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Over the past few years, hydrogen has been dubbed the savior of residential heating and a major part of the plan to achieve carbon neutrality, yet new research suggests hydrogen should be reserved for the likes of aircraft and industry. As part of the 2016 Paris Climate Change Accord, the economies agreed to keep global warming under 2°C. A key part of achieving that has been an agreement to become net zero on greenhouses gases by the year 2050. Renewable heating method With heating currently accounting for one-third of UK carbon emissions, it is no surprise that it’s been a key focus as the government looks for new ways to reduce the country's overall carbon emissions. A ban on natural gas boilers and all new build properties was announced back in 2019 by Chancellor Philip Hammond and since then proposed gas boiler replacements have been the subject of intense research and debate. Hydrogen boilers have been a major contender in the race for a renewable heating method Hydrogen boilers have been a major contender in the race for a renewable heating method, along with heat pumps and solar, yet hydrogen has remained the strongest due to its ability to be used in conjunction with the current gas network. However, new findings have delivered a big blow to the proposed plans for heating millions of UK homes with hydrogen boilers. Existing gas network Currently, there are various projects underway to test the feasibility of rolling out hydrogen via the existing gas network, funded by both energy companies and the government. This includes the so-called ‘hydrogen village’ in Fife, Scotland, set to become the first location in the UK where hydrogen appliances will be trialed in over 300 homes and fed with hydrogen gas directly from the grid. Yet the new research, conducted by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany had harsh words for such plans, noting that hydrogen fuel remains inefficient and expensive to produce. Hydrogen is one of the most common elements on Earth, yet the major issue is that it’s typically bound to another element and so needs to be separated. The production of hydrogen from water molecules, referred to as ‘green hydrogen’ is both expensive and demands a significant amount of electricity. Achieving carbon neutrality Major industries such as freight and metal production are more likely to rely on hydrogen power The research suggests that it may be more cost-effective and greener to rely on electricity directly to power both home heating and vehicles. The major reason for this is simply due to the fact that currently hydrogen production requires more electricity than is required to power either an electric car or an air source heat pump. Major industries such as freight and metal production are more likely to rely on hydrogen power to achieve carbon neutrality. Yet the stark reality is that a reliable supply of green hydrogen power is unlikely to be available for many years. Relying on it to power residential heating and vehicles is simply not attainable at the current speed of development. High carbon heating The major risk of this is that it simply results in countries being reliant on high carbon heating for even longer. For instance, if consumers are advised that having a gas boiler installed is fine because the fuel supply will eventually transition to hydrogen, yet it ends up being too expensive or difficult to supply these homes could eventually be emitting carbon for many more years ahead. Hydrogen is still seen as the ideal solution due to it being able to be used in conjunction with the current gas network. It’s also seen as the most affordable, for instance Energy Guide, has estimated that it would cost an average of £26,000 to switch each UK home to a low-carbon heating system such as heat pumps. Generating adequate hydrogen Many environmental campaigners are now calling for gas boilers to be removed But this new research is making it clear that ‘green hydrogen’ may not be here for some time and as a result, the plan for hydrogen boilers being the solution is untenable. As a result of these observations, many environmental campaigners are now calling for gas boilers to be removed and replaced with low carbon alternatives, including heat pumps. Generating adequate hydrogen to supply major industries such as freight and metal production will be a significant challenge on its own and expecting there to be enough to supply homes too is a huge feat that many are doubtful of. There are three major types of hydrogen production, including: Grey hydrogen - This is the dirtiest type of hydrogen production made through the natural gas being burned with steam, which also produces large amounts of carbon. Blue hydrogen - The hydrogen is still produced via the burning of natural gas but is greener as the carbon is captured and stored underground. Green hydrogen - This is the most environmentally friendly method of hydrogen production. It uses electricity to cause a reaction known as electrolysis, resulting in water molecules being split into their hydrogen and oxygen counterparts. Yet this process is much more expensive than the other methods and requires significant amounts of electricity to achieve. Decarbonize residential heating It’s clear that the government is taking whatever steps necessary to achieve carbon neutral status by 2050 and that home heating needs to be reformed but there are a number of barriers to get there and in the case of hydrogen the production process is the major area of contention. Many point to heat pumps as a suitable alternative, but is it really viable to expect most homes to pay for a brand new heating system with significant upfront costs? While strides have been made in the development of hydrogen-ready appliances and boilers, hydrogen production has not and it’s a considerable problem if it’s going to be relied upon to decarbonize residential heating.
