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The Role Of ‘Smart’ HVAC In The Buildings Of The Future
The Role Of ‘Smart’ HVAC In The Buildings Of The Future

The last 18 months have seen an acceleration in digitalization across many aspects of work and home life. Home spaces have become workspaces, and commercial buildings have had to adapt to changed use and lower occupancy rates. Coupled with this, there is a growing need to dramatically reduce carbon emissions from buildings - according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the buildings and construction sectors combined are responsible for over 30 percent of global energy consumption, and nearly 40 percent of carbon emissions. Installing separate systems This means that demand for a smarter approach to heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) management is crucial for building managers, who need to ensure that their properties can adapt to changed use, respond to the wellbeing of their occupants, and run efficiently to keep emissions as low as possible. Armed with this data, facility managers can take proactive steps to improve usage Of course, architects and developers have been installing separate systems to control HVAC for decades which have given building managers greater control and access to different areas of a site. However, with digitalization comes the addition of web-based platforms to allow these verticals to integrate seamlessly with each other, providing data on how efficiently and effectively a building operates through a single view application. Armed with this data, facility managers can take proactive steps to improve usage, which will see properties proactively react to the environmental and personal needs of their occupants. Centrally controlled lighting Many commercial buildings will already have a certain element of smart technology installed – from centrally controlled lighting and HVAC systems to remote management of security and energy management systems. However, it is often the case that these multiple applications are managed in silo. This means facilities managers don’t have a consolidated view of their data. In addition, not all managers will be using the data these devices produce to take steps to reduce the carbon footprint of their properties. Embracing smart technology – and a central control platform - gives building managers access to instant data on how their HVAC assets are performing in one place. This insight can be used to gain a thorough understanding of how the different systems in the building interact, and the external factors that may impact them. Effective building controls By using this data, operators can implement effective building controls to manage efficiencies By using this data, operators can implement effective building controls to manage efficiencies, identify maintenance issues, ensure the wellbeing of occupants, and inform future investment priorities. So, for example, if a building is now being used in a different way due to changed occupancy, the data will show the manager what needs to be done to ensure it is operating as efficiently as possible. We know that there will be increased demand for more flexible spaces as companies move towards remote or hybrid working models. It is likely that we will visit our offices less for day-to-day work and use them more as hubs to meet and collaborate. The ability to turn a traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ building into an agile asset that can learn and adapt to its surroundings will become increasingly important. Smart HVAC management Smart offices will become independently intelligent, learning how occupants use the space and services, adjusting lighting, HVAC and other systems to maximize health and comfort. Smart HVAC management will create a trend for ‘healthier’ buildings that will have a positive impact in terms of improved quality of life and wellbeing of occupants, ultimately resulting in higher productivity levels. In short, there has never been a better time to adopt smart HVAC technologies. Intelligent buildings that would have been unimaginable a few decades ago are now a reality. As buildings become smarter, they can learn how occupants use the space and services and proactively adjust lighting, HVAC and other systems to improve use, cut emissions and reduce energy consumption.

Increasing Energy Efficiency In Your Building Facility
Increasing Energy Efficiency In Your Building Facility

