Masthead - Climate Control Journal

ASHRAE invites early registration for its Winter Conference

ATLANTA, Georgia, United States, 09 September 2022: ASHRAE said registration is now open for the 2023 ASHRAE Winter Conference, from February 4 to 8 in ASHRAE’s global headquarters city, Atlanta, Georgia. Making the announcement through a Press release, ASHRAE said registration for the conference provides entry to the co-sponsored  AHR Expo, scheduled to take place from February 6 to 8 at the Georgia World Congress Center.

“Each year, the ASHRAE Winter Conference and AHR Expo provide built environment professionals with industry-leading events and experiences and the best resources and presenters to deliver cutting-edge knowledge to address today’s challenges,” said 2022-23 ASHRAE President, Farooq Mehboob. “Attending the Winter Conference and AHR Expo provides a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with colleagues, make new professional connections and inspire innovative thinking. We are thrilled to return to our global headquarters city and look forward to a successful event.”

According to ASHRAE, the Winter Conference Technical Program will offer more than 80 technical sessions, within nine tracks. Professional development hours can be earned for all sessions and most online sessions upon successfully completing a short quiz, ASHRAE said.

According to ASHRAE, the complete technical programme will be available in the fall of 2022. The tracks include:

  • Fundamentals & Applications
  • HVAC&R Systems and Equipment
  • Refrigerants and Refrigeration
  • Grid Resilience and Thermal Storage
  • Pathways to Zero Energy Emissions and Decarbonisation
  • Multifamily and Residential Buildings
  • Operations and Maintenance
  • Building Simulation and Virtual Design in Construction
  • Innovative Responses to Supply Chain Challenges (mini track)

In addition to the technical program and AHR Expo, attendees can look forward to updates from Society leaders, general and technical tours around Atlanta and social events, including the Welcome Party at the Georgia Aquarium, ASHRAE said, adding that leading up to and during the conference, it will also conduct business, committee and technical meetings.

ASHRAE said President Mehboob will provide an update on the 2022-23 Society theme, “Securing Our Future”. Members will be recognised for their industry and Society accomplishments, ASHRAE said, adding that major contributors to ASHRAE will also be recognised.

According to ASHRAE, the cost to attend the conference in-person is USD 680 for ASHRAE members (USD 935 for non-members, which includes an ASHRAE membership for one year). Early bird discounts are available for registrations completed prior to October 30, ASHRAE said.

The cost to attend the conference virtually is USD 410 for ASHRAE members (USD 460 for non-members, which includes an ASHRAE membership for one year), ASHRAE said, adding that those interested may register at visit ashrae.org/2023winter.

Danfoss raises sales expectations for 2022

NORDBORG, Denmark, 23 August 2022: Danfoss is transforming, with half-year results setting a strong foundation to deliver on Core & Clear Strategy 2025. In the first six months of 2022, Danfoss said through a Pres release, it grew by EUR 1.6 billion, reaching EUR 4.9 billion in sales. The acquired hydraulics business added sales of EUR 1.1 billion, while organic growth was 13%, the company said.

According to Danfoss, growth was broadly based across the major markets of North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific, as well as in all three business segments. The Danfoss Power Solutions segment, which provides mobile and industrial hydraulics and electrification solutions, stood out with significant growth, the company said. Furthermore, the increasing demand for energy-efficient heating and cooling solutions, as well as power electronics, was driving a growing demand for technologies from Danfoss Climate Solutions and Danfoss Drives, it added.

On July 15, 2022, Danfoss signed an agreement to sell its Russian activities to local management in Russia. Closing of the transaction is expected in September 2022, the company said. Danfoss said it continued significant investments in innovation (R&D), up 38% from the first half, last year. At the same time, Danfoss said, it delivered a 27% increase in operating profits with EBITA of EUR 570 million. Net profit amounted to EUR 289 million, negatively impacted by the write-down of net assets related to the Russia exit, it added.

Kim Fausing, President & CEO, Danfoss, said: “Danfoss is transforming at full speed, and I am very pleased with the outstanding teamwork and strong performance of our teams around the world, despite the challenging times. With the transformational half-year results, we are setting a strong foundation to deliver on our Core & Clear Strategy 2025, fueled by bold investments for our long-term success. In a challenging business environment, we maintained our strong growth momentum, while keeping the integration of the hydraulics business well on track. On top of this, we closed the Semikron Danfoss transaction. The world is on the tip of an electrification revolution, and with this, we take an important step building a leading position. With the results for the first half and the closing of the Semikron transaction, we have raised our sales expectations for 2022.

“We have taken a big and bold step to put sustainability at the center of our Core & Clear 2025 strategy. The new ESG ambitions are clear, and our climate targets have been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative. We are energized by our promise to be the leading technology partner for our customers, decarbonizing through energy efficiency, machine productivity, low emissions, and electrification. Danfoss has never been better positioned to deliver on our purpose to engineer tomorrow to build a better future.”

Daikin expands ME VRV production with new factory in Turkey

DUBAI, UAE, 1 August 2022: The global HVAC VRV market size was valued at USD 12.2 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 29.2 billion by 2027 at a CAGR of 11.5%. To meet the increasing demand, Daikin announced that it has invested 13 million euros to start the production of VRV systems for the Middle East at its new factory in Turkey, which has been operational since May 2022. Making the announcement through a Press release, Daikin said the decision is based on its strategy to manufacture closer to the regional markets, ultimately shortening supply lead times and, furthermore, enabling it to respond to demand in a flexible manner.

Tuna Gulenc

The EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) market for HVAC-R (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration) systems is expected to see a strong growth over the next few years, Daikin said. The strong increase in demand is mainly driven by the need for sustainable solutions, which are in line with changes across legislations within the region, Daikin said. This is particularly the case for heat pumps, which are posing to be one of the effective solutions to decarbonise buildings, Daikin said, adding that it is in the process of strengthening its current production capacity to ensure this growing demand can be met.

VRV systems are air conditioning appliances, which can heat or cool medium to large commercial buildings, Daikin said. These systems use heat pump technology to allow multiple indoor units to be connected to one outdoor unit, Daikin said.

The company said it introduced VRV systems back in 1982, as an innovative technology that enables each room of a building to be heated or cooled individually rather than the entire unit all at once, realising considerably higher energy efficiencies.

Tuna Gulenc, Vice President of Daikin MEA, said: “VRV is one of our key strategic business pillars within the MEA region. Over the years, and with our unique and differentiated product specs, seasonal efficiency, and system flexibility, we have secured several mega projects from residential compounds, schools and other commercial spaces. With the additional factory closer to our region, we will be able to serve the market faster, accelerate our expansion plans, and further strengthen our VRV leadership.”

According to Daikin, the new VRV production lines at the Turkish factory are equipped with the latest cutting-edge technology to optimise sustainability, efficiency and quality control. The factory has also been equipped with an energy-saving exhaust-heat-recovery system, Daikin said. With the introduction of the new facility, Daikin said it reinforces the company’s vision to produce high-quality products for the Middle East, while reducing its environmental impact.

Hasan Önder, CEO, Daikin Turkey, added: “We are very proud to be able to provide high-quality and energy-efficient products to the Middle Eastern markets. The VRV market across the region is expected to grow further in the future. We will be delivering the products that meet this growing demand and are fully adapted to the needs of our climate.”

In addition, Daikin said, its factory in Belgium, which has so far focused its production on VRV systems, will increase its production of heat pumps, which are rapidly gaining popularity across the region. These initiatives, the company said, will enable it to strengthen the manufacturing capacity across EMEA and achieve the targets of the company’s strategic management plan “FUSION 25”.

UL Solutions is BridgeBuilding Partner of 2022 Eurovent Summit

BRUSSELS, CARUGATE, 19 July 2022: UL Solutions has become an official BridgeBuilding Partner (sponsor) of the 2022 Eurovent Summit, scheduled to take place from October 25 to 28 in Antalya, Turkey, Eurovent said through a Press release.

According to Eurovent, UL Solutions delivers testing, inspection and certification services, together with software products and advisory offerings that support customers’ product innovation and business growth.

Eurovent said UL Solutions will assume an active role in the Summit’s flagship event, Eurovent Innovation/HUB, focused on #BuildingBridges between innovation and sustainability. Dustin Steward, Director and Global Industry Lead for Appliances, HVAC, and Components, UL Solutions, will contribute to the event with a keynote speech dedicated to lower-GWP refrigerants, Eurovent said.

Steward said: “While low-GWP refrigerants are more environmentally friendly, manufacturers must be mindful of the additional layers of risk involved in their use. As a leading independent safety science organisation, UL Solutions has conducted extensive research on flammable refrigerants and has developed thorough expertise to support manufacturers during the design of their next-generation products.

“Among UL’s available services, in fact, there is the unique Modelling and Simulation programme that helps us to predict flammable refrigerant behaviour in circuits and potentially critical areas. Through this advanced analysis, manufacturers can lower the number of physical prototypes needed for certification tests. On top of that, a faster assessment of product design revisions meets both environmental and process acceleration issues that manufacturers committed to sustainability are pursuing.”

According to Eurovent, this year’s EUROVENTSUMMIT is co-organised with ISKID, the Turkish Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Manufacturers’ Association. It aims at #BuildingBridges between manufacturers and consultants, planners, installers, trade associations and policymakers between Europe, the East and beyond, towards more sustainable and circular products and a more socially and environmentally responsible industry, Eurovent said.

Among other activities, participants can look forward to a rich seminar programme focused on both ventilation and refrigeration, organised by ISKID and TTMD (Turkish Society of HVAC and Sanitary Engineers), with involvement from UL Solutions in English and Turkish, Eurovent said. There will also be an interactive policy panel on the first night, Eurovent said, which will connect many different stakeholders in the industry.

Carrier celebrates 100th anniversary of Founder’s invention of centrifugal chiller

DUBAI, UAE, 30 June 2022: On the evening of May 22, 1922, Willis Haviland Carrier invited 300 people to a sheet metal shop in Newark, New Jersey, for a free meal and a boxing match, followed by the unveiling of the first centrifugal chiller technology, Carrier said through a June 30 Press release, adding that it celebrated the 100th anniversary of the invention of the centrifugal chilling machine that in many ways made the modern world possible. Carrier is a part of Carrier Global Corporation.

 [Willis] Carrier’s breakthrough invention opened the door to large-scale comfort air conditioning while improving the effectiveness of process cooling,” said Gaurang Pandya, President, Commercial HVAC, Carrier. “Each day we build on that legacy, innovating with purpose to create what’s next, get ahead of changing requirements, unleash the power of digital technology, run smarter with IoT and help customers deploy commercial HVAC solutions aligned tightly with their business objectives.”

Willis Carrier’s conception to combine a centrifugal refrigeration compressor with a shell, a new type of condenser and a chiller on one frame enhanced process cooling in factories around the world, Carrier said. Following the first installation of three centrifugal chillers at a Philadelphia chocolate factory in 1923, Willis Carrier’s innovation soon provided process cooling to rayon manufacturers in India and cracker factories in Mexico, the company said.