In what can only be described as a very turbulent year, many businesses have had to shut their doors and have all but forgotten about the general upkeep of their sites. With priorities shifted to keeping companies afloat and staff employed, maintenance and servicing has taken a backseat, and many systems will be deteriorating unnoticed. It goes without saying that one of the first tasks that employers will have to tackle when returning to work is a deep clean. As we are still in the throes of a pandemic, a clean and disinfected workplace is the number one priority that needs to be ensured, before any staff can be welcomed back to work. This should be closely followed by maintenance of the site’s equipment. Importance of regular HVAC maintenance Regular HVAC maintenance is extremely important as it keeps systems performing efficiently and effectively Regular HVAC maintenance is extremely important as it keeps systems performing efficiently and effectively. The nature of HVAC maintenance does change depending on the time of year, and with some sites being shut for months and through different seasons, managers will need to review their current equipment to ensure it is compliant and working correctly as soon as possible as signs of normality start returning and facilities begin to reopen. While warehouses and factories may have still been operating in some capacity over the last 12 months, many office buildings have seen little to no employees for more than a year in some cases, therefore, risking deterioration and even damage to their systems going unnoticed and untreated. But with so many pieces of equipment at each site, it is often hard to know where to start and what to prioritize. Following HVAC manufacturer’s recommendations In order for businesses to keep functioning as best as they can and to avoid any more disruption, those in charge of maintenance and servicing need to be educated on how the conditions of a system affects the type of work it needs. Manufacturer’s recommendations should also be taken into account. To help define what these are and how to approach them, mechanical and electrical engineers recommend: The coils and pipes in HVAC equipment that are responsible for heat transfer are checked regularly, because if the equipment gets dirty, it won’t transfer heat and energy as well. Checking controls annually to ensure that the HVAC system is running properly, as control calibration can alter. By scheduling regular check-ups, accurate operation is maintained. Maintaining equipment with fans quarterly to maximize longevity. Three key areas include monitoring the impellers, belts and bearings for any dirt, wear and tear, friction or erosion. Keeping an eye on filters, as when they are clogged, it increases the pressure drop in a system, which makes fans work harder to maintain the same airflow. A quarterly clean is usually sufficient for most filters. This is also true of strainers in systems. Optimizing HVAC and electrical equipment With spring now upon us, businesses need to optimize their HVAC and electrical equipment for maximum efficiency With spring now upon us, businesses need to optimize their HVAC and electrical equipment for maximum efficiency. This includes reviewing the sequence of operations for a morning warm up and cool down. However, it’s important to remember that because of prolonged closures over the last 12 months, autumn and winter checks, and in some cases, even summer checks were not able to be carried out in 2020, so before the spring work begins, backdating the maintenance is a good place to start. Ensuring buildings’ energy efficiency With the help of experts, HVAC maintenance doesn’t have to be time-consuming and overwhelming, but it’s a critical part of maintaining an energy-efficient building that is both comfortable and reliable. With regular servicing and some basic knowledge of what is required, sites can maintain optimum efficiency all year round. Noise complaints can also be an issue, if HVAC maintenance isn’t carried out regularly. Spring is a good time for businesses to perform services on their equipment, prior to the summer months starting and should be used to ensure that condenser coils and air handler filters are both clean. The dirtier the equipment, the noisier and less efficient it becomes, which is bad news for any business. Preparing buildings for staff returning to work When a building is returning to normal occupancy after a lengthy closure, additional checks must be considered before reopening is discussed. When a building is initially mothballed, it must be prepared for long term vacancy, but many businesses will not have had this opportunity before the national lockdown, which basically entails that these checks will not have been carried out. After a building becomes unoccupied, it is not the case that maintenance activity should also stop After a building becomes unoccupied, it is not the case that maintenance activity should also stop. At the very least, the frequency of existing planned maintenance will change, but in some cases, more maintenance tasks are required in order to keep the site ticking over. This includes flushing of water systems, Legionella testing and insurance inspections to keep the property functional and compliant. Countering health and safety issues As the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions are lifted across the United Kingdom and many businesses are gradually reopening, it will present health and safety problems that have not been faced before and will very likely see a surge in services and maintenance being required. With this in mind, it is vital that maintenance becomes a priority as normal service is resumed to not only ensure efficiency, but also to make sure that no employee or visitor to a site is put in danger. Emerging from a surreal 12 months, there is no doubt that companies will still face challenges, so it is crucial that avoidable maintenance problems do not become one of them, so don’t delay in booking routine checks.
