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Reducing Your HVAC Carbon Footprint: How The Sector Can Become More Sustainable In The Journey To Net Zero
Reducing Your HVAC Carbon Footprint: How The Sector Can Become More Sustainable In The Journey To Net Zero

With ongoing efforts from governments across the globe to reduce carbon emissions and with an ever greater focus on sustainability, it is vital that the HVAC sector does its part in becoming more environmentally conscious. And, while there have been steps to become more sustainable, there is a huge amount that still needs to be done to make sure that many of the targets that have been set are attainable. In buildings, both large and small, industrial heating accounts for roughly two thirds of industrial energy demand and around a fifth of global energy consumption. Figures like this show the need to have efficient and environmentally-friendly HVAC equipment in place to make the crucial steps towards reducing the contributions these systems make to our carbon footprint. High energy consumption in construction sector A 2019 report by The International Environment Agency (IEA) showed that the buildings and construction sectors combined were responsible for over 30% of global energy consumption and nearly 40% of carbon emissions. This is indicative of the steps the sector needs to take to play its role in a more eco-friendly society, some of which are already underway. However, much more needs to be done if the UK is to reach its goal of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050. As we envisage what a post-COVID world might look like, businesses and governments are continuing to put sustainability and lower carbon emissions at the forefront of their planning and the HVAC sector is certainly no exception. But with change in the sector a daunting prospect, decision-makers often don’t know where to start. Smart Technology use in HVAC systems Smart HVAC uses sensors that integrate with a building’s automation system With the constant growth and greater deployment of smart technologies within the HVAC sector, this is certainly a way that systems can become more efficient. Smart HVAC uses sensors that integrate with a building’s automation system. These sensors then collect information about conditions throughout the building. Heat waves are now a far more common occurrence in the United Kingdom. The Met Office estimates they are up to 30 times more likely and will be a bi-annual occurrence by 2050. It is important that any uptake in HVAC usage doesn’t lead to a drastic increase in emission generation. This is one of the areas where smart systems will become crucial. Many scientists have been unequivocal in their sentiment that heat waves are a cause of greater emissions and expect temperature records in the UK and Europe to be broken more regularly, so sites will need to be equipped to handle these conditions. Regulating temperature with hand-held devices With wireless systems now much more commonplace, temperatures can be controlled easily from hand-held devices. With these new technologies, those managing the systems can also benefit from remote monitoring and maintenance, reducing the need to travel to the site for yet another environmental incentive. To accompany the smart systems, equipment including smart thermostats can be installed to maximize HVAC efficiency. Other smart systems available to businesses include smart furnaces and air conditioning units that are far easier to operate than their traditional counterparts. Reducing unnecessary ventilation While global temperatures continue to rise, air conditioning usage has increased and has contributed to greater levels of energy usage. A huge amount of needless emissions are generated by unnecessary ventilation, contributing heavily to heat loss and overall energy wastage. Recirculation of air is a traditionally lower energy cost method of retaining heat and keeping emissions low, however, we must be mindful of the risks associated with recirculating air. The risk of circulating diseases is negated somewhat with heat recovery ventilation, which both removes the risk of disease spreading and improves energy consumption. Efficiency performance of new AC units Air conditioning units in particular contribute significantly to a building’s energy consumption Air conditioning units in particular contribute significantly to a building’s energy consumption, equating to 10% of the UK’s electricity consumption and as such it is important that we bear in mind ways to counteract the emissions this creates. Global energy demand for air conditioning units is expected to triple by 2050, as temperatures continue to rise year on year. The efficiency performance of new air conditioning units will be the key, when it comes to ensuring that escalating demand does not equate to greater emissions. Another issue for suppliers and manufacturers to address is differing rates of consumption for AC units in different countries, with units sold in Japan and the EU typically more efficient than those found in China and the US. Modularization Modular HVACs have also become increasingly popular in recent years. Modular HVACs are responsible for heating, cooling and distributing air through an entire building, with their increase in popularity largely down to their greater levels of energy efficiency, cost effectiveness, flexibility and substantial ease of installation and maintenance. Modular HVACs can be tailored specifically for workspaces and they often allow work to be done on the systems without disturbing the workforce, achieved primarily through rooftop placement. Commercial workspaces are larger and often require differing needs to residential properties and can cater to a wide range of the specific requirements of work and commercial spaces. As we strive for lower carbon emissions, it seems that this trend will continue and will become a key area in reducing emissions that HVACs have traditionally generated. System maintenance and training To meet government and industry requirements, many new buildings will require HVAC systems that can be maintained simply in order to perform in a more energy efficient way. Many companies are looking at ways to become climate neutral and significantly reduce their footprint Many companies are looking at ways to become climate neutral and significantly reduce their footprint. Companies are following the likes of German-based company, Wilo Group, who have announced they are committing to sustainable manufacturing by developing a new carbon neutral plant and HQ in the next few years. Lowering carbon footprint As we continue to move towards an ever more environmentally conscious society, it will be of paramount importance for companies, governments and the public to think about ways in which we can lower carbon emissions. Smart technologies will certainly be at the forefront of this, negating many needless journeys and making it easier for industries to adjust settings and tackle issues remotely. Greater levels of training will help equip us with the tools to make sure we are best placed to reduce emissions and be more sustainable as a result. While the steps outlined above do show some progress and measures we can take, there is far more that we can do as a sector to significantly reduce HVAC’s carbon footprint and once we have moved beyond the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, this will surely be at the front of industry leader minds.

