Masthead - Climate Control Journal

‘A gas leak becomes evident only after the system runs out of it’

CORNAREDO, Milan, Italy, 12 February 2021: One of the weak points in a gas detection system, especially in refrigeration applications, is that it is almost impossible to detect a small leakage in the plantroom. Dr Giacomo Frigo, Founder & Managing Director, Sensitron, said this, adding that the management realises the leakage only when there is no more gas in the system.

Dr Frigo pointed out to how hotel chains have started installing fire detectors to be able to assure guests that no accidents will occur in their hotel room. Much in the same way, he said, the right step forward would be to install gas detectors that give out a warning much before an alarm does, to improve the management of a gas detection system.

Hand in hand with installation is the maintenance of the detectors, he said. In Sensitron, for instance, we have adopted the NDIR technology in all our detectors, which he said is a bit more costly than the MOS technology. The additional cost, he added, is worth it, because the alarm value from the detector is much more stable and accurate. As a result, he further added, the period of checking and recalibration of the detector practically is three time longer than that of other systems.

Climate change and the larger picture of finances

Mayor James Brainard

Q&A: James Brainard, Mayor of Carmel, Indiana, United States

We have succeeded admirably in our fight against the depletion of the ozone layer through collective effort, through a cohesive, consensus-based approach of finding economically and technically sound alternatives to ozone-depleting refrigerants. How much confidence do you take from what has been a marvellous example of social cooperation?

We did the summit in the form of the Montreal Protocol over concerns of huge spike in cancer deaths, so it was a great example of world leaders coming together to study a problem, devise a solution and then go back to their countries to fix the problem. It shows diplomacy and recognition of common challenges can be good.

In the same way, could we not find a financially feasible, well-structured long-term plan to curb the widespread misuse of energy and general profligacy through steady and substantial investment in the infrastructure needed to achieve the goal?

You have identified the problem in the question, and we have to find the means of accomplishing this. We have to look at the larger picture of finances – the health impact of pollution; the cost of famines; the cost of relocation, if we have a rise in sea level, leading to the displacement of people from major cities; and the cost of possible conflicts arising out of this. But more specifically, we need to recognize many jobs are dependent on the fossil fuel industry. So, we can make those changes, but we have to recognize that we need to look out for investment of industry, we still need to fly airplanes. But, we have a saying in the US, ‘low- hanging fruit’. So, there are many easy things we can do to clean the environment and reduce fossil fuel use, and those are what we can focus on with recognising that we have to protect people’s jobs in the fossil fuel industry and that many are invested in the fossil fuel industry.

Would an approach of self-financing the fight against global warming by developing an energy budget in every city, town, state and country across the world be a possible way out, as propounded by George Berbari, the CEO of DC Pro Engineering? I am referring to a structured, long-term carrot-and-stick approach, where individuals and organisations occupying residential and commercial buildings could be rewarded for being energy efficient and penalised for being inefficient, with the penalty being slightly higher than the reward to create a positive budget, a surplus, which could be used for giving rebates to homeowners for improving insulation, glazing, etc., for developing infrastructure to lower primary energy use, for building thermal energy networks, even District Energy schemes… anything that would effectively fight climate change.

I think it would help. The colloquial shotgun approach, where we undertake to do a lot of small things. I think your idea of financial incentives and disincentives is good; and tied to that what needs to happen is disincentives need to increase over time and incentives need to go up and come down. It is certainly a system we need today. You could still pass laws, where each year, the incentives and disincentives change, to encourage disincentives to go up and incentives to go away. The tax system is also there. Or, it could be a separate tax, a carbon tax, and it has been discussed here since the late 1980s.

Economists believe such an approach to conserving primary energy is feasible, but democratically elected local and federal government leaders and local mayors have limited terms and, generally speaking, give priority to short-term problems, the solving of which gives them immediate political benefits, as opposed to decades-long and daunting task of curbing energy use through a financial mechanism and other initiatives, which might also be viewed by the city’s inhabitants that make the electorate, as adding to existing costs and impairing their personal and corporate competitiveness. In your case, you are one of the longest-serving mayors in the state, having been in office since 1996 over seven consecutive terms. Did that give you a canvas to paint a long-term vision? How effective was the approach? Did it help you shape regulation and enforcement at a city level? Were you able to raise greater awareness on the human impact on climate change and bring about a consensus-based change in energy use behaviour in Carmel?

We are a suburb of Indianapolis, which has a population of two million people. We are 100,000 people in Carmel. Now, places like Dubai and Doha require automobiles, owing to the urban sprawl. Generally, we need the automobile to go anywhere. We have looked at the problem and have a series of PPPs, where one can live, work, go to restaurant and engage in recreational activities without having to get into an automobile and, as a result, lower the consumption of fuel.

The average American spends two hours a day in automobiles, but in Carmel, businesses, houses, schools are all here. We have adopted land use development differently, so people can live, work and go to a restaurant all in the same area, and we tried to design our downtown not for automobiles, and it has cut down fuel use. In Carmel, it is 15 minutes to half an hour of automobile use per person, so it is much, much less [than the national average].

We have a legal structure in the state of Indiana that makes decisions on building codes, and they have done less than what I would like to see, but we have contract to have a much more efficient build. We have the example of the Energy Center in Carmel. We have cold winters and hot summers in Carmel, and we are using energy all year long to either heat or cool our buildings. And if you have an individual heating or cooling system, it starts and stops and is energy inefficient. And so, we have developed the Energy Center in the city, and it uses 50% less energy. And we would like to see this being applied across the city.

If energy is scarce and its excessive use damaging to the environment, should people be allowed to consume as much as they want to, as long as they are paying for it? Should affordability be a sole factor? Could we change that mindset and, at the same time, take care not to infringe on personal freedom and quality of life?

I have thought about it, and I believe in a capitalistic and free market approach. And there is a way to fix it, which is you pay USD 10, say, for 100 units of use, USD 15 for the next 100 units, and USD 20 for the next 100 units. And so the more you use, the higher the price. And it is a good system, because it penalizes the people to use it, and at the same time, they have the freedom to use it. In the case of steel production, maybe that may be very important for the economy and jobs, and so there should be a different model. You have to look at the situation where we can improve the environment, decrease carbon and increase quality of life.

Have you established a carbon neutrality goal for Carmel, like Copenhagen, for instance, where we are seeing a consensus-based approach involving all political parties, underpinned by the thought process that environmental action needs to be bipartisan in nature? Or are the political dynamics different in the United States?