As our urban centers grow, so does our demand for key resources, such as energy. Currently, cities are accountable for over 60% of resource use and an estimated 70% of global carbon emissions. In the Middle East particularly, countries have experienced unprecedented population growth, increased economic activity and consequently, increases in energy consumption. Integration of sustainable systems Fortunately, industry leaders and governments are placing sustainability at the heart of regional plans for urban development. The integration of sustainable systems is no longer a value-added benefit, but rather a necessary requirement. I believe a vital element for sustainable development in our cities is energy management. Energy is a costly commodity representing an average of 25% of all operating costs in office buildings. This cost, however, can be reduced by using energy management to optimize HVAC systems employed in a building. Effective energy management Energy management involves proactive tracking, systemic management and thoughtful optimization of energy consumption in a building, with the goal of improving energy efficiency. The concept of energy efficiency takes into account a variety of factors; we must consider system design, quality of installation and maintenance, efficiency rates and personal use. If we assume a system is designed with greatest efficiency in mind, its effectiveness is still deeply impacted by installation, maintenance and use. ‘Performance drift’ issues One challenge we face with the efficiency of HVAC systems is ‘performance drift’ One challenge we face with the efficiency of HVAC systems is ‘performance drift’. When first installed, and even in the first few months, HVAC systems operate immaculately. Over time, however, component efficiency and system conditions ‘drift’ away from the originally installed operating curve, meaning that efficiency and performance of the system can degrade incrementally. The deteriorating performance of HVAC systems has consequences, such as unnecessary use of energy, resulting in higher costs and emissions, in addition to reduced comfort for building occupants. Energy efficient HVAC pumps In order to truly have an impact on energy consumption, a holistic approach must be adopted. Only by carefully examining and optimizing each part of the HVAC system, can we then find ways to improve it. In my experience with Armstrong Fluid Technology, in the last decade, the technology for HVAC pumps has been enhanced to provide up to 70% energy efficiency savings through demand-based control and parallel pumping technology. These innovations enable the pumps to operate at optimum levels, consuming as little energy as possible. Innovative smart technology Systems that incorporate innovative smart technology enable more accurate system performance analysis and optimization. Pumps can function as highly accurate flow meters that provide valuable insight for building managers and operators. Data from the intelligent connected pumps can be collected through active performance management software, which enables the HVAC system to learn, predict and optimize to deliver even greater energy efficiency and cost savings through maintained optimized performance. Systems incorporating innovative smart technology enable more accurate system performance analysis Active performance management software Active performance management software enables real time and historical data reporting that directly demonstrates system efficiency and savings. Given the global shift towards sustainable building construction, legislation on energy reporting is inevitable, therefore employing systems with this in-built capability can prove to be extremely beneficial in the future. The software can also help maintain client comfort at all times by enabling predictive maintenance. Systems can provide alerts when they detect faults, allowing for early replacement before a full breakdown. This can be particularly helpful in mission critical applications such as hospitals. Importance of analyzed data in system optimization Without the ability to analyze data, buildings managers and operators cannot properly optimize mechanical systems Evidently, collecting data is essential for many reasons, including preventing, and even reversing, the loss of energy efficiency. Without the ability to analyze data, buildings managers and operators cannot properly optimize mechanical systems, which results in unnecessary energy use, insufficient maintenance practices and any related costs. There may be hesitation in the industry to incorporate more sophisticated systems as they require initial investment, however, the returns from using more efficient mechanical systems are impressive. Executing energy upgrades for HVAC systems Simple payback on energy upgrade projects is usually reached within 3 to 5 years. Furthermore, energy savings continue for the life of the system. Properly executed energy upgrades deliver up to 40% savings on energy consumption related to HVAC operation. Savings on that level for a large facility can be impactful for business operations. Energy efficiency is not ‘visible’ but has the potential to have a transformative effect on climate change, if embraced on a large scale. If we consume energy only as we need to, then we consume less of it. This, in turn, reduces our consumption of fossil fuels and consequently our greenhouse gas emissions. Aside from short-term benefits, such as costs savings and increased operation efficiency, energy management has the ability to help conserve energy for generations to come. Embracing energy saving solutions If we embrace innovative energy saving solutions in the building services industry, then we can begin to make a difference. With the recent launch of plans for sustainable development, such as the Dubai Master Plan 2040, green infrastructure, supporting solutions, will thrive. The global shift towards embracing sustainability has made individuals and organizations call into question their impact on our planet. Embracing sustainability is no longer a preference but a strategic business approach that helps to create long-term value on a social, economic and environmental level. The role of energy efficiency, and the systems that enable it, will inevitably play a key role in creating more sustainable buildings, communities and cities.

