As summer begins in many areas, it may be a good idea to optimize the performance of the HVAC system. By optimizing the HVAC system, one will be able to save money while staying cool and comfortable all summer long. What are some things that one can do to maximize the performance of the cooling unit? Well, let’s go over some of these alternatives. Replacing air filters Changing Air Filters - One of the first and simplest things one can do is change the air filters of the HVAC system. It...
Dexwet Holdings (Dexwet), an innovative air filtration and technology company, is excited to announce a new partnership with DaBx Demand Side Solutions (DaBx), an energy consulting and manufacturing representative firm. As Dexwet’s first independent sales partner in the U.S.A, DaBx will introduce Dexwet Pure Air Filters to HVAC companies, territory managers, and distributors who want to expand their product line and offer customers an exclusive new air filtration technology. Dexwet Pure A...
Nothing feels as good as coming in from the heat outside into a well-conditioned and refreshed house. Good air conditioning is part of what makes the home comfortable in the summer months. However, as time goes by, home owners might notice that the excellent air conditioning that they experienced, shortly after installing the air conditioning system, is no more. This could be due to various causes, such as failed components in the unit or simply a lack of cleaning. Cleaning the AC unit is crit...
When COVID-19 hit, North Arkansas College had to close its school, and students had to transition from in-person to online learning, which is especially difficult when teaching a trade that is heavily dependent on hands-on training. The HVAC/R program at North Arkansas College, which has existed for over 50 years, typically has an average of 14 to 16 students enrolled each year. HVAC/R program “With the quick transition we had to think outside the box, and so we found a company that had...
Johnson Controls, the globally renowned company for smart, healthy and sustainable buildings and the architect of OpenBlue, has, through its TempMaster brand, expanded its line of premium commercial rooftop units, which is now available in 25-80 tons. Omni Premier platform The TempMaster Omni Premier platform is designed to provide building owners best-in-class efficiency levels that significantly reduce operational costs over the life of the unit. The units offer the highest standard efficien...
Following last week’s Met Office amber extreme heat warning, a polymer specialist has warned current sustainable design must mitigate overheating in buildings as heat waves become more prevalent. Recent research of 520 M&E contractors and architects, 130 of which worked specifically on apartment buildings, in REHAU’s report ‘Designing Healthy Apartments,’ also raised similar concern. Efficient cooling methods The majority of these respondents felt that sustainabili...
Airthings, the pioneer in indoor air quality solutions and energy-saving technology, announces a strategic agreement with Edwards, a provider of fire detection and alarm solutions since 1872, and a part of Carrier Global Corporation, the global provider of healthy, safe, sustainable, and intelligent building solutions. The agreement commercializes Airthings’ business solution through more than 500 Edwards channel partners in the fire and security segment. Extending the distribution of Airthings technology represents tremendous progress toward making air quality monitoring a critical component of commercial buildings and as ubiquitous as the everyday smoke detector. Improving indoor environments “Edwards and Airthings share a mutual commitment to improving indoor environments. Expanding our comprehensive fire and life safety offering to include indoor air quality monitoring will further enable our customers to create safer, healthier indoor environments,” said Angie Gomez, President of Edwards. As part of the strategic agreement, Edwards will commercialize the Airthings for a Business solution through its Channel Partners in the United States and Canada. The Airthings for Business solution lets one monitor, visualize and control the indoor air quality to ensure a safer and healthier environment while saving on energy costs. Set up in a matter of minutes, the wireless monitors run on long-lasting batteries, making the solution easily scalable and customizable to any new or existing space. Accurate technology solutions Airthings sensors provide air quality data to Abound, Carrier’s new open-technology platform In addition, Airthings sensors provide air quality data to Abound, Carrier’s new open-technology platform designed to make building environments more intelligent, efficient, and responsive. Abound aggregates data from different systems and sensors and provides building owners, operators, and occupants transparency into relevant and contextual insights about air quality, thermal comfort, and other performance data. Airthings’ sensors will provide indoor air quality data and insights to the Abound platform via the Airthings API. “Airthings is on a mission to empower the world to breathe better through simple, affordable, and accurate technology solutions. Together with Edwards and Carrier, we can build on our pursuit of making air quality sensors an essential element of every building and home–helping even more people take control of their air quality and protect their health,” said Oyvind Birkenes, CEO of Airthings. Air quality monitoring “Entering a strategic agreement with a brand like Carrier is a massive step that will accelerate the evolution of air quality monitoring into an indispensable aspect of any HVAC system or building safety solution.” Why Indoor Air Quality Matters Buildings can harbor high levels of harmful substances and create conditions that are detrimental to not only health and wellbeing but productivity too. In fact, the air indoors is typically 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoors according to the EPA. Since most people spend 90% of their time indoors, whether that is in school, the office or other buildings, it is important to ensure good air quality indoors.
LG Electronics Inc. made public its commitment to transition completely to renewable energy by 2050 as a key component of its sustainability strategy. The announcement in the LG Electronics Sustainability Report comes on top of its earlier commitment to carbon neutrality through the Zero Carbon 2030 initiative in which LG has pledged to reduce carbon emissions in the production stage to 50 percent of 2017 standards by 2030. The transformation will be implemented region by region starting in North America where every office and manufacturing site will be powered by renewable energy within the year. Moving towards renewable energy LG manufacturing facilities outside of Korea are on target to convert 50 percent of their electricity needs to renewable energy in the next four years. Achieving this objective globally will require a diverse strategy, including installing high-efficiency LG solar panels on its buildings, utilizing power purchase agreements that allow companies to purchase electricity directly from suppliers, utilizing Renewable Energy Credit (REC) certificates, and participating in the Green Premium program in Korea, LG’s home market to purchase clean energy directly from the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO). Achieving carbon neutrality Currently LG is installing solar modules with a capacity of 3.2 MW on a manufacturing site in Noida, India, generating electricity to power LG’s administrative office as well. This project will be expanded as a part of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), allowing LG to secure carbon reduction certificates from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).* “Our commitment to creating a better life for all can best be actualized by LG transition to renewable energy and achieving carbon neutrality,” said Park Pyung-gu, senior vice president at LG Electronics Safety & Environment Division. “In today’s world, innovation doesn’t just happen in the lab, they must also happen in our factories and plants. Today’s manufacturers have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to give the next generation a world worth inheriting and at LG; we take this responsibility very seriously.”
Aircuity, the front-runner in creating healthy and sustainable buildings, announced its support for the recently launched WELL Performance Rating, a new standard for healthy indoor environments developed by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI). IWBI designed the new rating as a new designation that “uses dynamic human and building performance metrics to enhance the experience of the people inside.” This endorsement reflects Aircuity’s more than 20 years of experience working to improve indoor air quality (IAQ) through accurate IAQ measurement and control. Aircuity’s approach to improving IAQ centers on the company’s belief in the importance of independent industry metrics and validation for those environments that ‘step up’ to provide this continuously for building occupants. New Pathways and features The WELL Performance Rating consists of features drawn from the WELL Building Standard along with new pathways and beta features that will be informed by the IWBI Performance Advisory, WELL Performance Testing Organizations (PTOs) and a host of industry leaders in smart building technologies. Determined to deliver the myriad of benefits that quality indoor spaces provide to occupants “Building owners and operators should seek and receive recognition for controlling and managing to measurable and independently validated building metrics; this new IWBI rating provides that independent validation to those working and learning in these environments,” said Dan Diehl, CEO at Aircuity. “We are determined to proliferate healthy and sustainable buildings as a global reality, bringing down life cycle cost of ownership and delivering on the myriad of benefits that quality indoor spaces provide to occupants. This remains a huge opportunity for ubiquitous adoption, and the new WELL Performance Rating takes us one step closer.” Enhance well-being “The industry has done a great job of capturing environmental building performance metrics on site – energy and water use, for example – but we must marry these eco-friendly indicators with health performance metrics to enable balanced choices about the health of the planet and the health of people,” said Rachel Hodgdon, President and CEO of IWBI. “With this incredible and diverse array of partners, advisors, and other contributors, we are confident that the new rating will unlock and accelerate the use of smarter, more integrated approaches to improve and enhance well-being and performance.” IWBI Contributing members “Our work developing the WELL Performance Rating includes collaboration with IWBI contributing members such as: Carrier, CETEC, Cognian Technologies, Honeywell, Johnson Controls, Kaiterra, Lennox International, Schneider Electric, SGS, Thornton Tomasetti, and Trane Technologies,” said Dr. Luca Mazzei, Chief Growth Officer at Aircuity. “These standards will be science-based and apply across all building types and geographies, considering, of course, the uniqueness and complexities for some, while ensuring a pathway to success for all.” Validation The WELL Performance Rating will be comprised of WELL features and validated by a global network of 42 WELL Performance Testing Organizations, IWBI member organizations, and its broader community of over 18,000 WELL Accredited Professionals (WELL APs). The new designation will add to a growing suite of WELL ratings that includes the WELL Health-Safety Rating and the forthcoming WELL Health Equity Rating.