It’s a good question. Our city is mainly Republican, and is fiscally and economically conservative. Some years ago, a seven-member council introduced a carbon neutrality goal, which is not mandated, however. We know we will get there, because the technology is there. It is not time bound. It is a legislative body that passed a law that laid out a carbon neutrality goal.

We have been measuring progress in reducing carbon. Every year, we are measuring how much energy the city is using on a per capita basis, because the city is growing. I don’t know if we have done enough yet, but we are making progress. I firmly believe technology will save us.

The fight against climate change needs to be a non-partisan effort within cities, states and nations. What we have seen is a vastly polarising view within the United States. With Joe Biden set to take the reins, how soon can we expect to see the United States aligning itself in a more profound manner to the Paris Agreement?

I am a Republican, and my undergraduate degree was in history, so I tend to think not today but historically. At the turn of the century, Ted Roosevelt, a Republican, set aside millions of acres in the US for the National Parks system. And President Eisenhower in 1952 established the Arctic Reserve in Alaska, and he was Republican, as well. And President Nixon was the one who set up the federal EPA. Republicans signed a law that amended our Clean Water Act. They passed a whole series of environmental laws. President Reagan led on the Montreal Protocol for the ozone protection initiative. George HW Bush and George Bush came from a state that produces a lot of oil, and yet they established a system of hundreds of windmills. Over 120 years, Republicans and Democrats have come together in a non-partisan manner. And they will come back; this anomaly has been only for a sort period of time. Clean air and water are non-partisan issues. Disagreement will come only in terms of jobs.

On December 11, 2020, the United States observed a new daily death record of 3,055 individuals, more than the number of people who died in Pearl Harbour or the September 11 attacks on the twin towers in New York City. The coronavirus cases have risen sharply in Carmel, as they have elsewhere in Indiana and across the country. What measures have you taken in Carmel to safeguard residents through better indoor air quality (IAQ), with science advocating more fresh air changes and maintaining Relative Humidity between 40% and 60% in buildings?

I think one good thing that has come from the pandemic is recognition of IAQ being important, and there are great many entrepreneurs in the US selling systems that clean the air. Our City Hall operates a new system that every few minutes recycles the air and filters and cleans the air in the building; and it is energy efficient. And building owners throughout the US are adopting this. I see this as a positive thing that has emerged.

I have put a taskforce in Carmel. We also have generated messages through emails and print newsletters and social media. We have used an entire gamut of ways to talk to people, not just about IAQ but also about things to do to handle the pandemic in a better way. Our city had done a good job till the first week of October, testing and quarantining people. It worked through summer, but when people came indoors when the temperatures fell, it went bad. We had our first set of vaccinations, yesterday (the interview with Mayor Brainard took place on December 15), so we hope to be in good shape by March or April 2021.

There are those that are saying building industry stakeholders simply need to reverse the polarity on their thinking when it comes to budgeting for indoor air quality and that we need to raise buildings fit for purpose.

Yes, it’s a good point. Energy for buildings is important, but I think IAQ is something that would work very well. We have tax incentive to make buildings more energy efficient, and over time if building owners do not take action, a penalty would start; and simultaneously, there will be a reduction in taxes for people who make more energy-efficient buildings. And that puts the burden away from the average taxpayer. Yes, I do believe in an incentive and disincentive system for establishing good IAQ.

Lexzander, Emitech enter into a JV

DUBAI, UAE, 01 December 2020: Lexzander and Emitech have formed a joint venture (JV) in a bid to give

V Sekhar Reddy

end-to-end solutions for MEP works, with the former saying it is coming forward with construction management and engineering capabilities and the latter saying it is bringing logistics and project execution expertise to the enterprise. Speaking to Climate Control Middle East magazine, V Sekhar Reddy, Managing Director, Lexzander, said the JV, established on November 16, aims to synergise the experience and expertise of the two companies in delivering right solutions at the right time.

The JV’s immediate target is the AED 25-30 million market segment, where it wants to offer a shorter conversion time and optimised resources. Rahul Duragkar, Managing Director, Emitech Group, spoke of a fair shortage of good electromechanical end-to-end solutions.

Rahul Duragkar

The JV, he said, aims to give clients more satisfaction than what they are paying for and that it includes offering specialised expertise in engineering and project management. Reddy added: “This association is to add value to the products that need to be delivered, with an emphasis on techno-commercial solutions. We are looking at projects that definitely need personalised attention and, as an outcome, are well-engineered.

The JV aims to work directly with clients on design-build solutions, instead of taking a main contractor approach. Broadly speaking, the scope of work includes mid-size MEP projects, with an emphasis on energy efficiency and good indoor air quality (IAQ), all executed at a low cost per ton. Additionally, the JV aims to serve energy auditing solutions to the market  and, further, renewable energy solutions, such as solar heating and associated solar sub devices, including solar PV.

“We come with a combined experience of 62 years and want to address questions arising out of a dearth of qualified MEP contractors,” Reddy said. “I will not hesitate to say that most people are doers, not thinkers. Irrespective of the value of the job, it needs due attention, and for various challenges, companies are not willing to invest in the AED 40 million segment, which takes a good portion of the market and, in the coming years, will form a substantial presence in market development and growth.”

From 3.8 million tons of GHG emissions to two millions tons

Could you describe the work you have carried out towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Stockholm?

Gustaf Landahl

We were early. We brought our first climate action plan to the city council in 1996. We began by assessing our emission of greenhouse gases, and to do so, we contacted Bert Bolin, who was working for the university and, later, was the chairman of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Bert helped us set up the boundaries for assessment. It was important to assess, because until you know how much you are emitting, you can’t have any goals.

At that time, we were emitting 5.4 tons per capita; today, we are down to approximately two tons per capita. The city has grown a bit, but we have gone down from 3.8 million tonnes to approximately two million tonnes of emissions. This is all the emission for the city as a whole, including transportation, heating and a bit of cooling.

The big reduction has been in heating. If you look at buildings in Stockholm, more and more are linked to district heating, which is done using wood chips as fuel. We got rid of the last coal-fired plant. We don’t have oil, either. We use wood chips and household waste for cogeneration of heat. Many of the single-family homes have opted for bedrock heat pumps, where you drill a hole 120 metres down to the ground.

For electricity, we count on the Nordic mix. We sell and buy electricity to and from Nordic countries through the interconnected network.

When it comes to emissions, the big challenge is road transport, which now, after the reductions in the heating sector, accounts for half of the emissions. In 1996, it was one quarter to one-third; now, it’s half. It’s not that it has grown; it has stood still, even though the city’s population has grown from 1.5% to two per cent per year, which is fast for a European city.

