants have adequate hot water at all times. They are also responsible for any repairs and replacements required under the Landlord and Tenant Act (1985). As a result, any water heater needs to be robust and reliable, while also complying with the latest energy efficiency legislation. Electric water heaters Ariston’s electric water heaters are lightweight and easy to install, offering tremendous cost savings, both in terms of the initial price of the units, as well as lower energy bills. Electric storage water heaters, such as Ariston’s Velis Evo Wi-Fi, boast fast reheat times and best in class ErP energy efficiency ratings, making them the ideal option for rental properties – benefitting both landlords and tenants alike. These compact models utilize ultra slim (27cm depth) twin tank technology for optimum performance. With a choice of 45 or 80-liter models available, units offer up to 16% more hot water availability compared to an equivalent capacity standard electric water heater, alongside superfast reheat times of under 30 minutes! Wi-Fi compatibility Each unit’s Wi-Fi compatibility offers additional energy saving opportunities In addition, each unit’s Wi-Fi compatibility offers additional energy saving opportunities, as the products work with the Aqua Ariston Net app for remote smartphone control. This allows tenants to monitor their energy consumption and achieve savings of up to 25%, via daily and weekly programming. In turn, fitting modern water heaters with such smart functionality provides landlords with an enticing selling point when marketing a property. Another electric storage water heating option for rental properties is Ariston’s Andris range, with the Andris Lux and Andris Lux Eco units both boasting capacities of 6, 10, 15 and 30 liters. These compact products offer impressive reheat times, while Andris Lux Eco models also benefit from anti-legionella functionality. Aures Slim Multi wall mounted, instantaneous unit Finally, an alternative to electric storage water heaters is Ariston’s Aures Slim Multi, a wall mounted, instantaneous unit that does not need any time to heat up. Water does not need to be stored – instead, it is heated instantly when it comes into contact with a powerful heating element as it flows through the unit, resulting in unlimited availability on demand. Victoria Gutierrez, Marketing Manager at Ariston, said "Our range of market-renowned electric water heaters offer landlords a number of long-term benefits, including lower repair bills and enhanced efficiency, complying with all necessary EPC requirements. We also ensure that renters remain healthy and safe for the duration of their tenancy by offering products that eliminate the risk of being exposed to legionella.”
Demand for underfloor air conditioning systems, which are far more flexible and adaptable than ceiling-based systems, has risen as developers and landlords scramble to reconfigure office spaces in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Experts have predicted a 50% reduction in office occupancy, as millions embrace working from home. What is underfloor air conditioning? A zonal underfloor air conditioning system makes use of the raised floor void as a plenum for the distribution of air. Supply and return channels are created under the floor, and zone units serving areas of up to 300m2 are suitably located throughout the office space to generate conditioned air locally to serve the needs of the space. Underfloor air conditioning goes further than displacement systems, offering full function control of the indoor environment Individually controlled fan terminals of either recessed or floor standing configuration are let into the floor over supply plena. These terminals introduce air into the space above in accordance with the dictates of their own on-board temperature sensors and controls system. Users can adjust fan speed and set point temperature individually. Return air grilles are positioned in the floor over return plena. The whole system is controlled by means of the electronic management system controlling the operation of the zone units and the associated fan terminals permitting centralized monitoring and control. Underfloor systems are inherently compartmentalised and offer highly effective solutions in multi-tenant areas and other environmentally challenging applications. Many low-height refurbished spaces suffer from high levels of user complaint due mainly to draft from ceiling mounted outlets positioned too close to the user. The changing work environment At AET Flexible Space, we have seen increased demand, both from existing clients looking to reconfigure their office space, and new clients looking for a flexible air conditioning which can