GrayWolf’s DirectSense® II probes will now connect via Bluetooth LE wireless to Apple and Android devices. Their highly reliable, adaptable DSII probes for Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and Toxic Gas testing/monitoring will imminently have Apps for iOS and Android operating systems available (free) on the Apple and Google App stores. Use smartphone or tablet as a multi-parameter display, data-logger, and far more. Indoor air quality Choose from over 25 highly accurate, smart indoor air quality, green building, industrial hygiene, and HVAC sensors including TVOCs (PID), Carbon Dioxide (NDIR), Ozone (electrochemical), CO, NO2, NH3, SO2, NO, Cl2, H2S, HCN, HCl, O2, H2, %RH, °C/°F and many others. Each probe accommodates from two (2), up to eight (8), true plug-and-play sensors into a single handheld Each probe accommodates from two (2), up to eight (8), true plug-and-play sensors into a single handheld, desktop, or wall-mounted housing. Proven sensors offer low limits of detection and exceptional accuracy. For example, the CO2 sensor leads the IAQ industry at +/-35ppm over the key range of 350ppm to 2000ppm (while +/-3% of reading above that up to 10,000ppm for CO2 toxic exposure use). Extensive development effort As monitoring IAQ parameters is a core application for GrayWolf, the extensive development effort was put into assuring that the sensor smartboards would not introduce noise or degrade accuracy, stability, or limits of detection (LODs) for the convenience of end-user swappable sensors. Other manufacturers have prioritized convenience over performance. Store ‘snapshot’ logs during walk-throughs or set up logging overtime at the interval of their choice on the smartphone. Display up to 8 real-time readings simultaneously or show trend graphs on the screen. When derived readings, such as dewpoint temperature, are displayed/logged, or if large fonts are chosen, scroll the display to view additional parameters. Report template creation Easily switch from using the smartphone to using GrayWolf’s AdvancedSense® purpose-built meters Feature-rich, the smartphones can add photos, videos, text, audio notes, and more directly to data files for efficient, reliable documentation. On-board educational info will be added soon, such as help videos, sensors, and feature tips. Easily e-mail logged data, with all notes attached, and utilize GrayWolf’s WolfSense® PC software for download, graphing, and analysis, or optional Advanced Report Generator for automated, detailed reports and custom report template creation. The same DirectSense II probes can additionally interface to alternative platforms to simultaneously support parameters such as high accuracy Particulates, Differential Pressure and Air Velocity. Easily switch from using the smartphone to using GrayWolf’s AdvancedSense® purpose-built meters or to Win10 tablets for real-time display, data logging, and remote access. Remote data access Further, the DirectSense II probes incorporate a Wi-Fi card that allows remote data access from probes in the same room, on another floor, in another building, or on the other side of the world. Utilize the probes’ Wi-Fi card with the GrayWolfLive™ cloud app to view remote data as tables, gauges, enhanced graphs, or in other formats. Receive “alerts”, via e-mail and text when setpoints are exceeded. The DirectSense II probes, easily handheld or clipped to a belt, come with a charging stand for convenient desktop trend-logging and include a wall-mounting bracket for continuous monitoring applications. A built-in fan actively draws air across sensors. Extremely versatile measurement capability via varied platforms and an exceptionally flexible, and very, very smart probe.
The EME3625MD, a new, 3-inch deep, stationary Ruskin louver, approved by Miami-Dade, for its wind-driven rain resistance, is designed for structures in high-velocity hurricane zones that require louvers with basic impact protection. EME3625MD louver Mechanically fastened to add to its strength, the vertical louver also offers improved air and water performance over Ruskin’s previous Miami-Dade approved model, the EME3625DFLMD, and is AMCA 540 (Missile D) and 550 listed. We designed the EME3625MD for customers planning facilities that must resist extreme weather" “We designed the EME3625MD for customers planning facilities that must resist extreme weather, and that includes developing this louver with 53% free area and low pressure drop to reduce water penetration,” said Joe Rockhold, Louver Product Manager at Ruskin. Joe adds, “To boost its durability in coastal regions, the EME3625MD is constructed from extruded aluminum, offering a high resistance to corrosion and requiring only minimal maintenance after installation.” Airfoil blades Airfoil blades on the EME3625MD are vertically mounted and spaced at approximately 0.75 inches, center to center, to further ensure excellent water performance. The EME3625MD is available in sizes as small as 12-by-12 inches up to a 96-inch-tall louver with unlimited width. A full suite of manufactured options, including a variety of bird screens and numerous installation options (CMU, concrete, steel, aluminum, and wood), are also available. Additional features of the EME3625MD include: 20-year finish warranty 5-year product warranty Approved for applications with a design pressure of +/- 120 PSF (5.75 kPa) Texas Department of Insurance-approved Published performance ratings based on testing in accordance with AMCA 500-L With its improved performance capabilities, the release of the new EME3625MD will phase out the previous Ruskin model, EME3625DFLMD in the near future.
With indoor air quality more essential than ever with the infectious COVID-19 still active worldwide, eradicating the virus while it's airborne is crucial to mitigating its transmission. Energy Cloud, a clean-tech company specializing in healthy buildings and energy-efficient environments has a solution: Hummingbird™ EQ, an air purification system that captures and deactivates airborne COVID-19 virus. Air Vaccine™ technology Hummingbird™'s EQ with Air Vaccine™ technology was independently tested by a distinguished team of epidemiologists and professional engineers assembled by Black & Veatch, global infrastructure pioneers vastly experienced in pathogen-tracking methods and construction of biological safety-related sites. Funding was provided in partnership with Black & Veatch's IgniteX COVID-19 Response Accelerator. BSL-3 tested Hummingbird™ EQ's deactivation of the virus – known scientifically as SARS-CoV-2 – was independently tested and proven, with all Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) work performed within The Hastings Foundation and Wright Foundation laboratories at the University of Southern California (USC). SARS-CoV-2 BSL-3 resources were supported by a grant from the W.K. Keck Foundation's COVID-19 research fund. "Supporting Energy Cloud aligns with our strategic priorities in building a world of difference," said Lance Lippencott, program director at Black & Veatch. "Having witnessed the global impact of COVID-19, we were eager to marshal our resources behind innovations such as Hummingbird™, which offers an opportunity to mitigate the pathogen's spread." EQ Testing Hummingbird™ EQ was proven to capture and deactivate the COVID-19 virus on the first airflow pass by 99.5% Hummingbird™ EQ was proven to capture and deactivate the airborne COVID-19 virus on the first airflow pass through the system by 99.5% or greater, reducing it to undetectable levels. In the most comprehensive bio-aerosol study of its kind, Hummingbird™ EQ was tested by simulating a real-life airflow scenario, complete with the ducting, coil, and an air handler / forced air unit. Testing included infectious aerosolized virus samples with simulated saliva that were more than 3,000 times the average infectious dose to prove hummingbird™ can thoroughly neutralize and remove any active COVID-19 virus from the air that passes through the system. The goal set out by the Energy Cloud COVID-19 response team was to test a scenario far greater than a normal real-life situation. Efficiency and analysis "My main goal with Hummingbird™ is to save lives, and to do this, we needed to independently test the system with real-life air flows to prove the efficacy through science and data.” “I am grateful for the opportunity to test Hummingbird™ at such a prestigious institution as the University of Southern California and their BSL Level 3 lab, and for the positive independent peer-reviewed analysis from our COVID-19 response team of epidemiologists and professional engineers assembled by Black & Veatch," said John Carrieri, CEO of Energy Cloud. Suitable for every environment Hummingbird™ EQ can be installed and scaled to any size heating, HVAC system or used as a stand-alone unit Testing also was performed with all Hummingbird™ models, confirming that they all deactivate COVID-19 with no harmful ozone being produced. Unlike other air purification systems, Hummingbird™ does not release or produce any airborne chemicals as part of its inactivation of viruses. Hummingbird™ EQ can be installed and scaled to any size heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system or used as a stand-alone unit in all types of commercial and residential settings including hospitals, schools, supermarkets, hotels, airports, offices, homes, and more, for superior air quality in any sized indoor environment. Features Hummingbird™ EQ is unique beyond its virus efficacy as it includes: Air purification technology that decomposes VOCs and reduces bacteria, microbes, pollen, dust, dander, allergens, spores, fungi, mold, odors, smoke, and toxic fumes without producing any harmful ozone or biproducts. HVAC remote management with Hummingbird™ EQ AI technology allows cloud-enabled remote monitoring and management of HVAC systems, saving energy by providing real-time insight to equipment operation and efficiency. Indoor air quality monitoring with real-time air quality information for customers, employees, and property owners, for all stakeholders, to see the building air quality through Energy Cloud's air certification. The information can be seen through a QR Code displayed on the buildings outside doors and windows as well as web URL links that can be viewed on any computer or smart device. Building owners who invest in having the best air quality for their buildings and business can show proof of their air quality with the QR code and unique URL provided for each building.