Normally, emission from transport would have grown, but we have been able to keep it stable through encouraging walking, cycling and the use of vehicles that run on renewable fuels.

A major challenge we have is lack of incentives. And that is where we need more help from the national government. We don’t have enough incentives in place to make things happen – to get people to move to biofuel and avoid using fossil fuels, and that’s what we have to do to speedily meet the requirements of the Paris Agreement.

We want to be fossil fuel-free by 2040. We have put in place bio-energy carbon capture, and we are making agreements in places such as Norway, where we can store the carbon emissions.

By 2040, we want to be climate positive, as well. The issue is, how do we finance the move? It’s not extraordinarily expensive, if you compare what we collect from our road charging taxation system. If you drive into the inner city, you have to pay 3 euros. Half or one-third of revenues of that annually would be enough to pay for the carbon capture storage system. We have to find the business model to create the funding.

We are approaching the national government for incentives to speed up this work. We don’t have the mandate or power to do so with local legislation.

Of the total emissions, what percentage is indirect emissions? Could you explain in terms of Total Environmental Warming Impact (TEWI)?

Do you mean the lifecycle analysis of production of renewable fuels? Do you mean other emissions, like methane?

I’m talking about any greenhouse gas from burning fuels, when you use the electricity for powering district energy plants, say?

Emissions compared to net emissions… I don’t have that figure. It would be of interest, I understand, so that you can see the impact of using renewables instead of fossil fuels. If you look at the waste heat used for district heating, there you have approximately half of the emissions compared to when you use oil or coal. If you go to wood chips, I think it goes down to 5-10% of the emissions of fossil fuel. If you compare biogas as a fuel or ethanol to petrol, it’s 80% less emissions.

Revisiting your 2040 target of becoming fossil fuel-free, are you likely to achieve it much before the designated year, keeping in mind the evolving nature of technology?

Well, I wouldn’t say we are much ahead of the target; I wouldn’t say we are behind it, either. We have a first control station at 2023 that we should reach 1.5 tons per capita; and that’s a higher speed than we have been reducing so far. It is because of politicians, who see a need for higher speed in climate work to reach the Paris Agreement. If we reach 1.5 tons, I hope we get better incentive to work with transport-related issues. If you look at heating and electricity, I’m sure it’s very well according to the plan.

If we look at the buildings, for the first time, we have district cooling, as well, mostly in the central business district. And in our high-tech area, we have combined district heating and cooling heat pump for the cold side and the hot side.

In normal buildings, we are seeing more and more energy efficiency-related work. We have installed heat pumps for the ventilation air. The heat pumps take the used air out of the building. They take out the heat and feed it back for hot water and heating. Since these systems have adopted forced ventilation, people think the air quality has improved. They have better forced ventilation ventilating their apartment. Their air quality, indoors, and energy efficiency have gone hand in hand, which is a very positive development.

It is interesting, because in many parts of the world, energy efficiency and IAQ don’t seem to go hand in hand.

We have a heat exchange system taking the heat out of the air and saving the energy. This approach is very efficient, especially when we consider old buildings. Forced ventilation and improved heat recuperation is normally the most cost-efficient energy-saving method; it is much more cost efficient than insulating exterior walls.

If you take our smart city project, there we have managed to bring down energy use in multi-family building by 79%, which is down to levels we want newly built buildings to be built in Stockholm.

To what extent is District Heating helping you achieve the 2040 target? Are you able to quantify that?

We have quantified that, since a large part of the emission reductions we have done is due to people moving from individual heating through using oil to district heating, and especially with wood chips.

The national government introduced a carbon tax through a tax swap back in the beginning of the 1990s, where tax on labour was reduced whereas tax on carbon was increased. So, if one ton of coal cost USD 80 in the international market, you pay USD 350 in tax, if you use it as a fuel – that makes coal not so interesting. If you buy wood chips, it would cost USD 220 dollars in the international market, so of course you move to that.

So, this carbon tax has been of great importance for moving over to renewables. Without that, I don’t think we would have come as far as we have. We can’t take all the credit at the municipal level; it was helped by the national tax system.

How much does district heating contribute to the overall heating requirement of the city?

I would say at least 80% of all buildings are connected to district heating. Building owners have connected to district heating, because it is less expensive than having their own oil furnace, sped up more with the tax shift.

Today, the district heating system is even interconnected with other municipalities outside of Stockholm, so soon the whole region will be connected.

Has the pandemic affected capital expenses, at a time when it is important to install the right equipment for improving building performance?

The pandemic did not affect GDP growth as much as everyone thought it would. The national government is spending more to keep the economy going. The government said that in the next year’s budget, much more is going for energy efficiency measures in buildings. So, money will be spent for renovation and energy efficiency-related work.

Today, more people are working from home, sitting with their headsets. I see more digital meetings in the future and more people working from home. People want to have larger apartments, which would reduce the space for offices. Also, we can see that sales of villas have gone up, higher than those of multi-family apartments. We can also see that many people are buying a lot more on the Internet than before, so the need for shops will decrease and the need for deliveries is going up. More people are buying stuff and getting deliveries right to their door, instead of driving for their shopping. This will also affect transport – a huge increase in goods transports would see a decrease in people transports. I can’t really say if this is positive or negative for the climate; we haven’t evaluated how it will affect the way we emit in the future. But I do believe the new normal will be something in between the way we were before COVID and the way we are working today.

How do energy-efficiency projects get financed? Could you describe the model?

I could say it’s like all infrastructure, be it electricity infrastructure or road infrastructure. You have to find a way of funding – borrow money to implement them, and in the long term, they pay themselves back. If you take district heating, everyone who buys that goes back to the system paying for the investment. Today, our electricity grid is co-owned by a Canadian pension fund, because they want to invest where they can get money back for their investment. At a time when lending rates are very low, the big infrastructure projects are rather a stable and secure investment. I’m sure our district heating system is also of great value, so it would come out for sale.

Gustaf Landahl is one of the speakers at The Big 5 Digital Festival, from November 23 to 26. This interview has been made possible, thanks to dmg events.

 

From 3.8 million tons of GHG emissions to two millions tons

Gustaf Landahl

Could you describe the work you have carried out towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Stockholm?

We were early. We brought our first climate action plan to the city council in 1996. We began by assessing our emission of greenhouse gases, and to do so, we contacted Bert Bolin, who was working for the university and, later, was the chairman of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Bert helped us set up the boundaries for assessment. It was important to assess, because until you know how much you are emitting, you can’t have any goals.

