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 ha...
Around the world, advanced building automation systems (BAS) in smart buildings are driving demand for smarter HVAC systems. Modern HVAC systems can improve energy efficiency and mitigate potential health problems associated with indoor air quality and ventilation. In fact, HVAC improvements and building controls are expected to be a big U.S. investment in 2021. But capitalizing on this opportunity will take more than smarter HVAC systems. It’ll require a smarter approach to communication...
Volvo Group North America recently received a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Better Plants Better Practice Award for preventing and reducing waste at several North American facilities. The Volvo Group was chosen among a record number of applicants to receive the honor. The Better Practice Award is presented to partners for innovative and industry-leading accomplishments in implementing and promoting practices, principles and procedures of energy management. The Volvo Group implemented several...
Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors Corporation have revealed new details of their innovative heat pump system, deployed in Hyundai and Kia's global electric vehicle (EV) line-up to maximize their all-electric driving range in low temperatures. Hyundai and Kia's heat pumps are a renowned heat management innovation that maximizes the distance that Hyundai and Kia EVs can travel on a single charge, scavenging waste heat to warm the cabin. It enables EV drivers to heat their car's cabin in cold w...
Kiwi Energy, a New York and Ohio energy supplier providing environmentally conscious products, is pleased to announce that they have partnered with Cinch Home Services in order to offer new customers HVAC protection for their homes. The service will be incorporated as part of Kiwi Energy's Kiwi Guard product. They will soon offer a full suite of additional services for the home through the Cinch partnership. The premier offering available through the Cinch partnership will provide new customers...
IT Tech Packaging, Inc., a globally renowned manufacturer and distributor of diversified paper products in North China, has announced that its operating entity in China, Hebei Baoding Dongfang Paper Milling Company Limited (Dongfang Paper), expects to launch the construction of a combined heat and power generation project utilizing biomass technology (Biomass CHP project) with the total construction area of 80,373 square meters which is located in its Wei County production base. Biomass CHP Th...
Emerson introduced two new compressed air dryers designed to significantly extend maintenance intervals, minimize downtime and reduce energy costs in rail applications, including brakes and door control. Typically, air dryers have an average service interval of less than two years. The AVENTICSTM RDD (Roll-Up Dessicant Drying) and RDDmin air dryers, have a service interval of eight years or 25,000 operating hours. The new products feature a proprietary adsorption medium that removes humidity from compressed air systems more efficiently, reducing energy usage with a smaller envelope size and weight. The dryers’ shock and vibration resistant design further enhances their reliability in tough rail applications. brake control circuit Humidity in compressed air can cause corrosion and ice blockages at low temperatures, often disabling door systems or freezing valves in the brake control circuit. Until now, conventional dryer systems relied on a granular adsorption medium. The shocks and vibrations that occur during rail operations cause channeling, air bypass and dust generation, which leads to a significant loss in drying performance. Emerson’s AVENTICS RDD technology uses adsorbent crystals immobilized in a durable polymer support structure Consequently, the dew point increases. High water loading can cause a breakdown of the granulate bed resulting in frequent material changes and a reduced service life. To solve these problems, Emerson’s AVENTICS RDD technology uses adsorbent crystals immobilized in a durable polymer support structure, which is produced in a continuously embossed sheet and rolled up to tightly fit into a barrel-type housing for high shock and vibration resistance. excessive water loading Unlike competing products using desiccant beats, the AVENTICS dryers resist excessive water loading and fully recover afterwards. This ensures constant performance throughout the lifetime of the product and reduced life-cycle costs. The RDD dryer is used for main air supplies on trains, whereas the RDDmini is used for auxiliary air supply, to driver seats for example. The efficient design means that the overall envelope size for both dryers is half that of other dryers currently available on the market, allowing for smaller envelope sizes and lower unit weight. The moisture uptake allows for a much higher efficiency air consumption rate of less than 15%, which reduces energy costs. Purge loss typically ranges above 20% for conventional products.
There is a demonstratable link between humidity and the infectivity and longevity of a variety of viruses, such as influenza and coronaviruses, according to a new whitepaper by Munters, a globally renowned company in energy-efficient and sustainable air treatment solutions. Titled ‘How Humidity Control Can Reduce Viral Infectivity and Longevity’, the scientific report addresses how it is possible to reduce the transmission and longevity of harmful viruses by controlling indoor Relative Humidity (RH) levels. ‘How Humidity Control Can Reduce Viral Infectivity’ The paper is based on gathered research, including studies on the efficiency of respiratory droplet transmission at humidity and temperature, virus survival and transmission at absolute humidity levels, and the effect of environmental parameters on the survival of airborne infectious agents. Among the most notable and timely findings, the research demonstrates that at RH levels between 40 and 50%, many types of common and harmful viruses such as influenza and coronaviruses are rendered inert much more quickly than at RH levels of less than 20%. “Viruses that cause respiratory illnesses are often transmitted by viral particles through coughing, sneezing, talking and breathing,” said Martin Ginty, Global Pharmaceutical Industry Manager for Munters. Controlling indoor Relative Humidity (RH) levels By effectively controlling indoor climates, it is possible to limit the transmission of harmful viruses" Martin adds, “Research referenced in our whitepaper suggests that maintaining an indoor RH% level between 40 and 50% yields the maximum protective effect from both aerosolized and settled virus particles and that by maintaining these levels, it is possible to contribute to a healthier, safer environment.” “This evidence is particularly relevant in locations where winter tends to consist of low outdoor temperatures and low indoor humidity, as these conditions offer a favorable environment for viral transmission,” added Ginty. Martin further said, “By effectively controlling indoor climates in these locations, it is possible to limit the transmission of harmful viruses.” Maintaining target RH levels Maintaining target RH levels can be accomplished using humidity control solutions which facilitate precise RH control for indoor environments. Furthermore, the whitepaper concludes that humidity control is always useful, but particularly during a typical ‘flu season,’ where outdoor temperatures and absolute humidity tend to be lower.
Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) and the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) announces the successful completion of two joint energy efficiency projects. In total, the projects are saving the university 66,000 therms of energy every year. The reduction in energy use equates to removing about 350 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, the same as a reduction of 866,516 miles driven by passenger vehicles per year. Both projects were part of California's joint Energy Efficiency Partnership between state universities and investor-owned utilities. Energy efficiency programs Over the last five years, SoCalGas has supported over 184 energy efficiency projects, saving university campuses over 6,000,000 therms of energy, a $6 million savings, and providing over $6,300,000 in incentives through this state program. In 2013, the University of California (UC) system announced its Carbon Neutrality Initiative, which commits UC to emitting net zero greenhouse gases from its buildings and vehicle fleet by 2025, something no other major university system has done. SoCalGas' energy efficiency programs support the campus and their ambitious conservation goals. Energy efficiency solutions Whole-building energy efficiency projects at UCSB have proven to be strong financial investments" "SoCalGas is committed to providing affordable, clean energy solutions to our customers," said Brian Prusnek, director of customer programs and assistance at SoCalGas. "We value our partnership with the UC and CSU university systems, and through our energy efficiency solutions, we are working together to lower utility bills and curb carbon emissions." "Whole-building energy efficiency projects at UCSB have proven to be strong financial investments and have helped us create more comfortable, safer, and more controllable environments for campus end users," said Jordan Sager, energy manager at UCSB. "SoCalGas has been a great partner to work with on these projects from start to finish." Energy management plan The first of the two UCSB projects began in 2018 as part of the university's high opportunity projects and programs (HOPP's) initiative. SoCalGas and Southern California Edison co-funded the project, which investigated how best to update two important laboratories at the university. The utilities conducted an energy management plan to document and list the savings, costs and measures to implement an energy efficient system. The utilities identified multiple measures to reduce energy consumption in the building's lighting and HVAC systems by installing occupancy sensors, wireless thermostats and low-power LED lights. The campus also added high efficiency dedicated natural gas boilers to each building. A new chilled water system including a cooling tower, and pumps were also installed. Building-Level metered energy data SoCalGas continues to be a pioneer in researching and developing new technologies Following the installation of the energy efficient system, the utilities verified the energy systems using the Normalized Metered Energy Consumption (NMEC) approach, which uses building-level metered energy data to verify savings. The project resulted in natural gas savings of 60,959 therms, and the university received an incentive from SoCalGas of $152,000. UCSB also installed an ozone laundry system to support their laundering of uniforms and sports gear for the university's athletic department which was eligible for a rebate from SoCalGas in the amount of $5,850 and will save the university approximately 5,880 therms of energy. SoCalGas continues to be a pioneer in researching and developing new technologies that improve energy efficiency and protect the environment. Over the past five years, SoCalGas energy efficiency programs delivered more than 204 million therms in energy savings, enough natural gas usage for 125,000 households a year, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by over 1,000,000 metric tons, the equivalent of removing more than 230,000 cars from the road annually. These advances have also helped save SoCalGas customers nearly $225 million in utility bill costs.
Alfa Laval, globally renowned company in heat transfer, centrifugal separation and fluid handling technology, has signed two frame agreements, running over the coming three years, for ballast water treatment systems. Alfa Laval PureBallast 3 The agreements comprise firm orders to deliver Alfa Laval PureBallast 3 to about 40 vessels, with options covering another 40 systems. Even as the shipping industry has been heavily hit by the current pandemic, Alfa Laval has continued working closely with its marine customers to secure their daily operations and keep them prepared for tomorrow. We are proud to have secured these orders - especially in these challenging times" "We are proud to have secured these orders - especially in these challenging times," said Sameer Kalra, President of the Marine Division at Alfa Laval, adding "This confirms PureBallast 3's status as a market-renowned solution, while also proving that our focus on business continuity has been successful. We have worked hard to ensure that we remain close to our customers and can support them when they need us, despite the limitations imposed by the pandemic." The value of the firm orders is approximately SEK 100 million, including Alfa Laval PureBallast 3 systems and in some cases, also deck houses and booster pump units. The orders will be booked in the Marine Separation & Heat Transfer unit. Energy efficient and heat recovery solutions expert Ships sailing in international waters are obliged to carry a ballast water cleaning system on board, to prevent invasive species potentially wiping out local ecosystems. Alfa Laval's innovative technologies are dedicated to purifying, refining, and reusing materials, promoting more responsible use of natural resources. They contribute to improved energy efficiency and heat recovery, better water treatment, and reduced emissions. The company is not only accelerating success for its customers, but also for the global population and the planet.
Building technology industries veteran Mike Fischer has joined Armstrong Fluid Technology as Commercial Director and Country Leader, USA. In this role he will be responsible for all sales and sales support functions for the United States and will report directly to Joachim Schulz, Global Commercial Director, Building Business. Executive management positions Fischer brings more than 30 years of experience working with the organizations focused on building technology. In his 29 years with Honeywell he held several executive management positions with the company’s Building Technologies, Building Products and Life Safety divisions. Most recently, he served as Global HBS Service Sales Leader with Honeywell Building Solutions. Fischer has an MBA from Texas Christian University, and a Bachelor of Science degree from Central Michigan University.
Honeywell and Dimer LLC announced a partnership to bring an ultraviolet cleaning (UVC) system to airlines that, when properly applied, significantly reduces certain viruses and bacteria on airplane cabin surfaces. The Honeywell UV Cabin System can treat an aircraft cabin in less than 10 minutes for just a few dollars per flight for midsize to large airline fleets. "This offering is a big win for our airline customers, which are seeking affordable ways to clean their cabins effectively and quickly between flights," said Mike Madsen, Honeywell Aerospace President and CEO. "Honeywell is working on a range of solutions to help make passengers more comfortable about flying." hospital-grade technology Honeywell is accepting orders for the UV Cabin System now with the first shipments coming in July. Pricing will vary based on quantity, but for midsize to large airlines with hundreds or more aircraft, Honeywell's system could be applied to their aircraft for less than $10 per use. "Working with Honeywell puts this technology in the hands of a worldwide aerospace leader that can quickly deliver to airlines and other aircraft operators," said Elliot M. Kreitenberg, Co-Founder and President of Dimer LLC. "As the travel industry begins to recover, we know hospital-grade technology will ease passenger concerns, and that's what we're providing with this system." protection against COVID-19 Honeywell is currently in discussions with multiple airlines and service providers for the UV Cabin System The Honeywell UV Cabin System is roughly the size of an aircraft beverage cart and has UVC light arms that extend over the top of seats and sweep the cabin to treat aircraft surfaces. Properly applied, UVC lights deliver doses that medical studies find reduce various viruses and bacteria, including SARS CoV and MERS CoV. Results vary based on UV dosage and application, and no testing has been done specifically on protection against COVID-19. Dimer and Honeywell have entered into a worldwide, exclusive license as part of a strategic partnership for Honeywell to produce, advertise and sell portable UV technology devices for use within the aerospace industry. UV Cabin System Honeywell is currently in discussions with multiple airlines and service providers for the UV Cabin System. UVC has been used in hospitals, air and water filters, microbiology labs, and other applications. Most household lamps have between 500 and 700 nanometers (nm) of ultraviolet light. In comparison, UVC refers to ultraviolet light with wavelengths between 200 and 280 nm.