The last 18 months have seen an acceleration in digitalization across many aspects of work and home life. Home spaces have become workspaces, and commercial buildings have had to adapt to changed use and lower occupancy rates. Coupled with this, there is a growing need to dramatically reduce carbon emissions from buildings - according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the buildings and construction sectors combined are responsible for over 30 percent of global energy consumption, and nearly 40 percent of carbon emissions. Installing separate systems This means that demand for a smarter approach to heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) management is crucial for building managers, who need to ensure that their properties can adapt to changed use, respond to the wellbeing of their occupants, and run efficiently to keep emissions as low as possible. Armed with this data, facility managers can take proactive steps to improve usage Of course, architects and developers have been installing separate systems to control HVAC for decades which have given building managers greater control and access to different areas of a site. However, with digitalization comes the addition of web-based platforms to allow these verticals to integrate seamlessly with each other, providing data on how efficiently and effectively a building operates through a single view application. Armed with this data, facility managers can take proactive steps to improve usage, which will see properties proactively react to the environmental and personal needs of their occupants. Centrally controlled lighting Many commercial buildings will already have a certain element of smart technology installed – from centrally controlled lighting and HVAC systems to remote management of security and energy management systems. However, it is often the case that these multiple applications are managed in silo. This means facilities managers don’t have a consolidated view of their data. In addition, not all managers will be using the data these devices produce to take steps to reduce the carbon footprint of their properties. Embracing smart technology – and a central control platform - gives building managers access to instant data on how their HVAC assets are performing in one place. This insight can be used to gain a thorough understanding of how the different systems in the building interact, and the external factors that may impact them. Effective building controls By using this data, operators can implement effective building controls to manage efficiencies By using this data, operators can implement effective building controls to manage efficiencies, identify maintenance issues, ensure the wellbeing of occupants, and inform future investment priorities. So, for example, if a building is now being used in a different way due to changed occupancy, the data will show the manager what needs to be done to ensure it is operating as efficiently as possible. We know that there will be increased demand for more flexible spaces as companies move towards remote or hybrid working models. It is likely that we will visit our offices less for day-to-day work and use them more as hubs to meet and collaborate. The ability to turn a traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ building into an agile asset that can learn and adapt to its surroundings will become increasingly important. Smart HVAC management Smart offices will become independently intelligent, learning how occupants use the space and services, adjusting lighting, HVAC and other systems to maximize health and comfort. Smart HVAC management will create a trend for ‘healthier’ buildings that will have a positive impact in terms of improved quality of life and wellbeing of occupants, ultimately resulting in higher productivity levels. In short, there has never been a better time to adopt smart HVAC technologies. Intelligent buildings that would have been unimaginable a few decades ago are now a reality. As buildings become smarter, they can learn how occupants use the space and services and proactively adjust lighting, HVAC and other systems to improve use, cut emissions and reduce energy consumption.
As our urban centers grow, so does our demand for key resources, such as energy. Currently, cities are accountable for over 60% of resource use and an estimated 70% of global carbon emissions. In the Middle East particularly, countries have experienced unprecedented population growth, increased economic activity and consequently, increases in energy consumption. Integration of sustainable systems Fortunately, industry leaders and governments are placing sustainability at the heart of regional plans for urban development. The integration of sustainable systems is no longer a value-added benefit, but rather a necessary requirement. I believe a vital element for sustainable development in our cities is energy management. Energy is a costly commodity representing an average of 25% of all operating costs in office buildings. This cost, however, can be reduced by using energy management to optimize HVAC systems employed in a building. Effective energy management Energy management involves proactive tracking, systemic management and thoughtful optimization of energy consumption in a building, with the goal of improving energy efficiency. The concept of energy efficiency takes into account a variety of factors; we must consider system design, quality of installation and maintenance, efficiency rates and personal use. If we assume a system is designed with greatest efficiency in mind, its effectiveness is still deeply impacted by installation, maintenance and use. ‘Performance drift’ issues One challenge we face with the efficiency of HVAC systems is ‘performance drift’ One challenge we face with the efficiency of HVAC systems is ‘performance drift’. When first installed, and even in the first few months, HVAC systems operate immaculately. Over time, however, component efficiency and system conditions ‘drift’ away from the originally installed operating curve, meaning that efficiency and performance of the system can degrade incrementally. The deteriorating performance of HVAC systems has consequences, such as unnecessary use of energy, resulting in higher costs and emissions, in addition to reduced comfort for building occupants. Energy efficient HVAC pumps In order to truly have an impact on energy consumption, a holistic approach must be adopted. Only by carefully examining and optimizing each part of the HVAC system, can we then find ways to improve it. In my experience with Armstrong Fluid Technology, in the last decade, the technology for HVAC pumps has been enhanced to provide up to 70% energy efficiency savings through demand-based control and parallel pumping technology. These innovations enable the pumps to operate at optimum levels, consuming as little energy as possible. Innovative smart technology Systems that incorporate innovative smart technology enable more accurate system performance analysis and optimization. Pumps can function as highly accurate flow meters that provide valuable insight for building managers and operators. Data from the intelligent connected pumps can be collected through active performance management software, which enables the HVAC system to learn, predict and optimize to deliver even greater energy efficiency and cost savings through maintained optimized performance. Systems incorporating innovative smart technology enable more accurate system performance analysis Active performance management software Active performance management software enables real time and historical data reporting that directly demonstrates system efficiency and savings. Given the global shift towards sustainable building construction, legislation on energy reporting is inevitable, therefore employing systems with this in-built capability can prove to be extremely beneficial in the future. The software can also help maintain client comfort at all times by enabling predictive maintenance. Systems can provide alerts when they detect faults, allowing for early replacement before a full breakdown. This can be particularly helpful in mission critical applications such as hospitals. Importance of analyzed data in system optimization Without the ability to analyze data, buildings managers and operators cannot properly optimize mechanical systems Evidently, collecting data is essential for many reasons, including preventing, and even reversing, the loss of energy efficiency. Without the ability to analyze data, buildings managers and operators cannot properly optimize mechanical systems, which results in unnecessary energy use, insufficient maintenance practices and any related costs. There may be hesitation in the industry to incorporate more sophisticated systems as they require initial investment, however, the returns from using more efficient mechanical systems are impressive. Executing energy upgrades for HVAC systems Simple payback on energy upgrade projects is usually reached within 3 to 5 years. Furthermore, energy savings continue for the life of the system. Properly executed energy upgrades deliver up to 40% savings on energy consumption related to HVAC operation. Savings on that level for a large facility can be impactful for business operations. Energy efficiency is not ‘visible’ but has the potential to have a transformative effect on climate change, if embraced on a large scale. If we consume energy only as we need to, then we consume less of it. This, in turn, reduces our consumption of fossil fuels and consequently our greenhouse gas emissions. Aside from short-term benefits, such as costs savings and increased operation efficiency, energy management has the ability to help conserve energy for generations to come. Embracing energy saving solutions If we embrace innovative energy saving solutions in the building services industry, then we can begin to make a difference. With the recent launch of plans for sustainable development, such as the Dubai Master Plan 2040, green infrastructure, supporting solutions, will thrive. The global shift towards embracing sustainability has made individuals and organizations call into question their impact on our planet. Embracing sustainability is no longer a preference but a strategic business approach that helps to create long-term value on a social, economic and environmental level. The role of energy efficiency, and the systems that enable it, will inevitably play a key role in creating more sustainable buildings, communities and cities.