2021 Technology Trends In The HVAC Industry
2021 Technology Trends In The HVAC Industry

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 Maintenance For Aircon Engineers
Inverter Maintenance For Aircon Engineers

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.

Latest LUX Products news

Johnson Controls Announces The Launch Of LUX CS1 To Make The Benefits Of Smart Technology Accessible Than Ever Before
Johnson Controls Announces The Launch Of LUX CS1 To Make The Benefits Of Smart Technology Accessible Than Ever Before

Johnson Controls announced the latest addition to its suite of LUX Products: the LUX CS1 Smart Thermostat. When paired with the LUX App, the LUX CS1 provides a variety of easy-to-use features for effortless comfort, control and savings. At $99 MSRP, the Energy-Star certified LUX CS1 is priced well below comparable thermostat models to make the benefits of smart technology even more accessible for homeowners and building operators alike. “The LUX CS1 Smart Thermostat is all about accessibility. Its price point, approachable design and intuitive technology make it one of the most affordable, feature-packed smart thermostats on the market today,” said Rob Munin, General Manager, Thermostats and Sensors at Johnson Controls. Internet of Things For smart technology beginners, it’s the perfect gateway to connected comfort, control and savings" “The LUX CS1 perfectly marries traditional thermostat functionality such as large digits with advanced features including geofencing powered by the LUX App. For smart technology beginners, it’s the perfect gateway to connected comfort, control and savings.” LUX Products, a Johnson Controls brand, is an innovator in indoor comfort. From manual to smart thermostats, the company’s range of technology includes a wide variety of well-designed and feature appropriate thermostats for every setting and budget. The LUX CS1 brings a new level of affordability to the LUX thermostat line up and features these smart capabilities: Minimal set-up: Flexible installation using either a Power Wire, C-wire or LUX Power Bridge. Then, hook it up to Wi-Fi for a secure, reliable connection. Intuitive design: The simple interface features a straightforward display including large digits, backlighting and easy access to temperature and scheduling settings. Smart tech: Connects to the Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for hands free control and voice activation. It also works with IFTTT (If This Then That), enabling LUX CS1 users to create a unique Internet of Things (IOT) experience together with other mobile applications and devices. Smart app: Compatible with the LUX App to control temperature from anywhere, plus tap into geofencing and smart scheduling for greater energy and cost savings. Peace of mind: Custom alerts provide notifications about abnormal room temperature or filter replacement requirements. Extensive compatibility: Designed for a wide range of heating and cooling systems to fit within most homes and buildings. smart thermostat capabilities Users can download the LUX App from their smart phone to monitor and adjust the LUX CS1 from anywhere, at any time. The app is compatible with the entire suite of LUX smart thermostats including the LUX KONO and LUX GEO. This user-friendly app enhances smart thermostat capabilities thanks to these features: Always-on: Monitor and adjust the thermostat’s temperature and settings from anywhere for 24/7 comfort, control and peace of mind. Energy savings: Home and Away Aware geofencing monitors occupancy and automatically makes energy efficient adjustments. Cost savings: Smart scheduling, learning and adaptive tips and demand response programs - where available - provide potential savings. Multiple thermostat connectivity: Homeowners can connect up to 10 thermostats, and businesses can take advantage of unlimited connectivity within a single app. enhanced user interface Plus, users can look forward to the release of the new LUX App coming later this summer. The new app will feature an enhanced user interface including personalized settings and smart features for energy and cost savings. The LUX CS1 Smart Thermostat is available for purchase now at LuxProducts, BestBuy and local wholesalers. It will also be available soon at Amazon. Users can download the LUX App from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Johnson Controls Acquires Lux Products And Affirms Commitment To Thermostat Portfolio
Johnson Controls Acquires Lux Products And Affirms Commitment To Thermostat Portfolio