Today’s homes are built with more insulation than ever and are known for being airtight. While this practice lowers energy bills, harmful contaminants are also kept in, which reduces the overall indoor air quality (IAQ). The effects of poor IAQ are most acute in areas of high humidity or uncontrolled moisture, such as the bathroom. Accumulation of these substances can result in health problems and mold growth as well as the deterioration of furniture and paint. Contractors make great efforts to prevent these dangerous conditions through proper ventilation. In fact, state and local governments also mandate ventilation – instilling it into the building code. For decades, ventilation was achieved through the ubiquitous AC, or alternating current ventilation, fans. The last decade has given rise to DC, or direct current, fans that offer contractors and homeowners more efficient and feature-rich options. In summary, DC motor technology provides reliability, functionality, quietness and energy efficiency. Unparalleled Reliability DC motors are engineered to outlast typical AC motor models by as much as 70 percent. Testing often involves running fans continuously under harsh conditions. These assessments have shown that DC brushless fans can run a minimum of 70,000 hours – the equivalent of eight years straight – without any disruption to performance. DC motors are smarter than traditional AC options Cutting-Edge Functionality DC motors are smarter than traditional AC options because they incorporate a PCB or printed circuit board. PCBs allow software to be written into the fan for greater functionality. They enable valuable features, like humidity sensors and motion sensors. PCBs also enable safety precautions like lock protection, which stop power to the motor when it becomes jammed. In addition, a PCB can preserve the life of the motor by powering it on gradually through what is known as a “soft-start” function. Much like a car’s engine, aggressive stops and starts can decrease the life of a motor. Unlike AC fans, DC fans can come pre-programed with this start and stop functionality. DC motors are engineered to outlast typical AC motor models Virtually Silent Operation Ventilation fans are infamous for creating loud noise and disrupting peace in the bathroom. Not operating the fan can lead to mold and mildew, however. Rental properties are often an unwitting victim, since tenants are less inclined to run a loud bath fan since they don’t have a stake in the property. A virtually silent fan will encourage regular use, saving building owners substantial repair costs. DC motor fans are known for their quiet operation, with many fans rated at less than 0.3 sones – the lowest possible sound rating in the industry. This can be quieter than many kitchen refrigerators. An Energy-Efficient Marvel A state-of-the-art DC motor fan uses up to 85 percent less electricity than an AC model A state-of-the-art DC motor fan uses up to 85 percent less electricity than an AC model. This can save homeowners, businesses and landlords on their energy bills. Due to their many benefits, DC fans are among the most efficient ventilation fans available. Many exceed ENERGY STAR® requirements for efficiency – the industry benchmark set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – by as much as 350 percent. Homeowners and tenants want the bathroom to feel serene, comfortable and appear aesthetically pleasing. Ventilation fans can easily be overlooked in a large construction project, but are the unsung hero of IAQ. DC fan solutions can safeguard long-term health, preserve structural integrity and maintain a bathroom’s tranquility for years to come. As sustainability and efficiency come into focus in new construction and remodeling projects, the adoption of DC fans will only continue to gain pace.
Residential HVAC is a fulfilling business to be in. Whether be it servicing a furnace or installing an air conditioning unit, the individual is doing important work to help keep families in the community safe and comfortable. The work also comes with perks such as good margins, some great customers, and the ability to set varying pricing and schedule. If an individual is in a growing business in this space, chances are that they have seen more than a few hectic days. Days where it becomes difficult to juggle crews, instruct technicians on necessary job details, and answer client calls, all at the same time. In theory, this chaotic day-to-day is a good problem to have. In practice, it can get really tiring, pretty fast. Robust system to streamline operations The work can be extremely overwhelming and if the right systems aren’t in place, the business could suffer. Lines of communication can get crossed and if time is being spent working on the wrong things, the individual could miss out on opportunities to grow. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing a high growth HVAC business, by applying the right operational strategies, businesses can flourish. Coordinating requests while dispatching techs out to do work is where many administrators and operations managers hit a roadblock in business growth. This is precisely why businesses need to implement software that lets them track jobs, view technician schedules, and flag new jobs to crew members all in one place. This will eliminate the need to play ‘phone tag’ across the organization, which in turn will keep operations running smoothly and reduce manual errors. What’s more, if the software allows techs to automatically trigger an invoice that customers can pay on the spot, businesses can avoid hours of chasing down past-due payments and create a better cash flow. mobile apps: Picking The right software Businesses are encouraged to choose software with a mobile app where customers can enter the payment type Businesses are encouraged to choose software with a mobile app where customers can enter the payment type, such as cash, check, credit, debit and a receipt can be automatically emailed to customers. This will also cut out out-of-date operations, while giving businesses access to what they need (schedules, work orders, customer information and more) at anytime from anywhere. Having a central hub for keeping everything organized also creates the operational flexibility needed to take on work. To ensure businesses don’t have to turn new jobs down due to delayed responses or scheduling issues, a crew member can be kept flexible for this task. In order to do this right, businesses need to calculate how much emergency work they’re losing due to unavailability and adjust accordingly, by creating a schedule with allotted time. Spacing out work won’t impact the number of scheduled installs and replacements retained, while giving businesses added time and revenue to take on emergency repairs. This strategy is only doable if businesses have the requisite software that can provide an accurate and full look into employees’ workloads. pricing services Research Is Important A business in high-growth mode needs to ensure their pricing reflects the services being offered. This can be done with researching of other companies in the area that are charging for the same services offered, so that the business can have a number to compare to when setting prices and also prepare to justify higher price to customers. Setting prices higher can be advantageous for a business, if they can show customers the differentiators. Most people want work done right, and an added premium that ensures top service often won’t turn them away. Additionally, it’s important to make sure all