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If you’re an HVAC installer, you know how challenging it can be to convince homeowners to upgrade their systems. Homeowners would rather save money than ensure that their heating and air conditioning systems are in excellent working condition. Others put off the upgrade until it’s too late and problems start to surface. Part of your job is to make them understand that regular maintenance of their HVAC system is essential for their safety and good health. Customers Priorities Air conditioning installation experts like you can start by asking questions and determining your customers’ priorities. Are the homeowners always busy so that HVAC concerns are often neglected? Are your customers worried about the expenses that come with the upgrade? Do the homeowners always give you petty excuses? Are you sure your clients understand the importance of regular HVAC maintenance? The answers to these questions will help you develop a strategy for persuading the homeowner to schedule preventive maintenance. Maintained HVAC System Once you know your customers’ concerns, you can sit down and talk to them. Give them a visual walkthrough of what can happen if they continue to neglect their HVAC system. For example, let your customers imagine what it feels like living in a home surrounded by dust and debris in the air. Let them visualize walls covered with molds and their children suffering from all kinds of allergies. Then let them visually experience what a home with a regularly-maintained HVAC system is like. Enumerate the benefits: Healthier air Better airflow Safer home Efficient use of energy = significant savings More environmentally friendly home Comfortable home the whole year round Increased resale value Talk to your customers and assure them that you’re there to help every step of the way. Here’s an infographic that you can use to explain to your customers the importance of regularly upgrading their HVAC systems:
As we look back at 2020, we are all reflecting on the year that was, and what we have learned from it. In the HVAC space, the year provided us with opportunities for growth and change, as we adjusted to our “new normal.” Here’s a look at some of the HVAC trends we see happening now taking hold as we head into 2021. Advancements and applications in indoor air quality - especially in HVAC space (SF / MF / CRE) 2020 was filled with starts and stops with regards to innovation. Covid-19 halted work in some facilities altogether earlier in the year. The pandemic has brought with it a re-energized interest in the air quality around us, especially in the public sector. There has been a newfound imperative in creating indoor air quality solutions that ensure that air is circulated, sanitized and purified to reduce the likelihood of the spread of sickness. This is a massive issue and 2021 will see growing efforts in these areas and the increased introduction of systems that will purify air quality. HVAC building systems Continued push toward energy efficiency (mainly SF but also CRE) Energy efficiency will be an ongoing issue into the foreseeable future. Once we have looked back at 2020’s carbon emission reductions (because fewer people were flying and driving) there will be no turning back. The same can be said for HVAC. Increased efficiency will continue to be an ongoing pursuit in 2021 and beyond. On average, HVAC appliances consume 48% of a household’s total energy usage. The latest generation of smart thermostats that use the newer 410A refrigerant have brought about reduced energy consumption by up to 35% optimizing how HVAC building systems are operated (reducing the possibility of leaving the AC on too long, and when it’s not necessary to use). convenience and energy savings Increase in supply chain management / platform services HVAC services such as those that collect and manage data including HVAC unit age, efficiency and condition at the property and portfolio level will continue to see increased adoption. These convenience and energy savings they provide is being seen in the multi-family and commercial space, especially with some building owners having been grounded by the pandemic in 2020. New construction had a role in expanding interest in HVAC asset tagging and helping it gain traction in the industry The data gathered by these services can be used in the future to predict HVAC system failures with significant accuracy before they happen. The convenience and potential cost savings acquired by implementing these services will continue to push their popularity into 2021. Additionally, it is interesting to note that new construction in 2020 had a role in expanding interest in HVAC asset tagging and helping it gain traction in the industry. Cataloguing HVAC assets ensures the follow up and guarantees that warranty registration holds and can help track future maintenance during a hold. At the time of sale, the current owner can present true data of the maintenance of these systems, which can increase the current value of the property and can also be used as a tool in negotiation. performing regular maintenance Remote monitoring can be the end