help to future-proof their office. A huge benefit of an underfloor air conditioning system is that they are inherently flexible, and can be changed to suit new room layouts within minutes. Our unique Fantile™ units are installed to sit in-line with the finished floor, and can be easily repositioned at any time without the need for the significant, and costly, building works usually involved in repositioning ceiling-based ductwork. A huge benefit of an underfloor air conditioning system is that they are inherently flexible We are already seeing that COVID-19 has accelerated the trend towards more flexible, future-proofed, and sustainable office space. We have been seeing an increase in demand for our underfloor systems for some time, but the coronavirus lockdown has certainly made more people consider the end-users of this office space, and how they can be best served Workplace wellness is also an increasing concern, and may be a key element for encouraging workers back into the office. The Workplace Wellness Study conducted by Future Workforce found that workplace environment is more important to employee satisfaction, engagement and productivity than most organizations realize. 67% of employees said they are more productive in workplaces that promote a healthy environment. One-third said they lose at least an hour of productivity each day due to office environments that don’t support their daily health. Beyond the inherent flexibility of underfloor air conditioning systems, they also offer high levels of energy efficiency, sustainability, and air quality. As there is no ductwork with an underfloor system, individual zones operate at very low-pressure encouraging energy efficiency. AET’s systems have helped attract LEED and BREEAM and other Green Building points, and can provide up to 30% savings in energy costs and a 29% reduction in C02 emissions when compared to ceiling systems. Cost savings Cost savings are also a key concern for everyone in the post-COVID world, and the flexibility and economy of an underfloor system across the lifetime of a building is increasingly attractive. The British Council for Offices (BCO) indicates that underfloor air conditioning can offer dramatic savings in overall cost, but it requires a co-ordinated team approach to achieve the optimum result. The flexibility and economy of an underfloor system across the lifetime of a building is increasingly attractive In the past the only way to reduce ceiling-based HVAC costs has been to reduce the specification and downsize plant, or reduce flexibility by increasing the size of terminal outlets and reducing numbers. However, these solutions often result in increased complaints of end-users about draughts and noise, which necessitates a costly and environmentally unfriendly re-design. Ceiling-based systems also demand service and maintenance from within the work space, from the simple task of changing filters in fan-coils or cassettes, to more complicated reconfigurations of pipework and ducts to suit a new layout below. Not only do these refits mean significant hidden cost, but they also cause disruption, and have a high risk of damage from condensate leakage. Construction Considerations In order to maximize the benefits of underfloor air conditioning, it must be introduced into the overall design philosophy at an early stage. When incorporated into the overall building design, savings can be made to curtain wall costs, all other height-related savings such as elevator shafts, columns, stairwells, riser shafts, and vertical services such as mains pipe-work and electrical risers. The Swedish National Pension Fund has reported overall cost savings of between 5% and 7% in buildings using underfloor air conditioning. In order to maximize the benefits of underfloor air conditioning, it must be introduced into the overall design Good quality underfloor air conditioning systems are similar in price to conventional good quality fan coil systems, but underfloor systems also reduce the cost of construction and offer tax advantages. The average office building costs in UK are in the region of £1000 to £2000 per square meter. Therefore, a 5% saving in overall cost could range from £50 to £100 per square meter. The average cost of any AC system is in the region of £120 to £200 per square meter, and so an overall saving in construction equates to something in the region of 50% of the AC system. As we move forward into 2021 and beyond, commercial construction is going to require sustainable and cost-effective design. With so many benefits, it is clear why so many in the construction industry are now turning to underfloor air conditioning solutions.
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.