expenses are covered, down to the credit card fees. When pricing services, businesses need to build a file of overhead expenses, then determine the percentage profit want to charge clients. Different jobs require unique services, so prices should reflect that Varied pricing per customer Different jobs require unique services, so prices should reflect that. A business might charge more for commercial clients than homeowners. These minor adjustments will ensure that a business makes the profit that the work deserves. Feedback is also very important for repeat orders. If a business is not getting repeat clients due to pricing, they should keep that in mind when building profit margins. Pricing shouldn’t be static, continuous adjustments has to be made where it makes sense and extra time invested to do the research. Ensuring exceptional customer service It’s important to set up systems and expectations for teams to follow right out of the gate With business growth also comes customer growth, and for residential HVAC companies that physically go into a customer’s home, it’s crucial that their services reflect the highest quality. It’s important to set up systems and expectations for teams to follow right out of the gate. Helping crews do their best work from a technical and customer service perspective by establishing guidelines for what the business wants every homeowner to experience is the key. Open lines of communication Aside from ensuring that the crew keeps a clean workplace, keeping open lines of communication with customers should be a top priority for businesses. This can be as simple as answering the phone and getting a technician to a job site as soon as possible. Often, customers come from positions of stress due to broken equipment, so having quick response time is a key differentiator between good and bad service. A good solution for this is to evolve into automating key communications that allow techs to send ‘on my way’ text messages. How a business interacts with customers is a key signifier into how the company operates, so businesses need to ensure that have the best customer service practices in place. Never take valuable employees for granted While it sounds simple, a high-growth business needs reliable employees to scale, so that their competition does not swoop in and scoop up an employee who doesn’t feel valued. As business ramps up, it’s easy to miss that technicians are not being dispatched to jobs that they enjoy. If employees are constantly doing a job because they’re good at it and they don’t feel fulfilled doing that specific job, at the end of the day, they are not going to be happy. To avoid losing employees, businesses should take the time to ask what jobs they like to do and see if they can accommodate schedules to reflect their preferences. employee retention And loyalty A crucial factor in building a top performing team is employee retention and loyalty A crucial factor in building a top performing team is employee retention and loyalty. Businesses should focus on creating a great atmosphere to work in. This includes keeping a pulse on what’s happening in the team’s personal lives and use that to show appreciation in meaningful ways. One way to do this is by investing in the team’s education. For example, paying tuition fees for techs so they can get new certifications and licensing. These types of gestures show that the business cares about the success of their employees, while also helping them retain the most qualified crew members. Incorporating software solutions and automating tedious tasks Developing a high-growth residential HVAC company doesn’t have to be stressful if businesses know what systems and processes to implement to better manage operations. By adopting strategies that incorporate software solutions, like Jobber, to streamline operations, automate tedious tasks and improve customer communications, the opportunity for growth is more accessible for businesses. Organizations should focus on creating a solid operational system by doing research before pricing services, keeping customer service a top priority and not letting great employees slip away. All these strategies will work together to help maximize business growth.
The profound impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the HVAC industry is being felt by all of us in the HVAC industry. The current challenges and threats have been well documented and, unfortunately, will continue to evolve over the coming days, weeks and months. However, as with many tragic events, there can be positive changes that come from this tragedy. One of these positive changes will be the more rapid development and deployment of smart HVAC systems and remote asset management solutions. Data and solutions to building owners Although the development of technologies for smarter, more connected buildings has been underway for some time, it is now being accelerated by the need for social distancing and remote working conditions. It’s now more critical than ever that HVAC systems learn, predict and optimize so they can provide critical data and solutions to building owners and other HVAC professionals remotely before problems occur. And, once potential problems or challenges are identified, experts must be able to communicate digitally with technicians onsite in real time to provide virtual assistance and troubleshooting. The technology can detect dead-heading, excessive heating, broken coupling, cavitation, excessive vibration How can we accomplish this task under such difficult conditions? Different manufacturers offer a variety of solutions. At Armstrong Fluid Technology we call it Active Performance Management. Active Performance Management At its heart, Active Performance Management is a new approach to maximizing performance in building systems through a combination of actively seeking system insights and applying those to improved performance. The technology aspect consists of connecting intelligent pumps with other critical HVAC components via cloud-computing to provide critical diagnostic analytics to building owners and managers through a neuro network. This allows the system to learn, predict and optimize in real time so it can alert building managers to potential issues and predictive maintenance needs well before they become a pressing problem. The technology can detect dead-heading, excessive heating, broken coupling, cavitation, excessive vibration and many other potential issues before they become costly problems. Digitization, digitalization via cloud computing, HVAC and building systems will exchange data, leading to smart building Equally important, it tracks such important operating efficiency data as energy savings, CO2 savings and much more.Over time, HVAC systems experience ‘operational drift’ as various components begin to operate less efficiently.This ‘drift’ can result in 30-40% wasted energy. By detecting and even predicting when this drift may begin to occur we can maintain peak performance and achieve significant energy and cost savings. Fifth Wave of Technology We believe the HVAC industry is experiencing a Fifth Wave of Technology that is being fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic. This Fifth Wave is the decentralization of decision making which consists of adding ‘brains’ to equipment at all levels (pumps, heat exchangers, valves, etc.) to enable cross communications and create the neuro network mentioned previously. By providing a higher authority to lower level equipment, the analytics and decision making process is distributed throughout