In 1924, Willis Carrier realized his dream of comfort cooling when the owners of a Detroit department store added centrifugal chillers, the company said. The centrifugal technology reliably and affordably delivered comfort air to the public in theaters, stores, restaurants, sports venues, ships, hospitals and office buildings, the company claimed.

A decade later, centrifugal refrigeration had driven process air into more than 200 industries, the company said. Food and beverage production became safer, hospitals were more comfortable and sanitary and new lifesaving drugs, such as penicillin, became possible, the company added.

By providing precise temperature and humidity, centrifugal chiller technology has supported the infrastructure of the modern digital age, including electronics of every type, semi-conductor chips, data centers and robotics, the company said. These new inventions and new technologies couldn’t have existed without it, it added.

Sathya Moorthi, Managing Director, Carrier Middle East, said: “Carrier has evolved over the years from being a manufacturer of cutting-edge equipment to providing solutions that harness the power of variable frequency drives and IoT, ensuring that business-critical activities run at peak effectiveness, and provide operational efficiencies and insights. This demonstrates our commitment to continuously improving energy efficiency while enhancing the comfort levels of the occupants in the harsh Middle East climate conditions.”

Carrier said that while the fundamental physics of centrifugal technology have not changed in a century, its engineers have never stopped driving new advancements in centrifugal chiller technology. Today, the Carrier AquaEdge 19DV water-cooled chiller provides world-class energy efficiency with its unique free cooling and heat recovery options that boost the total energy savings of the system while using ultra-low global warming potential refrigerant, the company added. The AquaEdge 19MV water-cooled chiller offers a wide operating range in a greatly reduced machine size to replace older chillers, the company said, adding that both machines feature its unique EquiDrive two-stage back-to-back compressor technology to dramatically reduce energy consumption.

Giwee launches full DC inverter CHV Pro VRF

FOSHAN, Guangdong, China, 29 June 2022: Giwee has launched a full DC inverter CHV Pro VRF system, which the company described through a Press release as being suitable for, and as offering stable operation in, the Middle East region’s hot summer temperatures, reaching in excess of 50 degrees C.

Full DC inverter CHV Pro VRF

With its high-quality components and superior structure design, the CHV Pro VRF series is quite suitable for T3 climatic conditions, the company claimed, adding that the T3 inverter technology, combined with high-efficiency condenser and refrigerant cooling technology, enables its maximum operating ambient temperature to reach 55 degrees C.

Giwee further said the CHV Pro Series DC Inverter VRF is suitable for heating and cooling of high-rise buildings, office buildings, hotels, apartments, hospitals and other places. The application enables long refrigerant pipe connections of up to 1,000 metres, and the height difference between the indoor unit of up to 110 metres makes the CHV Pro perfect for large projects, the company claimed.

According to Giwee, the single outdoor unit offers capacity ranges from 8 HP up to 32 HP. Four outdoor units can be combined in a VRF system to achieve maximum combination capacity up to 96 HP, the company said. Hundred indoor units, with capacity up to 130% of the total outdoor units’ capacity, can be connected in one VRF System, the company said, adding that the system is also equipped with functions such as centralised control, wireless communication, indoor and outdoor unit positioning and auto refrigerant status checking for easy maintenance.

JCI acquires Tempered Networks

CORK, Ireland, 23 June 2022: Johnson Control (JCI) acquired zero trust cybersecurity provider – Tempered Networks, based in Seattle, Washington. According to JCI, Tempered Networks has created ‘Airwall’ technology, an advanced self-defence system for buildings that enables secure network access across diverse groups of endpoint devices, edge gateways, cloud platforms and service technicians. It represents a step-change in operational technology built on secure transmission pipelines to ensure buildings data exchanges and service actions can only take place between people and devices that are continuously authenticated, JCI said.

JCI said the acquisition gives it the capability to provide zero trust security within the fabric of its OpenBlue secure communications stack, advancing its vision of enabling fully autonomous buildings that are inherently resilient to cyberattack.  

Tempered Networks Airwall technology uses the Host Identity Protocol and a cloud-based policy orchestration platform to create new overlay networks built on encrypted and authenticated communication, JCI said. The policy manager – also known as the conductor – enforces configured digital policies that control connections within the cloaked overlay system, JCI said. The default position for the policy manager is ‘zero trust’ – that is, only allowing connections between continuously authenticated and authorized entities, JCI said. Once a communicating device authenticates itself correctly, an encrypted tunnel is created through which data flows. According to JCI, the advantages of this cybersecurity technique are as follows:

  • The creation of an always-on and software-defined security perimeter protecting device-to-device, device-to-cloud and device-to-user interactions. Airwall achieves this by using Host Identity Protocol to create a cloaked and micro-segmented network, which overlays a building’s existing network infrastructure, making the solution also highly cost-effective.
  • A new level of authentication for connected building systems, allowing for greater system automation of functions, such as heating and cooling, lighting, security and airflows.

“When it comes to buildings, we must create easily implementable cybersecurity defenses, as we’re often dealing with critical infrastructure, including assets such as data centers and hospitals,” said Vijay Sankaran, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Johnson Controls. “Tempered Networks Airwall approach is purpose-built for our sector as it’s designed around principles of zero trust, securing device communications as data moves between devices and the cloud – so enabling remote building optimization in the most trusted way possible.”  

JCI said it is integrating Tempered Networks Airwall technology into its OpenBlue platform, which is increasingly recognized as a leading smart building software platform with advanced AI-enabled building management capabilities. According to JCI, OpenBlue provides a flexible computing approach for converging building technologies and making those technologies more insightful, powerful, and optimized through edge AI and through full Machine Learning in the cloud. The ultimate goal, JCI said, is to make all buildings smarter, healthier and more sustainable.

“Digital transformation is the primary way we’ll make the world’s buildings more autonomous and resilient,” said Bryan Skene, Chief Technology Officer, Tempered Networks. “Being acquired by Johnson Controls allows us to fully integrate our Airwall technology into their software stack, providing an advanced security platform for a range of edge to cloud applications. Our ambition, now that we’re part of Johnson Controls, is that building systems everywhere can be managed from anywhere and remain secure from cyber threats.”

eurammon Symposium 2022 again online

FRANKFURT, Germany, 22 June 2022: eurammon, an association of companies, institutions, and individuals committed to the promotion and use of natural refrigerants, will hold its annual Symposium, titled ‘Journey to a naturally sustainable future’, from July 4 to 8 on a digital platform. Making the announcement through a Press release, eurammon said that as the digital format has been well received by participants in previous years, the event will again be held online over 5 days from 9am to 11.30am each morning. Registration for the Symposium is now open via e-mail to cornelia.roth@eurammon.com.  

Through online lectures and a virtual panel discussion, the industry will look at the importance of its products for a sustainable and energy-efficient economy, eurammon said. “Natural refrigerants will play an important role in creating a sustainable future for our planet,” said Rob Lamb of Star Refrigeration Ltd., and Chairman of the Steering Committee of eurammon e.V. “The eurammon 2022 online symposium builds on the success of last year and looks at the use of natural fluids for cooling and heating applications across a wider range of industries.”  

According to eurammon, the subjects on Day One will help set the scene for the rest of the week. They will include the European Green Deal, the UK Institute of Refrigeration’s ‘Beyond Refrigeration’ initiative and developments in the use of ammonia as a fuel. Day Two will focus on regulatory news, dealing with the proposed changes to the EU F-gas regulation and providing updates on the IEC 60335-2-40 and EN378 standards, eurammon said. The remaining three days will look at the new technologies and case studies that are helping the industry move to a sustainable future, eurammon said.

“With the online symposium, we are reaching out to a global audience interested in natural refrigerants,” Lamb said. “The symposium is a chance to learn, ask questions and share knowledge. We look forward to many participants joining us from the 4 to 8 July.”

According to eurammon, the programme agenda is as follows…  

4 July – Keynote speeches

9:00 Welcome & greeting, Michael Freiherr, Chairman eurammon e. V.

9:10 Green Deal in Europe, Andrea Voigt, Danfoss A/S

9:55 Beyond Refrigeration, Graeme Maidment, Institute of Refrigeration

10:40 Break

10:45 Ammonia engine development for marine propulsion, Johan Kaltoft, MAN DK

11:30 Concluding remarks, Michael Freiherr

 

5 July – Policy and regulations update

9:00 Introduction, Michael Rabenstein, Evapco Europe GmbH

9:10 F-gas regulation, Cornelius Rhein, European Commission

9:40 Break

9:45 IEC 60335-2-40, Asbjørn Vonsild, Vonsild Consulting

10:15 European standardization for refrigerating systems using flammable refrigerants, especially standard series EN 378, Carsten Hoch, TÜV Süd Industrieservice GmbH

10:45 Break

10:50 Panel discussion: Cornelius Rhein, Asbjørn Vonsild, Carsten Hoch, Moderator: Michael Rabenstein

11:20 Concluding remarks, Michael Rabenstein

 

6 July – Natural refrigerants for the cold chain

9:00 Introduction, Lambert Kuijpers, A/genT Consultancy

9:10 Industrial refrigeration production plants: “Heat recovery, reduced CO2 emissions!”, Michael Elsen, Kreutzträger Kältetechnik GmbH & Co. KG

9:40 Break

9:45 Heat pump integration in a plant based meat solution factory and needs to achieve decarbonization from an end-user perspective, Vincent Grass, Société des Produits Nestlé S.A.

10:15 Predicting annual refrigeration energy consumption in temperature-controlled facilities, Robert Lamb, Star Refrigeration Ltd.

10:45 Break

10:50 “Waterloop“ solutions for sustainable supermarkets – 100% propane for natural and efficient cooling and heating, Herbert Schupfer, Güntner Group Europe GmbH

11:20 Concluding remarks, Lambert Kuijpers

Empower wins two golds at IDEA 2022

DUBAI, UAE, 15 June 2022: Emirates Central Cooling Systems Corporation (Empower) won two gold awards at the International District Energy Association (IDEA) Annual Conference 2022, which took place from June 6 to 9 in Toronto, Canada, the District Cooling company said.

Making the announcement today, Empower said its winning the two gold awards – for the categories, ‘Number of Buildings Committed’ and ‘Total Building Area Committed’ in IDEA 2022 – is the eighth of its kind, as the company has won the same awards in the years 2005, 2007, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021. In addition, it has received various other awards from IDEA – numbering 17 – in other categories, Empower said. Moreover, the company said, it has been honoured with many other awards and titles from various conferences and exhibitions around the world, in recognition of its distinguished achievements in developing the District Cooling industry, worldwide, as the world’s largest District Cooling services provider.

Empower said its winning represents a renewed international recognition of the company’s efforts to promote the District Cooling concept worldwide, and to encourage decision-makers to adopt this environmentally friendly cooling solution and apply the best integrated green practices.