At that time, we were emitting 5.4 tons per capita; today, we are down to approximately two tons per capita. The city has grown a bit, but we have gone down from 3.8 million tonnes to approximately two million tonnes of emissions. This is all the emission for the city as a whole, including transportation, heating and a bit of cooling.

The big reduction has been in heating. If you look at buildings in Stockholm, more and more are linked to district heating, which is done using wood chips as fuel. We got rid of the last coal-fired plant. We don’t have oil, either. We use wood chips and household waste for cogeneration of heat. Many of the single-family homes have opted for bedrock heat pumps, where you drill a hole 120 metres down to the ground.

For electricity, we count on the Nordic mix. We sell and buy electricity to and from Nordic countries through the interconnected network.

When it comes to emissions, the big challenge is road transport, which now, after the reductions in the heating sector, accounts for half of the emissions. In 1996, it was one quarter to one-third; now, it’s half. It’s not that it has grown; it has stood still, even though the city’s population has grown from 1.5% to two per cent per year, which is fast for a European city.

Normally, emission from transport would have grown, but we have been able to keep it stable through encouraging walking, cycling and the use of vehicles that run on renewable fuels.

A major challenge we have is lack of incentives. And that is where we need more help from the national government. We don’t have enough incentives in place to make things happen – to get people to move to biofuel and avoid using fossil fuels, and that’s what we have to do to speedily meet the requirements of the Paris Agreement.

We want to be fossil fuel-free by 2040. We have put in place bio-energy carbon capture, and we are making agreements in places such as Norway, where we can store the carbon emissions.

By 2040, we want to be climate positive, as well. The issue is, how do we finance the move? It’s not extraordinarily expensive, if you compare what we collect from our road charging taxation system. If you drive into the inner city, you have to pay 3 euros. Half or one-third of revenues of that annually would be enough to pay for the carbon capture storage system. We have to find the business model to create the funding.

We are approaching the national government for incentives to speed up this work. We don’t have the mandate or power to do so with local legislation.

Of the total emissions, what percentage is indirect emissions? Could you explain in terms of Total Environmental Warming Impact (TEWI)?

Do you mean the lifecycle analysis of production of renewable fuels? Do you mean other emissions, like methane?

I’m talking about any greenhouse gas from burning fuels, when you use the electricity for powering district energy plants, say?

Emissions compared to net emissions… I don’t have that figure. It would be of interest, I understand, so that you can see the impact of using renewables instead of fossil fuels. If you look at the waste heat used for district heating, there you have approximately half of the emissions compared to when you use oil or coal. If you go to wood chips, I think it goes down to 5-10% of the emissions of fossil fuel. If you compare biogas as a fuel or ethanol to petrol, it’s 80% less emissions.

Revisiting your 2040 target of becoming fossil fuel-free, are you likely to achieve it much before the designated year, keeping in mind the evolving nature of technology?

Well, I wouldn’t say we are much ahead of the target; I wouldn’t say we are behind it, either. We have a first control station at 2023 that we should reach 1.5 tons per capita; and that’s a higher speed than we have been reducing so far. It is because of politicians, who see a need for higher speed in climate work to reach the Paris Agreement. If we reach 1.5 tons, I hope we get better incentive to work with transport-related issues. If you look at heating and electricity, I’m sure it’s very well according to the plan.

If we look at the buildings, for the first time, we have district cooling, as well, mostly in the central business district. And in our high-tech area, we have combined district heating and cooling heat pump for the cold side and the hot side.

In normal buildings, we are seeing more and more energy efficiency-related work. We have installed heat pumps for the ventilation air. The heat pumps take the used air out of the building. They take out the heat and feed it back for hot water and heating. Since these systems have adopted forced ventilation, people think the air quality has improved. They have better forced ventilation ventilating their apartment. Their air quality, indoors, and energy efficiency have gone hand in hand, which is a very positive development.

It is interesting, because in many parts of the world, energy efficiency and IAQ don’t seem to go hand in hand.

We have a heat exchange system taking the heat out of the air and saving the energy. This approach is very efficient, especially when we consider old buildings. Forced ventilation and improved heat recuperation is normally the most cost-efficient energy-saving method; it is much more cost efficient than insulating exterior walls.

If you take our smart city project, there we have managed to bring down energy use in multi-family building by 79%, which is down to levels we want newly built buildings to be built in Stockholm.

To what extent is District Heating helping you achieve the 2040 target? Are you able to quantify that?

We have quantified that, since a large part of the emission reductions we have done is due to people moving from individual heating through using oil to district heating, and especially with wood chips.

The national government introduced a carbon tax through a tax swap back in the beginning of the 1990s, where tax on labour was reduced whereas tax on carbon was increased. So, if one ton of coal cost USD 80 in the international market, you pay USD 350 in tax, if you use it as a fuel – that makes coal not so interesting. If you buy wood chips, it would cost USD 220 dollars in the international market, so of course you move to that.

So, this carbon tax has been of great importance for moving over to renewables. Without that, I don’t think we would have come as far as we have. We can’t take all the credit at the municipal level; it was helped by the national tax system.

How much does district heating contribute to the overall heating requirement of the city?

I would say at least 80% of all buildings are connected to district heating. Building owners have connected to district heating, because it is less expensive than having their own oil furnace, sped up more with the tax shift.

Today, the district heating system is even interconnected with other municipalities outside of Stockholm, so soon the whole region will be connected.

Has the pandemic affected capital expenses, at a time when it is important to install the right equipment for improving building performance?

The pandemic did not affect GDP growth as much as everyone thought it would. The national government is spending more to keep the economy going. The government said that in the next year’s budget, much more is going for energy efficiency measures in buildings. So, money will be spent for renovation and energy efficiency-related work.

Today, more people are working from home, sitting with their headsets. I see more digital meetings in the future and more people working from home. People want to have larger apartments, which would reduce the space for offices. Also, we can see that sales of villas have gone up, higher than those of multi-family apartments. We can also see that many people are buying a lot more on the Internet than before, so the need for shops will decrease and the need for deliveries is going up. More people are buying stuff and getting deliveries right to their door, instead of driving for their shopping. This will also affect transport – a huge increase in goods transports would see a decrease in people transports. I can’t really say if this is positive or negative for the climate; we haven’t evaluated how it will affect the way we emit in the future. But I do believe the new normal will be something in between the way we were before COVID and the way we are working today.

How do energy-efficiency projects get financed? Could you describe the model?