As part of the UK Government’s stated commitment to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, gas boilers, along with other fossil-fuel burning boilers, are to be banned in newbuild homes from 2025 under the Future Homes Standard. Although the ban has received a widespread welcome in principle, there has been criticism. Environmental groups have criticized the ban for not going far enough in tacking the escalating climate crisis, and the construction and home-building industries have criticized it for the challenges it brings in achieving a viable home-heating alternative in such a short space of time. Placing significant demand Despite the criticism, the ban doesn’t go far enough; applying to newbuild homes only, with, as yet, no plans to phase out gas heating in existing homes. New heating technology has to be ready to roll out before 2025, whether it’s to 160,000 homes per year (the annual approximate figure of new homes built) or the UK’s entire housing stock of 29 million. Despite the criticism, the ban doesn’t go far enough; applying to newbuild homes only The Home Builders Federation, in reaction to the Future Homes Standard, has said, “It’s going to be a challenge and a huge area of work.” And it is widely acknowledged there is significant demand placed on the building and HVAC industries to produce a long-term, viable solution. Challenges include the creation of new, cost-effective designs of energy infrastructures, and implementation in time for the short deadline of less than four years away. Gas boiler heating systems From energy design engineers to developers, suppliers, and energy companies, everyone in the supply chain is affected in delivering a solution that UK homeowners can afford and that developers can supply. The communications challenge also cannot be underestimated, to bring along the public to the reality that homes cannot, ultimately, continue to be heated by the gas boilers they are so familiar with. The most likely low-carbon alternative to gas boiler heating systems is generally acknowledged to be heat pumps and heat networks, powered by renewables. It has been estimated by the Committee on Climate Change that by 2030 there will be 2.5 million heat pumps in new homes. Heat pumps offer comparable heating power to gas boilers and are powered by low-carbon electricity. Heat pumps have great potential for saving carbon; approximately 25-85 tCO2 per home over an average lifetime, reducing carbon emissions by 90%. Existing gas system But hydrogen is expensive to produce and although the existing gas system could be readily used for supply But for heat pumps to provide the level of warmth, particular in winter, and summer, weather in the UK, their effectiveness relies on excellent insulation, including triple glazing and adaptations to walls, floors, and ceilings. And while there has been a drive to get our draughty homes better insulated in the UK in recent years, with various grants and funding, this will be particularly crucial for newbuilds going forward. Hydrogen boilers could be an alternative to gas boilers. Hydrogen produces no emissions when burnt, only water and heat. But hydrogen is expensive to produce and although the existing gas system could be readily used for supply, and by consumers already familiar with a boiler system, it is not yet seen as a full solution to the replacement of gas. Technically qualified workers Trials are due to be carried out in the north-east with hydrogen-ready boilers. But the impending deadline and challenge for production and systems to be ready and tested, for mass implementation is unrealistic. Even before the Future Homes Standard was announced, there was an acknowledged shortage of skills. Engineering UK, in a recent survey, found that an additional 1.8 million engineers and technically qualified workers would be needed by 2025 in order to meet demand. But the impending deadline and challenge for production and systems to be ready and tested Nearly a third of HVAC firms have declared a skills shortage, with many feeling there is a crisis in the sector of sufficient qualified workers who can satisfy the new regulations. Now the demand is set to rise with the ban, as well as Brexit. A large proportion of qualified HVAC workers are sourced from the EU, further compounding the crisis of the skills shortage already faced. Zero-Carbon technologies From imagining life without a gas boiler to a young person seeing their future career in engineering and renewable energy, effective communications and campaigns could go a long way. Targeted lifestyle campaigns, with positive, compelling case studies of homes of the future being powered by green, zero-carbon technologies could help to drive the momentum for innovation from a domestic base. Talent strategies could also combat the reality of an ageing and diminishing workforce in HVAC and other sectors. It’s vital now, more than ever, that young people see a career in renewable and eco-living technology as, not only rewarding but futuristic, global, and sophisticated. Any alternative to gas heating has to be affordable for UK households, and therefore for housing developers to adopt. Fuel poverty is a real risk. Energy-Saving measures The right help needs to be in place to support the development and take-up of the alternative According to the Committee on Climate Change, it costs £4,800 to install low-carbon heating in a new home, but £26,300 in an existing house while there are various funding initiatives for households adopting energy-saving measures, the right help needs to be in place to support the development and take-up of the alternative. Not just for newbuild homeowners, but beyond 2025 when existing households are called upon to switch. The Home Builders Federation have said of the Future Homes Standard, “Ambitious deadlines pose enormous challenges for all parties involved including developers, suppliers, energy companies in terms of skills, design, energy infrastructure and the supply chain.” Low-Carbon heating technology But there is also a stated dedication to achieving what can be realistically achieved, proving that there is a genuine commitment to ensuring our brighter, cleaner future and planet with low-carbon heating technology. The ultimate challenge now will be in Government, agencies, and industry working together, in a dedicated way, to be realistic about, and tackle the challenges across the board so the right solution for our home-heating future can be achieved, in time, and ready for a rollout for the new homes we build from 2025.