Speaking on the occasion of winning the awards, Ahmad Bin Shafar, CEO, Empower, said: “The winning of these two global awards reinforces the company’s international recognitions by the global industry leaders for the pioneering and pivotal role that Empower plays in innovating the highest practices in this vital industry, both in terms of optimising energy consumption and cost or in protecting resources and the environment. It also honors our continuous efforts in spreading the culture of District Cooling systems, and appreciates our unremitting endeavors and constant quest to employ the techniques of the 4th revolution in production, control, distribution and customer service operations, in a way that enhances the District Cooling sector worldwide.”

Bin Shafar explained that the awards are the fruits of government policies that support the expansion of the District Cooling sector to put Dubai on the map of global cities in District Cooling. “Empower,” he said, “is proceeding towards achieving many advancements in District Cooling systems in pursuit of its mission to bring an added value at national and global levels.”

Bin Shafar CEO indicated that the company would keep developing its District Cooling systems to a level that surpasses international standards, in order to provide high-quality services in response to the large and increasing demand for District Cooling for a variety of projects in different fields, in line with the strategic direction of the Emirate of Dubai. “The IDEA 2022 and the agenda it tackled, including the trends of the reality and future of the energy industry and its technologies, contribute to strengthening international efforts to shape a more flexible and effective humane future that is also less exposed to carbon emissions,” he said.

Empower said that last week, Bin Shafar was appointed as a member to the Board of Directors of IDEA for the fourth time in a row, making him the first Emirati Arab to hold such a prestigious position in US-based IDEA, which is an international non-profit organization, for over a decade.

Seeley celebrates its Golden Jubilee

DUBAI, UAE, 25 May 2022: Seeley celebrated its Golden Jubilee at the Marriot Hotel in Dubai, with a welcome speech by Sam Peli, General Manager Sales EMEA, Seeley International and by Sabu Abraham, CEO – Climagulf Trading. Making the announcement through a Press release, Seeley said the two spoke about how Seeley started business in the UAE and how it has enjoyed a successful partnership doing business together for 10 years.


Xavier Delaigue, Sales Manager, then gave an informative speech about Seeley’s supply of 50,000 evaporative coolers, installed in Mina tent city, in Saudi Arabia, a fascinating logistics exercise of 100,000 tents hosting pilgrims travelling yearly to Makkah. Jon Seeley, Group Managing Director, also spoke during the occasion, Seeley said, adding that Frank Seeley AM, Company Founder and Executive Chairman, highlighted the company milestones since Seeley’s foundation, 50 years ago.

Seeley

According to Seeley, the company’s journey began in 1972, when Frank and Kathy Seeley took Seeley Brothers from a sales and marketing business and transformed it into a manufacturing company. Established and sustained by innovation, it is a key factor for Seeley playing a major role in HVAC solutions globally through five decades, the company said.


According to the company, Seeley has grown from humble beginnings into Australia’s largest air conditioning manufacturer and a global leader in designing evaporative cooling products, with award-winning brand names including Breezair, Coolair, Climate Wizard and Coolerado.


Seeley used the occasion of the Golden Jubilee to celebrate a 10-year-long partnership with Climagulf Trading, its official distributor in the UAE. Climagulf, the company said, takes care of distribution of all Seeley’s brands of evaporative cooling products to renowned companies, including DEWA, RTA testing centres, RAK Ceramics, Interplast and Huhtamaki group. During the event, Seeley also showcased some important installations, with testimonials from end users, consultants and specifiers, including guests from the industry and ASHRAE Falcon Chapter members.

Rheem, Ruud host Pro Partner 2022 Conference

LAS VEGAS, 26 April 2022: Rheem and Ruud, part of the Rheem family of brands, hosted the 2022 Pro Partner International Conference from March 7 to 10 in Las Vegas. Making the announcement through an April 26 Press release, Rheem said more than 5,000 key partners from the HVAC industry participated in the event at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

According to Rheem, the conference ran under the theme, Pro Powered. The company’s Global Air Division spearheaded the event, which brought together the HVAC industry’s key partners, products and keynote speakers in an action-packed week, which celebrated the HVAC industry and community, Rheem said.

Both Rheem and Ruud Pro Partners enjoyed special appearances by major celebrities along with live entertainment, dynamic breakout sessions and an action-packed product and program expo, Rheem said.

With conference agendas led by industry experts, the event spanned two-days for Ruud and two-days for Rheem.  Featured topics included training, innovation, networking and tools for growing a successful HVAC business. Rheem said attendees drew inspiration to learn more about increasing their profitability through a variety of insight-packed sessions, which covered everything from new product innovations to making the most of digital marketing tools.

The goal was to provide Pro Partners with real, actionable takeaways, Rheem said, adding that the Ruud and Rheem product development teams also shared insights on the latest HVAC product portfolio for the Gulf Countries, including the reimagined Plus Ones, with features technicians will appreciate and the comfort and performance their customers are seeking. Attendees left the conference armed with knowledge on new regulations, tips for future-proofing business and tips to enhance profitability, Rheem said.

“This is a dynamic time for our industry,” said Mike Branson, President, Global Air, Rheem. “And we continue to be fully committed to making sure our partners are not only prepared to succeed in the short term but grow stronger for the future. This conference certainly helps accomplish that.”

According to Rheem, the Pro Partner International Conference will return in 2025.

Danfoss breaks ground for ‘supermarket of the future’

NORDBORG, Denmark, 14 April 2022: Engineering firm, Danfoss recently hosted a ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of what it described as one of the world’s most energy-efficient supermarkets. 

Making the announcement through a Press release, Danfoss said the supermarket, scheduled to be ready in mid-2023 and spanning an area of 1,500 square metres, is situated next to Danfoss’ headquarters, in Nordborg, and is expected to lead the way for supermarket chains around the world to develop climate-friendly and sustainable stores with technologies that already exist today.  

An artist’s rendering of the supermarket

Built with energy-efficient refrigeration and heating technology, solar roof panels and charging points for electric cars, the Smart Store supermarket will capture and reuse heat produced by cooling cabinets and freezers to provide heating for the supermarket and local community through district energy, Danfoss said.

The supermarket will be connected to the Nordals Fjernvarmeværk district heating plant and will be able to supply it with surplus heat, Danfoss added. 

The cooling system in the new supermarket will also run on carbon dioxide, as a natural refrigerant, which helps to reduce the overall climate impact.  

Kristian Strand, President, Refrigeration & A/C Controls, Danfoss Climate Solutions, said: “The origins of this project go back a long time, but the new energy-efficient Smart Store supermarket that we are starting to build today has only grown in relevance.

The goal of the project is to show how easy and profitable it is to decarbonise our economy and ensure reliable and sustainable energy use. Heating and cooling are the largest energy consumers in supermarkets. The solutions we are building here today represent the core of Danfoss solutions and will showcase how we can approach zero-energy use in food retail, together.” 

According to Danfoss, the site will also serve as an Application Development Centre, where the company will work together with partners to co-develop new technologies and explore interfaces in the energy system surrounding energy storage. 

Jürgen Fischer, President, Danfoss Climate Solutions, said: “The supermarket will be the focal point for a new part of our campus, where all buildings will be energy-efficient and meet special sustainability requirements. Our aim is to boost the green transition with concrete evidence of how far we can go with energy efficiency. We want to demonstrate to customers and partners how energy-saving solutions work in real life. We want to show the greenest energy is the energy we don’t use or reuse.” 

According to Danfoss, BALS, Brugsen for Als and Sundeved, Denmark’s largest independent supermarket association, will rent the building from the company and install a COOP 365 discount supermarket. BALS, which works together with COOP, has a total of 13 stores in the area around Sønderborg in Denmark and, since 2015, has consistently reduced the consumption of energy in its stores. So far, it has cut 44% of its total CO2 emissions, Danfoss said, adding that it was, therefore, a natural next step that BALS became a partner in the project. 

Danfoss said it is establishing a showroom in a part of the supermarket building, where all installations are visible to visitors and customers. It said visitors will be able to experience its solutions for heating and cooling, such as CO2 as a refrigerant, heat recovery and the interaction between installations, once the building is in operation.  

Eurovent to host AHU webinar

BRUSSELS, DUBAI, PARIS, 14 April 2022: Eurovent, Eurovent Middle East and Eurovent Certita Certification announced they would be jointly hosting a webinar to discuss the energy efficiency of air-handling units (AHUs) in hot and humid conditions on April 28. 

Making the announcement through a Press release, the three organisations said that as a crucial part of a cooling and ventilation system, AHUs can be built to a multitude of customer specifications and operating environments. Since January 2022, Eurovent has mandated its certified manufacturers to disclose the energy ratings for hot and humid climates when the products are sold in such environments, the three organisations said. 

In reaction to mounting requests to adjust energy ratings to local climates, Eurovent and its certification body, Eurovent Certita Certification have developed an energy rating for hot and humid conditions, they said. Aside from such ratings for chillers and VRF systems, the use of a separate energy label for AHUs that operate in such climates requires a deeper look to understand implications and underlying operating principles, they said. 

The aim of the webinar is to provide the technical background and an overview of the new energy label. It will feature the following… 

  • Eurovent’s energy label for hot and humid climates: Programme origin and methodology 
  • Energy efficiency in hot and humid conditions: Expert assessment and analysis 
  • Technical panel discussion

According to the three organisations, the webinar will conclude with a dedicated Q&A session, where participants are invited to discuss any issues related to the topics. Those wishing to attend, they said, may register via this link. Registration is free, they said, adding that the event will take place from 10am to 11.30am (Abu Dhabi time). 

AHR Expo 2022 Innovation Awards winners announced

WESTPORT, Connecticut, 20 October 2021: The AHR Expo (International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition) announced the winners of the 2022 AHR Expo Innovation Awards, through a Press release.

Each year, winners are chosen in 10 industry categories to represent the most innovative products and technologies hitting the market in the coming year. “This past year was a challenge for everyone, and in unique ways, the HVACR industry,” said Mark Stevens, Show Manager. “Our industry was called to the front lines to put our very best products and technologies to the test. The Innovation Awards purpose is to honor those that are pushing the bar to create innovative solutions to difficult problems. We are thrilled to celebrate this year’s winners and what they bring to the industry, as well as to continue to champion innovation among our professionals.”

The Innovation Awards encourage exhibitors to submit new products and technologies for recognition via review and selection by a panel of third-party judges, comprising distinguished ASHRAE members, AHR Expo said. Entrants are evaluated based on overall innovative design, the creativity of the product or service offered, application, as well as potential market impact. “This industry is tremendously exciting for its role in our everyday lives,” Stevens said. “Now, more than ever, we have the chance to show the world just how important HVACR is. Manufacturers on the AHR Expo Show floor are in tune with their stakeholders and the greater needs of the world and are responding by developing new tools, products and services that offer safety, efficiency, and sustainable smart solutions.” According to AHR Expo, the Innovation Awards program serves as a metric to see the year-to-year growth in the industry. While the Awards officially recognize only a select few, the Show floor is a robust example of how manufacturers are growing the industry in exciting ways. “AHR Show Management would like to formally congratulate each of our 2022 AHR Expo Innovation Award winners, as well as finalists and all our entrants, for their continued leadership and contribution to HVACR,” Stevens said. “We look forward to seeing these innovators in the marketplace in the coming year, and in-person on the Show floor in 2022.”