I could say it’s like all infrastructure, be it electricity infrastructure or road infrastructure. You have to find a way of funding – borrow money to implement them, and in the long term, they pay themselves back. If you take district heating, everyone who buys that goes back to the system paying for the investment. Today, our electricity grid is co-owned by a Canadian pension fund, because they want to invest where they can get money back for their investment. At a time when lending rates are very low, the big infrastructure projects are rather a stable and secure investment. I’m sure our district heating system is also of great value, so it would come out for sale.

Gustaf Landahl is one of the speakers at The Big 5 Digital Festival, from November 23 to 26. This interview has been made possible, thanks to dmg events.

 

#emissions #GHG emissions #greenhouseemissions #carbon #climatechange #climatecrisis #ParisAgreement #climatechangemitigation #districtheating #districtenergy #districtcooling #fossilfuels #renewables #renewableenergy #Sweden #Stockholm #IPCC #UNIPCC #cooling #heating #airconditioning #ventilation #HVAC #HVACR #heatpumps #forcedventilation #carboncapture #IAQ #IEQ #indoorairquality #energyefficiency

The essentialness of a digital HVACR ecosystem

Could you share a few words on your presidential theme? What is the core message of the ASHRAE Digital Lighthouse and Industry 4.0?

Chuck Gulledge

The whole passion behind the theme I created for this year has to do with digital evolution of our ecosystem. It spans engineering, construction, the procurement supply chain and operation. We are all evolving with industry 4.0 into a digital way of doing work, and it’s a redefinition of what work is. I tried to encapsulate that into the theme to challenge the ASHRAE membership. We are evolving to a digital world. I think that’s a good high-level perspective.

When it comes to budgeting, what is the mindset of building owners towards digital solutions? Are IT systems supervising buildings viewed as a critical addition, given their ability to infuse agility, predictivity and responsiveness to building O&M? Getting building owners to adopt digital solutions was a challenge even during normal times. So, what would you suggest as persuading building owners to adopt digital solutions now?

That’s a very fair question, and before I answer I want to lay some groundwork for the whole reason behind adopting and evolving to a digital culture, which is associated with the quest to find value and to eliminate waste – and that is in our design processes, construction processes and operating processes. Those whom I would characterize as innovators in this direction understand the value that is uncovered and how they can improve their productivity and margins when fees, costs and budgets are being squeezed. But you ask from the perspective of it not being in the budget and how do we get it in. How do we reframe the question from saying that we can’t afford it, because we only have so much money, to how can we not afford it and save the money in the other things and get the concept in the job. I am talking about leaving the owner with a digital twin that lets them manage and operate the building. Is that really something that is not in the budget? Because if we put control system in, we have information and knowledge. The real issue is collecting that knowledge, analyzing that data lake of knowledge available and identifying actionable insight, all of which impact the operating cost. We are getting into the lifecycle cost, not the capital cost of the building. The mindset of all stakeholders has to evolve to the total cost of operating and maintaining. This evolution will find that productivity and value and, in the long run, reduce cost. I love the way you ask the question, because that’s where the evolution has to take place.

With IoT, we don’t need to wait for anyone to tell the story of a building any longer, but are we really equipped as an industry to fully understand and appreciate the full scope of IT solutions in our grasp?

I love how you frame that question. There are elements and market sectors in our ecosystem traveling this path already. Mission-critical pharmaceuticals and healthcare sectors understand and see the value and are doing this. But, holistically our entire ecosystem has not evolved. How do we bring everybody – jeez, that’s rewording of my theme you just enumerated – vendors, suppliers, manufacturers, commissioning and testing, validation, the code people, the owners themselves and their subdivisions of stakeholders together. The challenge and reality are we are evolving down that path. Some have started, and others have not, and I don’t know how to get everybody evolving now. Education, demonstration… sometimes, you just have to show people what can be done and what you get by doing it, and until we get more of that exposure out there for everybody to see and understand, we are going to have opportunities to bring everyone along.

So, it’s a reasonably long drawn out process, then. Is that why you use the word, ‘evolution’?

It’s an evolution. Some people are there who understand the principles of the manufacturing industry, as applying to the construction dialogue and narrative. I don’t know that holistically we will bring everybody together – some market sectors may not see the value and understand. But to end up with that digital twin – all that data-connective knowledge and the understanding that now, you have the ability to operate and maintain a living electronic organism for everything you do, and not just maintenance. I’m talking about occupants themselves – their health and well-being, energy and water, your emissions to the environment, your carbon footprint. We have the capacity now with this digital evolution to manage those scenarios. I think down the road, when we start connecting buildings to other buildings – a campus mentality, when buildings get connected into the city, and cities get connected into the state – we will have the ability to share knowledge and information and understand resource use from a micro perspective.

Look at Europe and digitally built Britain. They are going down this path, about having knowledge connecting the knowledge and doing something with the knowledge – and therein is the evolution.

Given that in the case of digital solutions, a set-and-forget approach will no longer do, how important is it to give constant attention to maintenance of fully automated control systems?

The scenario you described is an all-too-painful reality. Too many owners end up with a control system building management system of viable strength and complexity, and too many times it’s just ignored and overridden. This is an evolution for the ownership of a built asset. It has to be a realization that this is a tool having a new utility of the building how to manage and operate that building. And the digital savvy resource that understands all this has to be applied to managing and using information from it to improve its part of that lean continuous improving cycle of what is this telling me, what can I improve, why is this going on, what is my predictive scenario of changing filters. It’s about understanding what gives me so much performance. On air handlers, no one is perhaps paying attention that the filter is approaching dirty and it’s time to replace.

What’s done is that people have service contracts, where people come every three or six months. There is just a disconnect with operations with tools available versus O&M procedures. There has to be a metamorphosis. You have something very powerful now to live with this building, and the training needs to come into place to do it. The support from the ownerships needs to be with it.

How imperative is it to re-skill FM teams to bring them up-to-date on fully automated control systems? Considering that FM firms are bogged down by costs, what financial model should they adopt in providing training and constant capacity-building?

It is imperative we equip resources operating built solutions, how they work, why they work the way they work and what to do with the knowledge available to them to keep them doing what they are supposed to do. Sadly, this aspect is not funded or supported in budgets from an operations standpoint. So, step one is that hurdle has to be breached with owners understanding the value of having those resources to do what’s needed to be done for the facility.