Forget the fact that heat pump installations in the average home could cost several thousand pounds more than a conventional gas boiler and that fully insulating those homes will add even greater cost to the homeowner. It’s not really the cost issue that could be the only potential bump in the road on the way to the target set by the UK Government, because a more pressing problem to solve will be the shortage of trained ‘green’ heating engineers that will be the key to delivery of the plan. Gas boiler production I’m sure I’m not alone within the industry in adding my support to any drive that leads to a more effective use of environmentally responsible sources of energy for home heating. And following the news that ministers are currently discussing a cut off date of 2035 for all domestic gas boiler production, with an earlier 2025 ban on their installation in new homes, it is encouraging to think that technologies with which we in the industry have been working for a decade or more, will finally become the norm, rather than the green exception. However supportive I and colleagues in the sector might be, we should not shy away from challenging the Government on the delivery of the targets it has announced, because currently we haven’t heard enough in the Government’s Heating and Buildings Strategy about the market’s skills shortage. Heat source technologies At Ameon we’ve been working with green technologies for over a decade, on large scale public sector The truth is that there are simply not enough heating engineers currently who are experienced in the installation of alternative heat source technologies, such as ground or air source heat pumps, and given that tens of thousands of new or re-skilled engineers will be required if the Government’s plan to install 600,000 heat pumps per year by 2028 is to be achieved, then the drive needs to be supported by the associated training provisions to help it meet its goal. At Ameon we’ve been working with green technologies for over a decade, on large scale public sector and residential developments but I feel that aside from building services infrastructure companies like ourselves and others in our sector, there isn’t currently a large enough skills base and therefore the infrastructure needs to be put in place to be able to train enough people to carry out the installation program. Low carbon technologies This could be more of a factor in the achievement of 2035 target aspirations, than even the potential public reluctance to embrace the technology for cost reasons. Whilst specialists in our sector have teams of qualified heating and ventilation engineers who are hugely experienced in low carbon technologies, it has to be acknowledged that their experience and skill set has taken considerable time and investment to develop; therefore I hope the Government hasn’t underestimated the vital importance of training. This could be more of a factor in the achievement of 2035 target aspirations You can’t simply ask domestic heating engineers, who are used to fitting conventional gas boilers, to switch to installing ground or air source heat pumps overnight. There are significant differences in the science and the technology, together with the requirement by law for engineers to be F-gas registered, proving that they are qualified in the safe handling of fluorinated refrigerant gases (F-gas), which are ozone depleting substances crucial to the heat pump delivery process. Conventional gas boilers Then, there’s the need for engineers to understand how to design low temperature water systems and avoid such things as Legionella bacteria creeping into the system. There is much more to learn for someone used to installing boilers that heat water to a temperature to pasteurize it, because the public health element is a key factor too. So there needs to be significant retraining and, of course, the time to create the infrastructure to deliver the training. The other related issues, such as where training would be delivered and who funds it can be more easily addressed. After all, the Chancellor has protected UK businesses at the drop of a hat in the midst of a pandemic, and the country has, in short time, created a hugely efficient mass-vaccination program; proving that anything is possible. Reducing carbon emissions Steve Baker, has warned of public anger if all implications of the Government’s plans are not explained Currently discussions in Whitehall include such ideas as homeowners being required to install ‘green’ heating before they can sell their property, or levying a surcharge on gas boilers to subsidize production of heat pumps: although no firm decision has yet been taken. It is reported that former Conservative minister, Steve Baker, has warned of public anger if all implications of the Government’s plans are not explained fully to homeowners, which is why I and others will add our voices to the many questions that really need to be answered. That doesn’t mean we in industry are not fully supportive of the Government’s aspirations. The public too appears to be broadly behind this move to reduce carbon emissions, particularly as gas boilers account for a percentage of CO2 produced annually; therefore it is an important area to focus upon if ‘net zero’ carbon emissions by 2050 are to be achieved. Newly trained engineers Roughly 85% of UK homes currently rely on gas for heating, which is around 25 million homes, so the scale of the change required is immense. Even if the UK had the qualified engineers to start from day one, which it doesn’t, the targets are ambitious to say the least. It is my view that investment in training has to be at the heart of the Government’s planning. That could be delivered on the job, in the classroom, or, as has become the norm during lockdown, via online platforms such as Teams, Zoom or Skype. So if the will is there and the resources are in place to fund training, the method is the easier part of the process. What’s less certain is whether the army of re-skilled and newly trained engineers can be deployed quickly enough to achieve the target set. The clock is ticking...
The current Biden Administration’s renewed focus on climate change has expedited the phasedown of high-GWP refrigerants, kicked off by the passage of the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act, part of the December 2020 COVID stimulus bill. As the AIM Act phase-down schedule progresses, higher-GWP HFC refrigerants, while viable, have the potential to have a limited useful life and ultimately be eliminated. In response to pending changes, Johnson Controls has announced it will use R-454B, a mildly flammable refrigerant, in order to exceed key regulatory requirements. Key environmental goals This is a significant step toward Johnson Controls reaching key environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals, including: helping customers achieve a 16 percent reduction in emissions by 2030 and achieving net-zero carbon emissions before 2040, says the company. The decision was made as the HVAC industry is preparing to phase out high-GWP refrigerants Johnson Controls has selected R-454B to replace R-410A in all its ducted residential and commercial unitary products, as well as air-cooled scroll chillers, after extensive research, testing and evaluation of capacity, efficiency, safety, availability, longevity, global warming potential (GWP), ozone depletion potential (ODP) and other metrics. The decision was made as the HVAC industry is preparing to phase out high-GWP refrigerants, such as R-410A, which are now being formally addressed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through the recently passed AIM Act. Commercial unitary products The EPA’s pending regulations could stipulate that manufacturers begin producing equipment utilizing low-GWP refrigerants prior to Jan. 1, 2025, for residential and light commercial unitary products and Jan. 1, 2024, for new chiller products. The mild-flammability (A2L) aspect of new refrigerants, including R-454B, requires that safety standards and individual state building codes must first be updated prior to the introduction of these refrigerants into the market. The process to update codes and standards is well under way and should be completed for many jurisdictions prior to the Jan. 1, 2025, proposed transition date for stationary HVAC equipment (e.g., unitary). Extensive, multi-year research and testing has been conducted by ASHRAE, AHRTI and others to ensure A2Ls can be safely deployed. Proper training will be critical to ensure the safe use, transportation and storage of A2L refrigerants. Refrigerant transition dates Existing R-410A equipment built prior to the EPA’s proposed manufacturing cutoff dates can be sold Johnson Controls is committed to ensuring the safe transition to R-454B by providing in-depth training for its contractors and technicians prior to the pending refrigerant transition dates, according to the company. The pending mandates from the EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for refrigerants with less than 750 GWP will likely only apply to the sale of new residential and commercial unitary equipment as well as air-cooled scroll chillers. Existing R-410A equipment built prior to the EPA’s proposed manufacturing cutoff dates can be sold and installed indefinitely, so there will be little to no impact on contractors and customers from a R-410A equipment standpoint. Once EPA completes the allocation phase of the AIM Act, it will next address reclaim and service practices; therefore, contactors could see future mandates on the use of reclaimed refrigerants as well as enhanced requirements for leak detection and record keeping. Refrigerant management practices “R-454B is more compatible with existing R-410A equipment, requires less charge and can reduce HVAC systems’ energy use by up to 5%,” says Chris Forth, Executive Director of Regulatory, Codes and Environmental Affairs, Ducted Systems, Johnson Controls. “These similar operating characteristics will make for a smoother transition for distributors, wholesalers, contractors and owners, resulting from the commonality of critical system components and their very similar operating pressures and temperatures.” These similar operating characteristics will make for a smoother transition for distributors" “It’s vital that contractors and equipment owners establish proper refrigerant management practices and invest in available flammable refrigerant training,” Forth adds. More specifically, Johnson Controls recommends that contractors review the AHRI Safe Refrigerant Transition Task Force best practices and complete the ACCA A2L refrigerant training before new equipment enters the market (updated ASHRAE 15.2P training is expected by the end of 2021). flammable refrigerants implementation Johnson Controls also recommends that contractors strengthen their current refrigerant management practices: Ensure technicians are EPA section 608-certified for the equipment they will be servicing, train technicians not to mix different recovered refrigerants in the same cylinder, implement robust refrigerant tracking and documentation practices and establish a reliable supply chain for R-410A reclamation before 2025. Johnson Controls has been engaged in the safety standards and building codes development process from the beginning of the low-GWP, flammable refrigerants implementation. Johnson Controls engagement included safety standards such as ASHRAE 34,15; the pending 15.2P standard; as well as UL 60335-2-40 and UL 60335-2-89. ASHRAE safety standards R-454B offers the best outlook for long-term viability as phasedown regulations continue “Our first priority has been and will continue to be safety, and thus, we help sponsor and engaged in the research and testing efforts conducted through the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology Institute (AHRTI) and ASHRAE,” says Forth. Johnson Controls also engaged in the adoption of the UL and ASHRAE safety standards via the national model codes, such as the International Code Council (ICC) and the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO). Choosing R-454B is a long-term play for Johnson Controls. If the EPA AIM Act phase-down falls below the current 750 GWP limit proposed for stationary AC/unitary equipment, some A2L refrigerants could be phased out quickly, whereas the choice by Johnson Controls to utilize R-454B could, under the same scenario, be viable until 2034. With the lowest GWP of all EPA SNAP-approved refrigerants (GWP of 466), R-454B offers the best outlook for long-term viability as phasedown regulations continue, says the company. Aggressive efficiency standards The HVAC industry is in constant flux. For an OEM that means continually introducing innovative, new features into systems, developing new products that meet aggressive efficiency standards and, in this case, environmental regulations to phase out high-GWP refrigerants. “Transitions of this scale are not new to Johnson Controls, but it does require flexibility and equipment redesigns to utilize R-454B,” says Forth. “However, because the properties (pressures, temperatures, etc.) of R-454B are very similar to the existing R-410A, the actual performance testing did not present the same degree of challenge as past transitions. Johnson Controls has been at the forefront of environmental protection,” says Forth. “Today, our commitment to sustainability is stronger than ever, and it is reflected in the choices we make every day.”