Listen To Your Data And Use It To Achieve Your Business Goals In HVAC
Listen To Your Data And Use It To Achieve Your Business Goals In HVAC

Utilizing the latest in building connectivity, facility operators can uncover a wealth of data in their systems. The next step comes by leveraging that data with artificial intelligence (AI) and a suite of connected solutions. Data is analyzed to determine actionable items and achieve data-based outcomes that improve efficiencies, allow operators to meet budget goals, hit sustainability targets and deliver on occupants’ expectations. To make those high-level outcomes happen, collecting and using data correctly is proving to be critical. With the adoption of more smart building assets, operators are finding that they can finally understand the needs of their buildings and make informed decisions on their operation. Making better choices By helping facility operators make better choices, respond to immediate needs and plan strategically on multiple fronts, data creates value. But are operators of healthy buildings getting everything they can out of this data? Is it being nurtured to create all the efficiencies possible? The answers to those questions are usually no because there’s always more data to mine and more efficiencies to uncover. The answers to those questions are usually no because there’s always more data to mine With that in mind, facility operators need to be vigilant in their collection and use of data. There always seems to be more data to process and more value to squeeze out in an effort to reach or even exceed a facility’s business goals. This constant pressure to improve is creating new ways to use data to drive a building’s business outcomes ever higher. They include: Ensuring connectivity. Avoiding data overload. Using data to weigh competing goals. Learning progress tracking and reporting. Making smart decisions In general, the overarching concept is that listening to your data helps you make smart decisions. But there are questions about how to do it, whether one dataset is more important than another and how to make sense of it all. With those questions in mind, let’s look at each of these four points a little closer to find out how you can deliver better results. Every asset in your building, from the sensor that monitors occupancy in the third-floor conference room to the chiller unit that drives your entire HVAC system, needs to be connected to a central analytics hub. Doing so allows your system to review and analyze every angle of the operation with a goal of finding efficiencies and predicting needs. The overarching concept is that listening to your data helps you make smart decisions Possible building assets Here are a few helpful tips: Make sure you get data from all possible building assets. Recognize and overcome connectivity from legacy assets. Make sure differing OEM assets can speak to one another. And find an organizing platform to bring it all together. As your system begins collecting, sorting and analyzing data, another problem will emerge Remember, connectivity is a commodity. Is a retrofit possible at your facility? If so, then consider current efficiency and maintenance issues. As your system begins collecting, sorting and analyzing data, another problem will emerge: You have so much data you don’t know what to do with it all. That leads to questions of what information is important, and what isn’t. However, the real question is ‘How can I use all this information to meet my building’s business goals?’ Storing data forever It’s important to recognize that a smart building can collect thousands of datapoints every few minutes. So, understand that you will obtain a lot of data. Adopt a method to tag assets and define relationships that will help you make sense of all the data. Data analytics can help you sort, prioritize and take actions. Storing all data forever isn’t necessary, but you need baselines and historical benchmarks. Finally, be aware of the cost swell of storing data. You need to save only what’s important historically. Many times, building operators are caught in a tug-of-war over competing priorities. Meeting sustainability goals A long-term need may be maintaining safety while ensuring privacy in your facility One goal might be to successfully meet sustainability goals, while another might insist on running systems to meet narrow comfort constraints. Further, this tug-of-war may not be between two priorities; it might be between three or five or 10. The easiest solution is use data as your guide to a happy medium. Here are a few helpful tips: Recognize your immediate needs vs. long-term needs. For example, an immediate need may be addressing comfort requests from building occupants. A long-term need may be maintaining safety while ensuring privacy in your facility. Regardless of your needs, there will always be tradeoffs. Where can you find the right balance that aligns with your business goals? Steer your choices by using data analytics. Key Performance Indicators With your data already doing its work to give you insights, it’s critical to prove that the effort has been worth it. By understanding how to track progress and report on it, you will be able to help others understand the gains you’ve been making. From selecting and defining Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to monitoring their fluctuations, tracking and reporting is how you show value in what might have otherwise been considered an intangible benefit. To that end, create a proof-of-progress report that you are pursuing your targets To that end, create a proof-of-progress report that you are pursuing your targets. Utilize your platform to see the big picture. And keep in mind that some progress might be invisible without analysis. Remember that not all analytics are equal. Canned reports might not suit your situation, so developing custom reports is extremely valuable. Reaching successful outcomes For example, a large building portfolio owner in the U.S. might track the monetary impact of open faults to justify capital spending. Or a facility owner in Australia may generate a National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) report to deliver updates to tenants. It’s worth noting that reports also might be required by building codes or requested by an internal accounting or compliance team. Listening to your data is critical in a smart building, and just as critical is letting that data drive you toward your business goals. To reach successful outcomes, you need to make sure the data is being properly collected and analyzed, and then presented in a way that helps tracking and reporting your progress. Once those elements have been successfully balanced, you’re on your way to getting the most out of data.