I would also add that with digital capacity and the connectivity, owners don’t have to have all the resources in house to do that. Let’s say if a pump broke down, the impeller ran off the shaft. With this evolution, we have the capacity for someone to use augmented reality and look at that pump, pull out the information in goggles and understand what to look for and what to do and how to call a centralized service provider. You don’t have to have all people on site that need to do everything. We have connection at the point of need by understanding the model, to reach outsourced resources to help fix the issue. That is a reactive discussion, and the narrative burden doesn’t have to be on the owners to have this incredible team know every element of it. That is the beauty of connection and the Internet of Things, but it still comes back to owners needing to realise and support with their cost model the ability to see that digital twin capture the data and analyse it, understand what’s going on and respond to what you’re told to do, and it just evolves from that plug-it-in-and-walk-away mentality.

That’s got to happen, and there are resources and capabilities available around the world to help manage the facilities. You don’t have to look for drawings. Everything is available in digital model, and that is part of the value of digital evolution. It’s going to be a staged process. Owners have to understand the value available to them by investing something to have it available to them.

We are seeing numerous instances of HR structures derailing digital strategies and solutions aimed at better HVAC-related building performance. Cost-cutting has led to constant turnover of personnel trained in digital solutions, with those replacing them perhaps not so proficient. So, even with the best of technologies, we are confronted with the human element. What kind of structured, institutionalised approach would you suggest?

We need somebody to replace the filters and someone to make sure the refrigerant is charged, because not all building owners have in-house capability to handle these. And what happens when outsourced services cut down the value they offer by not having the most qualified resources to do what needs to be done. For me, what the digital landscape offers is the opportunity for those that can deliver value and make owners happy. It gives them an opportunity to stand out from the competition and demonstrate, ‘We have your back, we got this covered, and we can do it cheaper and faster, just by eliminating waste not by cutting quality immediately.’

Let’s talk about cybersecurity, which is a valid concern here in the Middle East.

That’s a huge concern.

Are we able to confidently say we have evolved a comprehensive system of regular updates, patching and vulnerability assessment protocols and practices, so vital for the well-being of automated control systems in buildings?

Cybersecurity is extremely important. We are talking about collecting data from across a wide range of things, be it heat sensors and motors, be it information on elevators, or refrigerator and ice makers. You see how big the landscape is here. The challenge we face is the fact that we are collecting the data, which in and of itself provides a vulnerability point to us.

The cybersecurity discussion is a changing playing field every day we operate these buildings. We are always having to look to see if our firewalls are safe, and if the data have to go outside the firewall and come back in. We always have to look at the vulnerability points, much as the financial markets do. We face that every day. It would be naïve to say we are secure and don’t have a problem, but also naïve to not recognize this is a daily activity to stay in front of to make sure we minimize this vulnerability point. Hackers are getting very sophisticated all the time.

I want to move to a more general line of questioning. Building-retrofit projects, for long, have been unidimensional, with a majority solely focusing on improving energy and water efficiency. With COVID-19, are you seeing any, or more, instances of the inclusion of IAQ as one of the outcomes of retrofit efforts? Or, Are a perceived lack of metrics and inability to precisely measure financial and health benefits of good IAQ still standing in the way of incorporating better IAQ-related solutions in existing buildings?

That’s a pretty open-ended question. I would ask you to point your readers to a lot of the information ASHRAE is publishing on the Epidemic Task Force (ETF) webpage. Our webpage group has been gathering objective, proven, scientific information to share from the engineering control contribution that can be part of  a response to a pandemic. Just from an engineering control point of view, what can be done and what do we see from this. There is a reinforcement of the value of having proper ventilation in the breathing zone and making sure correct amount of outside air is delivered to the breathing zone. Sadly, people cutting down to save energy and lack of ventilation is an exposure point to increasing your risk. We see narrative on humidification levels, depending on the climate zone. This virus has the propensity to be more of a threat if the humidity within the space is outside the 40-60% RH band. Not all buildings have a humidification system. As for filters, we don’t have to go all the way to HEPA but at least MERV 14. It’s an inter-connected scenario of energy use, increased pressure drop and what does the air flow on the space looks like, as the fan goes back to the curve. Those are real issues out there people are facing if they feel systems have to be modified or enhanced, so let’s talk about surface disinfection, the whole UV light scenario – it’s very effective in killing the virus, but it needs contact time. We can’t just put that band of UV light on surfaces, because it is harmful to people. We have to apply UV when people are not in the building, or we must have it at an elevation that it doesn’t touch people.

When we talk about getting ventilation air into the breathing zone, let’s make sure we are moving the air in and out of our spaces in a proper manner and that we are not spreading by entraining virus to the detriment of people. If you have improper air velocities around that kind of environment, you can entrain all those particles and aerosols and spread them into the breathing zone around the people. So, a holistic look of proper ventilation effectiveness and air distribution effectiveness is part of that supplemental pandemic response, and there is really good information based on ASHRAE research to help guide people, but some of it comes at a cost. And when I say cost, it’s not human life; I’m talking about capital cost to implement, tweak and supplement.

And it’s not just about COVID-19 for these facilities and buildings that have been offline for months. Just think of the stagnant water allowed to stay on the pipes to feed into the dead legs. The potential for proliferation of legionella is now increased. People are not talking about that now, but as part of the response, you have to look at potable water systems to make sure you don’t have a legionella issue, because you have stagnant water at ideal temperature populating it with so much things. That’s an important storyline to get out.

COVID-19 has brought the issue of the number of air changes per hour into sharp focus. Even before the pandemic struck, some, like Dr Joe Allen of the T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard, were calling for an increase in the number. What is ASHRAE’s view on this? What ought we to do to better fortify our buildings from future pandemics?

Right now, we are showing via the ETF webpage the reinforcing data that demonstrates effective use of ventilation and having it in the breathing zone. These conversations are connected. Just increasing air change rate is not in and of itself effective. Now, are we going to see an increase in the ventilating rate in ASHRAE 60.1 and 2? I don’t have that crystal ball in front of me right now. I’m curious myself, but the data we see suggest if we are providing effective use of ventilation values we have now that is what our goal should be. Let’s evolve an evolution. The more the outside component, the more the cost of energy. Either cold or hot, full of moisture or dry as a bone, something has to be done to offset impact. There is an interdependency that does mean it is going to cost energy as we raise the number of fresh air changes. The question I have is, does the actual minimum ventilation rate itself need to get higher, or is it about making sure we are effectively getting ventilation where it’s supposed to be properly delivered?

So, I understand Dr Allen’s perspective there. I want to make sure we are talking about the same language. For me, it’s not just you turn more air over; it’s about the right amount of ventilation, as part of that total equation and getting to the breathing zone of people.

Here and now

Stephen R Yurek

With what specific objectives in mind are you establishing a MENA office of AHRI?