Interfacing with HVAC products is increasingly complex. The tiny 1-inch LCD display included on systems does not lend itself to complicated functions. Keeping the HVAC user interface simple limits control options to on/off, mode change or choosing a temperature. Thermostat controls company COTHERM has developed a smartphone app that can be used to control complex functions such as product settings during installation, programming or providing technical information about an HVAC product. Near field communication (NFC) relays information from the smartphone app to the HVAC equipment. Conventional HVAC equipment “NFC technology can be leveraged by heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) manufacturers so that installers can adjust the settings for radiators, as well as water or space heaters, via a mobile phone,” says Alain Maillard, Marketing Director of COTHERM. NFC is a contactless technology that enables transfer of short messages between a smartphone and an object. The technology is widely used and is already popular for uses such as contactless payment The technology is widely used and is already popular for uses such as contactless payment, access control and transportation. The large color screen display of a smartphone and the familiarity of app usage provides a strong tool for user interface and is much more user-friendly than conventional LED or LCD displays with keypads that commonly equip conventional HVAC equipment. This is particularly evident for advanced settings that need a lot of menu navigation like programming. Using NFC technology NFC provides a remote user interface using a smartphone to facilitate the configuration or setting of the product. In effect, the smartphone becomes the user interface of the product, and there is no need to use a complex display with a keyboard. The approach also does not require complex IT installation or pairing as would be required with other technologies like Bluetooth or Wifi. Because communication is based on proximity, data exchange is safe, and you do not need a password or login to connect. The Electric Radiator is COTHERM’s first equipment to use NFC technology, and the first market introduction is in France. The first company to introduce the technology is ‘Univ’R Chauffage’ for the 2021 winter season. For an installer, simplicity is key. Permanent communication link The actual appliance is simplified to include only the most commonly used functions The NFC approach provides time savings for installation as it does not require a login/password of a local network. And it is error free: An app can have a pre-defined setting package that is impossible using a native LCD+ keyboard on traditional equipment. For the user, the actual appliance is simplified to include only the most commonly used functions. There is no pairing or setting, ensuring simplicity. And the system is hacker-free as it requires a proximity exchange and works without the cloud. Data exchange is only activated while the smartphone is close to the radiator; there is no need for a permanent communication link. As a consequence, there are no waves pollution and no energy consumption that may be due to maintaining permanent communication. For appliance manufacturers, the cost-effective solution is innovative and easy to use. Limited support is needed as there is no installation (except downloading an app from the store). Industrial HVAC products The approach also enables a contactless customization of the appliance at the end of the production line in the factory with no power supply on the appliance because NFC is energy harvesting. The approach can be used for industrial HVAC products as well as residential appliances. NFC provides cost advantages, eliminating the need for a high-end display on an appliance. Some sensitive technical data or setting may be reserved for a technician only Information is also addressable: A filter can be set with data from the appliance accessible by profile. Some sensitive technical data or setting may be reserved for a technician only or for use at the factory. In the HVAC application as implemented, the controller of the appliance is used as the NFC tag and the smartphone is used as a reader/writer terminal with color display. The controller of the appliance includes an NFC antenna and a small, dedicated NFC controller with memory. Providing additional benefits On the other hand, the smartphone can be iOS or Android and needs to have the COTHERM NFC App downloaded. NFC is available on iPhone from iPhone 7 and on Android; all smartphones with NFC are compatible. NFC technology provides additional benefits, too, including: Traceability and storage of historical data. Easy setting of Wi-Fi or Bluetooth configuration when combined with NFC. Preset of the appliances or any equipment at the factory, including enabling or disabling. Functions or changing settings to enable customization based on distribution channel for brand. Directly points to the correct app on the store for download when using the smartphone for the first time. Self-launch of the app when the smartphone is close to the NFC tag. Further expansion is planned in Europe. The combination of the technology has received an innovation reward as a European funding project Touch & Heat by DIGIFED Europe program (Horizon H2020). Partners in the DIGIFED program are IoTize, a French startup, and Lucht LHZ, a German manufacturer of Electric Radiator. Product introduction in other European countries is planned for 2022. HVAC equipment such as water heaters or heat pump water heater controllers are the next target for the technology.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way the world lives, escalating the need to prioritize health and safety where we live, work, learn and play. As organizations around the world respond to the pandemic, the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) has leveraged its expertise to help. Impact of building surroundings IWBI is a public benefit corporation focused on deploying “people-first places” to advance a global culture of health. The community has adopted the WELL Building Standard, which is the anchor in an ecosystem of certifications and ratings focused on creating and benchmarking health and well-being in built environments. IWBI understands that companies have realized the importance of feeling safe inside and the importance of mental health — and how building surroundings impact that. WELL Building Standard (WELL) IWBI is focused on the ways that buildings, and organizations, can improve comfort and enhance health and well-being IWBI is focused on the ways that buildings, communities, and organizations, and everything in them, can improve comfort, drive better choices and generally enhance health and well-being. The work is global, covering 2.5 billion square feet of real estate in nearly 100 countries as of June 2021. The WELL Building Standard (WELL) is a vehicle for buildings and organizations to deliver more thoughtful and intentional places that enhance human health and well-being, according to IWBI. It’s the standard for buildings, interior places, and communities seeking to implement, validate and measure features that support and advance human health and well-being, leading to official certification. Measures to become WELL Certified A building becomes WELL Certified (WELL Building) following the adoption of features from the WELL Building Standard, achieving a threshold based on measures that are validated by a third party. These measures include building performance and their impact on people’s health and well-being. HVAC is a key element of WELL buildings. The primary purpose of HVAC systems is usually to improve the environmental conditions for the building users. Introducing outdoor air combats the buildup of carbon dioxide and volatile organic compounds, which at high levels can lead to sick building syndrome. Particle filters can remove much of the pollution from traffic or forest fires before it is introduced indoors. Problems with HVAC But HVAC systems can create their own problems. For example, cooling coils and drain pans can become a habitat for mold growth if not properly maintained. The WELL Building Standard addresses issues related to air quality and HVAC systems with a holistic approach, with adaptable strategies covering air, thermal comfort, and material. WELL Certification The WELL Building Standard includes strategies in 10 WELL Concept areas, from HVAC systems to architectural details The WELL Building Standard is a global framework for creating and certifying places that advance health and well-being. It includes strategies in 10 WELL Concept areas, covering topics ranging from HVAC systems to architectural details to human resource programs. WELL Certification is granted following a third-party review that these requirements have been met in a process that involves both submissions of documentation and on-site testing and inspection. Organizations can also enroll groups of projects in the WELL Portfolio, enabling them to document and celebrate their incremental progress in WELL feature achievement and employ the strategies at scale. Professional engagement Stakeholder engagement, including engagement by professionals in the HVAC space, has always been a key part of the development of WELL. For example, there was a 6-month public comment period to solicit feedback on the WELL v2 pilot before its graduation in 2020. Also, just before completing WELL v2, a Task Force on COVID-19 and Other Respiratory Diseases sought to identify any additions that could be added in light of the pandemic. There