In the automotive sector, it is no longer fashionable to call a business a car manufacturer; they are suppliers of transportation solutions. This is not twisting the meaning of the message. It is a very true example of how organizations that once manufactured the asset that carried out the task of transportation, have now become end-to-end service providers. General Motors investing in ride share service Lyft is just one example of a manufacturer becoming a servitization business. The HVACR sector is going through a similar period of heated change as automotive. Industry professionals demand more than just solutions and products; they expect a full-service offering. Forward-thinking decision-makers should therefore be looking at ways of transforming its business models to become more service-centric. Businesses must first recognize the need to adopt a service mindset and then work pragmatically to develop and mature their service organizations, which means working with partners with a like-minded care and approach to the customer. In the past, Panasonic had a technical approach to service. In the 2020s, however, service means so much more, whether the customer is commercial or residential. Service-centric HVAC The first step in the journey to servitization is a holistic analysis of the service operations right across the organization, including a business maturity assessment. With this understanding, businesses are able to formulate a step-by-step strategic approach to develop the level of maturity servitization requires. Depending on baseline maturity, step one will for most companies involve the adoption of common tools that promote uniformity of processes, reporting and ways of working. The HVACR sector is going through a similar period of heated change as automotive Let me take you back to the automotive sector for an example of why this is such a crucial step. If you were to go to a BMW or Mercedes showroom, you would expect to get the same experience regardless of what country you are in. Germany, France or the UK, you would expect a similar kind of service. And that's really what all service providers in the HVACR space should be aiming for; no matter where the customer is—whether it is Italy, Czech Republic, Spain or Norway—they receive a consistency in service. One of the main challenges to this process, and one that faces most of not all companies in the sector, is that different nations or regions have established their own ways of doing things, creating a silo mentality. To counter this, while still respecting independence, businesses need to develop a service offer that has a top-down governance in terms of the technology platforms in use and the operational tools and processes to sell service and report on growth and sales. While taking care not to stifle the creativity and uniqueness of regional subsidiaries, a firm hand will be needed to steer away from each country going off at right angles. Standardizing technology platforms Standardizing technology platforms is a crucial part of this transition. Panasonic has partnered with enterprise software provider IFS for a central remote assistance solution to be used by sales, support and technical staff across Europe. This is an important first phase of our strategy, as it offers a truly unified way of working. Everyone in the organization has to work in the same way, and to the same high standard. One crucial realization is that servitization is inextricably linked with digital transformation and the application of new technology to reinforce business imperatives. In the case of Panasonic, the choice to deploy a merged-reality software solution that has been a remote solution to provide our teams with a merged reality software platform that blends two real-time video streams into an interactive environment has been a decisive first step toward our servitization vision. Installers, field technicians, engineers and customers must be able to share real-life situational context with remote product experts to diagnose issues, share knowledge in real-time and accelerate the repair time rates. Servitization is inextricably linked with digital transformation and the application of new technology to reinforce business imperatives Considering the benefits that can be reaped even through an incremental technology investment strategy, businesses can’t afford to remain on the servitization fence. Just looking at the potential benefits of remote assistance technology in the HVACR sector, companies should with relatively little effort be able to realize significant reductions in repair rates while also reducing or even eliminating time-consuming and environmentally unfriendly site visits. By equipping service staff with the right technology, they will also be able to capture customer feedback in real time as well as easily share knowledge and technical insight with coworkers. Future opportunities Finding and deploying the right enabling technology is a key part of any servitization initiative. Another crucial step is examining the HVAC service sales structure itself to determine how services are sold. The holy grail is for customers to see you as a solution to their problems, rather than a company they buy products from. This means examining what offerings are appealing to the customer base, and how to develop those into subscription-based offerings. For most HVACR companies, this will translate into the delivery outcomes, and for the customer to trust their service provider to guarantee their air conditioning, for example, is always operating optimally. If you look at hotels, hospitals, retail, restaurants, warehouses, industries, offices, and many other applications, they want to get on with doing what they do best – they don't want to worry about HVACR equipment. That's our job, and we need to determine how to best meet that need. Finding and deploying the right enabling technology is a key part of any servitization initiative As a business moves to a servitized model, so too must its service engineering modernize. Opportunities include providing feedback from the engineers in the field, and from customers to the product development team, which will improve the creation of new products and solutions. In today's economy, the customer expects that if a premium product is purchased, then a premium service has to be part of the same offering. The ultimate goal is to maximize customer retention, and to do that we need to mature and innovate in how we provide service to our customers. This is a new beginning for the sector and I'm excited for the journey.
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.