The 2022 AHR Expo Innovation Award Winners and finalists were selected in 10 industry categories, including building automation, cooling, heating, indoor air quality, plumbing, refrigeration, software, sustainable solutions (formerly green building), tools and instruments, and ventilation.

The winners, with their products described in the words of AHR Expo, are:

BUILDING AUTOMATION

Winner: iSMA CONTROLLI S.p.A., iSMA-B-MAC36NL Hybrid IoT Controller, powered by Niagara Framework, Booth C969 Innovation: The iSMA-B-MAC36NL master application controller family provides an all-in-one solution for mini-BMS. Created visualization can be displayed and controlled via HDMI output and two USB ports that enable connection of a mouse/keyboard or dedicated touch for the HMI panel. No PC, additional licenses, or additional costs are required. As MAC controllers are based on the Niagara Framework, it enables the integration of almost any existing protocol on the building network. The onboard M-Bus port, 2 ethernet ports, and the RS485 port can be integrated with just one device. Finally, the controller has an onboard dip and rotary switches that can be used as a part of the application. All of the features of the controller are managed by dedicated modules in Niagara Framework to accelerate the installation process and thus reduce labor costs.

Finalists in this category include: BrainBox AI, BrainBox AI; CUBE USA, CUBE Edge IoT.

COOLING

Winner: Danfoss, Danfoss Turbocor® VTCA400 Compressor, Booth C3906 Innovation: The new VTCA400 from Danfoss offers improvements on traditional centrifugal compressor designs that are large in physical size and footprint, which ultimately lead to higher cost and space constraints for the end user. The VTCA400 solves this problem by using a patent-pending hybrid compression design that uses a combination of mixed flow and radial impellers, enabling high-performance and a compact footprint. In this design, the first-stage impeller uses a mixed flow impeller with both axial and radial components while the second-stage impeller uses a radial design. The hybrid compression design allows for a compressor footprint that is half the physical size and weight of a conventional radial-only design. It also maintains high efficiency levels — a 10% improvement in full load efficiency and 30% improvement in IPLV above ASHRAE 90.1-2019 minimums, when considering a three (3) compressor, 1200-Ton system.

Finalists in this category include: Copeland Compressors and Condensing Units / Emerson, Copeland™ oil-free centrifugal compressor; Teqtoniq GmbH, Teqtoniq TRC150 Oil-Free Centrifugal Compressor.

HEATING

Winner: Carrier, Infinity® 24 Heat Pump with Greenspeed® Intelligence, Booth C1310 Innovation: The Infinity® 24 Heat Pump with Greenspeed® Intelligence is Carrier’s highest-efficiency and most advanced heat pump with up to 24 SEER and 13 HSPF for premium energy savings, extremely quiet performance and premium comfort features. The unique, variable-speed compressor of this unit allows it to adapt its output to the needs of the home with infinite adjustments between 25% and 100% capacity. The heat pump offers excellent humidity control and is capable of removing up to 400% more moisture than standard systems. Based on Carrier testing, all data was run with the systems cycling once they met the assumed home load. The assumed load at AHAM conditions (80/70, 80) is the capacity of the variable-speed running continuously in dehumidification mode. The difficult conditions load was determined by a Wrightsoft® load calculation for a home in Florida at 69 OD 72/63 ID. This condition was provided by a customer in Florida as “worst case.”

Finalists in this category include: HVAC Manufacturing and Technology Inc., SpaceGain Air Handling Units; Addison, FrostShield Defrost-Free Heat Pumps.

INDOOR AIR QUALITY

Winner: Antrum, AntrumX™ IAQ Facilities Monitoring System, Booth C1071 Innovation: AntrumX is a patented centralized sensing technology. AntrumX monitors IAQ for 32 spaces from a single location, using one sensor for every 16 rooms. Consolidating one centralized sensor for multiple spaces increases sensor accessibility while ensuring better overall control. Centralized sensing ensures better overall control because the data from 16 spaces comes from a single source, allowing building managers to optimize their ventilation strategy, and save energy without sacrificing IAQ. Additionally, the AntrumX has the ability to transport air without moving parts. Leveraging the building’s pressure differential between supply and exhaust, AntrumX is able to move air samples from each space to the Sensor Pack without adding energy to the system. The Sensor Pack also monitors multiple data points across multiple rooms. Using over-the-air software updates and a state-of-the-art hardware design, the Sensor Pack can be customized to sense what’s required today and be easily exchanged or updated as requirements change over the life of the building.

Finalists in this category include: LG Electronics USA, Inc., LG Split Rooftop DOAS (Dedicated Outdoor Air System) with Energy Recovery Wheel; TZOA, HAVEN IAQ.

PLUMBING

Winner: Franklin Electric / Little Giant, Inline SpecPAK, Multi-Pump Pressure Boosting System, Booth C4334 Innovation: With only 14.5 inches in depth, its unique smaller footprint makes the Franklin Electric Inline 1100 SpecPAK Pressure Boosting System small enough to be hung in a small utility closet, or wall-hung to preserve critical floor space. The system’s Inline 1100 constant pressure pumps are quiet, compact, self-contained, and versatile. Powered by water-cooled motors, it delivers quieter operation versus traditional air-cooled motors. The self-contained design delivers a “plug and play” solution that is part of a complete package revolving around easy installation, operation, and durability. The ability to expand is a foundational and distinctive benefit. Both the suction and discharge headers are sized to accommodate the flow rate from the maximum speed of four pumps. Quick and easy disconnects to the main panel allow customers to disconnect each pump individually with minimal system disruption.

Finalists in this category include: Lochinvar, LLC, Lochinvar Commercial Heat Pump Water Heaters; Towle Whitney LLC, GEN-5 Platform.

REFRIGERATION

Winner: ebm-papst Inc., AxiEco 630-910 Axial Fan, Booth C3324 Innovation: The AxiEco 630-910 incorporates new impeller geometry with a rotating diffuser and optimized blade design in order to reach a low noise level and high-efficiency. The steep air performance curve provides a pressure increase of more than 700 Pa, which is extraordinary for axial fans. With a maximum air flow of up to 30,000 m³/h, the AxiEco 630-910 covers a wide range of different applications, especially those where high-efficiency and high back pressure are key. The integrated commutation electronics, with an active PFC (power factor correction) as an option, enables the fan to be used in applications with low harmonics requirements, without any external filtering measures.

Finalists in this category include: Copeland Compressors and Condensing Units / Emerson, Copeland™ horizontal variable speed scroll compressor for refrigeration (1 to 4 HP); and Johnson Controls, Inc., ZS series horizontal scroll compressors with R290 and variable speed compatibility.

SOFTWARE

Winner: Bluon, Inc., Bluon Support Platform, Booth C6617 Innovation: The Bluon Support Platform is a mobile application that becomes a centralized hub for HVAC technicians. Bluon was built for technicians, by technicians, and provides detailed system information, just-in-time training, best practices and 24/7 live tech support. The app’s most important function is its ability to make the lives of technicians easier by providing a single, trustworthy source of detailed HVAC system information, along with live tech support when needed in the field. The main features of the free app include: a comprehensive unit database of 40,000 HVAC model numbers, spanning 75+ brands, with 75,000+ original manuals, troubleshooting guides, wiring diagrams, and technical specifications; best practices known as “pro-hacks” for a wide-range of situations; easy-to-use calculators for SH/SC, airflow, pressure setpoints, TXV sizing, etc.; HVAC training videos and tools that techs can use on the job; a revolutionary HVAC forum that gets techs the info they need when they need it; 24/7 live tech support; and a replacement parts identification tool cross-referenced by model numbers and compatible part numbers.

Finalists in this category include: CoolAutomation, Service Provision App; Interplay Learning, SkillMill™.

SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS (formerly Green Building)

Winner: Enginuity Power Systems Inc, E/ONE Home Power System, Booth N7435 Innovation: Enginuity’s E/ONE Home Power System is a modern rethinking of a classic combined heat and power system. Using clean and plentiful natural gas, the E/ONE produces both electricity and heat for homes or businesses. Since the E/ONE is capable of making more power than the home or business requires, the additional power can be sold back to the grid, generating income for the E/ONE’s owner. In addition, the E/ONE leverages the reliability of the natural gas distribution network to replace conventional backup generators. E/ONE easily produces all the electricity needed to operate homes or businesses; therefore, the periodic blackouts, such as those recently seen in Texas and California, will not affect the product’s ability to function.

Finalists in this category include: Caleffi Hydronic Solutions, Commercial domestic hot water (DHW) recirculation systems combine energy efficiency and water conservation; Danfoss, Danfoss Turbocor® TGS380 Compressor.

TOOLS & INSTRUMENTS

Winner: Fluke Corporation, Fluke 378 FC Non-Contact Voltage True-rms AC/DC Clamp Meter with iFlex, Booth C2737 Innovation: The Fluke 378 FC true-rms clamp meter uses FieldSense technology to make testing faster and safer, all without contacting a live conductor. The meter measures accurate voltage and current measurements through the clamp jaw. It works by clipping the black test lead to any electrical ground and putting the clamp jaw around the conductor, which results in reliable, accurate voltage and current values on the display. The 378 FC clamp meter includes a unique PQ function that senses power quality issues automatically. When making FieldSense measurements, the 378 FC will detect and display power quality issues, relating to current, voltage, power factor or any combination of the three. This allows for quick determination if an upstream supply problem exists, or if there is a downstream equipment problem.

Finalists in this category include: Climatech International S.A., F-100 Cordless Stud Welder Machine; RIDGID / Emerson, RIDGID® PCS-500 Pipe Saw.

VENTILATION

Winner: Aldes, InspirAIR® Fresh, Booth C2734 Innovation: The InspirAIR® Fresh contains new innovative design features. A newly developed counterflow enthalpic core and unique fan scrolls ensure 75% sensible recovery efficiency at 32 degrees F, as tested to the new CSA 439 standard, required as of October 2020. Occupants can also expect to get ample fresh filtered air due to variable-speed EC motors that adjust speed to changes in pressure due to stack effect and filter loading. The InspirAIR® Fresh is designed to provide optimal fresh air, regardless of filter type. Currently, ERVs are rated for use with a basic filter, and when using a MERV13 or HEPA filter, the airflow is reduced significantly.

Finalists in this category include: Carrier, Carrier Aero® 39M with ECM Direct Drive Plenum Fans; LG Electronics USA, Inc., LG Split Compact DOAS (Dedicated Outdoor Air System).

“It’s always exciting to follow along as these products and services come to life in the marketplace,” Stevens said. “What’s more, is to see others work to keep pace with innovation and develop new solutions. We are thrilled to be back in-person and headed to Las Vegas for a return to business. We hope you’ll join us and these winners in action on the Show floor before they hit the market.”

Funds raised from the entry fees of the Innovation Awards competition will be donated to a Vegas-area charitable cause, AHR Expo said. Registration for the 2022 AHR Expo is free until January 30, 2021, and can be completed on ahrexpo.com.