is also a network of more than 230 experts who participate in 14 IWBI advisories. Within this, there is an advisory for each of the 10 WELL Concepts, including 35 advisors in the Air and Thermal Comfort advisories. Challenges The most important challenge IWBI faces is the same one facing all others: Recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the ticking clock of climate change — and all that goes along with it. “As we continue to combat COVID-19, we recognize that feeling comfortable and safe inside is more important than ever,” says Nathan Stodola, Chief Engineer at the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI). “The pandemic has taught us the importance of air quality in preventing the spread of disease. This is a critical moment to keep the public informed on the latest scientific findings and best practices.” Adding a human element to buildings IWBI is working toward a future where buildings are designed with people — the human element — in mind" “We have also learned the value and importance of mental health, and how much employees want their employers to know that,” Stodola adds. “And IWBI is working toward a future where buildings are designed with people — the human element — in mind. There is an interconnectedness to all of this, and that’s how IWBI is working to serve the needs of the public.” WELL Health-Safety Rating In response to a rising need in the wake of COVID-19, IWBI introduced the WELL Health-Safety Rating for Facility Operations and Management in June 2020, a third-party validated tool designed to build confidence in the safety of a building. The WELL Health-Safety Rating provides an efficient and effective opportunity to guide, validate, recognize and scale the efforts of owners and operators on critical health and safety issues. Strategies undertaken Specific to the HVAC arena, many strategies that have come to light in the pandemic have been part of WELL since its inception, including sufficient ventilation rates, operable windows, awareness of mental health needs, and proper ergonomic design of workstations. But the Task Force on COVID-19 and Other Respiratory Infections also identified changes that have been implemented in the program, such as treating or eliminating recirculated ventilation air or allowing virtual training courses rather than requiring in-person classes. Most strategies in WELL are “evergreen:” They will continue to have benefits to building users even after the risk of COVID-19 diminishes, says IWBI. Programs and resources IWBI offers several education programs and resources, as well as professional credential courses, for people in the architecture, engineering, construction, and design industries--and beyond. IWBI offers a training program for schools to educate people on how to maintain a healthy and safe school environment The WELL Accredited Professional (AP) program is designed for those looking to gain skills to help inform WELL projects to further advance human health and well-being in buildings and communities IWBI also offers a training program for schools to educate people on how to maintain a healthy and safe school environment. Focus on health and well-being WELL buildings are not just about design and construction, but also about how to operate space and create policies that change people’s behavior for advanced health and well-being, says IWBI. For instance, the Nourishment Concept is about providing access to healthy food, and biophilia features can help improve people’s mental health. Caters to all markets and budgets Additionally, people tend to think that WELL buildings are expensive or only for the luxury market. WELL applies to all types of places and can be implemented with various budget sizes based on individual projects’ health and well-being needs. Air and Thermal Comfort concepts The HVAC requirements in WELL are dependent on the facilities team in addition to the design team. People need buildings to provide places to live and work, and buildings need people to care for their systems. There are several features in the Air and Thermal Comfort concepts related to the ongoing measurement of conditions within the space and maintenance of the ventilation system.
Pinder Cooling & Heating has completed a series of cooling and ventilation refurbishments as part of a new contract with popular fast-food chain, Mahmoods. The Bradford-based team of commercial refrigeration and air conditioning specialists has refurbished cold rooms within four of its restaurants between March and July. The Great Horton Road branch was the most recent to undergo the renovations, where Pinder also installed brand-new air conditioning units. Pinder’s founder, Andrew Pinder, said the refurbishments are a testament to the standards Mahmoods’ adheres to in terms of serving fresh, quality fast food. Maintaining cold rooms “Cold rooms in restaurants are an integral part of regulating food and keep it from becoming contaminated. Mahmoods has always been passionate about ensuring only the freshest food is served to its customers, and the investment into this new equipment demonstrates their commitment. Our team has really enjoyed working with the entire Mahmoods team and look forward to a long working relationship.” Mahmoods is a chain of fast-food restaurants founded in 2001 by Tariq Mahmood Mahmoods is a chain of fast-food restaurants founded in 2001 by Tariq Mahmood, with seven franchise sites across the UK. On 25th June 2021, the firm celebrated 20 years of serving quality and affordable Halal takeaway dishes. In recent weeks, it was listed as one of the top six highest rated takeaways to order in Bradford. Tariq Mahmood, Founder of Mahmoods said: “Cleanliness and the freshness of our food are at the top of our list, that’s why we ensure that we regularly maintain our cold rooms and have adequate ventilation throughout our restaurants.” Specialist HVAC services “Ahead of our 20th anniversary and the reopening of the hospitality industry, we made the decision to give our cold rooms and air conditioning units a major revamp, and appointed Pinder to carry out the work. Being a Bradford-based firm, we’ve heard a lot about the quality of service they provide, which is aligned to our values. That’s why we knew there was no other firm to support this part of the renovation.” Pinder Cooling & Heating has been providing specialist HVAC services to commercial firms across the UK since founding in 2016. It’s specialist areas include the installation of, and maintenance associated with commercial refrigeration, air conditioning, server room cooling, cellar cooling, cold rooms, and bar and restaurant equipment.
Johnson Controls recently partnered with Air One Heating & Cooling, Star Air Conditioning & Heating, and YORK Factory Direct to install YORK® heating and cooling systems in two Building Homes for Heroes mortgage-free homes for wounded veterans in Daytona, Florida., and Orlando, Florida. Air One Heating & Cooling installed equipment donated by YORK Factory Direct in the home of Sergeant Carlos Cruz in Daytona, Florida, Cruz, who joined the military out of San Antonio, Texas in 1997, was injured during his 20-year deployment, causing him to suffer from severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), herniated discs in his back, left ACL reconstruction, migraines, and chronic pain. Suffer multiple injuries Star Air Conditioning & Heating installed equipment that was also donated by YORK Factory Direct in the home of U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Jorge Zapata in Orlando, Florida, Zapata, who joined the military out of Parris Island, S.C., was injured during his deployment to Iraq, causing him to suffer multiple injuries, including PTSD and a traumatic brain injury. The injuries of both veterans require specific modifications in their homes in order to live safely and focus on their recoveries. "We’re proud to partner with Johnson Controls and Building Homes for Heroes to give back to a real hero within our local community who has made great sacrifices for our country,” said Larry Franklin Sr., Owner, Star Air Conditioning & Heating. “We’re honored to contribute our services to help Sergeant Jorge Zapata and his family live comfortably in their home.” Renovate quality homes The organization strives to build or renovate quality homes and donate them to injured veterans Building Homes for Heroes is a national organization that recognizes those who serve in the United States Armed Forces by supporting the needs of severely wounded or disabled soldiers and their families. The organization strives to build or renovate quality homes and donate them, mortgage-free, to injured veterans nationwide. “The customized amenities that Johnson Controls brings to these homes provide not only a foundation for these heroes, but a hopeful path to a bright future with the opportunity to reach dreams they may have never thought imaginable when injured,” said Andy Pujol, Founder and CEO of Building Homes for Heroes. Veteran-Friendly company “We are so grateful to partner with Johnson Controls, Air One Heating & Cooling, Star Air Conditioning & Cooling and YORK® Factory Direct to help these veterans and their families to live in greater comfort.” The YORK brand of Johnson Controls has been a proud sponsor of Building Homes for Heroes since 2014. The company has been recognized by US Veterans Magazine as a top veteran-friendly company. Johnson Controls is also committed to hiring veterans and military spouses. Veteran employees are honored to design, engineer, and assemble systems that help improve the lives of fellow veterans.