to end solution that completes the action behind the alert (CRE mainly) Remote monitoring will continue to see adoption in 2021. Service providers will continue to rely less and less on clients identifying and reporting a problem a heating/cooling issue. The complaint from the tenant may come in some hours after the problem actually starts, and then by the time they get a service request completed, several hours more. And by the time the contractor is on the scene, it is likely more time has elapsed. Remote monitoring also results in regular maintenance, extending the lifetime of a HVAC system. By proactively performing regular maintenance, the overall costs of maintaining a system can be reduced by 40 percent, in addition to ensuring that units are always using the least amount of energy necessary. seamless customer experience Consolidation of HVAC services and equipment - the way people buy - turnkey integrated services One stop shopping for HVAC services and equipment gained popularity in 2020 One stop shopping for HVAC services and equipment gained popularity in 2020 and we will continue to see increased traction in 2021. There are many reasons why developers what to buy equipment directly from the manufacturer, such as convenience, working with a supplier because of its reputation, cost and guarantees on product and services. As more developers buy equipment directly, these manufacturers are responding by helping out with mechanical drawings. This process cuts down the supply chain, allows certainty that correct equipment is quoted, and saves money. The HVAC industry is also turning the corner in becoming more proactive in remediating failing assets and contractors are redoubling their efforts to provide a seamless customer experience increasing customer satisfaction for multi-family communities as well as other means of optimization of services that positively impact tenants, helping increase retention. HVAC providers that can manage the entire process from installation, to job request to invoicing, even reporting and tracking for each job, will be increasingly in demand in 2021.
Inverter driven air conditioning is more energy efficient, cheaper to operate and more profitable to install than its non-inverter driven equivalent. Here Neil Ballinger, head of EMEA at automation parts supplier EU Automation, explains how HVAC engineers can maintain the inverters in their customer’s aircon units. Do you remember cross country at school? It was exhausting; miles of seemingly pointless jogging and sprinting and, if the teacher was not looking, walking. If you were unlucky enough to be born before modern safeguarding measures were introduced, it probably also meant getting lost in the nearest woods.Why isn’t every installation an inverter driven unit, instead of the traditional single stage or dual stage models? My PE teacher, who seemed particularly vicious at the time, but in retrospect just knew about sports science than most, used to make us do something called fartlek as well. This meant long distance runs, incorporating elements of speed training by mixing up sprints with jogs and walks. The worst bit was starting to run again after a walk. That is exactly how the motor in your customer’s air conditioner feel if the units you fit are not inverter controlled. The motor has to act just like a runner doing fartlek — it sprints continuously, operating at full speed until the thermostat tells it the room is cool, then it stops. When the room gets warm, it starts again, powers immediately up to full speed and repeats the process indefinitely. Just like a teenage cross-country runner, it is the starting and stopping that is the tough bit. Furthermore, the unit probably doesn’t have to run at full speed to keep the room at the correct temperature, if the motor were inverter controlled it would speed up and slow down as the temperature fluctuates. Why isn’t all aircon inverter driven? We all know that inverter driven aircon is better than its non-inverter driven cousins. It can provide heating as well as cooling and the lifetime cost of use is less for the customer — because their energy bills stay low. The cost of installation is also higher because it is a more complex job, so it works out better for the contractor. It’s a win-win. The research firm Technavio even lists it as one of the key technologies driving growth in the HVAC market in its annual reports every year. So, the only question is, why isn’t every installation an inverter driven unit, instead of the traditional single stage or dual stage models?When contractors contact EU Automation to buy automation parts, for the units they maintain, they have given us another reason: maintenance Cost is a factor, but when contractors contact EU Automation to buy replacement motors and inverters, and other automation parts, for the units they maintain, they have given us another reason: maintenance. As HVAC engineers, we are not necessarily specialists in power electronics, and this makes inverter maintenance daunting. Microcontrollers and IGBTs (Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors) are not beyond us by any means, but they can be