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2020 Rewind: Highlighting Sustainability In The Age Of Climate Change
2020 Rewind: Highlighting Sustainability In The Age Of Climate Change

Sustainability and environmental impact are core issues of the HVAC market in 2020 or any year. During the last year, HVACinformed.com has addressed multiple facets of sustainability in some of our most popular articles. This retrospective will highlight some of the sustainability articles published during 2020 at HVACInformed.com. An HVACInformed.com Expert Panel Roundtable commented on various aspects of sustainability, including the responsibility of HVAC manufacturers to develop more sustainable, energy-efficient products that can reduce a building’s reliance on fossil fuels. Energy consumption pattern Honeywell has launched a platform that incorporates newer technology. Combining self-learning algorithms with building automation, Honeywell Forge Energy Optimization is a cloud-based system that analyzes a building’s energy consumption pattern and adjusts its settings. Heat networks, or district heating, are becoming an ever-greater part of the industry’s involvement Pete Mills of Bosch Commercial & Industrial outlines how cities are using ‘heat networks’ to achieve carbon emission targets in the United Kingdom. Heat networks, or district heating, are becoming an ever-greater part of the industry’s involvement in larger-scale schemes. The ability to help the decarbonization of heat both now and in the future has made them an attractive solution to the new-build sector, as well as those undergoing deep renovation works. Centralized heat generator Generally, heat networks are defined as a system of supply pipes with a centralized heat generator (Energy Center) that serves multiple domestic or non-domestic dwellings. These are usually in different buildings, but sometimes within a single large building like an apartment block or a university campus. Some U.S. cities are taking the lead to make building performance standards mandatory, thus providing additional incentive for customers to invest in new, more efficient and climate-friendly HVAC technologies. New York City has deployed its Carbon Mobilization Act, which will cut six million tons of CO2 annually by 2020. Washington D.C. adopted the first Building Energy Performance Standard, which will reduce energy use in buildings by more than 20%, thereby lowering carbon dioxide emissions by a million tons annually. Improving environmental performance Newer buildings tend to be designed to be ‘green’, but what about older existing buildings, which still represent the largest share of environmental impact? There is more work to be done in the retrofit sector; and improving environmental performance of older buildings often involves ‘deep retrofits’ that are costly and impact multiple factors inside a building. In the COVID-19 era, there is also growing concern about needs such as circulating outside air, increasing humidity, and improving filtration systems even as older buildings seek to become greener. The consistent theme is a need to work toward better-designed, more energy efficient and healthier buildings The consistent theme is a need to work toward better-designed, more energy efficient and healthier buildings. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is moving forward with rulemaking that sets limits and deadlines to decrease the use of refrigerants with global warming potential (GWP) in the commercial refrigeration market and in the residential and commercial stationary air conditioning equipment markets. Air conditioning systems California regulations are widely expected to influence the direction of other states seeking to regulate GWP of refrigerants. The addition of biodiesel lowers the carbon content (and thus the environmental impact) of heating oil. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says biodiesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions, including nitrogen oxide. The process of making biodiesel from renewable and organic sources also boosts the environmental profile. The Wyss Institute at Harvard University has developed an evaporative cooling system that uses a specially coated ceramic to cool air without adding humidity. Researchers say the approach can yield more affordable and environmentally friendly air conditioning systems for the future.