Located in Worcester Massachusetts, Doherty Memorial High School is typical of many schools designed in the 1960’s. With two classroom wings joined together by hallways and anchored by an auditorium and gymnasium, the red brick school is home to approximately 1500 students. After 40 years, the school needed to replace the original hot water boilers and unit ventilators serving the upper and lower classroom wings. To design their new heating and ventilating system, the school enlisted the services of Shooshanian Engineering (SEi), Boston, Massachusetts. Outdoor air ventilation The original system design incorporated two gas fired hot water boilers sized to provide individual classroom unit ventilators with enough heating capacity to condition both the return and outdoor air loads. Rooftop exhaust fans pulled room air from each class-room to complete the ventilation process. ERVs recycle energy from building exhaust air to efficiently precondition outdoor air ventilation As recommended by the EPA and DOE, SEi evaluated the use of Energy Recovery Ventilation (ERV) as part of the new design. ERVs recycle energy from building exhaust air to efficiently precondition outdoor air ventilation, thereby reducing annual operating costs and boiler size requirements. After evaluating several ERV strategies, including fixed plate and run around loop, SEi determined that an ERV incorporating Airxchange rotary energy recovery wheels provided the best value. Estimates of installation and operating costs were evaluated for two designs: one with ERV and one without. As expected, the ERV based design provided the lowest operating cost. Capital equipment savings However, SEi was pleasantly surprised to discover the ERV based design, incorporating a smaller boiler and less expensive fan coil units, also provided the lowest installed cost. The capital equipment savings, made possible by incorporating Energy Recovery Ventilation in the design, more than offset the added cost of the ERV’s resulting in an instant payback. Installation included thirteen rooftop ERV units, each supplying from 1200 to 4600 cfm of ventilation air along with a single boiler to replace the two original boilers. Existing exhaust ducts provided exhaust air to the ERVs while new ductwork was added to deliver fresh outdoor air to each classroom. The design called for removal of the outdoor air intakes in the walls and installation of fan coil units in place of unit ventilators. Automated Logic software Performance of the new system is monitored using Automated Logic software Performance of the new system is monitored using Automated Logic software. The new system has received positive comments from teachers who expressed appreciation for the added fresh air and the ability of the classrooms to come up to temperature quickly at the beginning of the school day. “Even at the coldest temperatures the comfort of the supply air is amazing,” said Jeffrey Lassey, Director of Facilities with Worcester Public Schools. “You can feel the class-room come up to temperature much faster than with the old unit ventilators, and with the ERV system, we’ve reduced our energy costs considerably,” he added. Reduction in energy use over a 20 year period is expected to save approximately 3400 tons of CO2 emissions and $625,540 at current energy prices. Reducing energy consumption “Selecting the ERVs was a good shift away from unit ventilators, since it significantly reduces our energy consumption. This is particularly important because the cost of energy is heading nowhere but up.” - Jeffrey Lassey, Director of Facilities Worcester Public Schools. NSTAR, the local gas utility serving the city of Worcester, provides incentives for installation of energy efficient equipment through an energy rebate program funded by its commercial customer base. For the installation of an ERV based system and reduced boiler size, Doherty Memorial High School was awarded a $32,000 rebate from NSTAR. “Make sure to select Energy Recovery Ventilation from the outset in the design process in order to take full advantage of utility rebates slated for energy efficiency.” - Tom Angelo, NSTAR.
After numerous water leaks, compressor failures, and damper control problems, it was time for South High Community School in Worcester, Massachusetts to replace their 30 year old HVAC rooftop units. Not only had the units outlasted their expected mechanical life, but the ability to deliver fresh outdoor air and maintain comfortable heating and cooling conditions became increasingly difficult and expensive. To specify a state-of-the-art replacement HVAC roof-top system, the energy and environmentally conscious school district enlisted the services of a local engineering firm. Energy recovery ventilation Director of Facilities, Jeff Lassey met with engineer Mike Lescar-beau of Lindgren & Sharples, P.C. to establish new system design requirements. Electric heat would need to be replaced with a lower cost energy source. To avoid altering the recently installed rubber roof, the new replacement units would need to utilize existing roof curbs and ductwork. Lassey wanted to include energy recovery ventilation (ERV) technology to minimize this energy load Because the replacement units would also be supplying outdoor air to meet the schools IAQ requirements, Lassey wanted to include energy recovery ventilation (ERV) technology to minimize this energy load. Lassey had utilized the technology on a neighboring high school three years earlier to successfully lower operating costs. To meet the new design challenge, Lescarbeau specified a total of (19) gas/electric rooftop units with integrated state-of-the-art Airxchange energy recovery wheels to replace the all-electric units. Building automation system Without energy recovery ventilation, HVAC systems waste energy contained in building exhaust air while consuming new energy to precondition code-driven fresh air requirements. By contrast, systems utilizing Airxchange wheels reuse (recycle) up to 80% of the energy in exhaust air to heat, cool, dehumidify or humidify a like amount of incoming fresh air. This recycling of energy can reduce HVAC design loads and annual energy use by as much as 50%. As a result, Lescarbeau was able to specify smaller, lower cost heating and cooling units to easily fit within the existing roof curb profile. Adaptor curbs were designed and fabricated by a local curb supplier to fit the new rooftop units to the existing curbs. Direct digital controls and modulating dampers were added for individual zone control by an existing building automation system. Outdoor air energy savings The wheels would have provided an additional $100,000 annually in outdoor air energy savings Airxchange energy recovery wheels were calculated to save South Community High School approximately $60,000 annually or $1.2 million in dollars over the average life of the new roof-top units. The initial added investment in wheel based rooftop units is expected to be recouped during the first year of operation based on savings from the Airxchange wheels alone. Had the school not converted their heating energy source from electric to gas, the wheels would have provided an additional $100,000 annually in outdoor air energy savings. “For roughly the same price as a larger more energy intensive rooftop unit, we can provide the same amount of work with a smaller, wheel based unit that performs with up to 40% greater efficiency. This translates to significant energy savings over the life of the equipment,” said Craig Campbell, Trumbull and Campbell Associates. Improving indoor comfort The replacement HVAC rooftop system earned South High Community School a Central Mass Green Award for energy efficiency. The award was created by the Worcester Business Journal (WBJ) to recognize organizations ‘going the extra mile’ to make green choices. According to the WBJ, “We all know being in business is about making money.” “But thanks to technological advancement, and a realization that our global resources are finite, making sustainable choices can both ease the conscience and help the bottom line.” South High’s energy recovery wheels are estimated to reduce CO2 emissions by 265 tons annually which translates to approximately 353 lbs per student. “With the wheels integrated into the DX rooftop units, the installation went very well. We’ve also received positive comments about the improved indoor comfort and air quality,” said Mike Lescarbeau, Lindgren and Sharples.
