Masthead - Climate Control Journal

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”.

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.

Science Based Targets initiative approves Danfoss’ climate targets

NORDBORG, Denmark, 23 June 2022: Danfoss said its science-based target has been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). Elaborating, Danfoss said the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has validated that the corporate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets submitted by Danfoss A/S are in conformance with the SBTi Criteria and Recommendations (version 4.2).

According to Danfoss, the science-based target provides a clearly defined pathway for companies to reduce GHG emissions in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement and to help prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

The SBTi’s Target Validation Team has determined that Danfoss’ scope 1 and 2 target ambition is in line with limiting warming to 1.5 degrees C. As part of the science-based target, Danfoss said, it will reduce absolute scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by at least 46.2% by 2030 from a 2019 base year. In addition, Danfoss has committed to being carbon neutral in scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030. Danfoss said it will reduce absolute scope 3 GHG emissions by 15% in the same time frame.

Kim Fausing, President & CEO, said: “We have built a strong foundation to achieve our science-based target, an important pillar of Danfoss’ new 2030 ESG ambition. Our science-based target expands our GHG emissions reduction goals beyond our own business, across the entire value chain. It reflects our continued dedication to taking action on climate change and becoming the preferred decarbonization partner to our suppliers and customers.”

Danfoss announced in March 2022 that it had reached its 2030 target of doubling the energy productivity in its factories globally – nine years ahead of time. Energy productivity improved by 104% in 2021 from the baseline year 2007, and energy intensity was halved between 2007 and 2021, Danfoss said, adding that it produced twice the output in 2021 as in 2007, with the same energy consumption. Subsequently, Danfoss had said it would put sustainability at the centre of its Core & Clear 2025 strategy and has the ambition to take leading positions in decarbonisation, circularity, diversity and inclusion.

Martin Rossen, SVP, Head of Group Communication & Sustainability, Danfoss, credited by the company as responsible for developing Danfoss’ ESG strategy and setting the ambition for reducing emissions across the business, said: “The validation of our science-based target confirms that Danfoss’ climate ambitions are in line with science and the goals of the Paris Agreement. But it’s more than order in our own house. Customers, employees, and the public increasingly demand transparency and reward action on ESG. For good reasons. Companies can’t simply get away with saying that they act, they need to document it. The science-based target provides a level playing field. It gives a competitive edge to the companies that truly care and take action. United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan once said, ‘Who cares wins’, and we believe that companies that care will win.”

Danfoss said it is on track to making its 250,000 m2 headquarters in Nordborg, near the city of Sønderborg, carbon neutral in scope 1 and 2 in 2022 by implementing available energy efficiency solutions and sourcing renewable electricity and heating.

The Danfoss headquarters campus was one of the field trips taken by ministers during the International Energy Agency’s 7th Annual Global Conference on Energy Efficiency in the City of Sønderborg, Denmark, which ran from June 7 to 9. Dubbed “The Global Capital of Energy Efficiency” by Dr Fatih Birol, Executive Director, IEA, Sønderborg acted as a global showcase of energy-efficient solutions when more than 300 leading politicians, government officials and business leaders joined the conference on energy efficiency.

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.

IEA: ‘We can avoid 95 exajoules a year of final energy consumption by end of decade’

SØNDERBORG, Denmark, 8 June 2022: Global energy and climate leaders are gathering in Denmark for a major ministerial meeting that could drive urgently needed improvements in energy efficiency, with new analysis by the International Energy Agency (IEA) showing that stronger efficiency measures can reduce energy bills, fuel imports and greenhouse gas emissions quickly and significantly.

The IEA’s 7th Annual Global Conference on Energy Efficiency in Sønderborg, Denmark, from June 7-9, is bringing together more than 20 Ministers from countries around the world, including Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, New Zealand, Nigeria, Panama, Senegal, Sweden and the United Kingdom – as well as African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, Amani Abou-Zeid and European Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson. Ukrainian Energy Minister, Herman Halushchenko will address the Conference live via video link. Decision-makers from industry, finance, international organisations and civil society will also participate in the discussions.

With the world contending with its biggest energy crisis since the 1970s, the focus of the Global Conference is on how to implement measures quickly to reduce energy use, with the aim of easing cost pressures on consumers, cutting reliance on fuel imports and driving progress towards climate goals – while supporting job creation and economic growth. The new IEA analysis, published to coincide with the Global Conference, underscores the vital role of energy efficiency and energy saving in meeting today’s crises by immediately addressing the crippling impacts of the spike in energy prices, strengthening energy security and tackling climate change.

Fatih Birol, Executive Director, IEA, said: “Energy efficiency is a critical solution to so many of the world’s most urgent challenges – it can simultaneously make our energy supplies more affordable, more secure and more sustainable. But inexplicably, government and business leaders are failing to sufficiently act on this. The oil shocks of the 1970s set in motion major advances in efficiency, and it is utterly essential that efficiency is at the heart of the response to today’s global energy crisis. The leaders meeting at the IEA Global Conference on Energy Efficiency need to make this the moment when the world hits the accelerator on efficiency – or we may fail to respond to the current energy crisis properly and pay the price for years to come.”

This year’s Global Conference is jointly organised by the IEA and Denmark’s Ministry of Climate, Energy and Utilities, with support from Danish engineering company, Danfoss.