intimidating. Personally, I would back an electrical or heating engineer over an electronics specialist in a problem-solving contest all day long; but that doesn’t solve the problem at hand. Furthermore, while we are experts in air conditioning brands, and know our Daikins and Grees from our Mitsubishis and Fujitsus, we don’t necessarily have contacts at the inverter manufacturers. Amtech, Danfoss, Vacon and Yaskawa are all names we know, but the local dealer for any of them is probably not in your phone book. This is especially true if the unit you need is from a first-generation inverter driven aircon unit and well over a decade old. While we are experts in air conditioning brands, and know our Daikins and Grees from our Mitsubishis and Fujitsus, we don’t necessarily have contacts at the inverter manufacturers Maintenance techniques While inverter maintenance can be daunting, it isn’t difficult. The tools you will need most often are nothing more than a rag and a spanner, while the more esoteric kit is stuff you probably carry anyway, a laptop, vacuum and a Fluke meter. Before you start, remember that while we tend to refer to an inverter as an inverter, the manufacturers themselves, and many of the sources of information online, often refer to them as VSDs (Variable Speed Drives), VFDs (Variable Frequency Drives) or just plain old drives. As a result, when you are searching online for a video to explain something, it’s worth using all three of those terms, alongside the inverter manufacturer’s name and the problem to make sure you get the right result.While inverter maintenance can be daunting, it isn’t difficult When you do move on to maintenance, step one is simple; make sure that the unit is free of dust. This is as easy as vacuuming the heatsink with an ESD (Electrostatic Discharge) vacuum cleaner when you perform routine maintenance or investigate a problem. While you are checking for build up of dust and daily grime, check the filters. They will probably have to be replaced during annual maintenance, but high use might mean they need to be replaced more often. The control panel itself should be well ventilated and free of dust as well, if it isn’t it can overheat, which is the number one cause of inverter damage and the most common reason contractors contact us for replacement units. Before you put your vacuum and duster away, you should make sure that the inverter unit’s location is clean and as sheltered from the elements as possible. Because it’s normally situated on a roof, it’s not going to be perfect, but the units are designed to take a limited battering. That doesn’t mean it’s okay for them to be covered in leaves, surrounded by rubbish or immediately beneath the guttering outlet though! Before you put your vacuum and duster away, you should make sure that the inverter unit’s location is clean and as sheltered from the elements as possible Get out the spanner Once you’ve finished these steps, you are done with dusting for now, it’s time to get out your screwdriver and your spanner. Step one is to make sure the fans on the inverter are operating normally, without noise and with nothing blocking their rotation. The fan keeps the internal components running effectively, just as it does on PC, and if its function is impaired the capacitors will overheat and the inverter will fail.When you install or maintain an inverter on an air conditioning system, it is a sensible precaution to back up the drive parameters to your laptop The next job is to grab your spanner and make sure the power terminals are on tight. Loose connections cause arcing, overheating and even melting of components and are easily checked during any kind of maintenance and repair. While we are still in the realms of the work your apprentice can do with their eyes closed, you should also make sure that the inverter’s removable LCD control pad is stored sensibly and not continually attached to the drive. If it remains attached, there is a chance the display will stay on permanently, which means that when you need it to diagnose a problem, it will probably already be burnt out. Break out the laptop When you install or maintain an inverter on an air conditioning system, it is a sensible precaution to back up the drive parameters to your laptop. It takes minutes and is normally done by using the removable LCD control. In fact, it’s often as simple as selecting ‘PARs’ and then ‘BACKUP’ from the menu. If you struggle, there are lots of videos on YouTube, like this one, which explain the process for each drive. As a result, if the inverter ever does need replacing, you can whip out your backed up parameters and order a new or refurbished one easily, before reloading the parameters to the replacement and getting up and running in no time. Your customers will think you are a power electronics genius, as well as a HVAC expert, and they will be loyal for life; especially of you save them on a hot day! If you follow these simple measures, you will find that the inverters in your customer’s air conditioning units last much longer and no motors will have to run the equivalent of a cross country, thanks to a lack of inverter control.