AHRI, as a globally respected advocate for the HVACR and water heating industry, is committed to lead and serve the manufacturers in the MENA region as a source of credible information on standards, certification, testing, product efficiency, etc., that manufacturers, specifiers, the public and government officials can access and utilize, almost as an extension of their own technical staff.

AHRI has hired a seasoned local leadership team, supported by a dedicated senior technical team in the region to support the region’s regulators and HVACR industry. Being staffed locally by experienced industry professionals allows the AHRI MENA Office to better address the concerns and issues of the MENA region while having additional resources to call upon from the combined intellectual capital of AHRI’s other offices in Washington, DC and China, as well as AHRI’s members that manufacture more than 75% of the world’s HVACR and water heating equipment.

 

What additional benefits can AHRI members expect from your presence in the region?

The new MENA office will allow local and global HVACR and water heating manufacturers to take advantage of local technical and policy expertise in their work on standards and certification programs that would best meet the needs of the region. This is especially important in the MENA region because of the growing trend to institute minimum energy performance standards (MEPS). The office will also offer a platform to discuss important industry issues, such as the coming refrigerant transition, to share best practices, and to provide informational seminars and events.

 

What would be the nature of your work in the region? Would testing and certification of products in largely homogenous regional ambient conditions be an area of focus?

One of the primary goals of the MENA office is to increase the use and awareness of the AHRI standards and certification programs among manufacturers, consultants, government officials, Gulf Standard Organizations and NGOs. The office will coordinate the interests of all stakeholders to provide regionally relevant AHRI standards and certification programs that can be used as a path of compliance for minimum energy performance standards (MEPS).

AHRI will also work to ensure a level playing field for competition and accurate industry ratings by implementing AHRI certification programs using regional conditions. AHRI has been administering independent certification programs for more than 60 years to ensure that products within the certification programs perform as advertised.

 

Would you be looking to enter into strategic partnerships with existing laboratories, or to establish your own laboratory, or laboratories, in the region?

As an accredited certification body, AHRI has always used accredited third-party testing laboratories in the region, and that practice will further increase by accrediting additional labs in strategic global locations.

Laboratory accuracy, however, is an important qualification. For example, a laboratory’s accreditation to ISO Guide 13025 is just a basic management/quality check and really doesn’t guarantee that it can accurately test a given product, particularly if testing is based on less technically stringent standard. The importance of laboratory accuracy and competence cannot be overlooked, as it can greatly alter test results. AHRI has a dedicated technical team of laboratory experts that work to ensure that all contracted laboratories meet tough additional testing requirements, including mandatory correlation testing and audits.

 

Would the office take the shape of an advocacy platform, representing the interests of HVACR manufacturers? Would you look to take their specific needs – for instance, a longer time schedule for product development to meet the needs of evolving energy rating systems – to the regional standards bodies for quick and satisfactory solutions?

AHRI’s MENA Office will be an advocate and a resource for local and global HVACR and water heating manufacturers on standards and certification programs that would best meet the needs of the region. The office will also offer a platform to discuss important industry issues, such as the coming refrigerant transition, to share best practices, and to provide informational seminars and events.

 

Manufacturers in the region typically are confronted by payment delays and bad debts, among other issues – all with the potential of disrupting or even threatening their businesses. What role would AHRI play to support manufacturers? Would you foster discussions among a multitude of stakeholders, including developers, contractors and sub-contractors, to help resolve conflicts?

No – that is not our role.

 

What solutions do you foresee as offering in a largely cost-sensitive market, where design intent often falls prey to value engineering, as in cutting corners, directly affecting those manufacturers showing sufficient commitment to R&D and product quality?

AHRI has a long track record of successfully transforming price-sensitive – often non-certified – markets to those focused on long-term – often certified – economic returns. AHRI conducts trainings and works closely with contractors, specifiers and owners to demonstrate exactly why specifying certified products will be beneficial in the long run. This includes pairing the potential benefit of a consultant’s request for an AHRI-certified product to ensure performance meets a higher target against the potential cost of such a requirement. That comparison has shown that even a one per cent lower performance has a huge adverse cost impact over the lifetime of the product. So, it becomes an obvious advantage to request certified product performance. It won’t be easy, but it can be done, and AHRI has the knowledge and experience to transform a market.

 

As elsewhere, COVID-19 has battered the HVACR industry in the region. What may we expect from AHRI in terms of leadership and direction? For instance, would you look to contribute to efforts aimed at drafting a roadmap of recovery and financial stability in the post-lockdown phase?

AHRI is a forum and a resource for sharing best practices and information not only from the MENA region but [also from] around the world. This will, of course, include helping localities recover from this pandemic in any way we can.

 

 

Countries the world over are racing against time to develop an effective vaccine to quell the pandemic. According to many thinktanks, an equally formidable challenge is the safe transportation of likely temperature-sensitive vaccines till the last mile. What leadership would AHRI look to extend to the MENA region in strengthening the cold chain to ensure vaccine integrity?

AHRI is the largest global industry association, representing more than 75% of global HVACR and water heating manufacturers. Our ability to assemble, organize and lead any industry effort – utilizing direct-line communications to top industry leaders, who can make decisions and commit resources – is unmatched by any other industry organization. In addition, AHRI has the resources and ability to provide timely deliverables in the areas of standards, certification programs, training and regulatory advocacy.

 

 

Generally speaking, what measures would you take in support of the ongoing regional campaigns against counterfeiting, given that the easy availability of fake equipment impacts manufacturers of genuine products in terms of reputation and pricing, and severely compromises safety and the steps being taken to curb indirect emissions?

Many manufacturers already participate in AHRI certification programs. Promoting the specification of “AHRI Certified” can be an important tool to avoid counterfeit products. Through its sophisticated web-based interactive directory, AHRI can provide solutions to identify non-certified or counterfeit products and equipment.

 

In the larger interests of global efforts aimed at mitigating climate change, would the MENA office of AHRI work towards campaigning for a speedier transition to environmentally friendly refrigerants, even much ahead of the commencement of the ‘HFC freeze and phase-down steps’, in 2028 for Article 5 Group 2 countries?

AHRI has been the leader in a careful, prudent, deliberate global approach to the adoption of alternative refrigerants. Our global efforts will enable developed and developing nations alike to ensure proper training and the opportunity to take advantage of evolving technical developments in both equipment and refrigerants.

Companies like Petra, Alessa and Zamil will be in AHRI committees

James K Walters

What are you doing to engage more closely with the industry and its needs? 

