Variable Refrigerant Flow/Volume (VRF/VRV) - Expert Commentary

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.

Training Is The Key To The UK Government’s Heat Pump Promise
Training Is The Key To The UK Government’s Heat Pump Promise

Forget the fact that heat pump installations in the average home could cost several thousand pounds more than a conventional gas boiler and that fully insulating those homes will add even greater cost to the homeowner. It’s not really the cost issue that could be the only potential bump in the road on the way to the target set by the UK Government, because a more pressing problem to solve will be the shortage of trained ‘green’ heating engineers that will be the key to delivery of the plan. Gas boiler production I’m sure I’m not alone within the industry in adding my support to any drive that leads to a more effective use of environmentally responsible sources of energy for home heating. And following the news that ministers are currently discussing a cut off date of 2035 for all domestic gas boiler production, with an earlier 2025 ban on their installation in new homes, it is encouraging to think that technologies with which we in the industry have been working for a decade or more, will finally become the norm, rather than the green exception. However supportive I and colleagues in the sector might be, we should not shy away from challenging the Government on the delivery of the targets it has announced, because currently we haven’t heard enough in the Government’s Heating and Buildings Strategy about the market’s skills shortage. Heat source technologies At Ameon we’ve been working with green technologies for over a decade, on large scale public sector The truth is that there are simply not enough heating engineers currently who are experienced in the installation of alternative heat source technologies, such as ground or air source heat pumps, and given that tens of thousands of new or re-skilled engineers will be required if the Government’s plan to install 600,000 heat pumps per year by 2028 is to be achieved, then the drive needs to be supported by the associated training provisions to help it meet its goal. At Ameon we’ve been working with green technologies for over a decade, on large scale public sector and residential developments but I feel that aside from building services infrastructure companies like ourselves and others in our sector, there isn’t currently a large enough skills base and therefore the infrastructure needs to be put in place to be able to train enough people to carry out the installation program. Low carbon technologies This could be more of a factor in the achievement of 2035 target aspirations, than even the potential public reluctance to embrace the technology for cost reasons. Whilst specialists in our sector have teams of qualified heating and ventilation engineers who are hugely experienced in low carbon technologies, it has to be acknowledged that their experience and skill set has taken considerable time and investment to develop; therefore I hope the Government hasn’t underestimated the vital importance of training. This could be more of a factor in the achievement of 2035 target aspirations You can’t simply ask domestic heating engineers, who are used to fitting conventional gas boilers, to switch to installing ground or air source heat pumps overnight. There are significant differences in the science and the technology, together with the requirement by law for engineers to be F-gas registered, proving that they are qualified in the safe handling of fluorinated refrigerant gases (F-gas), which are ozone depleting substances crucial to the heat pump delivery process. Conventional gas boilers Then, there’s the need for engineers to understand how to design low temperature water systems and avoid such things as Legionella bacteria creeping into the system. There is much more to learn for someone used to installing boilers that heat water to a temperature to pasteurize it, because the public health element is a key factor too. So there needs to be significant retraining and, of course, the time to create the infrastructure to deliver the training. The other related issues, such as where training would be delivered and who funds it can be more easily addressed. After all, the Chancellor has protected UK businesses at the drop of a hat in the midst of a pandemic, and the country has, in short time, created a hugely efficient mass-vaccination program; proving that anything is possible. Reducing carbon emissions Steve Baker, has warned of public anger if all implications of the Government’s plans are not explained Currently discussions in Whitehall include such ideas as homeowners being required to install ‘green’ heating before they can sell their property, or levying a surcharge on gas boilers to subsidize production of heat pumps: although no firm decision has yet been taken. It is reported that former Conservative minister, Steve Baker, has warned of public anger if all implications of the Government’s plans are not explained fully to homeowners, which is why I and others will add our voices to the many questions that really need to be answered. That doesn’t mean we in industry are not fully supportive of the Government’s aspirations. The public too appears to be broadly behind this move to reduce carbon emissions, particularly as gas boilers account for a percentage of CO2 produced annually; therefore it is an important area to focus upon if ‘net zero’ carbon emissions by 2050 are to be achieved. Newly trained engineers Roughly 85% of UK homes currently rely on gas for heating, which is around 25 million homes, so the scale of the change required is immense. Even if the UK had the qualified engineers to start from day one, which it doesn’t, the targets are ambitious to say the least. It is my view that investment in training has to be at the heart of the Government’s planning. That could be delivered on the job, in the classroom, or, as has become the norm during lockdown, via online platforms such as Teams, Zoom or Skype. So if the will is there and the resources are in place to fund training, the method is the easier part of the process. What’s less certain is whether the army of re-skilled and newly trained engineers can be deployed quickly enough to achieve the target set. The clock is ticking...