Johnson Controls, the pioneer for smart, healthy and sustainable buildings, announces that its chairman and CEO George Oliver has been chosen by the Business Roundtable Chairman Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Walmart, to serve as chair of the organization’s Energy & Environment Committee. Business Roundtable is an association of chief executive officers of American companies. Through research and advocacy, Business Roundtable supports policies to spur job creation, improve U.S. competitiveness and strengthen the economy. Economically sustainable future Its Energy & Environment Committee is dedicated to advancing policies that encourage innovation and support an environmentally and economically sustainable future. As the incoming Biden administration prepares to put clean energy at the heart of the U.S. economic recovery, such business-led initiatives will be key in helping the new administration meet its proposed goals. “I am honored to be selected as Chair of the Energy & Environment Committee and look forward to working with my fellow CEOs to support policies that preserve our environment and maximize our energy options,” said George Oliver, chairman and CEO. “Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing the planet today. Business Roundtable believes that businesses are an essential part of the solution and calls for collective action and policies to drive innovation, significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit global temperature rise.” Mitigating climate changes In December 2020 Johnson Controls received an A- climate change Leadership band score from CDP The next decade is crucial in the shift to a sustainable economy. With its team of 100,000 employees Johnson Controls is committed to playing a meaningful role in helping the transition to a safe, sustainable, low-carbon world. This new position for Oliver highlights that ongoing commitment. In December 2020 Johnson Controls received an A- climate change Leadership band score from CDP, in recognition of its actions to reduce emissions and mitigate climate change in the past reporting year as well as an A score for its risk disclosure and governance. Distinguished track record Sustainability is an integral part of Johnson Controls vision and values. Since signing the United Nations Global Compact in 2004, the company has remained fully committed to aligning its operations and strategies with the U.N. Global Compact’s Ten Principles. Under Oliver’s leadership, Johnson Controls continues to have a distinguished track record in sustainability. The company recently launched its inaugural green bond in the US and was named to the World’s Most Ethical Companies® Honouree List and as one of the 100 Best Corporate Citizens.
Johnson Controls, the globally renowned company for smart, healthy and sustainable buildings, has announced results of independent surveys of 800+ building decision makers showing a clear shift to increased investment in healthy building trends and technologies. “At the center of a vision for a healthy world must be healthy buildings, and that means delivering on the most critical elements to serve People, Places and Planet,” said George Oliver, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Johnson Controls. OpenBlue technologies Our OpenBlue technologies reinvent the building landscape, creating dynamic smart facilities" George adds, “Our OpenBlue technologies reinvent the building landscape, creating dynamic smart facilities that help businesses meet their sustainability commitments, while delivering healthy places, enriched experiences and cost savings. Johnson Controls leads the industry in translating new building technology capabilities into game-changing solutions that deliver on our focus of People, Places and Planet.” As the only recognized company in the category with 135 years of experience, Johnson Controls is ideally positioned with technologies and solutions that accelerate the reinvention of healthy buildings. The surveys confirmed the need is greater than ever, with 90 percent of responding firms having dedicated resources to healthy buildings initiatives. Helping businesses meet sustainability goals “Building owners are struggling to balance urgent and conflicting priorities between employee health and wellness with critically needed cost savings, increased revenue and sustainability targets,” said Michael Ellis, Executive Vice President and Chief Customer & Digital Officer at Johnson Controls, adding “Johnson Controls is best positioned to help businesses meet those sustainability commitments while delivering on our customers’ return on investment.” The 2020 pandemic showed that few customers were able to reduce building operating costs despite lower occupancy, highlighting the need for technologies to deliver flexibility. Energy and cost savings “Energy use should be dramatically lower when occupancy is low, but surprisingly less than one in ten building operators were able to reduce energy use more than 20 percent,” said Michael Ellis, adding “At a time when companies are aggressively pursuing energy and cost savings, customers need and want solutions that help them do better, while increasing the health profile of those buildings.” He further said, “Johnson Controls OpenBlue technologies deliver a unique, game-changing capability to solve for healthy places, while simultaneously serving sustainability goals.” The survey of facilities operators showed a range of specific investment priorities to meet goals for Healthy People, Healthy Places and a Healthy Planet. Healthy People Businesses are highly committed to employee health