With help from celebrity investors like Dan Aykroyd and Aerosmith, House of Blues has been an iconic franchise in live music since 1992. The popular Boston location that opened in 2009 next to Fenway Park is a prime spot for concerts and private events. A packed schedule that leaves little downtime for the repair of the club’s HVAC equipment means that reliability and ease of maintenance are extremely important factors when making purchasing decisions. In 2016, energy recovery wheels in two rooftop air-handlers became blocked after six years of exposure to airborne particulates. Comfortable indoor environment Although efforts were made to unclog the damaged wheels, cleaning in place was not an option due to concerns that water and cleaning fluids could damage the ductwork and ceilings below. Without working energy recovery wheels, the heating and cooling systems were forced to work overtime, at increased cost, to provide a comfortable indoor environment for the 2000-plus concert goers. At House of Blues, airborne particles from the large crowds continue to clog the new wheels The building’s service contractor, Cullen Mechanical, determined that the wheels were beyond repair and needed to be replaced. Cullen’s engineers knew from past experience that simply replacing the wheels without solving the cleaning problem would invite the same undesirable maintenance situation. At House of Blues, airborne particles from the large crowds, special effects vapors, and confetti would continue to clog the new wheels if the energy transfer matrix could not be periodically maintained. Energy transfer segments When selecting replacement wheels, Cullen prioritized both ease of installation and the ability to clean or replace the energy recovery matrix once the units were in operation. As they’ve done in the past, Cullen chose Airxchange aftermarket replacement energy recovery wheels as the best solution moving forward. Airxchange offers a unique wheel design that allows a single person to remove pie-shaped energy transfer segments with basic hand tools to be cleaned outside of the cabinet. The refresh capability of Airxchange wheels means that they can be cleaned as often as the application dictates and counted on to last for the life of the HVAC system. In contrast to Airxchange wheels, the only cleaning or repair solution for the original wheels at House of Blues was to replace the entire wheel structure every 5-6 years, at great time and expense to the building owner. Rooftop air-Handling units An engineer from Airxchange presented Cullen Mechanical with a 6-8 hour wheel replacement plan After an onsite visit, an engineer from Airxchange presented Cullen Mechanical with a 6-8 hour wheel replacement plan that minimized HVAC system downtime, ensuring that the two units would be operational for the start of that evening’s show. Because of constraints of the air-handler designs, which blocked the removal or installation of fully assembled wheels, Cullen selected replacement wheel kits from Airxchange. These replacement kits could be easily carried through the theater and up the stairs to be quickly assembled within the cabinet of the rooftop air-handling units. In contrast, bringing any other manufacturer’s similarly sized wheel to the same rooftop would invite the cost and complexity of having a police detail shut down the sidewalk on Boston’s busy Lansdowne Street in order to operate a crane. HVAC comfort applications The replacement wheels were fully assembled and tested at the factory before being partially dismantled to fit into the unique access points of the air-handlers. Once the old wheels were removed by the service contractor, the two Airxchange wheels were assembled inside of the cabinets in less than four hours. Cullen took additional steps to reduce their client’s energy costs and HVAC system downtime Recognizing that entertainment venues often require more frequent cleanings than traditional HVAC comfort applications, Cullen took additional steps to reduce their client’s energy costs and potential HVAC system downtime. In addition to installing a fully serviceable wheel, they also ordered a complete set of replacement segments for each unit. Energy recovery wheels With a spare segment set on hand, operators can save time and maintenance costs by completely restoring the performance of any wheel in about 15 minutes. Once removed, dirty segments can be restored and prepared for the next cleaning cycle by soaking overnight in a cleaning solution. After the first successful winter in operation Cullen reports that the replacement wheels have lived up to the Airxchange Replacement Solutions motto; ‘Restore, Replace, Relax.’ And though there may be plenty of sad songs performed on their stage, the facility crew at House of Blues can now whistle a happy tune when it comes to maintaining their new energy recovery wheels.
The YMCA Association of Greater Rochester, New York, is one of the oldest associations in the United States. They currently have fifteen thriving locations built over the last century that range in size from 50,000 to more than 70,000 square feet. While the size and age of the facilities vary, high standards for energy efficiency and indoor air quality (IAQ) are key objectives in the design, construction, and operation of these buildings. "Good indoor air quality is very important" notes Eastside Family YMCA Executive Director Kevin Fitzpatrick. "Our members are quick to note if there is a problem." Indoor air pollution Indoor air quality is a constant challenge at a fitness center. Pollutants are present everywhere. In some respects, the effects of indoor air pollution are heightened in fitness centers because occupants are breathing heavily during workouts and inhaling more air through their mouths; this air forgoes the filters in the nose and travels deeper into the lungs. There is also a risk of mold growth and odor from sweaty garments and towels in the locker room There is also a risk of mold growth and odor from sweaty garments and towels in the locker room, or from moist air emanating from a swimming area. The work to mitigate the odors and air quality hazards associated with any fitness center requires diligence and careful planning. For example, the Eastside Family YMCA, the newest and largest branch in the Rochester Association, opens as early as 5:00 am and closes at 10:30 pm on weekdays. Healthy indoor environment After hours, cleaning crews work to refresh the space while ventilation operates 24/7 to keep the facility fresh and odor free. Even before the day-to-day upkeep of a facility, the managers of these modern fitness centers proactively specified HVAC solutions at the construction or renovation phases to ensure a clean and healthy environment. Exhausting contaminated air and continually replacing it with fresh outside air is an effective method of maintaining a healthy indoor environment. The drawback to high ventilation rates is increased heating and cooling costs to replace the exhausted air. Facilities can marginalize these increased costs, however, by utilizing an energy recovery ventilation (ERV) solution that can reduce outdoor air energy costs up to 80%. Outdoor energy challenges Airxchange wheels have proven reliable in multiple buildings over a number of years" All branches of the Rochester YMCA Association use ERV systems to overcome the outdoor energy challenges presented by Rochester's cold winters and hot, humid summers. According to Christopher Marks, Vice President of Properties, the association leadership team prefers Airxchange for all new installations because of their excellent reliability. "Airxchange wheels have proven reliable in multiple buildings over a number of years. We will specify Airxchange wheels in all buildings that utilize an ERV." Including ERVs in their buildings during construction or renovation allows the HVAC system designers to specify smaller and more efficient heating and cooling units, reducing the upfront cost and enabling the high ventilation rates that provide clean, healthy air. Unitary rooftop system The Eastside facility is an award winning building, recognized by the national YMCA as a ‘Top Ten’ building in the USA. At that facility, the Child Watch, gym, locker rooms and community spaces are all ventilated using energy recovery wheels as part of the commercial unitary rooftop system. "In the eight years since this HVAC system was installed, there have been no maintenance issues, and system reliability has been excellent," adds Fitzpatrick. The robust energy recovery performance of the Airxchange wheels also resulted in them being specified for an upcoming addition to the facility. When the addition is completed, the facility will be a total of 105,000 sq. ft., making it the largest branch in the region. Gas heat exchangers LaBella Associates chose to pretreat incoming outside air with energy recovery According to the principal engineers who designed the addition to the Eastside YMCA, Kathleen VanderZwaag and Casey Bernhard of LaBella Associates, because of the many energy savings measures used on the project, including energy recovery, the facility was awarded rebates from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) that assisted in reducing the up-front costs of the new space. They also note that Labella uses ERVs in any building where repurposing the energy in exhaust air allows them to reduce the size of the heating and cooling units. At the Eastside YMCA, LaBella Associates chose to pretreat incoming outside air with energy recovery in order to raise the temperature of the air on a winter design day, reducing the load of the gas heat exchangers. Enhancing patron experience LaBella has had great success with Airxchange over the last decade and continues to specify their products on new projects in the region. The fresh, clean air that enhances the patron experience is the result of the attention to air quality by the entire Rochester YMCA Association. These buildings are bright, airy, and inviting family destination. The proactive approach to building design and maintenance offers a fine example for any fitness center.
Round table discussion
Shifting demographics suggest a need for ‘new blood’ in the HVAC industry. It has never been a more important time to attract new applicants into the industry. Fortunately, there is a range of exciting opportunities for applicants of any age, including new disciplines and skills needed as HVAC systems transform in the digital age. We asked our Expert Panel Roundtable: What are the emerging career opportunities in the HVAC industry?
The practice of working from home soared during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and many observers see a likely continuation of the trend, as infection risks gradually subside. Both environments – home and office – depend on HVAC systems to keep occupants comfortable (and safe!). Therefore, the industry stands to be impacted whichever way the trend plays out. We asked our Expert Panel Roundtable: How will remote working affect residential and commercial HVAC?
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects embedded with sensors, software and other technologies to facilitate connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the internet. Use of the IoT is expanding among both business and residential applications. However, there are hurdles to overcome, including security, privacy and networking challenges. As more HVAC devices embrace the IoT, we asked our Expert Panel Roundtable: What is the impact of the Internet of Things (IoT) on the HVAC market?
Residential HVAC: Manufacturers & Suppliers
- Bryant Residential HVAC
- American Standard Residential HVAC
- Trane Residential HVAC
- Goodman Residential HVAC
- Marley Engineered Products Residential HVAC
- Rheem Residential HVAC
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- Lennox Residential HVAC
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- YORK Residential HVAC
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- Bosch Thermotechnology Residential HVAC
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