Elon Musk has proclaimed that HVAC is his ‘pet project’ and has even suggested a timeline: ‘Maybe we can start working on that.’ As a high-profile business magnate, industrial designer and engineer, Musk is CEO of automobile company Tesla, whose goal is to accelerate the use of sustainable energy. Tesla is on the cutting edge of technologies that can transform how we use energy, and Musk believes the benefit of that technology will translate well into home HVAC systems. Heat pump technology “You can make a way-better home HVAC system that is really quiet and super-efficient and has a way-better filter for particles,” Musk said at a recent Tesla presentation. “It works very reliably.” A feature would be use of a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. Musk’s vision is to adapt heat pump technology the company uses for its Model Y automobile to home HVAC systems Musk’s vision is to adapt heat pump technology the company uses for its Model Y automobile to home HVAC systems. “It’s tiny. It’s efficient and designed to last 15 years. It operates in all conditions from the coldest winter to the hottest summer,” says Musk. The small units can be ‘stacked’ to provide a super-efficient and scalable home HVAC system, says Musk. A lot of work has already been done for a ‘kick-ass’ system, he adds. Cheap solar power A further benefit would be the ability of home systems to communicate with Tesla cars so that the home HVAC system ‘knows’ when residents are coming home and can dial in the settings for heating and cooling to make the house comfortable when they arrive. Because HVAC systems are such big users of energy, it makes sense that Tesla would target the industry as a means of promoting greater use of sustainable energy. Musk says that wind and solar comprise 76% of new electricity in the United States this year, and Tesla offers the cheapest solar power in the U.S. – only $1.49 per watt for a solar system installed on an existing roof. As a technology disruptor, however, Musk mentions that scaling the manufacture of products is 10 times more difficult than creating a prototype – suggesting a probable delay before any HVAC product that Tesla introduces would become widely available. From Electric Vehicles To HVAC When Tesla entered the electric vehicle market, it helped to jump-start investment in electric vehicles even among traditional automakers. Might the visionary company have a similar impact on the mature HVAC industry? Specifically, would Tesla’s delivery of a reliable and efficient product spur faster innovation for HVAC in general?? Efficiency is one of the main competitive factors among HVAC equipment suppliers" Senior Capital Equipment Analyst Kyle Peters of The Freedonia Group thinks so: “Efficiency is one of the main competitive factors among HVAC equipment suppliers, and it’s no surprise that most have embraced technological change to make their systems more efficient and appealing to customers.” Tesla’s entry into the market would accelerate that trend, says Peters. product development “While existing manufacturers are already developing the next generation of filtration technologies to maintain their hold on the industry, its considerable growth potential is likely to attract new industry participants like Tesla,” says Gleb Mutko, another Freedonia analyst. In addition, Musk’s entry into the HVAC market will likely increase investor interest in HVAC and filtration systems and provide impetus for additional product development. Based on the innovation and investment we are seeing in the HVAC market already, it’s a sure bet the industry will look very different in the next decade. Increasingly, it also appears that Elon Musk will be playing a part in that transformation.
In an economic sense, the COVID-19 pandemic has created winners and losers. While the tragic human and societal consequences are undeniable, when it comes to economics, some businesses have clearly fared better than others. For example, the hospitality industry has basically been decimated. Meanwhile, the HVAC business has thrived during the pandemic. Part of our success has been driven by increasing awareness of the role of air ventilation in fighting the virus. There has been renewed interest in air filtration, not to mention the benefits of UV-C to mitigate germs circulating in the air. Useful And Timely Information When customers wonder about how HVAC can be leveraged to make home and office environments safer, our industry’s business owners and technicians have mostly provided useful and timely information, while resisting (hopefully) any tendencies to exaggerate product claims or oversell possible solutions. The most successful HVAC professionals during this time have been the ones who have educated their customers without taking advantage of their understandable anxieties about the spread of the virus. Importance Of Comfort Work-from-home movement has increased awareness about the importance of comfort as we spent more time in our homesThe whole work-from-home movement has arguably increased awareness about the importance of comfort as we have spent more time in our homes. Staying at home makes consumers more conscious of how well – or badly – their HVAC systems are operating. Investing to improve home systems makes an even better economic sense if we are spending more time at home. In contrast, for instance, to an urge to invest more in our cars and trucks because we were spending all that time commuting. Pandemic Shutdown Shielding the HVAC market from the worst of the pandemic’s economic downside was the designation of HVAC industry employees among “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During the COVID-19 Response” by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The