the larger group. This augments a building’s BAS system and provides combined brain power with more accurate data. When enabled by digitization and digitalization and connected via cloud computing, all HVAC and building systems will exchange data, leading to smart buildings – i.e. lighting systems talking to HVAC systems. Smart buildings will lead to smart cities that consist of similar buildings, all connected and learning from one another to further optimize performance and save energy. It’s now more critical than ever that HVAC systems learn, predict and optimize Remote Asset Management It is no longer necessary for technicians to go to the jobsite to check the system’s operation But what has all of this to do with the COVID-19 pandemic and the accelerated change we are now seeing? The data and analytics provided by Active Performance Management services are available to building managers remotely any time, anywhere, via cell phones, laptops and other connected devices. Now that many people are working remotely it is more important than ever that they have all the data and analytics they need at their fingertips.It is no longer necessary for technicians to go to the jobsite to check the system’s operation and/or switch control modes between manual, automatic, BAS or IO. And although this Remote Asset Management capability has been available for a while, it seems many building managers are hesitant to fully trust these systems and/or have the need for hands-on operation. Possible to cost-effectively upgrade existing pumps and system components into intelligent systems Switching Manual and Automatic modes In some instances, systems are put into manual mode for servicing but are never switched back to automatic mode. When this happens managers and building owners don’t realize all of the benefits and energy savings possible There are also instances where building managers don’t have intelligent pumps and components installed and think they don’t have the budgets to upgrade. However, it is now possible to cost-effectively upgrade existing pumps and system components into intelligent systems. Whatever the case, we are seeing more and more building managers and maintenance professionals feeling much more confident and accepting of these intelligent systems now that they must observe social distancing. Augmented reality app that even allows both parties to draw on their screens and highlight various system parts Digital Trouble-Shooting Tools But what happens when a potential problem or an emergency situation develops and it is necessary for the technician to speak with a system expert? Thanks to new technology, mobile apps now exist that allow both parties to video chat so the technician can show the expert exactly what is happening with the system. They can collaborate in real-time and even see what button they need to push or valve they need to turn. There is a brand new augmented reality app that even allows both parties to draw on their screens and highlight various system parts. Here again, we are seeing more and more customers that are feeling increasingly comfortable with remote service calls and probably will prefer this method moving forward. What Does The Future Hold? Although no one knows what the long-term effect of the COVID-19 pandemic will have on the HVAC industry, we believe the positive outcomes will be customers more willing and accepting of intelligent systems, a greater comfort level with remote analytics and an embracement of remote diagnostic troubleshooting. And of course, this will result in greater energy savings, greater cost savings and reduction in CO2 emissions worldwide. So, there is some good news that will come from this unfortunate pandemic afterall.
The American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act of 2019 would provide an orderly national framework to guide replacement of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) over the next several years in the United States, with newer refrigerants that have less negative impact on the environment. HFCs are potent greenhouse gases with very high global warming potential. The future of the HVAC industry is tied to the manufacture of next-generation refrigerants and their adoption. Versions of the AIM Act – Senate bill S.2754 and House bill H.R.5544 – are currently in the Senate Environment and Public Works and the House Energy and Commerce committees. The global market is moving away from the use of HFC refrigerants, given that the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol requires their phaseout; however, the United States has not ratified the Kigali Amendment. Over the next 15 years, the AIM Act would phase down HFC to a low of 15% of current production and consumption levels. In addition, aftermarket supplies from recovery, recycling and reclaiming would ensure adequate availability of the refrigerants for use in legacy systems and in applications for which substitutes are not available. Economic Stimulus For The U.S. HVACR Industry The Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) contends passing the act would “serve as a potent form of economic stimulus for the U.S. HVACR industry,” in addition to providing clarity on the regulatory landscape. The AIM Act would create new manufacturing jobs in the United States, spur HVACR investment in the U.S. economy, and ensure the continued safety and training of licensed HVACR professionals, experts say. Over the next 15 years, the AIM Act would phase down HFC to a low of 15% of current production and consumption levels The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) support the federal approach to an HFC phasedown as preferable to a state-by-state approach, urging Congress to include preemption language in the AIM Act that would require states to follow a federal HFC phasedown schedule for the residential HVACR market. Addressing Safety Concerns Safety concerns arise with the introduction of A2L mildly flammable refrigerants as part of the next phase down of HFCs. ACCA says a unified approach across the United States will ensure the introduction of A2L refrigerants is done safely. Commercial and industrial HVAC markets have been using flammable refrigerants for years; however, building codes and safety standards in the residential market do not currently allow their use. ACCA also urges inclusion of language in the AIM Act to strengthen EPA certification programs and restrict the sale of HVACR systems and refrigerants to only trained and certified individuals. “If Congress does not provide the EPA the authority to regulate and implement an HFC phasedown, then the EPA may not be able to implement training and certification programs or restrict the sale of dangerous products to unqualified people,” according to testimony the ACCA submitted to the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Ending "Dumping" The future of the HVAC industry is tied to the manufacture of next-generation refrigerants The AIM Act would also seek to end the practice of “dumping,” in which foreign manufacturers export inferior products to the United States that are priced below the cost of manufacture. The AIM Act would restrict the import of HFCs as part of the production and consumption phasedown. However, the non-profit Competitive Enterprise Institute (CSI) rejects the need for the AIM Act. “The free market provides the best policy answer,” writes Ben Lieberman, CEI Senior Fellow. “Let the new refrigerants and equipment compete with the current ones, rather than favoring one over the other [through legislation].”