‘We are headed back to Las Vegas with a vengeance’

ATLANTA, Georgia, 1 July 2021: ASHRAE hosted its 2021 Virtual Annual Conference from June 28 to 30, which the Society said saw 970 virtual global registrants exploring topics related to critical environments, building operation and maintenance, and plant and animal environments.

According to ASHRAE, the conference featured over 100 live and on-demand sessions with updates from Society leaders and virtual networking events. Top sessions included Fundamentals of Climate Change (Seminar 1), Keynote: The COVID-19 Pandemic and Built Environment: Update on ASHRAE’s Response and the Meeting of the Members, ASHRAE said.

According to ASHRAE, other highly attended sessions included topics on IAQ, energy efficiency and ASHRAE standards. “The 2021 ASHRAE Virtual Annual Conference brought our community of industry professionals together for a full slate of highly relevant and valuable content,” said 2021-22 ASHRAE President, Mick Schwedler. “The conference provided an opportunity to learn, share, and explore new ways to translate research and knowledge into built environment solutions that impact everyone. We are truly fortunate to be a part of this strong community that supports each other to accomplish great things. It is the power of this community that will propel us to future successes.”

According to ASHRAE, Day One included a final State of the Society and farewell address from 2020-21 ASHRAE President, Charles E. Gulledge III, as well as a Secretary’s Report from ASHRAE Executive Vice President and Society Secretary, Jeff Littleton.

“Plans for the January 2022 ASHRAE Winter Conference and AHR Expo in Las Vegas are well underway, and if you have any doubts about whether the industry is ready to reconvene in January, let me share some facts with you,” Littleton said. “Fully 90% of the 498,000 net square feet of AHR Expo exhibit space available in Las Vegas is already sold. That’s 1,200 exhibiting companies already under contract. We may have had to cancel the show and the face-to-face Winter Conference this past January, but we are headed back to Las Vegas with a vengeance. Put it on your calendar today – January 29th to February 2nd. We’ll see you in Las Vegas.”

ASHRAE said that in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, its Epidemic Task Force (ETF) presented an update on its global headlining work to share guidance on minimizing the airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2. The keynote, titled ‘The COVID-19 Pandemic and Built Environment: Update on ASHRAE’s Response’, included a brief history and status of the ETF, as well as a higher-level discussion on non-HVAC issues, such as vaccines, data, transmission routes and reopening.

During the conference, ASHRAE’s Task Force on Building Decarbonization also gave an update on its progress, ASHRAE said. The task force was formed to develop technical resources and provide guidance in mitigating the negative impact of buildings on the environment and to the inhabitants of our planet, it added.

The conference was also an opportunity to honor retiring board members for their service. Further, the event saw a virtual installation ceremony for the 2021-22 Board of Directors and officers.

On the final day of the conference, Schwedler gave his address on the Society theme for the coming year, ‘Personal Growth. Global Impact. Feed the Roots’.

“We each are involved in ASHRAE for different reasons and volunteer in our chosen ways,” Schwedler said. “We do it because we grow – professionally and personally – and help others do the same. We do it because that global impact serves the world’s, as well as our personal, future generations. All this occurs because we are true to our deep, widespread and strong technical roots, grassroots and personal roots.”

According to ASHRAE, all technical sessions are now available on-demand to registrants for the next 18 months.

AHRI Board approves decarbonization general position statement

ARLINGTON, Virginia, 18 May 2021: The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) on May 14 released a General Position Statement on Decarbonization, advancing the association as a resource for states and localities grappling with how to successfully, sustainably and affordably reduce emissions related to the built-environment.

AHRI revealed the paper as noting, “The air conditioning, heating, ventilation, refrigeration, and water heating industry has a long history of providing innovative, high-quality, energy-saving, affordable products that enhance the comfort, safety, health, and productivity of businesses and people around the world”. It expresses AHRI’s support for “the ongoing, science-based transition to a lower carbon society, in which consumer choices for heating, cooling, water heating, and commercial refrigeration are the most energy efficient, environmentally beneficial available anywhere in the world, while maintaining appropriate and adequate levels of safety, health, comfort, and affordability”.

Stephen Yurek, President & CEO, AHRI, said: “Our member companies – which have more than 100 years of experience and expertise in product solutions, technology, and innovation – can serve as a valuable resource in helping the nation achieve a lower carbon society.”

The statement, AHRI said, comes on the heels of the success of the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act, passed by Congress in 2020, which provides authority to the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate the production of high-global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons and establishes a national phase down structure for the refrigerants that are widely used in air conditioning and refrigeration equipment. That effort, AHRI said, more than 10 years in the making for the industry, is forecast to ultimately result in a 0.5 degree reduction in global temperatures over the next 30 years, even as it creates jobs and helps the industry’s global trade posture.

Systemair Group announces changes in management team

SKINNSKATTEBERG, Sweden, 12 May 2021:Bjørn-Osvald Skandsen, Managing Director, Systemair Norway, has joined as member of Systemair Group Management, starting May 12, Systemair Group said through a Press release.

According to Systemair Group, Skandsen has many years of experience in the ventilation industry and in Systemair. Before re-joining Systemair in March 2018 as Managing Director, he was holding a director’s positions in GK Inneklima – a technical ventilation contractor in Norway. Even earlier in his professional life, from 2000 to 2006, he had headed the Systemair Group’s technical support department and domestic sales in Sweden. Skandsen holds a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and an MBA in brand management. He currently serves as board member of VKE, which is an organisation for ventilation and cooling companies in Norway.

“Bjørn-Osvald is an enthusiastic and loyal business leader, with a strong passion for new technology and modern trade,” said Roland Kasper, CEO, Systemair. “I am convinced he will be a good asset to the management of Systemair. He will take a special responsibility for our heating division Frico – an area where he has good knowledge and previous experience.”

Rubber World Industry launches AED 90mn HVAC production unit

DUBAI, UAE, 21 March 2021: Rubber World Industry, which manufactures and supplies HVAC and MEP products and accessories in the UAE, has launched ‘United Air-Conditioning’, a specialised company with an investment of AED 90 million (approximately USD 25 million), which includes a production plant in Al Jurf industrial area, Ajman, to meet what it described as a growing demand for its environmentally friendly products. Rubber World made the announcement through a Press release.

The new manufacturing unit, spanning over 10,000 square metres, is part of the company’s expansion plans backed by the rising demand for the company’s cooling, heating and now coronavirus-related products, Rubber World said through the Press release. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company said it saw a sharp increase in health and environment-related products, such as disinfectant chambers, HVAC filters, air cleaners, optimised HVAC products, and configured rubber insulation and ducts to limit the spread of the virus.

Muzammil Shaikhani, Managing Director, Rubber World Industry, while attributing the new milestone to the company’s customers, said: “I am grateful to our local and international buyers, who have put a strong trust in us, which kept our growth not only intact but rising. In addition, during the pandemic, Rubber World thrived rather than survived and launched United Air Conditioning to cater to the increasing needs of its customers. Our R&D quickly responded to the new demand for health-related products that people and businesses need to maintain health [and] safety and [to] contain the spread of coronavirus and its variants, and started manufacturing this line, which helped doubled our growth and created the need for a specialized production line.”

The new entity, United Air Conditioning will complement Rubber World in manufacturing heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, cooling, mechanical, electrical and plumbing products, parts and accessories for commercial and residential use in the UAE, Rubber World said. United Air Conditioning will focus on health and environment-related products, modified HVAC and MEP parts, such as rubber insulation and ducting lines, which have become essential in the current environment, Rubber World said. It will help in reducing emissions, improve energy efficiency and contribute to the climate change agenda, it added. Rubber World has two units in the UAE and one in Sri Lanka. The company said it plans to set up six new production facilities in South Asia and the Middle East in the next three years to cater to the needs of its growing customer base.

Rubber World said that United Air-Conditioning has helped it increase its range of products, such as cooler tubes and sheets, which are CFC-free and are designed for exposed pipe area, as commonly seen in supermarkets, hospitals and schools. Another key area of demand for United Air-Conditioning’s products is all types of flexible ducts and ducting accessories with a broad range of adhesive tapes, Rubber World said. Rubber World said it currently serves several customers, including Leminar Air Conditioning Company, Century Mechanical Systems Factory, Gulf-O-Flex AC Spare Parts Trading, Gmark Middle East FZC and Al Emadi Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Equipment.

ASHRAE 2021 Annual Conference to be held virtually

ATLANTA, Georgia, 17 February 2021: ASHRAE said its 2021 Annual Conference,scheduled to be held in Phoenix, will now take place virtually.

Making the announcement through a Press release, ASHRAE said the event (2021 ASHRAE Virtual Annual Conference ) is designed to provide the latest insights from industry-leading expert in the built environment. It will provide focused, actionable and innovative content to support HVACR and building systems professionals, it added.

“Our pivot to virtual conferences over the past year has been met with great success,” said 2020-21 ASHRAE President Charles E Gulledge III. “Engagement from members and industry professionals from around the world in these events is a testament to the quality of our conferences and the importance of staying connected within the ASHRAE community. The 2021 ASHRAE Virtual Annual Conference will be a wonderful forum to share fresh ideas and unique approaches to tackle the challenges of our rapidly changing world. I look to extending our digital connection, and I anticipate an immense level of interest and participation.”

According to ASHRAE, conference attendees can expect:

  • Technical sessions from industry experts and thought leaders
  • Online networking and social opportunities
  • A chance for professionals to come together and connect with collaborators around the world
  • A keynote presentation, roundtable decisions and expanded learning opportunities
  • Updates and announcements from Society leaders

ASHRAE said additional information on the conference, including committee meetings and registration details, will be made available in the coming weeks. It recommended that those interested in the event could visitashrae.org/2021annual for more information.

GEA introduces BOCK HGX24 CO2 T

DUESSELDORF, Germany, 08 February 2021: With the new HGX24 CO2 T range, GEA BOCK is expanding its semi-hermetic CO2 compressor range with a specialised focus on transcritical applications in the lower capacity range, the company said through a Press release.

Cooling capacities from 5 to 26 kW and heating capacities from 10 to 48 kW offer flexible stationary and mobile use in applications for supermarkets, commercial and small industrial refrigeration systems as well as for air conditioning and heat pumps in buses and trains, the company said. With their CO2-specific pressure design of up to 150 bar (HP) and 100 bar (LP) and a frequency range of up to 70 Hz, the gas-cooled compressors achieve the highest EER/COP values within their application spectrum – with up to five per cent higher efficiency in standard medium cooling compared to commercially available compressors in this segment. “The new transcritical compressors have proven themselves in extensive internal testing and in numerous field tests with our customers and will be available from February 2021 – equipped as standard with all the necessary features for use with the natural refrigerant R744,” said Manuel Fröschle, Product Manager Natural Refrigerants, GEA BOCK.