Dan Jørgensen, Denmark’s Minister of Climate, Energy and Utilities. said: “It’s no longer a question of whether we should implement more energy-efficient solutions and technologies, globally – it’s a question of how we are going to do that. By increasing our energy efficiency, we can reduce our dependence of Russian oil and gas completely and move closer to achieving climate neutrality. The conference in Sønderborg and the gathering of energy and climate leaders from various sectors and all parts of the world is an important step in the right direction.”

Kim Fausing, CEO, Danfoss, said: “If the world is to meet climate goals to limit global warming, energy efficiency measures must be prioritized. A third of the reduction needed in CO2 emissions this decade, according to the IEA net-zero scenario, must come from improvements in energy efficiency. The good news is that the solutions are there to improve energy efficiency in all sectors. We don’t need to wait. We need action because the greenest energy is the energy we don’t use.”

On the main conference day, on June 8, leaders in industry, government and civil society are discussing issues, such as buildings of the future, the role of consumer behaviour and how to unlock financing for efficiency measures. The following day will include a unique closed-door session, where Ministers from around the world will share best practices on how to accelerate progress. The town of Sønderborg will also host a number of technological showcases for the leaders to visit.

According to the new IEA analysis, doubling the current global rate of energy intensity improvement to four per cent a year has the potential to avoid 95 exajoules a year of final energy consumption by the end of this decade, compared with a pathway based on today’s policy settings. This is equivalent to the current annual energy use of China. That level of savings would reduce global CO2 emissions by an additional 5 billion tonnes a year by 2030, about a third of the total emissions reduction efforts needed this decade to move the world onto a pathway to net-zero emissions by mid-century, as laid out in the Net Zero Roadmap the IEA published last year.

These extra efficiency efforts would cut global spending on energy. For example, households alone could save as much as USD 650 billion a year on energy bills by the end of the decade compared with what they would have spent in a pathway based on today’s policy settings. The amount of natural gas that the world would avoid using as a result of this would be equal to four times what the European Union imported from Russia last year, while the reduced oil consumption would be almost 30 million barrels of oil per day, about triple Russia’s average production in 2021. Compared to today, this global push on efficiency would help create 10 million additional jobs in fields including building retrofits, manufacturing and transport infrastructure.

The new IEA analysis shows the significant opportunities for rapid energy efficiency gains in all sectors of the global economy. Most of these opportunities involve readily available technologies and would fully pay for themselves through lower running costs, especially at today’s high energy prices. By 2030, around a third of the avoided energy demand comes from deploying more efficient equipment, ranging from air conditioners to cars. About a fifth comes from electrification, such as switching to heat pumps or electric cars. Digitalisation and use of more efficient materials in industry provide much of the rest.

The new analysis complements the insights on the critical role of energy efficiency and energy-saving measures in addressing today’s global energy crisis that were highlighted by the IEA’s recent 10-Point Plan to Reduce the European Union’s Reliance on Russian Natural Gas and 10-Point Plan to Cut Oil Use, as well as Playing my part: How to save money, reduce reliance on Russian energy, support Ukraine and help the planet, which was developed in cooperation with the European Commission.

AHRI MENA, ASHRAE RAL Energy Efficiency Webinar recording now available

DUBAI, UAE, 3 June 2022: AHRI MENA said a recording of the May 18 AHRI MENA, ASHRAE RAL Energy Efficiency Webinar is available for public viewing. AHRI (The Air-conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute) and the ASHRAE Region-At-Large (RAL) Chapter conducted the webinar, titled Raising the Bar of Energy Efficiency in High Ambient Temperature Regions.

With more countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region facing mounting environmental challenges, the webinar provided attendees with insight into regulations, energy performance standards, and building codes aimed at improving energy efficiency and supporting ambitious green targets, AHRI MENA said.

Khalil Issa, AHRI MENA Executive Director and Nabil Shahin, Technical Director, discussed key drivers for facilitating compliance with minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) and green building codes, principally the AHRI Performance Certification Program, which uses independent, third-party testing to accomplish that goal.

ASHRAE representatives, Richie Mittal and Dr Samir Traboulsi discussed global and regional regulatory and energy efficiency issues and introduced ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1. Considered the gold standard for energy efficiency, Standard 90.1 was examined in terms of its structure and compliance mechanisms in the context of ASHRAE 189.1 and the International Green Construction Code standards.

“With AHRI’s product performance and rating standards being intrinsically referenced in green building codes and ASHRAE 90.1, only AHRI certification allows the proper verification of equipment efficiency and serves as the best path for regulatory code and MEPS compliance,” Issa said.

AHRI MENA said a recording of the webinar is available here. It suggested to visit the website to learn more about AHRI MENA.

Midea conference highlights its V8 VRF system

DUBAI, UAE, 1 June 2022: Midea launched the VRF V8 series as a major global initiative, citing Dubai as the best place to demonstrate the toughness and reliability of the system in facing up to sandy and dusty conditions and to high relative humidity and high temperatures. It said the V8 can work in temperatures ranging from 55 degrees C to minus 30 degrees C, making it ideal for operations in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, characterised by high temperatures, including higher ground temperatures.

Henry Cheng, General Manager, Midea Building Technologies, said the V8, which will go into production this month, is about reliability. “We want the product to be more reliable, so there is no need to repair it or spend that much time on maintenance,” he said. He spoke of the V8 having innovative features, including its shield box, which protects the incorporated printer circuit board (PCB) from getting affected by the outside environment, including sand, dust and moisture. “Water will damage the PCB, if it touches,” he said. “The PCB is in an isolated space, and no water will touch it. So, it can work safely for a longer time.”