Members of a family were eating lunch in a restaurant in Guangzhou, China, seated at a table below an air outlet and return air inlet for the central air conditioner. At another table sat a family who had just traveled from Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. There was another family seated at a third table. One of the diners experienced the onset of fever and cough later in the day and went to the hospital, later diagnosed with COVID-19. That was on Jan. 24, 2020. By February 5 – some 12 days later – a total of nine others from the three families had become ill with COVID-19. The only known source of exposure for the affected persons was at the restaurant, and researchers have singled out droplet transmission prompted by air-conditioned ventilation as a likely means of the virus transmission. COVID-19 droplet transmission The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting on the case under the title “COVID-19 Outbreak Associated with Air Conditioning in Restaurant, Guangzhou, China, 2020.” Examination of the potential routes for transmission of the disease in this instance concluded that the most likely cause of the outbreak was droplet transmission. Furthermore, researchers theorize that strong airflow from the air conditioner could have propagated droplets among the three tables. Lower concentrations of aerosols might have been insufficient at greater distances to cause infection This route of transmission is probable because the people at the other two affected tables were further than 1m away, say researchers, beyond the usual range for large droplet transmission. Generally, larger respiratory droplets remain in the air for only a short time and travel only short distances, 1m or less. Also, in this case, pre-symptomatic transmission is likely, since the initial patient was asymptomatic during the lunch. Aerosol Transmission Appears Less Likely Virus-laden smaller aerosolized droplets can remain in the air and travel longer distances; however, none of the staff or other diners in the restaurant were infected, which makes this route of transmission less likely. Because aerosols tend to follow the airflow, lower concentrations of aerosols might have been insufficient at greater distances to cause infection in other parts of the restaurant. Avoiding recirculating indoor air “We conclude that in this outbreak, droplet transmission was prompted by air-conditioned ventilation,” say the researchers. “The key factor for infection was the direction of the airflow. To prevent spread of COVID-19 in restaurants, we recommend strengthening temperature-monitoring surveillance, increasing the distance between tables, and improving ventilation.” Researchers also point to the value of daylight to impact the viability of germs The research was conducted by the Department of Control and Prevention for Infectious Disease at the Guangzhou Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The case supports recommendations by experts at the University of Oregon and the University of California, Davis, to take care not to recirculate indoor air which could increase potential contamination. Impact of natural light on novel coronavirus Rather, bringing more air from outside and using higher rates of air exchanged can help to dilute indoor contaminants, including viral particles. A solution might be as simple as opening a window. Researchers also point to the value of daylight to impact the viability of germs in an indoor environment. However, they say more research is needed to fully understand the impact indoors of natural light on the novel coronavirus.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, HVAC systems have been at the center of concerns such as indoor air quality and the need to minimize potential exposure. At the local level, HVAC installers have increased their efforts to keep equipment and supplies clean, and technicians are wearing gloves and masks as protection to keep customers safe. Many HVAC companies have also sought to give back to local communities hard-hit by the pandemic. As an industry, HVAC has remained committed to maximizing service to communities, and to each individual customer. Pandemic response For example, Johnson Controls has been part of the pandemic response from the beginning. The company first responded to the developing crisis in Wuhan, China, where local personnel worked to fulfill urgent needs for new hospitals. Local personnel worked to fulfill urgent needs for new hospitals As the pandemic evolved, Johnson Controls also implemented local and regional contingency plans across the globe to ensure employee safety and customer support. “As a global company, we have been addressing this crisis from the very start and are proud of our frontline leadership responding in every corner of the world,” says George Oliver, Johnson Controls Chairman and CEO. He pledged the company will do whatever is needed to keep essential products, services and personnel up and running. Helping Hospitals Johnson Controls’ products and services in the HVAC category are essential to hospitals and operating rooms and are a necessary component for operation of almost all the Critical Infrastructure Sectors recognized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Properly ventilated buildings are critical to improve air quality and prevent the spread of disease and secondary infection. According to Johnson Controls, it is essential to maintain systems and keep them in service where people continue to live and work. Industrial refrigeration is also vital in markets ranging from food and beverage processing to the petrochemical industry. Here is another example of the HVAC community’s involvement in responding to the COVID-19 crisis: AAON, a semi-custom commercial HVAC equipment manufacturer, provided 50-ton customized HVAC units for the Stony Brook Temporary Hospital on Long Island, just east of New York City. The Tulsa, Okla., company provides 44 of the units, totaling 2,200 tons of HVAC apparatus, which equates to the cooling capacity of more than 700 single-family homes. Aiding the pandemic AAON worked around the clock to make the equipment and ensure the units arrived in New York City on a tight timeline. AAON’S New York sales office had called President Gary Fields to inquire about the company’s ability to meet the hospital’s need. A 1,038-bed temporary hospital to treat non-COVID-19 patients during the pandemic was constructed A 1,038-bed temporary hospital to treat non-COVID-19 patients during the pandemic was constructed at Stony Brook University. The Army Corps erected four temporary tent-like structures near the university’s athletic fields as part of the New York State initiative to relieve local hospitals during a spike in patients due to the pandemic. Ultimately, like many temporary facilities built in response to the pandemic, the hospital was not used. However, the facility will be ready in case it is needed for a second wave of the pandemic.
Blackheath High School, an independent day school for girls and part of the Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST) network, recently invested £18 million to provide new state of the art facilities including a new library and resource centre, and AET Flexible Space supplied an underfloor air conditioning system to provide comfort cooling for students in the new learning zone. The project involved the design and construction of a three storey new build, aesthetically designed to blend with the existing Victorian structure. The library and resource center are located in the lower ground floor, sunk beneath the existing site and the new courtyard area. Air conditioned zone Underfloor air conditioning makes use of the plenum beneath a raised access floor Due to the underground location of the resource centre, air conditioning was required for this area, and an underfloor air conditioning system was specified by consultant Hilson Moran so that the ceiling space, featuring the unique pyramidal skylights, could be left exposed. Underfloor air conditioning makes use of the plenum beneath a raised access floor to distribute conditioned air. At Blackheath High School, a single CAM-V33 Direct Expansion downflow unit serves the air conditioned zone, and the conditioned air is supplied into the space by 14 TU4 Fantiles. The CAM-V receives spent air back for re-conditioning via high level transfer grilles. A major challenge with this project was the 900mm high underfloor void within the main resource area, requiring special modification to the CAM baseframe and raised floor substructure. The new state of the art facility reached practical completion over the summer of 2018 and was ready for students to use in September at the start of the new school year.