Johnson Controls announced it has acquired the assets of Lux Products Corporation (LUX), a provider of residential thermostats and smart home products. LUX markets several successful residential and commercial lines ranging from timers to smart home thermostats including Kono and Geo. “The acquisition of LUX strengthens our portfolio in the consumer retail channel and offerings in thermostats,” said Chris Eichmann, Vice President, General Manager of Johnson Controls. “We are excited to work together with LUX to bring great products to even more customers, leveraging Johnson Controls’ resources to drive continued innovation.” smart thermostat This announcement comes shortly after the launch of Johnson Controls’ new GLAS, the stunning new smart thermostat that features a translucent OLED touchscreen display, among other high-tech features. For Johnson Controls, the LUX acquisition enhances its commitment to thermostats, a natural progression from the company that invented the first room thermostat more than 135 years ago. The move also enables faster product development cycles, improves customer service capabilities and supports greater product innovation. “We look forward to joining forces with Johnson Controls, a company that shares our passion for expertly-designed, innovative and reliable products,” said Rob Munin, CEO of LUX and newly named general manager, Thermostats for Johnson Controls. “Together, we will enhance a strong position in the residential channel and look forward to expanding our offerings to serve a wide range of customers.”

LUX Introduces The KONOz Smart Hub Thermostat Compatible With Zigbee Smart Hub Systems
LUX Introduces The KONOz Smart Hub Thermostat Compatible With Zigbee Smart Hub Systems

LUX Products Corporation announced the launch of LUX KONOz, a Zigbee Certified smart hub thermostat. The thermostat uses the Zigbee 3.0 platform to work with Zigbee-based smart hub systems. In addition to seamlessly connecting to various smart hubs, KONOz comes in an attractive white finish and offers additional Interchangeable Décor-snap covers in nine trend-setting colors for added personalization and is priced at $149 MSRP. KONOz can be powered by 4 AA alkaline batteries for up to two years, C-wire or LUX Power Bridge (sold separately) and is designed for easy installation with tooless push terminals and 2h/1c universal system compatibility. It offers a simple and intuitive knob interface with easy access to menus, set-up and comfort control. KONOz is equipped with the renowned Cortet EM357 module for superior RF performance and longer battery life. reliable thermostat solution We are excited to have a membership of innovators and leaders in the Internet of Things" “We are proud to have the first thermostat approved as a certified Zigbee 3.0 device,” said Rob Munin, CEO at LUX Products. “For cable and security companies and big box retailers, KONOz offers a quality and reliable thermostat solution that is affordable and one that easily connects to various Zigbee smart hubs - making it an easy purchase for homeowners. It’s easy to install, offers a level of personalization with its Décor Snap covers and provides zero degrees of difficulty for users. It’s a great win for the industry.” Internet of Things “We are excited to have a membership of innovators and leaders in the Internet of Things,” said Victor Berrios, Vice President of Technology for the Zigbee Alliance. “By certifying the LUX KONOz, LUX has expanded the Zigbee 3.0 ecosystem with a new, cutting-edge product and taken a step toward a comprehensive, user-focused smart home.' KONOz is built on the highly rated and successful KONO Smart Wi-Fi platform that LUX introduced late last year. KONOz joins LUX’s portfolio of quality and reliable thermostats that are designed for easy installation at price points that are budget-friendly for homeowners and businesses. The thermostat can be connected with other devices through a smart hub and can be easily managed via a hub system’s mobile app. KONOz can be controlled from anywhere through the app and, when paired with voice assistants through smart hub, users can control thermostats with voice commands.

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