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.

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Johnson Controls Partners With Air One And Star Air Conditioning To Install YORK Systems In Two Building Homes For Heroes Mortgage-Free Homes
Johnson Controls Partners With Air One And Star Air Conditioning To Install YORK Systems In Two Building Homes For Heroes Mortgage-Free Homes

Johnson Controls recently partnered with Air One Heating & Cooling, Star Air Conditioning & Heating, and YORK Factory Direct to install YORK® heating and cooling systems in two Building Homes for Heroes mortgage-free homes for wounded veterans in Daytona, Florida., and Orlando, Florida. Air One Heating & Cooling installed equipment donated by YORK Factory Direct in the home of Sergeant Carlos Cruz in Daytona, Florida, Cruz, who joined the military out of San Antonio, Texas in 1997, was injured during his 20-year deployment, causing him to suffer from severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), herniated discs in his back, left ACL reconstruction, migraines, and chronic pain. Suffer multiple injuries Star Air Conditioning & Heating installed equipment that was also donated by YORK Factory Direct in the home of U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Jorge Zapata in Orlando, Florida, Zapata, who joined the military out of Parris Island, S.C., was injured during his deployment to Iraq, causing him to suffer multiple injuries, including PTSD and a traumatic brain injury. The injuries of both veterans require specific modifications in their homes in order to live safely and focus on their recoveries. "We’re proud to partner with Johnson Controls and Building Homes for Heroes to give back to a real hero within our local community who has made great sacrifices for our country,” said Larry Franklin Sr., Owner, Star Air Conditioning & Heating. “We’re honored to contribute our services to help Sergeant Jorge Zapata and his family live comfortably in their home.” Renovate quality homes The organization strives to build or renovate quality homes and donate them to injured veterans Building Homes for Heroes is a national organization that recognizes those who serve in the United States Armed Forces by supporting the needs of severely wounded or disabled soldiers and their families. The organization strives to build or renovate quality homes and donate them, mortgage-free, to injured veterans nationwide. “The customized amenities that Johnson Controls brings to these homes provide not only a foundation for these heroes, but a hopeful path to a bright future with the opportunity to reach dreams they may have never thought imaginable when injured,” said Andy Pujol, Founder and CEO of Building Homes for Heroes. Veteran-Friendly company “We are so grateful to partner with Johnson Controls, Air One Heating & Cooling, Star Air Conditioning & Cooling and YORK® Factory Direct to help these veterans and their families to live in greater comfort.” The YORK brand of Johnson Controls has been a proud sponsor of Building Homes for Heroes since 2014. The company has been recognized by US Veterans Magazine as a top veteran-friendly company. Johnson Controls is also committed to hiring veterans and military spouses. Veteran employees are honored to design, engineer, and assemble systems that help improve the lives of fellow veterans. 

Johnson Controls Through Its YORK Brand Launches All-In-One Residential HVAC Solution - Ultimate Home Comfort
Johnson Controls Through Its YORK Brand Launches All-In-One Residential HVAC Solution - Ultimate Home Comfort