In practice, incumbent building services can help architects and designers overcome planning and structural constraints. Building typology comes in all shapes and sizes, each with its own unique design criteria. Frequently building services, heating, ventilation and air conditioning in particular can be challenging to integrate into a building design but experience shows that this does not necessarily have to be the case. Working with underfloor air conditioning over the past 30 years,) AET Flexible Space can demonstrate that such systems have a number of benefits in design application that ultimately make it the ‘system of first choice’ when compared with alternative overhead and perimeter air conditioning systems and their practical application. ease of reconfiguration Principally there are two different types of underfloor air conditioning (UfAC) system, the first being a full underfloor solution, with zone units supplying conditioned air, and receiving spent air via the plenum beneath the raised access floor. As it effectively becomes the ventilation zone, the plenum is divided into supply and return air paths using fire-resistant, air-tight silicone cloth. As there is no need to divide the floor plenum, this option permits freedom to maximize the floor plate This first system is undoubtedly the best option if the brief is to expose ceilings and maximize headroom in refurbishments as it allows total elimination of any ceiling void. Another option is a system with a zone unit which supplies conditioned air via the floor plenum, but receives spent air at high level or via ceiling extract grilles. As there is no need to divide the floor plenum, this option permits freedom to maximize the floor plate as well as future flexibility due to the ease of reconfiguration. ceiling based air conditioning Refurbishment projects in the UK often have specific design criteria, dictated either by the client, or frequently by planning conditions. 8 Waterloo Place in the St James’ area of London is a classic example. The fabulous building constructed in the early 1900’s is Grade II listed and features ornate vaulted ceilings and decorative plasterwork cornices. Both the client and the architect specifically requested no services at high level in order to preserve and highlight these features using bi-directional up and down lighting. This immediately eliminated ceiling based air conditioning as an option. The seven story building also has differing floor to ceiling heights on each floor, proving to be an additional challenge for investor Barings, whose aim was to create the highest quality, modern office space at the prestigious Mayfair property. high profile tenancy A full underfloor air conditioning system was subsequently specified for floors 1-4 of the building, which all had an existing 300mm floor plenum. The height restriction of the dormer fifth floor only permitted a very shallow floor plenum, so a perimeter system was adopted for this space. The end result of the refurbishment was 70% occupancy in a very short period of time, the building attracting high profile tenancy and achieving high levels of rent, “a truly special building”, comments the MD at Barings Real Estate. Another key building characteristic is the small windows and low natural light levels Another refurbishment project to reference is 33 Glasshouse Street, London, prominently located on the corner with Regent Street, a fusion of three buildings and with a Grade II listed façade, varying slab heights and low floor to ceiling heights, developer Hermes set about a full “Cut and Carve” structural reconfiguration to form larger, deeper, open plan floor plates and increase the floor to ceiling height to 3.3m on floors 3-7. raised floor system Another key building characteristic is the small windows and low natural light levels. Underfloor air conditioning was specified to help maximize the floor to ceiling heights and permit the greatest level of natural light through the deep floor plates. Perimeter heating and cooling would not have been effective given the deep floor plates and ceiling based air conditioning would have required a ceiling void that would virtually cover the low level windows, severely restricting light penetration. Even with the introduction of a raised floor system and underfloor services, the down stand beams are clearly visible underneath the window line, but this only serves to highlight the unusual building characteristics in an effective way. The end result, another achievement by the project team with a successful outcome. Prime, modern office space attracting the highest caliber occupants, commanding premium rates. overhead services At Cathedral Hill in Guildford, UfAC was used to cool the atrium area where overhead services could not be used September 2018 saw the completion of the tenant fit-out on three floors of the building for one of the world’s biggest tech giants. Design freedom with underfloor air conditioning is not only apparent in refurbishment projects, over the last three decades, the company's systems have also helped new builds achieve their design objectives, whether by using a full underfloor system, or simply integrating floor recessed Fantiles with Displacement Ventilation or other HVAC systems. At Cathedral Hill in Guildford, UfAC was used to cool the atrium area where overhead services could not be used. At First Point, Gatwick, adopting UfAC saved 2m in height compared with an identical building at Heathrow with ceiling services. cellular meeting pods At the expansive Sky Central Campus, UfAC Fantiles are used to enhance the Displacement Ventilation system by boosting cooling in the cellular meeting pods, and at the award winning Here East Innovation Centre, UfAC has been innovatively integrated with overhead services offering fully flexible and functional workspace for the start-up community. The above are just a few examples of how innovative thinking and design application has encouraged the uptake of underfloor air conditioning and promoting it as a viable solution to wide ranging design challenges in new build and refurbishment projects, helping property owners and agents to differentiate their offering and create world class workspace.
AET Flexible Space recently completed the supply and commissioning of underfloor air conditioning equipment for the new ninth floor at 55 Gresham Street. Situated near the Guildhall in the heart of the City, the 84,038 sq. ft., eight story building was acquired in 2014 by Angelo Gordon and Beltane, extended and fully redeveloped to provide 11 floors of Grade-A office space over 121,569 sq. ft. underfloor air conditioning The redevelopment included the creation of a new level access corner entrance and reception at Wood Street and Gresham Street, with remodeled cores, extensions of the floorplates at ground to sixth floors and replacement seventh and new eighth and ninth floors created through the removal of the existing ninth floor plant. New services are supplied throughout and new composite stone facades to the south, west and north are well in keeping with the urban locality. The design is characterized by its imaginative use of materials and historical references The design is characterized by its imaginative use of materials and historical references. Designed by Fletcher Priest Architects, with mechanical, and other design services provided by consultant, Waterman Group, underfloor air conditioning was specified for the new ninth floor terrace in order to maintain the architectural vision. Direct Expansion coils By placing services within the floor void, the remaining available space and floor to ceiling heights were maximized by eliminating the need for ceiling based pipe and ductwork. The two zone system on the ninth floor terrace is served by two CAM-C25 downflow units with Direct Expansion coils and a total of thirty standard TU4 Fantiles with EC fans for enhanced energy performance. This considered redevelopment is a building designed with the occupier in mind and testament to this approach, the entire building was pre-let prior to practical completion to global giant, Investec Asset Management. Main contractor ISG handed over the £34 million project at the end of 2018 and has a BREEAM target of Excellent.