Speaking on the other features, Cheng highlighted the V8’s hyperlink approach to connecting the wires. Elaborating on how in the past, installers had to connect the wires in series, he highlighted the inherent disadvantage of that approach, where if one unit stopped working, the entire system would stop working. The V8, he said, allows for the wires to be connected with greater flexibility, which improves reliability, eases the installation process and helps installers save time. A third feature of the V8, he said, is the high degree of comfort it allows through its constant airflow. “No matter where you are in the building, the airflow is constant,” he said.


Cheng also spoke of the V8 having 19 sensors and a visual sensor technology. If the real sensors stop working, the machine will duplicate to give virtual sensors – digital twin – which will continue the sensing process and simultaneously send a message to the maintenance personnel informing them of a problem with the real sensors for them to rectify. “This way, the system is able to work 24×7, so there is no shut down problem,” he said. He also spoke of the V8 featuring the ‘Midea Doctor 2.0, which would allow for using cloud for self-diagnosis. “So, with the V8, we have many leading technologies in the industry,” he said. “With the V8, we are the leader in the product.”


Addressing the issue of aftersales service, Cheng said Midea works closely with its partners, including Taqeef, which he added has a strong aftersales capability, including training and service centres.

“We also support our partners in increasing their aftersales service,” he said. “We have our technical engineers to support Taqeef, and we provide funds to partners to improve their service capability. As Midea we also have the TSP feature, and so partners can place orders for spare parts through the TSP and also through the cloud. So, we are enhancing our capabilities on aftersales. But, if we have a highly reliable product, you don’t need as much aftersales. We use high-end components, so we have fewer problems, and we would need less aftersales service.”


Cheng said Midea would continue to invest in the GCC region. But when asked if the company has plans to open a factory in the Middle East, he said it does not have any at the moment. “We have to look at the right partners and at the policies from the government,” he said. “We have had a discussion on this with the Abu Dhabi Investment Office.


Tariq Al Ghussein, CEO, Taqeef, speaking on Midea’s global growth, said that the very fact that the company has changed its name from Midea CAC to Midea Building Technologies reflects its ambition to provide comprehensive solutions to the building construction industry, including HVAC and elevators, to name two. “They want to supply all the components and software,” he said. “They continue to surprise us with how fast they are moving.”


The V8 features the refrigerant, R-410a, whereas it has R-32 for mini VRF systems. To a question about the possible use of refrigerants other than the two, considering that R-410a has a GWP of 2,088 and is facing calls from certain quarters for its phaseout and that R32 is classified as an A2L refrigerant, owing to its mildly flammable nature, requiring safety in handling, Cheng said Midea is one of the biggest manufacturers in the world and that the company is looking at all possibilities and will need to see the trend. “Different manufacturers are promoting different gases, and there are debates on regulation,” he said. “We will be ready once there is clarity.”


To a question about the global semiconductor crisis, and Midea’s response to dealing with the problem, Cheng said the shortage of chips is a global problem and one that affects all sectors and not just the HVACR sector. “From our perspective, we have learnt that we have to develop strategic partners on key components and to also strengthen our own capability,” he said. “And in China, we have set up our own chip factories in a small scale, and now we are accelerating to a big scale. We will enhance our capability in this area. There are many newcomers, who are planning to manufacture chips, and I think the problem will be solved very soon.”

IEA: COVID-19 slows progress toward universal energy access

PARIS, France, 2 June 2022: The COVID-19 pandemic has been a key factor in slowing progress towards universal energy access, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said through a Press release. Globally, 733 million people still have no access to electricity, and 2.4 billion people still cook using fuels detrimental to their health and the environment, the Agency said. At the current rate of progress, 670 million people will remain without electricity by 2030 – 10 million more than projected last year, it added.

The 2022 edition of Tracking SDG 7: The Energy Progress Report shows that the impacts of the pandemic, including lockdowns, disruptions to global supply chains, and diversion of fiscal resources to keep food and fuel prices affordable, have affected the pace of progress toward the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 7) of ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy by 2030, IEA pointed out. Advances have been impeded particularly in the most vulnerable countries and those already lagging in energy access, it said. Nearly 90 million people in Asia and Africa, who had previously gained access to electricity, can no longer afford to pay for their basic energy needs, it added.

The impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on energy have been compounded in the last few months by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has led to uncertainty in global oil and gas markets and has sent energy prices soaring, IEA said.

According to IEA, Africa remains the least electrified region in the world with 568 million people without electricity access. Sub-Saharan Africa’s share of the global population without electricity jumped to 77% in 2020 from 71% in 2018, whereas most other regions saw declines in their share of the access deficits. While 70 million people globally gained access to clean cooking fuels and technologies, this progress was not enough to keep pace with population growth, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, IEA said.

The report finds that despite continued disruptions in economic activity and supply chains, renewable energy was the only energy source to grow through the pandemic, IEA said. However, these positive global and regional trends in renewable energy have left behind many countries most in need of electricity, it said. This was aggravated by a decrease in international financial flows for the second year in a row, falling to USD 10.9 billion in 2019, it added.

SDG 7 targets also cover energy efficiency. According to IEQ, from 2010 to 2019, global annual improvements in energy intensity averaged around 1.9%. This is well below the levels needed to meet SDG 7’s targets, and to make up for lost ground, the average rate of improvement would have to jump to 3.2%, it said.