Bryant has launched the new Bryant Home app, which provides homeowners with an improved experience managing their Evolution™ System. This replacement for the MyEvolution Connex app, which is available now in the Apple® App Store® and Google Play® store, provides an enhanced homeowner experience, improved functionality and increased connectivity performance between the mobile device and home comfort system. Bryant, a pioneering supplier of heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment, is a part of Carrier Global Corporation, the pioneering global provider of healthy, safe and sustainable building and cold chain solutions. While the Bryant Home app has a new look and improved performance, it still includes many of the features and benefits homeowners were accustomed to with the previous MyEvolution Connex app. Homeowners will be able to control their entire advanced home comfort system to precisely manage the temperature, humidity and equipment efficiency.1 In addition, homeowners will be able to learn more about the outdoor air quality around their home, including the air quality index and the pollutant levels in the atmosphere. Bryant Home app The new Bryant Home app runs on a Carrier IO platform, which provides a solid backend and cloud platform to build robust IoT applications. This app represents the latest step in Carrier’s digital transformation journey as its residential business reinvents its holistic digital footprint. “We’re proud to introduce the Bryant Home app to residential customers,” said Gundeep Singh, Executive Director, Digital and Analytics, NA Residential & Light Commercial, Carrier. “Homeowners will enjoy the enhanced performance that better allows them to conveniently manage their home comfort settings from anywhere. This is the next progression in our digital transformation and we look forward to offering homeowners a new level of functionality as we continue to add new features and product compatibility.”
Bryant Heating & Cooling Systems launched the latest additions to its tier Evolution™ series with the Evolution Extreme 26 air conditioner (Model 186CNV) and Evolution Extreme 24 heat pump (Model 284ANV). Both products showcase a number of features performance, which includes numerous technological advancements with 12 patents pending. Bluetooth® diagnostic information Bryant, a supplier of heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) equipment, is a part of Carrier, a global provider of innovative HVAC, refrigeration, fire, security and building automation technologies. Bryant also offers online troubleshooting and training modules, and virtual reality The Evolution Extreme 26 and 24 offer a number of enhancements designed with technicians in mind. Bluetooth® technology is available on the outdoor unit, making it unnecessary to access outdoor unit diagnostic information inside the home. Over-the-air software updates are available and technicians can assess over 130 diagnostic points. Sound output as low as 51 dB Plus, installations can use up to 250 equivalent feet of refrigerant line length, features two-wire installation, and the units are self-configuring and Evolution™ Zoning System-capable. Bryant also offers online troubleshooting and training modules, and virtual reality, 3D simulation training is available. Dehumidification can remove up to 70% more moisture per day than a single-stage system For most sizes, the Evolution Extreme 26 offers ratings for a ducted system at up to 26.0 SEER and 16.5 EER; while the Evolution Extreme 24 heat pump offers the in-class ratings at up to 24.0 SEER, 15.0 EER and 13.0 HSPF. Furthermore, both the Evolution Extreme 26 and 24 tout quiet operation with sound output as low as 51 dB. Ducted heat pump with a variable-speed The Evolution Extreme 26 and 24 include enhanced dehumidification and can remove up to 70% more moisture per day than a single-stage system. Plus, both units feature a variable-speed capacity operating range down to 25% in 1% increments and provide high-ambient cooling operation with full power up to 125 F. An Evolution™ air purifier will be included with the purchase of every Evolution Extreme 26 and 244 The Evolution Extreme 24 also offers heating operation to minus 15 F. In addition, it is has a ducted heat pump with a variable-speed, 5-ton unit that can achieve 13.0 EER and features the addition of vapor-injection technology. “We’re confident that homeowners will appreciate the features and benefits that are realized in our most ambitious development project to date. We’re also pleased to introduce enhanced installation and serviceability to our dealers, as we know that these improvements will make their lives easier,” said Todd Nolte, senior director, product and brand marketing, HVAC-Residential, Carrier. “The Evolution Extreme 26 and 24 are a true testament to the rigorous research and development that went into this project and we’re proud to be able to provide customers with such advantages.” Evolution™ air purifier destroys 99% germs and viruses In addition, an Evolution™ air purifier will be included with the purchase of every Evolution Extreme 26 and 244. The Evolution air purifier works silently in-line with the HVAC system and can improve indoor air quality. It uses Captures & Kills™ technology to trap up to 95% of particles, then uses an electrical charge to kill or inactivate up to 99% of germs and viruses. With every cycle of air that passes through this patented air purifying system, pollen, animal dander, bacteria and other pollutants are trapped and held tightly to the filter. An electrical charge then bursts the cell walls of pathogens it comes in contact with.