One Benjamin Street, situated directly opposite Farringdon Station on the corner of Turnmill Street, is a fabulous new build with mixed use accommodation comprising retail and commercial space as well as residential penthouse apartments. The prominent site, owned by The Girdler’s Company for some 400 years, formerly featured three individual buildings of different style and character, which were considered unfit for purpose and replaced by one high quality single building. Designed by world renowned architect AHMM, and inspired by the character of local Victorian warehouses, and craftsmanship at the core of The Girdler’s Company, the new build offers 1692 m2 of high quality, sustainable office space with highly flexible, column free floor plates and BCO recommended floor to ceiling height of 1.8m on the 1st to 3rd floors. air conditioning system Underfloor air conditioning was recommended by Main Contractor who had experience of floor level air conditioning The overall design brief was to provide optimum flexibility when adding or re-arranging fittings for incoming tenant requirements, and the AET Flexible Space underfloor air conditioning system specified fits this brief perfectly. Underfloor air conditioning was recommended by Main Contractor, Knight Harwood who had experience of floor level air conditioning from another London refurbishment in Soho Square. M&E Consultant, Scotch & Partners were satisfied that the system could cater to demand, whilst offering greater flexibility for future change of use than the originally proposed perimeter heating and cooling systems. The system specified is a CAM-V system with underfloor supply air and return air received back to the zone unit at high level. The CAM-V system is the best solution for future flexibility as there is no underfloor air baffle to reconfigure should a layout change be considered. supply conditioned air Each of the office floors is split into two zones, with a CAM-V33 downflow unit serving each zone. A total of 105 recessed Fantiles, which supply conditioned air into the space, are evenly distributed across the six zones. The completed new build with its reinforced concrete frame, flat slab construction and exposed concrete soffits, columns and walls offers contemporary interior styling, and the exterior detailing combining feature brickwork, exposed polished concrete medallions and signature façade cladding incorporating the client’s crest is a quality improvement to the local streetscape and a testament to the client and project team.
Komax Systems, Inc., is recognized as a global provider of advanced mixing solutions for the municipal and wastewater treatment industries. Municipal and wastewater treatment plants with large open channels face enormous challenges and need solutions to effectively treat and use the water flows. Energy efficient and cost-effective solutions are needed for treatment systems to run properly. Large open channels need treatment for both influent raw water streams coming into a water treatment plant and wastewater and effluent water from wastewater treatment plants. Chemical injection and accurate dispersions are needed before the water can be released or consumed. Mixing Technology Solution Komax recognized that these problems need solutions and that in many cases custom modifications to the solution to fit within the plant's specific needs. The standard mechanical mixers and blades are not adequate for larger capacities along with the continual repairs and maintenance. The Komax channel static mixer utilizes non-clogging mixing technology for water treatment chemicals into water flowing through rectangular channels. The channel static mixer is used in water treatment for both influent raw water and effluent water treatment New pollution problems have placed additional burdens on wastewater treatment systems. Today's pollutants such as heavy metals, chemical compounds, and toxic substances are more difficult to remove from the water. Rising demands on the water supply only aggravate the problem. The increasing demands call on better wastewater treatment solutions. The channel static mixer is used in water treatment for both influent raw water and effluent water treatment. high efficiency mixing Influent water streams use the channel mixer to injection and mixing of coagulants and flocculants before the water goes to the clarifier. Effluent water from wastewater treatment plants also utilize the channel mixer to inject and mix chlorine and sodium bisulfite to disinfect the wastewater for safe discharge into large bodies, such as rivers, streams, or lakes. Komax has a proven reputation for product design and manufacturing quality that ensures outstanding performance. The static mixers manufactured by Komax provide cost-effective, high efficiency mixing. As the needs evolve so will Komax's solutions.
AgraFlora Organics International Inc. announces that Propagation Services Canada Inc. the Company’s flagship cultivation asset located in Delta British Columbia has secured a Standard Cultivation License from Health Canada. “Obtaining the License at the Delta Facility marks the end of a journey commenced in Q4 2018 and is the key milestone in beginning cannabis sales from what is the 2nd largest and one of the most advanced greenhouses in Canada” stated Brandon Boddy AgraFlora Executive Chairman and CEO. environmentally friendly greenhouse We’re commencing the cultivation of a curated portfolio of elite live plant genetics" "With license in hand, we’re commencing the cultivation of a curated portfolio of elite live plant genetics that will enable us to execute on a focused strategy of high-potency low-cost cannabis to drive high-volume value brands from coast to coast.” The Delta Facility’s first phase represents 422828 sq. ft. of cultivation space utilizing a state-of-the-art pressurized semi-open Venlo greenhouse design considered to be one of the most technically advanced and environmentally friendly greenhouse platforms in North America and is uniquely located in an agricultural micro-climate on the shores of the Pacific. humidity control management The Delta Greenhouse is scalable up to 2200000 sq. ft. Key features of the Delta Greenhouse include: Fully integrated on-site natural-gas-powered power plant Advanced climate and humidity control management infrastructure Proprietary energy-efficient air exchange to maintain stable climate conditions at a fraction of the cost of traditional HVAC systems Ebb-and-flow watering systems to enhance complete irrigation recapture and water treatment Multistage supplemental lighting augmented by natural sunlight to foster optimized illumination equilibrium A proprietary ERP system to allow for efficient resource management and cost tracking agricultural micro-climate Our company brings 40 years of agricultural expertise to PSC as well as decades of experience within this greenhouse" Ruben Houweling, General Manager of Houweling Nurseries Stated “Our company brings 40 years of agricultural expertise to PSC as well as decades of experience within this greenhouse. We have a well-integrated organization with more than 200 employees. Our facility is located in a unique agricultural micro-climate on the shores of the Pacific Ocean that will help the company produce high-potency low cost cannabis.” PSC will now commence the cultivation of its curated portfolio of elite live plant genetics which were specially curated by an award winning Canadian cultivator with a focus on combining high potency with above-average yields and favorable agricultural traits such as disease and pest resistance. high potency THC genetics Combined with the agricultural experience and expertise of the PSC management team these genetics will support the Company’s strategy of producing high-potency low cost cannabis to support national value brands. With current granting of the standard cultivation license the company’s consultants in conjunction with the PSC team indicate that the inaugural harvest of high potency THC genetics at its Delta greenhouse complex will occur within the fourth quarter of 2020.