The new BOCK HGX24 CO2 T transcritical CO2 compressor (Photo: GEA)

According to GEA, the advantages of the new range for planners, investors and operators include significantly reduced energy and operating costs combined with a long service lifetime with low maintenance requirements, a wide range of applications – from medium- and  low-temperature applications to high-temperature heat pumps – with reliable and flexible part load, as well as excellent low-noise and low-vibration running comfort with a minimal oil  carry over rate. The basis for this, GEA claimed, is a CO2-optimised driving gear design combined with BOCK compressor technology. This includes, for example, the oil pump for a reliable lubrication system even under demanding conditions, including large permissible inclination angles of the compressors.

“Together with the compact dimensions, the low weight of only 116 kg, maximum, as well as standard market connection dimensions, the HGX24 CO2 T set new standards for transcritical economic solutions for smaller performance requirements in stationary and mobile applications,” Fröschle said. “In this regard, they support the fulfillment of important energy and environmental protection requirements, such as the European F-Gas Regulation or the global Kigali Agreement, and meet strict requirements of European standards and ASERCOM guidelines.”

According to GEA, the new range is now also integrated as an additional module in the free online planning and design software BOCK VAP (compressor selection program) and BOCK CO2 Tool (system and compressor selection program).

For special subcritical requirements in low-temperature applications with high operating and standstill pressures, GEA said, the semi-hermetic BOCK CO2 compressor program will offer the specifically designed low temperature cooling variant HGX24 CO2 LT (Low Temperature) with two motor versions from June 2021.

ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force releases updated Building Readiness Guide

ATLANTA, Georgia, 02 February 2021: With the performance of many HVAC systems in buildings still being evaluated, the ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force has updated its reopening guidance for HVAC systems to help mitigate the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, ASHRAE said through a Press release.

“The Building Readiness Guide includes additional information and clarifications to assist designers and commissioning providers in performing pre- or post-occupancy flush calculations to reduce the time and energy to clear spaces of contaminants between occupancy periods,” said Wade Conlan, Lead, ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force Building Readiness team. “New information includes the theory behind the use of equivalent outdoor air supply, method for calculating the performance of filters and air cleaners in series, and filter droplet nuclei efficiency that help evaluate the systems’ ability to flush the building.”

According to ASHRAE, major updates to the building readiness guidance include the following:

  • Pre- or post-flushing strategy methodology: The strategy has been updated to include the use of filter droplet nuclei efficiency, which is the overall efficiency of filter, based on viable virus particle sizes in the air, to assist in determining the impact of the filter on the recirculated air on the equivalent outdoor air. This allows the filter efficiency as a function of particle size, using ASHRAE Standard 52.2 test results, to be estimated based on the expected size distribution of virus-containing particles in the air. This calculation is currently based on Influenza A data and will be updated as peer-reviewed research becomes available for the distribution of particle sizes that contain a viable SARS-CoV-2 virus. Additionally, a chart has been added to help determine the time to achieve 90%, 95% or 99% contaminant reduction, if the equivalent outdoor air changes per hour is known.
  • Flushing time calculator: There is now a link to a view-only Google Sheet that can be downloaded for use, to help determine the available equivalent outdoor air changes and time to perform the flush. This sheet is based on a typical mixed AHU with filters, cooling coil, with potential for in-AHU air cleaner (UVC is noted in the example), and in-room air cleaning devices. Provided efficiencies of MERV-rated filters are based on the performance of over 200 actual filters from MERV 4 through 16, but the tool also allows users to enter custom characteristics for specific filters.
  • The sheet also calculates the filter droplet nuclei efficiency, based on the cited research but allows a user to adjust the anticipated distribution of virus, as desired. It also allows specification of the zone (room) air distribution effectiveness from ASHRAE Standard 62.1 to account for the impact of the HVAC system air delivery method on the degree of mixing. Default calculations assume perfect mixing. Finally, the tool allows for the target air changes to be adjusted if an owner wants to achieve a different per cent removal in lieu of the recommended 95%. 
  • Heating season guidance: The guide now includes data to consider for heating of outdoor air and the potential impact on pre-heat coils in systems.
  • Adjustments to align with Core Recommendations: The Core Recommendations were released in January 2021, and this guidance document needed to be updated to ensure that the information provided aligned with the intent of those recommendations. This included minimum outdoor air supply and filter efficiency requirements and their role in an equivalent outdoor air supply-based risk mitigation strategy.

According to ASHRAE, the guidance still addresses the tactical commissioning and systems analysis needed to develop a Building Readiness Plan, increased filtration, air cleaning strategies, domestic and plumbing water systems, and overall improvements to a system’s ability to mitigate virus transmission.

Empower reveals AED 901 million net profit in 2020

According to Empower, performance in a nutshell

  • Total cooling capacity crossed 1,640,000 RT, maintaining the position of the largest district cooling provider in the world
  • Over 140,000 customers
  • Total energy saving AED 3.4 billion in 2020
  • A total of 350.474 kilometres of district cooling networks

DUBAI, UAE, 20 January 2020: Emirates Central Cooling Systems Corporation (Empower) reported a net profit of AED 901 million, with a total revenue of AED 2.26 billion in 2020. Making the announcement through a Press release, Empower said its revenues grew by three per cent, with a net profit increase of 3.4% year-over-year (YoY). Empower added that the performance has been commendable, given the difficult economic conditions resulting from the global pandemic.

Commenting on Empower’s financial results at the annual press conference, Ahmad Bin Shafar, CEO, Empower, said: “2020 has been another successful year for Empower, with growth in its financial as well as operational performance, which is clearly evident from increase in revenues and net profit, additions in the number of district cooling plants, expansion of district cooling pipeline network, increase in customer base and the number of buildings connected with our district cooling services.”

According to Empower, the number of buildings it provides with its district cooling services exceeded 1,252, and the customer base has reached more than 140,000. The total cooling capacity has reached 1,640,000 Refrigeration Tons (RT) during 2020 that covered various projects, such as Deira Waterfront, Blue Waters, Jumeirah Group, Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai International Financial Centre, Business Bay, Dubai Healthcare City, Jumeirah Lake Towers, Palm Jumeirah, Discovery Gardens, Ibn Battuta Mall, Dubai Design District and International Media Production Zone, amongst others, the utility said.

“Empower has also saved a total of 1,312 MW of electricity worth AED 3.4 billion, as of the end of 2020,” Bin Shafar said.

On the sidelines of the press conference, Bin Shafar also said: “We are proud of our achievements in terms of increased number of district cooling plants that has reached 84 plants across Dubai, including the world’s first unmanned district cooling plant in Jumeirah Village Circle project, along with having the largest district cooling network.

“Empower is committed towards efficient utilization of energy resources and supporting its customers and real estate developers, by providing high-quality and eco-friendly district cooling services.”

Bin Shafar also stated that Empower had reduced its fuel surcharge rates by approximately 25%, effective December 1, 2020, in line with the initiative of the Dubai’s Supreme Council of Energy. 

He added: “We will continue our endeavors in 2021 to increase the number of district cooling plants and expand our district cooling network across Dubai.”

Building for the “new normal”

As the world continues to grapple with an ever-shifting economic landscape, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, stakeholders in the building sector across the GCC region have observed how the pandemic has triggered an evaluation and reassessment of priorities. Ashok Jha, Head FM and Retrofit Projects, Universal Voltas, points out that the unprecedented disruption caused by COVID-19 has prompted many organisations to take actions they have been putting off for some time, including launching new digital services and evolving their business models, enabling greater flexibility in their working and implementing cost optimisation measures.

However, Jha says, perhaps the most notable trend would be the move towards a greater number of retrofit projects in the region. “Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the oil prices plummeted to one of the lowest levels and government revenues went down in the GCC region,” he says. “This has led to reduced spending across all sectors, including new construction, with the current market seeing greater push towards shallow retrofitting, deep retrofitting, energy conservation and reducing the building carbon footprint in the existing buildings to make them more sustainable.” Jha says that since the number of existing buildings in Oman, Kuwait and the UAE is very high compared to new buildings, there was also a need to address the physical deterioration of the buildings, due to functional and economic obsolescence, and to make them more sustainable. “Because of this, there is a surge in demand for the retrofitting of the existing buildings across the GCC region,” he says (see sidebar).

Andrea Di Gregorio, Executive Director, Reem, Ras Al Khaimah Municipality, also believes the region is poised to see a strong pipeline of retrofit projects. “More focus is being put in refurbishing existing buildings, to bring them up-to-speed with the latest best practices in sustainability,” he says. “We see an increase in interest from building owners in retrofit activities, and we expect this interest to further increase throughout 2021 and in the coming years.”

Energy efficiency and sustainability 

Another major driver for retrofits is the move towards energy efficient and sustainable practices, which has long been heralded by experts in the sector. Jha points out that because of the detrimental impact of buildings on the environment, with occupied buildings and the construction sector accounting for 36% of the global energy consumption and nearly 40% of total direct and indirect CO2 emissions according to International Energy Agency (IEA), the UAE has begun to actively transition into smart and sustainable cities, which has turned the focus on the energy efficiency of the buildings, specifically existing ones. 

In addition to its impact on overall sustainability efforts, much of the move can be attributed to growing awareness on return of investment in terms of reduced operational cost. As Jha points out, retrofitting primarily refers to the measures being taken to replace legacy energy and utility systems with new and energy-efficient technologies. “These technologies not only reduce energy consumption and decrease carbon emissions but also lower maintenance costs, improve safety, enhance productivity, boost property valuations and also prolong the useful life of the assets and the building as a whole,” he says. “In a nutshell, we can say that OPEX of the building reduces and the asset value increases. Hence, it is becoming important day by day to retrofit buildings to not only make them more sustainable for the future but also to derive economical value by reducing the operational cost and, in turn, optimise the rentals and make them more lucrative for the tenants.”

Weighing in, Di Gregorio says that sustainable buildings often result in lower life cycle cost of the building itself. “If sustainability features are carefully selected, operational savings – in terms of energy and water usage and equipment maintenance – typically exceed any incremental investments that those features require,” he says. “For this reason, in a perfect market, where developers are able to fairly monetise their investments in higher quality buildings, we would expect for tenants any rent premiums for more sustainable buildings to be exceeded by the value of operational savings.”

Jha adds that as energy prices continue to rise, the relative benefits of energy efficiency will become increasingly important, and this is leading to a huge surge in demand for equipment, such as Smart LED lights and motion sensors, air curtains and FAHUs, energy-efficient AHUs, FCUs or split units and VAV systems. This has also led to greater demand for water usage reduction through the use of low-flow fixtures, sensors, waterless urinals and low-flush WCs, and also for photovoltaic panels on rooftops to generate electricity from the solar power, among other solutions. 

A renewed focus on IAQ 

While the return on investment (ROI) from retrofitting for energy efficiency is becoming clear, stakeholders are hopeful that the new wave of retrofits would also accommodate enhancements of indoor air quality (IAQ), which has been typically overlooked over the past years. Di Gregorio says that he believes this would be the case. “There is increasing interest in IAQ, partly driven by COVID-19 concerns,” he says. “Some awareness and technical barriers are there; nonetheless we foresee development in this area in the future.”