In September 2021, the United Nations High-Level Dialogue on Energy brought together governments and stakeholders to accelerate action to achieve a sustainable energy future that leaves no one behind. In this context, the SDG 7 custodian agencies, the IEA, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO), as they launch this report, are urging the international community and policymakers to safeguard gains towards SDG 7; to remain committed to continued action towards affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all; and to maintain a strategic focus on countries needing the most support.

According to IEA, key highlights on SDG 7 targets are…

Access to electricity.  The share of the world’s population with access to electricity rose from 83% in 2010 to 91% in 2020, increasing the number of people with access by 1.3 billion, globally. The number without access declined from 1.2 billion people in 2010 to 733 million in 2020. However, the pace of progress in electrification has slowed in recent years, which may be explained by the increasing complexity of reaching more remote and poorer unserved populations and the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Meeting the 2030 target requires increasing the number of new connections to 100 million a year. At current rates of progress, the world will reach only 92% electrification by 2030.

Between 2010 and 2020, every region of the world showed consistent progress in electrification, but with wide disparities. Electricity access in sub-Saharan Africa rose from 46% in 2018 to 48% in 2020, but the region’s share of the global access deficit rose from 71% in 2018 to 77% in 2020, whereas most other regions, including Central and Southern Asia, saw declines in their share of the access deficits. Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for more than three quarters of the people (568 million people) who remained without access in 2020.

Renewables. Ensuring universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy implies accelerated deployment of renewable energy sources for electricity, heat and transport. Although there is no quantitative target for SDG 7.2, custodian agencies agree that the share of renewable energy in total final energy consumption (TFEC) needs to rise significantly, even though renewable energy consumption did continue to grow through the pandemic, overcoming disruptions to economic activity and supply chains. While the share of renewable capacity expansion rose by a record amount in 2021, the positive global and regional trajectories mask the fact that countries where new capacity additions lagged were those most in need of increased access. Moreover, rising commodity, energy and shipping prices as well as restrictive trade measures have increased the cost of producing and transporting solar photovoltaic (PV) modules, wind turbines, and biofuels, adding uncertainty for future renewable energy projects.

Renewable shares need to reach well over 30% of TFEC by 2030, up from 18% in 2019, to be on track for reaching net-zero-energy emissions by 2050. Achieving this objective would require strengthening policy support in all sectors and implementing effective tools to further mobilise private capital, especially in least-developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing countries.

Energy efficiency. SDG 7.3 aims to double the global rate of annual improvement in primary energy intensity – the amount of energy used per unit of wealth created – to 2.6% in 2010-30 versus 1990-2010. From 2010 to 2019, global annual improvements in energy intensity averaged around 1.9%, well below the target, and the average annual rate of improvement now has to reach 3.2% to make up for lost ground. This rate would need to be even higher – consistently over four per cent for the rest of this decade – if the world is to reach net-zero-emissions from the energy sector by 2050, as envisioned in the IEA’s Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario. Early estimates for 2020 point to a substantial decrease in intensity improvement owing to the COVID-19 crisis, as a result of a higher share of energy-intensive activities in the economy and lower energy prices. The outlook for 2021 suggests a return to a 1.9% rate of improvement, the average rate during the previous decade, thanks to a sharper focus on energy efficiency policies, particularly in COVID-19 recovery packages. However, energy efficiency policies and investment need to be scaled up significantly to bring the SDG 7.3 target within reach.

International Financial Flows. International public financial flows to developing countries in support of clean energy decreased for the second year in a row, falling to USD 10.9 billion in 2019, despite the immense needs for sustainable development in most countries and growing urgency of climate change. The amount was down by nearly 24% from the previous year and may be worsened by the pandemic in 2020. Overall, the level of financing remains below what is needed to reach SDG 7, particularly in the most vulnerable and least developed countries.

The decrease was seen in most regions, with the only exception in Oceania, where international public flows rose by 72%. The bulk of decreases were concentrated in East and Southeast Asia, where they fell by 66.2%; Latin America and the Caribbean, where they dropped by 29.8%; and Central and South Asia, where they declined by 24.5%.

Although the private sector finances most renewable energy investments, public finance remains key to attract private capital, including for creating an enabling environment for private investments, developing the needed infrastructure, and addressing perceived and real risks and barriers for investments in the energy transition. International public flows to countries that lack the financial resources to support their energy transitions constitute a large part of the international collaboration that will be needed for a global energy transition that would bring the world closer to achieving all SDGs.

Indicators and data for tracking progress. Tracking global progress for SDG 7 targets requires high-quality, reliable and comparable data for informed and effective policymaking at the global, regional and country levels. The quality of data has been improving through national and international cooperation and solid statistical capacity. National data systems improve as countries establish legal frameworks and institutional arrangements for comprehensive data collection for energy supply and demand balances; implement end-user surveys (e.g., households, businesses, etc.); and develop quality-assurance frameworks. However, after the pandemic hit and disrupted the rate of progress toward SDG 7, more investment in quality statistics is needed to know where we stand and how to get back on track. This is especially important for developing countries, particularly Least Developed Countries, to inform their national energy policies and strategies to ensure no one is left behind.

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.

THE GREAT DEBATE

DUBAI, UAE, 27 April 2022: CPI Industry, publishers of Climate Control Middle East magazine, will be hosting ‘The Great Debate: CHW vs VRF systems’. The second edition of the event, to be held on May 30 in Dubai, has captured the imagination of the industry and stoked excitement with its unique, courtroom-styled setting and format.