designation, in effect, enabled HVAC companies to continue to operate throughout various pandemic shutdowns. Challenges Faced Furthermore, HVAC technicians and companies have risen to the challenges of social distancing and wearing masks as they are invited into customers’ homes and businesses during the pandemic. Personally, “I experienced a couple of visits from my local HVAC technicians early in the pandemic, and they could not have been more considerate and compliant with the prevailing norms to promote good health.” Renovation Of Spaces Business shutdowns also provided a window of opportunity to renovate spaces (including HVAC upgrades) without any worry about interfering with a customer’s operations. Many facilities were manned by skeleton crews or completed shut down, and the quiet operation eliminated any of the usual concerns about disruption of business operations to address HVAC repairs or maintenance. Business Opportunities HVAC systems became the focus of strategies to make environments safer There have certainly been business challenges during the pandemic, and some installer companies saw a slowdown during the worst of it. However, when it came time to open up businesses and schools again, HVAC systems became the focus of strategies to make environments safer. These requirements also provided new business opportunities for HVAC professionals and helped to keep their employees engaged and employed. Negative And Positive Effect The impact of a global pandemic can be devastating for any industry. As the COVID-19 pandemic has played out, the tremendous impacts can be seen in almost any market sector. However, as these things go, the pandemic has translated into a pretty good year for many HVAC companies, certainly better than some of the other small- to medium-sized businesses in a long list of industries. The pandemic’s impact on increased demand for the HVAC industry’s products and services provided new opportunities to serve customer needs and solve their problems. 2020 has been a challenging year for all of us, but hopefully, HVAC businesses will finish the year in decent shape and looking ahead to an even more prosperous 2021.
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.
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.”
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.
Infinitum Electric, creator of the breakthrough printed circuit board (PCB) motor, has announced the first product shipment from its revolutionary line of IoT-enabled electric motors to Comefri USA, a renowned HVAC fan original equipment manufacturer (OEM). Twenty-five trillion kilowatt hours of electricity are consumed per year, of which 45 percent is consumed by electric motors. This leaves a significant opportunity for many industries, including HVAC, to develop or replace machines using traditional motors with more efficient electric motors, which consume far less energy. Infinitum Electric is enabling this transition with its IEs series of motors. IoT-enabled IEs series electric motors Infinitum Electric’s IEs205 10 horsepower electric motor will be used by Comefri to power more efficient, space-saving commercial plenum fans, used in commercial and industrial buildings to deliver more sustainable heating and cooling airflow, along with helping in fighting climate change. The company’s award-winning electric motors meet the industry’s highest standards for efficiency and are significantly quieter than the competition. By replacing traditional iron and copper wire winding components with an IoT-enabled circuit board, Infinitum Electric motors are not only smaller, quieter and up to 50% lighter, but they have fewer structural requirements than others on the market. Cloud-connected IoT capabilities The motor’s cloud-connected IoT capabilities enable remote monitoring of key operational data Additionally, the motor’s cloud-connected IoT capabilities enable remote monitoring of key operational data, such as power, speed and temperature, for superior smart building and HVAC equipment intelligence. Over-the-air software updates to motors also enable customers to benefit from new features and enhance existing efficiency and operations. “Infinitum Electric’s motor provides Comefri USA’s independent design team with access to the latest high horsepower, integrated control, EC motor technology for projects of all sizes, in a robust, and field repairable package,” said Sylvie Braun, Chief Operations Officer (COO) of Comefri. Sylvie adds, “We’re excited to lead the way in innovative, environmentally-responsible HVAC design and look forward to the impact it will have in the marketplace.” Integrated with printed circuit board (PCB) technology Unlike 20-week lead times required by other motor competitors, Infinitum Electric’s motors can be manufactured with common printed circuit board (PCB) technology, drastically reducing the cost and complexity involved in motor manufacturing. Once production is fully ramped, Infinitum Electric’s standard lead time will be less than six weeks. “Much like an LED light bulb, our next-generation, integrated electric motors help HVAC customers like Comefri stand out as the planet’s most sustainable choice to power the world’s heating and cooling systems,” said Ben Schuler, Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Infinitum Electric. Ben adds, “In addition to being the responsible choice for our environment, they contribute to a much lower cost of ownership over time. We’re thrilled to achieve this major milestone of shipping our first product and look forward to ramping up production to deliver a myriad of units in the coming years for customers in the HVAC, home appliance, electric vehicle and other industries.”