During the recent Bryant Dealer Rally, the company’s annual meeting where its top dealers are honored, Air Tech Heating, Inc. of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin was named Bryant Dealer of the Year, the highest honor a Bryant dealer can receive. Each year, this award recognizes the company whose hard work, expertise and business acumen have helped them to stand out as a leader in the industry. Bryant, a national supplier of heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) equipment, is a part of Carrier, a global provider of innovative HVAC, refrigeration, fire, security and building automation technologies. “We’re both honored and humbled to be selected as the 2019 Bryant Dealer of the Year,” said Dan Price, owner, Air Tech Heating, Inc. “I’m incredibly proud of the entire team at Air Tech and I appreciate being recognized for doing business our way, with honesty and integrity.” Bryant Factory Authorized Dealer “We’re proud to be a Bryant Factory Authorized Dealer and have the support of such a great company. I’m also grateful for the amazing relationships we’ve built with both Bryant and our distributor, Auer Steel, over the course of my 22 years owning the business.” Dan and his team serve as ideal examples for other Bryant dealers of how to run a successful business" Founded in 1997, Air Tech Heating, Inc. has become known as the “Best Heating & Air Conditioning Company in the Fond du Lac Area” for ten straight years by Gannett Readers’ Choice. In 2018, Price’s son, Jim, and his wife, Sarah, became co-owners of Air Tech Heating, Inc. ensuring that it will remain a fixture in the community for years to come. It’s even more fitting that Air Tech Heating, Inc. was selected as the 2019 Bryant Dealer of the Year, as Price retired shortly after the Dealer Rally. Indoor air quality equipment sales “Bryant dealers continue to help set the standard in our industry,” said Matthew Pine, president, Residential HVAC, Bryant. “Our 2019 Dealer of the Year, Air Tech Heating, Inc. is an exemplary organization and has risen to the top among the very best in our elite group of dealers. Dan and his team serve as ideal examples for other Bryant dealers of how to run a successful business and do ‘Whatever It Takes’ to care for our customers.” Bryant selected its 2019 Dealer of the Year from 22 Medal of Excellence winners, comprised of Bryant Factory Authorized Dealers from throughout North America. The candidates were judged on overall sales growth, high-efficiency and indoor air quality equipment sales, customer satisfaction and participation in dealer programs and promotions. Medal of Excellence Winners The 2019 Medal of Excellence Winners include: Affordable Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. - Cudahy, Wisconsin AGS HVAC Services - Westport, Massachusetts Air Tech Heating, Inc. - Fond du Lac, Wisconsin Bennett Heating and Air – Purvis, Mississippi Bob’s Heating & Air Conditioning - Woodinville, Washington Chadds Ford Climate Control - Chadds Ford Chapman Heating | Air Conditioning | Plumbing - Indianapolis, Indiana Chris Mechanical Services, Inc. - West Chicago, Illinois Cosby Heating - Mount Vernon, Ohio Dave’s Heating and Air - Lincoln, Nebraska Design Air, Inc. - Missoula, Montana Evergreen Gas, Inc. - Sherwood, Oregon Family Heating and Air - Pensacola, Florida Federal Elite Heating & Cooling, Inc. - Dresden, Ohio Fort Collins Heating and Air - Fort Collins, Colorado GAC Services - Gaithersburg, Maryland Gainesville Mechanical, Inc. - Gainesville, Georgia Haley Comfort Systems - Rochester, Minnesota IERNA’S Heating & Cooling, Inc. - Lutz, Florida Precision Heating & Air Conditioning - Twin Falls, Idaho Regal, Inc. - York, Pennsylvania Waychoffs Heating & Air Conditioning - Jacksonville, Florida In addition to the Dealer of the Year award, Bryant named Peck & Weis Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & Electric of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin as this year’s recipient of the Charles Bryant Award. The Charles Bryant Award, named in honor of the company’s founder, recognizes a loyal Bryant Factory Authorized Dealer (FAD) that epitomizes the characteristics of Charles Bryant, including professionalism, quality, reliability and community spirit.