Heating Whole Districts Through Heat Networks
Heating Whole Districts Through Heat Networks

Pete Mills, Commercial Technical Operations Manager at Bosch Commercial & Industrial outlines how cities are using heat networks to achieve UK carbon emission targets. Heat networks, or district heating, are becoming an ever-greater part of our industry’s involvement in larger scale schemes. The ability to help the decarbonization of heat both now and in the future has made them an attractive solution to the new-build sector, as well as those undergoing deep renovation works. Net zero 2050 The UK’s net zero 2050 target may seem like a long way off. But steps need to be made now in order to reach this, something that our leading cities have recognized. Many have set their own carbon targets to ensure they stay on track. This is why heat networks’ ability to provide efficient heat and hot water to multiple buildings (and as the name suggests, whole districts) is a particular reason why many cities up and down the country are turning to them as a solution. What are heat networks? Generally, heat networks are defined as a system of supply pipes with a centralized heat generator (Energy Centre) that serves multiple domestic or non-domestic dwellings. These are usually in different buildings, but sometimes within a single large building like an apartment block or a university campus.District heating is often used to describe larger scale systems District heating is often used to describe larger scale systems of this sort, where there will be many buildings connected over a larger geographic area. In these systems, although the heat is provided ‘off-dwelling’, it is also common to have more than one energy centre. The principle is that energy for heating (and sometimes cooling) is supplied through the system of pipes, with each individual user being metered for the energy they use. Minimize pipe lengths Heat networks offer a number of advantages but are best suited to areas where there is high heat density, that is to say where there are multiple ‘households’ close together in order to minimize the length of pipes within the network. One of the key advantages for heat networks is their adaptability to use any form of heat generation. A key advantage from an environmental perspective is that they make use of waste heat, from sources such as electricity generation, waste incineration and industry. Heat networks are defined as a system of supply pipes with a centralized heat generator that serves multiple domestic or non-domestic dwellings The scale of the combined heat requirements of all these dwellings also helps the inclusion of renewable energy sources, which may be more difficult and costly to achieve at the individual dwelling level. Overall, their flexibility to use whatever heat source is available, makes them easier to decarbonize in the future.Other key benefits for Local Authorities and Housing Associations have been the elimination of individual gas appliances within dwellings. This has significant cost savings reductions for Local Authorities and Housing Associations where gas landlord checks are eliminated, along with the issues associated with access. City developments Today City Councils and developers are opting for heat networks to provide the heating and hot water for new redevelopment projects. The largest of these is the ambitious Leeds Heat Network, which once completed is set to be one of the UK’s largest new heat networks, connecting 1,983 council homes and numerous businesses in Leeds. The first scheme under the City Region’s District Heating program, the green initiative looks to reduce carbon emissions for the area as well as energy bills for the residents living there.The green initiative looks to reduce carbon emissions for the area Even more innovative is how the network will connect to the Leeds Recycling and Energy Recovery Facility, which burns black bin bag waste to generate heat. In theory this would make the network fully sustainable. There will be back-up support from efficient Bosch Commercial & Industrial boilers, which will only be switched on when required, say the colder months where the need for heat is higher. Climate change targets An hour’s drive away from Leeds is the city with one of the most ambitious climate targets in the UK. Manchester intends to be carbon-neutral, climate resilient and zero waste by 2038 – 12 years before the overall UK net zero 2050 target needs to be hit.To help achieve its ambitions, work has been taking place on the Manchester Civic Quarter Heat Network (CQHN). Manchester hasshown the versatility of heat networks due to the number of commercial buildings it will support The project will generate low-carbon power, heat and hot water for initially six council buildings and some residential properties with the possibility for the network to grow and connect further buildings across the city centre. Some see district heating as a solution solely for residential purposes, however Manchester have shown the versatility of heat networks due to the number of commercial buildings it will support. The project itself has also given Manchester a new landmark, the impressive ‘Tower of Light’, which incorporates the five flues from the technology powering the network. This beacon not only represents the city’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint but also the innovative nature of district heating. Heating Battersea Power Station The final example lies in the Capital and may be one of the most famous developments in the UK at the moment. Battersea Power Station is not only one of the most iconic landmarks in London, but also the center piece of one of the most high-profile, large scale mixed-use redevelopment projects ever undertaken in the Capital.Battersea Power Station is a high-profile, large scale mixed-use redevelopment project The project involves the development of a district heating and cooling network, with a two-level underground energy centre – one of the largest of its kind. This complex heat, cooling and electricity network will continue to expand as the project continues to undergo its development stages. Looking ahead These are just a few examples of cities taking advantage of district heating and its many benefits, but near all cities in the UK have multiple heat network projects underway. Like with most innovations, smaller urban areas should then follow suit. The importance of district heating will no doubt become more and more prominent. Its ability to power whole areas and multiple buildings can already help efficiency levels, however its potential may be even greater in the future. One key energy transformation that is looking more and more likely is the decarbonization of the gas grid to hydrogen blends and ultimately 100% hydrogen. If these can be utilized in heat networks then the benefits will definitely put us and UK cities in a good place as we continue our journey towards net zero.