Jha shares a similar opinion. He says: “Fear of pandemic is looming large in the minds of the people, and therefore, while carrying out the retrofitting of their buildings, owners are ensuring that retrofit projects also take into consideration IAQ of the buildings, where people are currently spending more than 90% of their time and also to reduce the chances of contamination through virus, bacteria, moulds and fungi.”

Di Gregorio says there is a lot of focus on safety and security from building owners, particularly in what concerns disinfection of common areas. “This sometimes adds to other measures, like filtration, turning into improved air quality,” he says. Jha adds that some of the measures that building owners are taking include Demand Control Ventilation through C02 sensors, fitting volume control dampers, ultraviolet lamps in AHUs, ultraviolet germicide irradiation and MERV 13/14 filters. He further adds that there has been an increase in the use of humidifiers and dehumidifiers to maintain humidity in the range of 40-60%, where the microbial and fungal growth is minimal.

Jha also says that the majority of the offices are allowing their staff to work from home and that people are spending more than 90% of their time indoors. “This further necessitates that apt measures are taken by the occupants to ensure proper lux levels, ergonomics and IAQ, as these will have a profound impact on their health and wellbeing and, in turn, impact their productivity,” he says. “Hence, there cannot be a better time than now to address the Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ) issues, if any.” Jha says these are the factors driving a lot of investment being done by the property owners in the built-environment to retrofit their buildings to ensure proper IAQ against the traditional retrofit, where emphasis was mainly towards energy efficiency.

Making a case for retrofits 

Keeping in mind the tangible and intangible benefits of retrofitting, Di Gregorio believes there is more than enough evidence to drive building owners to invest in such initiatives. “If building owners are not thinking about retrofits, they definitely should!” he says. “Retrofit projects tend to have very favourable returns. We are observing that for comprehensive retrofits of commercial buildings in Ras Al Khaimah, the payback time is 3-5 years. And the contracting standards that are being adopted often provide forms of guarantees for the investor on those returns.”

Jha, agreeing, says that in spite of the change in the occupancy profile of buildings, property owners must continue to retrofit within the built-environment. “Retrofitting of existing buildings offers tremendous opportunities for improving asset performance in terms of utilities,” he says. “Retrofitting also offers a potential upside in the overall performance of the building through improved energy efficiency, increased staff productivity, reduced maintenance costs, and better thermal comfort.” Jha believes that such key drivers should serve as a motivation and incentive for building owners, who are on the fence about investing in retrofit projects.

A complete 180

In view of the shifting political landscape, how will the new administration affect the country’s commitment to climate change mitigation?

It’s going to be a complete 180 from the [Donald] Trump administration. In [Joe] Biden’s plan, he mentions “a historic investment” in upgrading four million commercial buildings to return almost a quarter of the savings from retrofits to cash-strapped state and local governments. Specifically, it says that he will “mobilize a trained and skilled American workforce to manufacture, install, service and maintain high-efficiency LED lighting, electric appliances, and advanced heating and cooling systems that run cleaner and less costly”. 

Given our focus on energy savings, I think that this will be great for business as well as for building owners. Some suggest that large rebates may be involved to directly incentivise businesses and make it affordable to pursue these upgrades. 

That being said, although the Trump administration was not at all focused on energy conservation, I found that individual building owners and managers were still pursuing these measures during the Trump administration. Most organisations in the US are interested in conserving energy and saving money. With government focus and incentives, it will just accelerate the demand.

In view of COVID-19, do you see a greater uptake of IAQ equipment throughout the country? 

Yes, for sure. However, these things come with a cost, and with COVID destroying the economy, there is going to have to be some kind of funding or incentives given to get these types of retrofits in place. I will give you an example. Two of our clients in the US requested ultraviolet lighting proposals to be retrofitted into their air handlers and FCUs. We put together the proposals and delivered them; however, neither has been approved yet due to the difficulties these buildings are facing financially due to delinquent tenant rent payments and occupancy.

Another interesting fact is that most of these IAQ retrofits are not intended to deliver energy savings. That is another hurdle to getting these projects approved. One last point – and I don’t think this is limited to the US – customers in the UAE have also asked for ultraviolet lighting to be installed, and it is still difficult to get the approval here, for the same reasons mentioned earlier.

Has there been a heavier-than-usual concentration on the air side of things from building owners, tenants and manufacturers?

The EPA has recommended that guidance provided by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) for managing IAQ during the current pandemic be followed. ASHRAE’s statement is as follows: “Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through the air is sufficiently likely that airborne exposure to the virus should be controlled. Changes to building operations, including the operation of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems, can reduce airborne exposures.”

The two solutions we have seen implemented in the buildings we service in the USA are AHU filter upgrades and increasing the intake of outside air into the building. Both of these changes are very effective and relatively easy to implement as well as low cost.

How has the change in occupancy profile thrown everything into a state of chaos in terms of commercial and residential property requirements? Will this be a driving force towards more retrofit projects? 

In terms of energy conservation measures, this has thrown everything into a state of chaos. One, the commercial buildings are hardly occupied, which has led to energy bills dropping dramatically. However, with less occupancy comes less rent, thus less money to invest in retrofit projects. In addition, building owners, who are still looking for energy savings, are hesitant to move forward, because they are not sure if and when tenants will be returning to the buildings, so to be honest, unless it’s a well-funded customer, this could actually slow the conservation efforts.

Residential buildings face the same issue. People are leaving the dense, populated cities, preferring the suburbs right now, leaving residential multi-family buildings unoccupied and no rents being paid. Until we get herd immunity with the vaccine, and people are comfortable returning to the cities to work and live, this will continue to be challenging.

How have these trends potentially influenced building owners? 

As I stated earlier, most building owners are hesitant even if they want to move forward on new projects, given the current situation. However, some forward thinkers, with ability and the confidence that things will return to normal, are taking this time to invest in conservation efforts, so that when the buildings are occupied, they can take advantage of the maximum savings.

Have there been efforts to retrofit among specialised facilities such as healthcare? 

At the moment, it is difficult to even get a meeting with a healthcare facility in the US. They are overwhelmed and have overcapacity with COVID patients and are focused on saving lives before anything else. Their priority right now is the conservation of life.

Has the pandemic finally trained the spotlight on the importance of having a balance between energy efficiency and IAQ? 

I think that yes, people will be investing in IAQ, or at least investigating their options, especially healthcare facilities and the like. However, in my experience, to be honest, it’s a tough sale, unless there’s a Return on Investment (ROI) in the project. Having said that, UV lighting does have some energy-saving benefits, so maybe a combination of IAQ and energy savings should be highlighted to the building owners in the presentation of these retrofit solutions.

Retrofitting in Kuwait, Oman and the UAE

Ashok Jha

COVID-19 has had a significant adverse impact on organisations, people’s health, their livelihoods and the economy at large in the GCC region countries, says Ashok Jha, Head, FM & Retrofit Projects, Universal Voltas LLC. However, Jha is quick to point out that while the duration and severity of COVID-19’s impact on economies and sectors will undoubtedly vary, companies and governments in the GCC region have done well to set in motion a “look ahead, anticipate, innovate and adjust” roadmap, which has led the construction sector to focus on energy optimisation and retrofitting in existing buildings, which is a key to sustainable construction.

 

Oman 

Citing figures from Global Data, a leading data and analytics company, Jha says that Oman’s construction industry contracted sharply in 2020, plummeting by nearly around -10.3%. “The industry is struggling with challenges presented by the COVID-19 outbreak, low oil prices, and the impact of sovereign credit rating downgrades,” he says. Further compounding the downside risks to the outlook for the industry, the Omani Government has had to rationalise spending.”

Jha adds that given the limited prospects for the government to boost investment in infrastructure and other investment projects, a recovery in the construction sector is expected to be very slow. “Global Data currently expects the construction industry to fall further in 2021, with output contracting by -5.8%,” he says. “The fiscal plan by the Oman Government is intended to reduce public debt, increase the state’s reserves, and diversify revenue away from the oil sector.”

Owing to these factors, Jha believes that new construction spend will be very minimal, and more impetus will be on the retrofitting, deep retrofitting, fit-outs and energy performance optimisation in the built-environment in Oman.

Kuwait

Kuwait has faced similar challenges, Jha says, adding that the construction market shrunk in the year 2020 at about -9.5% approximately, as per Global Data. “The construction industry is struggling with the challenges presented by the outbreak of COVID-19, low oil prices and the impact of sovereign credit rating downgrades,” he says. “Because of this, focus is more towards existing buildings in Kuwait.”

Jha adds that within the built-environment in Kuwait, residential buildings constitute around 81%, commercial buildings are 11%, whereas government buildings constitute four per cent; the remaining four per cent includes commercial, industrial, agricultural and services. “Also, Kuwait has one of the highest per capita electricity consumption and carbon footprint globally, which further necessitates the retrofitting of the buildings to make them more sustainable,” he says. “All the above factors, along with the economic strain, is forcing Kuwait to focus on energy conservation, deep retrofitting, retrofitting and fit-outs in the built-environment with a very minimal spending on new construction.”

UAE

Sharing observations on the UAE market, in particular, Jha says that the COVID-19 outbreak, coupled with low oil prices, has led the construction output in the UAE to contract by nearly 4.8% in 2020, but that a rebound is expected in 2021, as per Global Data. “New project opportunities are expected to be minimal in the coming quarters, as the government is consolidating its widening fiscal debt and COVID-19-related force majeure,” he said. “Over the medium- to longer-term, government investment will remain focused on upgrading physical infrastructure and reforming the financing and regulatory environment.”

Jha adds that the UAE has set high targets for building retrofit, which are reflected in the UAE Energy Strategy 2050 and the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy. “The latter targets an overall 30% reduction in energy and water use by 2030,” he says. “To support this, Etihad ESCO aims to retrofit 30,000 buildings in the next 10 years and generate 1.68TWh energy savings and around 5.64 BIG of water savings by year 2030.”

‘The UAE leadership has a view of the future – and it is not just tomorrow’

Climate Ambassador Tomas Anker Christensen

Congratulations on your appointment as Denmark’s Climate Ambassador. Could you speak on the potential areas of cooperation between the UAE and Denmark?

I think it’s remarkable the far-sighted leadership the UAE has taken as an oil- and gas-producing country. The leaders have a view of the future – and the future that is not just tomorrow, not just five or 10 years, but they are thinking ahead to 20 or 50 years from now.

We are talking about the major transformation of energy systems. The largest solar farms in the world are in the UAE, and a lot of investment is being done in this area. The country is taking energy efficiency in buildings seriously and addressing the challenge of having had, years ago, the highest carbon footprint per inhabitant.

In that sense, cooperation between the UAE and Denmark on energy and other topics related to food and maritime issues makes imminent sense. We are the country in the EU with the largest oil -production. We have oil and gas in the North Sea. But we are slowly ending our exploration of that oil and gas, and in December 2020, the Danish Parliament decided to end fossil extraction in the North Sea by 2050 with a plan for the just transition of impacted workers and a conversion of the oil and gas fields to Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS)].