The first edition, held in 2011, at ADNEC in Abu Dhabi, was a novelty, replete with judge, jury, witness box and fiery advocates arguing with passion and interrogating at will to ascertain the best possible system, all things considered, to deliver affordable, efficient, resource-friendly, safe and reliable comfort cooling in the GCC region.

The Great Debate: CHW vs VRF systems is a revival of the 2011 setting, at a time when proponents of chilled water systems and variable refrigerant flow systems claim to have made substantial progress and achieved greater market penetration. Does the argument, ‘horses for courses’ hold true, or are we missing a point that holds the key to safe, sustainable, affordable and reliable air conditioning?

A key question that probably would settle the swirling dust surrounding chilled water systems and variable refrigerant flow systems is, ‘Where is the data?’ The Great Debate is an attempt at arriving at clarity, at a time when the world is desperately seeking solutions to lower greenhouse gas emissions, reduce total cost of ownership and to strengthen Indoor Air Quality interventions.

Whilst The Great Debate will feature technical presentations, the centrepiece of the event will be the unique courtroom setting, post-lunch, designed to host a no-holds-barred discussion on chilled water and variable refrigerant flow systems, with the aim of arriving at clarity on performance data on energy use, reliability, affordability and health & safety, amongst other topics, when the systems are deployed across multiple building profiles.

The conference will feature all the typical furniture and props of a courtroom, with stakeholders assuming the roles of judge, jury, advocates, witnesses (developers, building owners and building owner associations) and courtroom onlookers. The conference will summon proponents and consumers of both approaches to take to the witness box for cross-examination, with ample scope to present their side of the argument, with the aid of audio-visual presentations and any other means they may choose to build a strong case.

“The conference is not an attempt at gimmickry but a serious and earnest exercise to highlight facts with unprecedented clarity,” said Surendar Balakrishnan, Co-Founder & Editorial Director, CPI Industry. “It is expected that the coming together of master developers, developers, building owner associations, consultants, contractors, manufacturers, distributors and sectoral end-users in healthcare, hospitality, aviation, education and malls in a unique courtroom setting would prompt greater insight, leading to lowering of total cost of ownership and greenhouse gas emissions and to improving Indoor Air Quality.”

Key talking points in the courtroom session include:

  • Energy efficiency in multiple building types/energy consumption on an annualised basis; M&V; onsite data harvesting and analysis
  • Sources of energy: Natural Gas, hydrogen, Renewable Energy
  • Water-use optimisation in multiple building types
  • O&M issues (streamlined maintenance protocols)
  • Refrigerants and occupant safety
  • Cooling towers and human health
  • Environmental impact (atmosphere, soil, water); net-zero-building aspirations
  • Comfort cooling: reliability of cooling (last-mile guarantee), zoned cooling and heating, simultaneous cooling and heating
  • Cost of installation, broad capex considerations
  • Total cost of ownership
  • Aftermarket service – including installation training, mentorship, support, supervision, spare parts – provided as a standard business practice by all manufacturers and suppliers
  • Need for an international standard that provides standardised technical detail for minimum expected performance
  • Regulation: MEPS and their impact on governing the performance of HVAC equipment and their interaction with other building assets in ensuring better building performance
  • Smart cities and digital intervention

– ENDS –

 

For more details, contact:

Namrata Aswani

Strategic Public Affairs Liaison & Events Manager, CPI Industry

E: namrata@cpi-industry.com

M: +971 50 55 22 461

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). 

JCI: Investments in sustainability have rebounded to pre-pandemic levels

CORK, Ireland, 12 April 2022: Johnson Controls (JCI) announced findings from its 15th annual Energy Efficiency Indicator Survey, which revealed that 62% of organizations surveyed expect to increase investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy or smart building technology in 2022, indicating a return to pre-pandemic levels. 

JCI said the latest report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change advised that global scale transformation is urgently needed to combat climate change; however, its Energy Efficiency Indicator Survey found that organizations are still facing challenges to accelerate their sustainability efforts in key areas. Almost two-thirds of survey respondents say they struggle to scale sustainability initiatives across buildings, geographies or business units.  

“In the face of the multiple and continuous shock waves of the last two years, it is very encouraging to see that building owners and operators are driving forward the kinds of investments that deliver the resilience needed to grow their business and attract and retain the best talent,” said Katie McGinty, Vice President & Chief Sustainability and External Relations Officer, JCI.

“Whether it is the damage delivered by climate-charged destructive natural events, or the health threat of the pandemic, or now, the stark demonstration of the insecurity of world energy supplies, it is clear that taking action to cut energy demand while decarbonizing and cleaning the air are core strategies for companies, governments and institutions to not only survive but to thrive.

Our innovative technologies in heat pumps and our OpenBlue digital platform, plus our Net Zero as a Service partnership offering, are exactly the right tools at the right time for leaders determined to stay well ahead of challenges and deliver new opportunities for their business or organization.” 

JCI said the survey revealed that planned investment in energy generation or storage has grown significantly over five years, likely in response to the global focus on decarbonization, and as part of that effort, electrification.

More than a third of respondents plan to replace fossil fuel heating equipment with heat pump technology in the next year, which is seven per cent more than what was implemented in the year prior, the company said. Notably, thermal energy storage jumped from 27% to 42% in the last five years, the company said. More than half of respondents implemented electric energy storage in the past year, the company added. 