Bosch Launches Hydrogen Ready Zero Carbon Boiler To Transform Heating Sector Into A Green Future
Bosch Launches Hydrogen Ready Zero Carbon Boiler To Transform Heating Sector Into A Green Future

Bosch Thermotechnology’s H2-ready boiler shows how green hydrogen can secure tomorrow’s heat supply of buildings. The demonstration boiler was presented at the Bosch Thermotechnology site in Worcester. Although hydrogen is increasingly being seen as an environmentally friendly energy carrier, also in Europe’s building sector, its implementation has so far been rather slow. By developing a hydrogen-compatible boiler, the developers at Bosch Thermotechnology are proving that boilers can be converted quickly and easily from the currently used natural gas to 100 percent hydrogen. Natural gas pipelines A first demonstration boiler of the H2-ready boiler with a rated heat output of 30 kW has been in operation on a test stand since 2017. The H2-ready boiler can initially run on conventional natural gas or a hydrogen admixture of up to 20 percent. As soon as the local network has been switched over to hydrogen, the boiler can be converted to full use of the green gas within an hour by making just a few adjustments. The operation of the H2-ready boiler is similar to that of an ordinary gas condensing boiler Most of the existing natural gas pipelines are almost ready to transport hydrogen, which means that existing infrastructures can be used when switching to the green gas. The operation of the H2-ready boiler is similar to that of an ordinary gas condensing boiler. The important difference lies in the energy source. Hydrogen can be stored indefinitely, thus ensuring constant availability for users. Green hydrogen is climate-neutral and therefore has the potential to lead the heating sector into a green future. Enabling carbon savings Renewable energy is becoming more and more popular in both new buildings and modernization projects. Without additional adjustments such as insulation measures, however, the installation of climate-friendly heating solutions (e.g. heat pumps) in existing buildings is often complex and expensive. The new H2-ready boiler from Bosch makes the difference, as it requires no additional modernization measures and enables carbon savings in every existing building. But climate protection does not mean compromising on heating comfort. The hydrogen boiler from Bosch can react quickly to fluctuating heating requirements due to weather and user conditions and offers the same high performance as a conventional gas condensing boiler. The H2-ready boiler fits into the same footprint as a current gas-condensing boiler, which is a great advantage especially in houses with limited space for the building services.

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