and wellness as a driver of high-performing teams Businesses are increasingly committed to employee health and wellness as a driver of high-performing teams. The studies show an increase in investments by organizations toward wellness, clean air and peace of mind. 80 percent of respondents stated that protecting the health and safety of building occupants during the COVID-19 pandemic and afterward is very or extremely important. New factors are being included in this mix, such as temperature control, disinfection, ventilation and air filtration which all require well maintained systems and equipment, enhanced through intelligent sensors and control software. Contactless access and contact tracing The realities of the COVID-19 pandemic have increased the potential benefit of these technologies and for contactless access and contact tracing. These capabilities can help increase overall building security through enhanced tracking of building guest and occupant access, flow and location, while maintaining trust. Johnson Controls delivers solutions for all of these needs and in support of broader wellness for people in shared spaces. Healthy Places Finding cost savings and making fast and informed decisions, supported by data, is a critical part of facility operations. In the Johnson Controls independent studies, 80 percent of facility executives stated that increasing flexibility to quickly respond to emergencies is a top driver for investment in technologies such as flexible facility monitoring and healthy air strategies. The spaces in which people work, shop, entertain and live become more inviting, more efficient and less expensive to operate over time. Space optimization and capital planning Space optimization, capital planning and increasing the uptime and lifetime of assets all support operational performance and lead to cost savings & increased revenue opportunities for building operators. Johnson Controls OpenBlue, a complete suite of connected solutions and services, leverages digital integration to optimize the performance of buildings and assets. Healthy Planet Energy efficiency, renewable energy and smart building technology are becoming more critical each year Improvements in energy efficiency, renewable energy and smart building technology are becoming more critical each year. In the studies, 76 percent of facility executives stated that energy cost savings are a top driver for investment. These investments also influence corporate sustainability rankings, an important metric for attracting and retaining investors, employees and customers. Buildings are responsible for about 40 percent of the planet’s total energy consumption and 36 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from energy use. But only 1 percent of buildings undergo energy efficient renovation every year. Achieving net zero carbon status Effective action is crucial in aligning to increased regulation, decreasing energy consumption and increasing sustainability. For the health of the planet, the studies revealed that 57 percent of organizations plan to achieve net zero carbon or positive energy status in at least one facility in the next ten years. Through ongoing efforts to create more healthy buildings, Johnson Controls has implemented more than 3,000 energy-savings performance contracting projects in North America alone. The result has been reductions of more than 29 million metric tons of carbon emissions from customer facilities and savings of US$ 6 billion in energy and operating costs driven by a comprehensive suite of product and technology solutions. In fiscal year 2019, almost half of Johnson Controls revenue came from products and services that reduce energy use and improve sustainability. Johnson Controls helps building owners and occupants make efficient, productive decisions in support of healthy people, healthy places and a healthy planet.
Johnson Controls, the pioneer for smart, healthy and sustainable buildings and architect of OpenBlue connected solutions, is expanding its Tyco DS Dry Sprinkler product family to include the DS-8 8.0K (K 115) Dry Pendent Sprinkler. The enhanced features of the DS-8 Sprinkler make it ideal for protecting commercial freezers and outdoor spaces like balconies, breezeways, loading docks and parking garages. The DS-8 Dry Sprinkler provides more flexibility for designers and offers the possibility for lower design pressure compared to other dry sprinklers. Unique building projects The DS-8 is available in both quick response and standard response and is cULus listed It connects seamlessly with the entire Tyco DS product portfolio, including the DSB-2 Dry Sprinkler Boot, to provide a single-source solution and ease of installation. The DS-8 is available in both quick response and standard response and is cULus listed. “With the addition of the DS-8, the Tyco DS portfolio represents the ultimate in dry sprinklers for customers, both in function and finish,” said Bob Cordell, global product manager, Johnson Controls. “The complete DS line supports our goal of enhancing building safety and increasing occupant satisfaction through innovative fire protection technology.” The DS-8 Dry Pendent Sprinkler features a 3 mm or 5 mm thermo sensitive glass bulb that can be used in cold environments, specifically in sprinkler systems that are exposed to freezing temperatures. With a variety of escutcheons (recessed, deep, standard or none), escutcheon finishes (including stainless steel) and custom piping lengths available, the DS-8 provides end users with the increased design flexibility and installation options to meet customers’ unique building project needs.