There is also a huge market for renewable energy, globally, as this transformation [can be seen] worldwide. In Denmark, we are building better and taller wind farms and offshore wind farms, including over the next two years in two new energy islands. As a result, there has been global interest surrounding Danish windfarm operators and wind constructors, many of whom are now in demand in a number of countries such as the US, Korea and Australia.

Could you speak more about the competitive advantage that countries such as the UAE can have from specialising in sustainable cooling solutions, both in terms of developing the expertise within the country and in terms of pioneering solutions? Do you see this to be a growing market?

The world is undergoing an energy transformation, and the UAE is also very well positioned to be part of it and, in some instances, to lead this transformation. As such, a partnership with a country like Denmark makes great sense.

When it comes to the development of cities, it’s clear that if you look at trends as a whole, [the population] is moving from the countryside to cities at an increased rate. I think the latest figures from UN Habitat and other global organisations is that almost half of the human population lives in cities. We have been going from 30-40% of the population to half, and the trajectory is pointing towards a world where most of the people are in cities.

There have been large movements in the Global South. In China, you have more than 70 cities with more than one million inhabitants, and many are newly constructed with poor quality of buildings that need to be retrofitted and rebuilt. In India, you have a growing middle-class population, and this has led to growth of new buildings in new cities or more modern buildings in new parts of the city. The same trend can be seen in the Gulf region. For a very long time, Dubai was home to most of the cranes in the world. In Africa, large cities that are already big, continue to grow. In Indonesia, we see a population in the process of moving Jakarta to a new island, because it is sinking.

Basically, in many places, the built-environment is not a done deal. We are at the beginning, not at the end. It’s only in older industrial countries in the West that the city structure is permanent. I would think the opportunities for both new buildings and retrofitting are very large, especially in warmer climates, where expertise is needed in challenging environments.

For us, in Denmark, it’s more about reverse engineering our experience with energy efficiency and insulation, and usinge and applying them in the UAE. Also, there would be solutions we need to develop from scratch, based on the circumstances and the physical environment. 

It’s clear that cooling also has some attributes different from heating. [In Denmark], some companies are experimenting with district cooling, but most are district heating, with a lot of combined power and heat plants. Also, some of them are doing this with garbage waste disposal and heat and power. With the more recent climate law, because of the move towards circular economy, we are now looking at recycling and reusing our waste rather than incinerating it.

What can further drive the development of expertise and solutions in the sustainability arena in a country?

A combination of energy pricing and embedding efficiency in building codes and regulation by central and local governments are key here. The building owner and operator might not be interested in building more efficiently because of the perceived cost, and they will try to defer the cost onto the tenants. That means rent goes up, bills go up, and they are not too happy either. That’s always a question for the less well off, that’s also the question of the fair and equitable distribution of the cost and benefit, [[when it comes to implementing sustainable solutions.].

In Denmark, people have been investing in energy efficiency because of energy cost and due to strict regulation since the 1970’s. Because of the cost of energy, there are huge paybacks at a shorter time.

In what ways can the public sector in the GCC region incentivise sustainability initiatives in the built-environment, both in terms of introducing retrofit targets and also ensuring new buildings adhere to higher energy- efficiency goals? 

For one, I would say that educating the general public is extremely important, in terms of the cost, economy, sustainability and potential social benefits.

The very practical education of engineers and economists, integrating energy efficiency into curricula in the built-environment, so that you have your own skilled engineers and technicians ¨to operate systems, do the buildings and learn from it. It is a mentality and way of thinking. We have done it for the last 50 or more years; we didn’t do it before that. It took us a long time and heavy regulation, strong incentives and a lot of private discussion among government and private sector and institutions of higher education to get that sector to operate in an efficient and integrated way. I would encourage public policy makers to think through different dimensions of how to establish a cluster of knowledge and expertise. The young students of today will be the leaders of tomorrow, and they have to make it work 10-15 years down the road.

Baltimore Aircoil introduces Nexus Modular Hybrid Cooler

Baltimore, Maryland, USA, 21 April 2019: Baltimore Aircoil Company (BAC) has introduced the Nexus Modular Hybrid Cooler, which it claimed in a Press communiqué as being the world’s first intelligent, plug-and-play, modular, hybrid fluid cooling system. The Nexus, BAC said, is engineered to simplify system design and optimise water and energy savings, while providing the lowest installation, operating and maintenance costs.

According to the communiqué, the Nexus simplifies both the design and installation of fluid cooling systems. The units are up to eight feet shorter in height, have a 40% smaller footprint and are 35% lighter than traditional fluid coolers, the communiqué said. Modules are designed to be moved with a pallet jack and fit in a freight elevator – eliminating the need for special rigging equipment, the communiqué said. Structural steel requirements can be reduced by up to 50%, and permanent ladders or elevated platforms can be eliminated, the communiqué added. All fans, pumps, accessories and controls are factory-installed, and wired, for true single-point wiring, the communiqué further added.

The Nexus Modular Hybrid Cooler

According to the communiqué, BAC’s patented hCore Heat Transfer Technology delivers exceptional heat transfer performance, durability and longevity in a compact, corrosion-resistant package that has 65% less internal fluid volume and requires no passivation. The Nexus’ new, patent-pending DiamondClear design uses 60% less spray water volume than traditional systems, has turbulent spray water flow, and the spray water basin can be inspected while in operation, BAC claimed through the communiqué. BAC’s iPilot Control System, with patent-pending, embedded intelligence minimises operating cost by effectively balancing water and energy savings based on customer needs and preferences, the communiqué said. The EC Fan System, BAC claimed through the communiqué, provides superior efficiency as well as high external static capability, with a direct-drive radial fan and a variable-speed electrically commutated (EC) motor. It completely eliminates maintenance associated with traditional fan drive systems and delivers superior reliability, the communiqué said. 

The Nexus has the highest uptime and reliability, the communiqué said. As standard, it is a passivation-free unit with premium non-corrosive materials to keep customers up-and-running with their projects at the most critical times, the communiqué said. Code compliance is also very important for our customers, so a non-combustible option that meets the most stringent fire codes will now be available, the communiqué quoted BAC as saying. 

“This product highlights our leadership position in innovation,” said Don Fetzer, BAC President, “as we have created the world’s first truly smart hybrid cooling solution, with the ability to switch between evaporative and dry cooling in a modular compact footprint.”

Is Microsoft’s underwater data centre the future?

The Natick Phase One vessel was operated on the seafloor, approximately one kilometre off the Pacific coast of the United States, from August to November 2015. Thereafter the Phase Two vessel of Natickdeployed at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney Islands, United Kingdom, in June 2018, aims to demonstrate that you can economically manufacture full-scale undersea data centre modules and deploy them in under 90 days from decision to power on. Could you give us an insight into what prompted the company to launch Project Natick?

Project Natick reflects Microsoft’s ongoing quest for cloud data centre solutions that offer less resource intensive options, rapid provisioning, lower costs and high agility in meeting customer needs. Essentially, the project is focused on bringing about a cloud future that can help better serve customers in areas that are near large bodies of water, where nearly 50% of society resides. The vision of operating containerised data centres offshore, near major population centres, anticipates a highly interactive future which will require data resources located close to users. Deepwater deployment offers ready access to cooling and a controlled environment and has the potential to be powered by co-located renewable power sources.

From what we understand Natick data centres consume no water for cooling or any other purpose. Could you speak a little bit more about what makes this possible without compromising critical data components?

Seawater flows through heat exchangers within the data centre. The heat exchanger is like a car’s radiator, which uses cool air to cool the hot water flowing through the car’s engine. We’re the same, but we use water to cool air. Very little cooling is due to the walls of the vessel.

Modern building cooling systems, including data centres, use city tap water for cooling. This use of water greatly reduces the electricity required for cooling, but this water use can be significant. Natick puts no pressure on city water supplies and instead uses seawater, which is then returned directly to the ocean, unchanged.

Could you comment on the unique challenges that come with cooling large-scale electronics in this context and how the company addressed them?

Today, each land data centre is subject to local environmental conditions, such as temperature, humidity, particulate matter, building materials and electricity supply, which differ significantly across data centres and across seasons. Natick uses the same computers used to deliver our cloud services from land-based Microsoft data centres today and, as previously mentioned, because Natick data centres provide a sealed environment, we can use a nitrogen atmosphere, with no oxygen and very little water vapour. This reduces problems such as corrosion and allows us to provide the computers with the same operating environment, regardless of where in the world we deploy.

How could subsea data centres contribute to the growing dialogue of optimising resources in operations in a sustainable manner?

The project represents Microsoft’s investigation in the numerous potential benefits that a standard, manufacturable, deployable undersea data centre could provide to cloud users all over the world. If successful, we are on the quest for a future where cloud data centre solutions offer less resource-intensive options, rapid provisioning, lower costs and high agility in meeting customer needs.

Natick requires no footprint on land, which is a significant issue in some locations. Being offshore allows us to bring the cloud close to customers even without this footprint.

Because Natick is more energy efficient, we put less pressure on the electric grid. We are investigating the idea of co-locating Natick with its own locally generated renewable energy. In this kind of configuration, we would be off-grid. The Energy Information Administration says long-distance transmission typically costs 5 per cent of electrical power, so this reduces energy use while eliminating the need for long-distance transmission, including the transformers required in this process.

As noted earlier, Natick uses seawater and, hence, doesn’t require city water.  Drinking water is likely the most valuable resource in the 21st century.

 

Sustainable cooling vital for smart cities, says MIT professor

Dubai, UAE, 24 March 2019: Although cities occupy only two per cent of the world’s surface, they host up to 50% of the world’s population and are responsible for 75% of global energy consumption and 80% of CO2 emissions, said Carlo Ratti, Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Founding Partner, Carlo Ratti Associati, during his keynote address for the ‘Design and the City of the Future’ event on March 19, at the American University in Dubai (AUD). During a comprehensive discussion on how IoT is shaping the built-environment, Ratti underscored the important role that sustainable cooling must play in cities of the future. “Fixing energy usage and occupancy is vital,” he said, “when you think about how much energy you spend cooling your homes.”

Ratti said trends in modern architecture are steadily placing greater emphasis on the importance of designing better ways to control temperature with minimum use of energy. This, he said, is especially the case in office spaces, which continue to evolve based on digital connectivity and individual requirements. Providing an example, Ratti pointed to the redesign of the Agnelli Foundation headquarters, in Turin, Italy, where Carlo Ratti Associati developed a customised environmental bubble that provides personalised heating, cooling and lighting systems to occupants throughout the building. By leveraging IoT technologies, Ratti said the building was able to optimise space and energy usage. While the company was deeply involved in the overall architecture of the historic structure, Ratti said the implementation of key technologies related to heating and cooling was done by Siemens Italy, which equipped the building with sensors for different data sets, including the location of the building’s occupants, temperature, CO2 concentration and the availability of meeting rooms.

Ratti said that he believes such an approach is scalable for other projects. “I really see it happening in high-end buildings,” he said. “Monitoring occupancy in a very fine way to create a climate around ourselves.” This, he said, is a best way to harness energy otherwise wasted from cooling in an inefficient manner.

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