In the 1950s, AHRI had one standard, and it had to do with unitary equipment. Today, we have over a 100 standards. We have 350 members, and we have over 40 committees, and each committee was called a section, and each section was a product type, be it unitary chiller or air handler. As the industry matured and developed, there were new sections added, because there was new equipment.

At the top of the organisation, the staff was growing, and we had a Board of Directors, which grew, and it’s all been very good, but the Board of Directors decided in the last two years that in order to keep AHRI agile, in order to properly hear and give a voice to an industry that has undergone great changes, we needed to reorganise how we did business, so that our process did not impede, going forward, having co-operation and being effective. So we’ve taken those 40 product sections, if you will, and are moving into four categories in air conditioning, heating, cooling and unitary applications, and each one of those sectors is still responsible for developing standards, certification programmes and technical work, but on an increasingly inter-disciplinary basis, where the related other sections are all in the same room, as opposed to having one meeting to another, sequentially, which you can’t do. So, you put them in the room together, and on top of that, our leadership councils for each of those four. The leadership councils are business leaders, who will help the sector shape the priorities, so it’s a combination of developers and is intended to integrate more smoothly the understanding of our members and our own strategic and business goals and to be able to support them technically, politically and statistically with our programmes. So, we’re trying to close what we thought was becoming a long gap between strategic thinking and the detail of doing the other work.

It’s a very big job, because literally 100s of volunteers from the company are involved. We intend to finish this. In November 2018, the Board of Directors abolished itself and re-constituted itself as 15 members versus 72 members. And by November 2019, we intend to be operating along the new path. At the same time, the current Board of Directors is not saying, ‘In November (2019), we’re finished’; if something isn’t working, we’ll make it work. We will change what has to be changed, because the Board and members understand that they are undertaking a substantial re-organisation in terms of structure. And there are many things done in our first effort that need to be refined, and to me, that is very important, because I’ve certainly been through many re-organisations, and historically there’s going to be re-organisation, when the re-organisation is finished. In our case, we’re ready to say, ‘That’s it, but if things are still not going well then we will change it’, which is a very healthy attitude, and I am very pleased about it. I think the members are, too, and the members have been engaged, instead of having technical working groups that go on and on. They will be formed and dissolved once the project is done, so it’s less cost to the members.

We will have a refined mailing list, so you can imagine how many addresses we have with our current structure. So, our companies will be working to distribute things within their companies even more effectively than they do now. People will have more up-to-date information. And from a global point of view, one change that I am very happy with is that we’ve changed our by-laws, according to which a company many not sell products in North America but can become a member of the AHRI, and serve and vote and comment and develop AHRI standards and certification programmes. In the Middle East, we have excellent companies, like Petra, Alessa and Zamil. All these companies no longer have to wait for what we say; they are going to have a chance to have their say, because they’re going to be on committees. They’re going to be involved in voting. That’s quite an astonishing development! 

When will you firmly unfurl this approach? 

It’s in, and it’s done. I am talking with companies here. The thing I like about it is that the manufacturers here bring to the table experience, ideas and thoughts that may be unique to this area that we might not even know about. We can make a provision for those, as we always revise the programmes and the standards. That kind of input and their ability to vote for that or not to vote for that is an important development. They can now say, ‘Now, wait a minute – it’s not going to work here. That’s progress.’

So, would you say you are respecting the fact that ambient conditions are different here, and so equipment need to be considered differently?

We are respecting the fact that our customers, despite the fact that they might not sell to North America, have a greater voice in choosing their own destiny with respect to our programme. There’s no other certification body that does that, and I think that this is a great step forward.

You announced Aramena with great fanfare some years ago? Whatever happened to it?

Aramena is a project, and the project is still a concept. Priorities relative to the migration to new refrigerants and the growth of MEPS have required that we ensured that AHRI’s programmes are relevant. Instead of developing a chapter here, we simply want people here or in China to be part of the group. Now, the concept for Aramena was to form our own organisation here, and that’s still a good concept, but I think it’s going to have to be altered from its original plans. In the meantime, as AHRI, we have taken a position that it’s not about forming chapters but about letting the people who were out there be here inside the organisation. Period! They are not colonies, and they should have direct participation, and that does not mean that we can’t go forward with some local organisation, but it’s not going to be an organisation that has a great deal of expertise and not have a place to express it.

How do you read what Eurovent is trying to achieve here? They are using the word lobby, as in lobbying for the interest of the air conditioning industry here, so it’s one unified voice that would go to the government and would represent their concerns and their questions. Do you see that as a different model and approach?  

I think that having created the membership model, it will allow the development of a local voice here, and that has the strength of being part of a major organisation, as opposed to just the chapter. So, I think that it’s very interesting to see where the approach Eurovent is taking goes. We certainly expect as AHRI to be in a position to bring our whole resources to providing the industry here with a creative and a strong voice, and it is a very significant difference. We both are associations, and we have a very long and rich history with them. Anything that helps co-operation and opinion here is good. We think the companies here will strongly benefit from being more in control of the tools of the trade, and the standardisation, certification and advocacy programmes. They won’t be isolated from the main branch; instead, they would be a part of the main body.

How is the work with SASO and ESMA progressing?

With SASO, we have developed programmes, where we have a very specific IT network with them. Equipment that’s been AHRI-certified arrives at their border, and the Society can quickly check the data that they have produced from testing the information. They don’t have to ask us. We have created this IT box, where all the data is located, and I would hope in the future that we are going to provide the same kind of service to other groups.

We are in the process of reviewing the ESMA proposed regulations. We have been working with ESMA for a long time, and we look forward to continuing to do that. AHRI believes strongly that it can serve as a neutral body. For example, we take no position on refrigerants, we are agnostic, and we don’t favour specific refrigerants. And we are in favour of MEPS. Energy efficiency is a huge area and larger as we move to the next level of refrigerants under our timeline. And some of them are more sensitive and that interferes with energy efficiency, so we are spending millions of dollars in research, and the information is going to be publically available. We are continuing our work on energy efficiency, and we want to be part of the system that allows a customer anywhere that buys any equipment to have the ability to meet the rules and regulations where it is being used. We have every interest in full disclosure, that’s why our website is public.

Is that able to address the vexing issue of misrepresentation of certification, do you believe?

I can say that I can presume so, but for it to help, we have to continue to well-inform regulators and consumers about the existence of the programme and that it’s open any time and that information should be shared. There is a common desire among our members to participate in our market at a level playing field, and that is important to the industry, and that is what motivates our programmes.

 

Surendar Balakrishnan is the Editor of Climate Control Middle East magazine, and Co-Founder and Editorial Director of CPI Industry. He may be contacted at surendar@cpi-industry.com

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