JCI said the survey also found that the United States and Europe still lead the way in every metric of green building planning. The United States had the most respondents who had already achieved green building certification and expect to have a net-zero-energy or carbon building in the next 10 years, JCI said.

Europe had the most respondents planning to attain green building certifications and the most respondents who have established public energy or carbon-reduction goals, with United Kingdom leading with 46% established goals, JCI added. 

Compared to its global counterparts, significantly more respondents in the United States plan to implement measures, such as building controls improvements, onsite renewable energy and energy management process, such as ISO 50001, JCI said. Of the countries surveyed, the United Kingdom, France and Japan have the most respondents who expect to increase investment in energy efficiency, renewable energy or smart building technology over the next year, the company said. Still, to reach global sustainability and environmental goals, the world must work collectively to plan for a more energy efficient future and make investments today for the generations to come, it added. 

Although global-scale transformation is necessary to course-correct on climate change, organisations are facing barriers to pursuing sustainability initiatives, JCI said. Almost half of the respondents surveyed say their top barrier to pursue energy and building technology improvements is either a lack of funding to pay for improvements (25%) or uncertainty in their return-on-investment (23%), the company said. 

Additionally, more than half of respondents pointed to a lack of technology as one of the hindrances to scaling sustainability efforts, JCI said. 

The pandemic has also prompted organizations to rethink their technology investment decision-making, JCI said. Protecting the health and safety of building occupants during the coronavirus pandemic was the second most significant driver of investments globally, it said. Additionally, 65% of respondents performed an indoor air quality assessment last year, it added. 

Respondents to the survey also said improving occupant health and wellness overall and improving life safety and security were important decision-making factors, JCI pointed out. Over the next 12 months, almost 60% of organizations plan to invest in fire and life safety system and security system improvements to their buildings, it said. Long term, more than two-thirds of organizations believe data analytics and cybersecurity will have an extremely or very significant impact on the implementation of smart buildings over the next five years, it added. 

The survey revealed that actionable policies are also important for progressing energy efficiency goals, JCI said, adding that 85% and 72% of respondents, respectively, reported that performance benchmarking, certifications and performance standards for energy codes are critical to improving energy efficiency efforts. 

JCI said its Energy Efficiency Indicator Survey collected responses from 1,000 participants globally between November and December 2021. 

Poppy introduces IT-based IAQ solution at EXPO 2020 seminar

DUBAI, UAE, 21 March 2022: Canada-headquartered Poppy, which calls itself the world’s first biosafety intelligence company, introduced its IT-based IAQ devices to the MENA region during a seminar at the Canada Pavilion, at the World Expo in Dubai.

Mohammed Bin Dasmal

Opening the seminar, Nader Arafat, Strategic Advisor, MENA Region, Poppy, spoke of the pandemic ushering in a mindset shift towards Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). Speaking after him, Mohammed Bin Dasmal, Managing Director, Bin Dasmal Group, called Poppy’s devices as focusing on IAQ as well as on energy savings.

Sam Molyneux, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Poppy, elaborated on Bin Dasmal’s pithy description during his presentation. Saying that the world needs to protect itself from future pandemics, he said it is important to understand indoor safety and the cost of enhancing safety. Making clean air in a cost-effective way is a global priority, he added.

Referring to the high-profile Guangzhou restaurant, the site of the precipitous outbreak of COVID-19, in the period starting from January 26 to February 10, 2020, Molyneux highlighted how a small air conditioning system was able to propagate the virus and raised ventilation concerns. In view of that, he said, in some senses, ventilation is the last stand against COVID-19. Poppy systems, he said, help in making ventilation decisions, including demand-control ventilation, as a means to achieving IAQ goals without compromising on energy efficiency targets.

Nader Arafat and Sam Molyneux

The devices, Molyneux said, available on subscription basis, detect and identify over 1,000+ pathogens, including SARS-CoV-2 and its variants, using genomic sequencing and molecular assays. They allow the company to collect data related to human breath, which in turn, allow understanding on how human breath moves, which he said is crucial, considering everyone is constantly breathing out particles that contain viruses.

The data, and the understanding of the data, he said, enable the company to validate how air conditioning systems are performing and, broadly speaking, provide insights and a direction for action to protect indoor spaces and occupants.

Molyneux said the company has deployed Poppy systems in 50 sites across North America and Europe, including factories, financial institutions, schools and entertainment venues. He gave the example of Poppy systems at work at the largest investment bank in Manhattan, in New York City, where the company is able to monitor the air quality in the trading floor, among other zones of the building and identify if any zones have high transmission issues that need to be looked into.

He also gave the example of the Four Seasons Center for the Performing Arts, in Toronto, Canada, where Poppy systems are at work monitoring and providing recommendations, so that the Center is able to run its operas again. “We are able to recommend increasing the ventilation rates in hotspots, which is a localised approach, and reducing ventilation rates globally,” Molyneux said. “So, we are able to achieve energy savings.”

ASHRAE announces call for abstracts for 2023 Winter Conference

ATLANTA, Georgia, 10 March 2022: ASHRAE said it has begun accepting abstracts for the 2023 ASHRAE Winter Conference, to be held from February 4 to 8, 2023, in Atlanta, Georgia.

 

Making the announcement through a Press release, ASHRAE said the conference will address improving energy efficiency and decarbonization in the built environment.