Johnson Controls, the globally renowned company for smart, healthy and sustainable building solutions, has launched through its YORK brand a 10-year residential HVAC leasing program: Ultimate Home Comfort. This industry-first solution provides homeowners with a new, fully installed YORK high-efficiency HVAC system with no money down, as well as factory-backed 10-year parts and labor coverage, and 10 years of service repairs and annual maintenance – all for one, low monthly payment. Ultimate Home Comfort by YORK Ultimate Home Comfort delivers stress-free, year-round heating and cooling to homeowners Ultimate Home Comfort delivers stress-free, year-round heating and cooling to homeowners, with up to 53% energy savings (compared to older, 10 SEER systems), with a YORK high-efficiency HVAC system, which are part of Johnson Controls OpenBlue connected suite of technologies. For homeowners, the all-in-one program delivers ultimate peace of mind and predictable costs for 10 years. For contractors, this turnkey solution offers the opportunity to obtain double-digit profits, a 10-year change-out cycle, and up to 55% average gross margin on installs. One-of-a-kind leasing program “Ultimate Home Comfort by YORK is a one-of-a-kind leasing program that was designed with the simplicity and convenience that homeowners crave and the guaranteed business that contractors work years to achieve,” said Tim Brusseau, Director of Business Development for Ducted Systems at Johnson Controls. Tim Brusseau adds, “It’s an easy decision for both homeowners and contractors alike that provides peace of mind for everyone involved.” Easy, built-in sales process Unlike a traditional selling structure, greater sales compensation and recurring revenue is made possible through Ultimate Home Comfort’s easy, built-in sales process. The all-in-one solution is offered directly from YORK to contractors, not through a third party, and it ensures that customers are retained for at least 10 years. In addition, contractor employee turnover is reduced. There’s no cost to join the program for YORK Certified Comfort Experts or Liberties Plus contractors.

Johnson Controls Releases YORK HMH7 Residential Heat Pump With Flexible Installation Options And Innovative Features
Johnson Controls Releases YORK HMH7 Residential Heat Pump With Flexible Installation Options And Innovative Features

Johnson Controls, the provider of smart, healthy and sustainable buildings, has, through its YORK® brand, released a new residential heat pump that provides the ideal solution for spaces that require a compact design, without sacrificing comfort or efficiency. The YORK® HMH7 horizontal discharge heat pump is designed to provide the comfort and technology of a mid-tier efficiency unit at the cost of a base-tier vertical unit, with flexible installation options and innovative features. Unlike traditional vertical discharge units, the HMH7 heat pump has a 40% smaller footprint, making it a great system for homes in temperate, high-density regions that require a compact design, such as properties with zero lot lines. Lower utility bills They can be placed anywhere a vertical unit can, and often in places vertical units cannot fit, thanks to greater clearance and setback flexibility. All HMH7 heat pumps follow standard installation procedures with conventional equipment and devices, using simple kits with relay, wiring, and bi-flow filters/dryers. The systems are designed to work with YORK® variable speed or standard ECM indoor air handling equipment, providing many system installation options. In addition, no unique installation procedures are required. YORK® HMH7 heat pumps, which are part of Johnson Controls OpenBlue connected suite of technologies, reach up to 18 SEER and up to 10.5 HSPF, which can result in lower utility bills compared to older units, saving homeowners money. Reducing energy usage Horizontal discharge systems offer the consumer and homeowner enhanced value and performance" Inverter system and modulating technology smoothly ramp up operation and continuously adjust, avoiding spikes in energy use while helping to increase overall system longevity and reducing energy usage. “Unlike the standard vertical heat pumps, which discharge air out the top of the unit, these compact systems discharge air and sound horizontally away from the home, offering a litany of benefits to both the contractors and homeowners,” said Bryan Rocky, director of residential technical services, Ducted Systems, Johnson Controls. “Horizontal discharge systems offer the consumer and homeowner enhanced value and performance in certain applications and installations where space is a premium, yet can be applied in any standard installations as well.” Horizontal discharge system Another key advantage to the horizontal discharge system is an innovative fan design that creates less vibration and provides quieter operation. Sound output is as low as a typical dishwasher at 54 dBA, which is 36% lower sound levels than standard heat pump units. YORK® HMH7 heat pumps are available in 2, 3, 4, and 5-ton options to ensure a precise, effective solution for the customers’ needs. They come standard with a 10-year Compressor Limited Warranty and a 10-year Parts Limited Warranty with product registration, and extended warranties are available.

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