Iceland is a high street supermarket chain with 800+ stores across the UK selling frozen and chilled food and groceries. Famous for its pedigree in frozen foods, Iceland worked with Airedale to deliver a standard, optimized, control system which could be applied across all stores to maintain store environments and produce significant energy cost savings. Iceland required a standardized control system that could be integrated into all of the retailer’s stores for both new cooling plant and retrofit, to offer optimized control, free-cooling and simplified spares availability. The controller had to be pre-programmable for a standard store and configurable on site, with selectable install parameters. Incorporating free-Cooling “Previously we had infrastructure in place to incorporate free-cooling, but our standard range of controllers had only fixed capability. Airedale’s controls solution allows us to use the same strategy, whilst enabling attainable energy savings to be achieved,” said Graham Ireland, Project Manager, Iceland. The ACIS™ controls system offered the perfect solution to complement the requirements of Iceland. The ACIS™ controller is integrated with bespoke software, which has been developed by Airedale specialists, to provide complete control of any site. ACIS™ enables the management of smart cooling and other building services across multiple sites through a single central system. It can be applied to new and existing refrigeration and cooling products from Airedale or any other manufacturer. Increased energy efficiency The sophisticated software links the programmable controller to key components within the cooling system The sophisticated software links the programmable controller to key components within the cooling system, allowing units to be optimized for increased energy efficiency. The ACIS™ controls system was initially introduced to 50 stores undergoing a major upgrade program. This initiative proved so successful, with such excellent savings in energy that the ACIS™ controls system has now been rolled out across all stores. Efficient control, coupled with free-cooling and part load efficiencies, has enabled Iceland to recoup significant energy savings. In the stores where the ACIS™ controls system is installed, but no changes to plant were made, Iceland is able to compare energy draw before and after installation. Energy costs in the stores have reduced by 10% through tighter, more intelligent levels of control. Based on these results, over the course of a year, across all stores, Iceland’s total building energy costs of £45 million is expected to reduce by £6,000 per store. Benefits of ACIS to Iceland Energy efficiency and complete control - Time scheduling, alarm triggers, adjustment of dual set points and remote access enables system optimization allowing significant energy reduction, particularly during non-trading hours. Optimize free-cooling - If the outside temperature is 1°C or more below the return air temperature, free-cooling can be used, reducing the need for mechanical cooling. Integration of all store systems - For enhanced comfort, this includes ceiling cassettes, over till and over door heaters. Building Management System capability - ACIS™ can be integrated with a wide range of BMS protocols from various manufacturers. Easy-To-Read display “We have yet to find a store where we cannot use the ACIS™ control system. Whenever an individual store criterion varies, Airedale accommodates this by adapting the software. We can add in multiple time functions and know instantly, by checking the easy-to-read display, exactly what the controller is doing.” “As the controller is standardized and uses one type of software, the system enables information to be centralized, which allows functionality to be easily monitored and evaluated. This streamlines the management process and simplifies the procedure for service contractors.” said Graham Ireland, Project Manager, Iceland.
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
Round table discussion
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?
Residential HVAC: Manufacturers & Suppliers
- American Standard Residential HVAC
- Trane Residential HVAC
- Marley Engineered Products Residential HVAC
- Daikin Residential HVAC
- Goodman Residential HVAC
- Lennox Residential HVAC
- Nortek Residential HVAC
- Frigidaire Residential HVAC
- Bryant Residential HVAC
- YORK Residential HVAC
- Revolv® Residential HVAC
- Carrier Residential HVAC
- Honeywell Home Residential HVAC