 

According to ASHRAE, the technical program comprises the following eight tracks and a mini track:

 

The “Fundamentals and Applications” track will provide opportunities for papers of varying levels across a large topic base. Concepts, design elements and shared experiences for theoretical and applied concepts of HVAC&R design are included.

 

The “HVAC&R Systems and Equipment” track will focus on the development of new systems and equipment, improvements to existing systems and equipment and the proper application and operation of systems and equipment.

 

The “Refrigerants and Refrigeration” track will explore refrigeration systems, which generate and use cold for a range of processes, from food preparation and conservation to vaccine preservation, and to long-term protection of fragile ancient inks of historical documents and others.

 

The “Grid Resilience and Thermal Storage” track will highlight the advancements in grid resilience and thermal storage systems and how they are tied to resilience and energy conservation efforts.      

 

The “Pathways to Zero Energy Emissions and Decarbonization” track will highlight methods being developed to reduce carbon impact on the global environment and the efforts ASHRAE and its members are taking to advance these efforts.

 

The “Multifamily and Residential Buildings” track will cover programs and papers on best practices, utility and above-code incentive programs, field studies, and codes and standards requirements. The track also welcomes programs and papers for single-family housing and other residential buildings.

 

The “Operations and Maintenance” will address an array of topics, including lessons learned, improvement of process and team communications and effort to improve the installation, startup, O&M and commissioning of HVAC systems.

 

The “Building Simulation and Virtual Design in Construction” track will focus on the practices of energy modeling and building performance simulation using existing simulation tools, software development, and future simulation research and applications for building simulation & virtual design in construction.

 

The mini track, “Innovative Responses to Supply Chain Challenge” is intended to help members plan for the future disruptions and develop resiliency plans around supply chain by highlighting effective and innovative strategies to mitigate supply chain challenges.         

 

According to ASHRAE, abstracts, 400 words or less, are due April 5, 2022. If accepted, final conference papers (eight pages, maximum) are due July 25, 2022, it said.

 

In addition, technical papers (complete 30-page maximum papers published in “ASHRAE Transactions”) are also due April 5, 2022 and considered for Science and Technology for the Built Environment, ASHRAE’s research journal.

 

For more information on the call for abstracts and the 2023 ASHRAE Winter Conference, ASHRAE suggested visiting ashrae.org/2023Winter.

 

 

Danfoss: ‘A year above expectations’

NORDBORG, Denmark, 3 March 2022: Danfoss reported an increase in sales by 29% to EUR 7.5 billion in 2021. Making the announcement through a Press release, Danfoss described the performance as a record sales level.

The company said organic growth reached 18% year-over-year. The five-month period of ownership of Eaton’s hydraulics business added EUR 786 million to the top-line, the company said, adding that it delivered extensive growth in all regions. Investments in innovation (R&D) increased 23% to EUR 328 million, the company said. At the same time, it said, operating profits reached the highest level ever, with EBITA of EUR 969 million and EBITA margin of 12.8%. Net profit reached EUR 631 million, up 45%, it added.

Kim Fausing

“We have never seen better opportunities for Danfoss,” said Kim Fausing, President & CEO, Danfoss. “It is our ambition to be the leading technology partner for our customers in the green transition – decarbonising through energy efficiency, low emissions, and electrification. After all, the greenest energy is the energy that we don’t use.

Our momentum is clearly reflected in our 2021 annual results. Danfoss has delivered the best results in our history, and we are in a strong financial position.

“What makes me most proud is how our teams continue to deal with the pandemic and the significant challenges with the supply chain while delivering a transformational, record year. Unfortunately, these considerable challenges affected our customer service.

In addition, all three segments were affected by inflationary pressure. We will continue to do everything we can to serve our customers, and we will continue our high investments in capacity expansion, innovation and digitalisation of Danfoss.”

Danfoss said it assumes a positive outlook in the market in 2022, with a continued ambition to expand or maintain market share. The outlook includes a full year ownership of Eaton’s hydraulics business, it said. Sales are expected to be in the range of EUR 8.8-9.8bn for the full year, it said. The EBITA margin is expected to be in the range of 11.4-12.9%, following continued investments in the development of new products and solutions, it said.

The expected growth and profitability performance is dependent on the development of the pandemic, the global supply chain disruptions as well as the continuation of the current strong growth rates in the world economy, it added.

Regarding the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, the company said its first priority is to keep its people safe. We are monitoring the situation carefully and will act accordingly.

European Investment Bank, Solas in energy efficiency initiative

LUXEMBOURG, 22 February 2022: The Solas Sustainable Energy Fund ICAV, a new EU-focused fund targeting energy efficiency investments, has reached its first close with €140 million. Making the announcement through a Press release, the European Investment Bank (EIB) said it has committed a €30 million cornerstone investment to SSEF, backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the main pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe. EIB said that as one of the largest providers of climate finance, it supports projects that promote the priorities and objectives of the European Union.

According to EIB, the SSEF also signed an agreement with the Private Finance for Energy Efficiency (PF4EE) support scheme, a joint initiative launched by the European Commission via the LIFE programme and the EIB.

One of the goals of PF4EE is to encourage private institutional investors, such as insurers and pension funds, to invest in European energy efficiency infrastructure, particularly in the small- and medium-sized (SME) sector. Further cornerstone investors of SSEF are the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), IDEAL insurance as well as MEAG, the asset manager of the Munich Re group.

EIB said that by virtue of being a specialist investment advisor in the energy efficiency sector, Solas Capital will advise the fund. EIB said Solas Capital partners with a wide variety of leading energy service companies, project developers, equipment manufacturers, and public-sector bodies across the European Union to help facilitate their access to tailor-made financing and enable new investment in energy efficiency.  

According to EIB, SSEF will offer funding for energy-saving business models focusing on the renovation of existing infrastructure, particularly buildings, using established and reliable energy-efficient technologies, such as modern heating and cooling systems, combined heat and power units, solar rooftops, building fabric, LED lighting, etc. Projects in both the public and private sectors will be supported, including the SME sector, which faces more challenges in securing finance, EIB said.

According to EIB, the project would entail an initial investment into a project portfolio of energy efficiency measures in buildings. It added that buildings are responsible for 40% of the European Union’s energy consumption, and 36% of its CO2 emissions.

To achieve near zero emissions in buildings, crowding-in private institutional capital will be essential, as public funding is not sufficient. SSEF, EIB said, is offering the market a unique financing solution and is closing the gap between energy efficiency funding needs and institutional investor requirements.

Kadri Simson, The Commissioner for Energy, said: “Investing into energy efficiency, renewable energy generation and building renovation is at the core of the European Green Deal and key to bringing down energy bills. The Solas Sustainable Energy Fund will combine the financial support from EFSI and PF4EE to mobilise affordable private financing for investments in the energy performance of buildings, including onsite renewable energy production.

The PF4EE guarantee will set the gold standard for equity investment fund initiatives and engage institutional investors in green assets. This will bring us one step closer to achieving the EU’s Green Deal ambition of becoming climate neutral by 2050.”

Thomas Östros, Vice-President, European Investment Bank, who is responsible for energy financing, said: “As Europe’s climate bank, the EIB is proud to be a cornerstone investor in the Solas Sustainable Energy Fund, which will help bridge the major financing gap for energy efficiency projects. Reducing the energy use in buildings is crucial to achieving a carbon-neutral economy in Europe by 2050. We believe that our commitment in this fund will catalyse further investments to meet the immense building renovation challenge.”

‘One for the books’: Organisers of HVACR mega show, AHR Expo, say

WESTPORT, Connecticut, 10 February 2022: The AHR Expo returned last week to Vegas after a forced hiatus in 2021, International Exposition Company (IEC), the organisers of the show, said through a news release.

After two years of uncertainty and a longing to reunite the industry, the event represented an eagerness to return to business, drawing 30,678 attendees, IEC said. What’s more, the success of the show signals a reignited energy for all things HVACR and the community’s readiness to take on the challenges and opportunities ahead with renewed optimism, IEC said. “It was impossible to miss the energy in the halls this year,” said Mark Stevens, Show Manager.

“There have been some heavy ups and downs across the industry in recent years, and we, as a community, needed to feel the inspiration that happens when we gather together under one roof. The 2022 AHR Expo surpassed any expectation – our exhibitors, attendees, associations, speakers and everyone involved made this event one of the most special we’ve ever hosted. If you were there, the camaraderie was hard to miss. This industry is strong, and we are back on track to tackle the challenges before us.”

According to IEC, attendees were eager to be back in the booths experiencing new products and methods that support their work in the field. It was evident from every corner of the show floor that this industry is bursting with prospects, IEC added. “My main reason for attending the AHR Expo is the whole experience,” said Arizona tradesman and first-time attendee, Brendan Bowie.

“You get to meet all the people who make the things that we buy and look up to and use every day. It is a lot of the vendors that we spend money with, because they make superior products. I talked to presidents and CEOs of companies that I buy products from every day, every week, every month. Instagram stories are not going to tell what AHR is, it’s the whole experience. Going to AHR matters, because you have to see what’s going on out there. I had the opportunity to see so much new. We’re trapped in vans every day on the job, you need to see what’s out there.”

According to IEC, a total of 1,573 exhibitors spread out over 443,769 square feet in the Central and North halls, packing the floor with an explosion of innovation and new products. Given the time apart, there was plenty to take in, as exhibitors launched new technology, products and ideas that came to life since we last gathered in Orlando, IEC said. “We and our [manufacturer] member companies that exhibited were very pleased with the quality of the Las Vegas Expo,” said Stephen Yurek, President & CEO, AHRI.

“We heard comment after comment about the quality and number of attendees and how grateful everyone was to get back together with their industry colleagues and customers. We are grateful to our [manufacturer] members for moving ahead with what turned out to be a really good show, and we look forward to seeing some of them in Guadalajara in September and more of them next year in Atlanta.”

According to IEC, inside the exhibitor booths, this year, company reps and attendees were busy catching up on lost time. The challenges in the supply chain and other COVID-related delays have opened the door for new ways of thinking about partnerships, IEC said. Emerson, one of the exhibitors, endorsed the organizer’s statement.

“Emerson has always valued the customer engagement opportunities provided by the AHR Expo and the forum to showcase our sustainable solutions that are helping to reduce global impact while improving comfort, efficiency, performance and food safety in the HVACR industry,” said John Schneider, President, HVACR Technologies Americas, Emerson.

“After last year’s pause, the Expo provided a much-needed, in-person touchpoint, and we were thrilled to have our valued customers join us in celebrating our Copeland brand’s 100-year milestone during our pre-show customer event. This year, we also sponsored the Podcast Pavilion, which was a great opportunity for us to align with industry influencers as their role in this industry continues to expand.

Ultimately, all our businesses and brands experienced a great turnout, and we are looking forward to even more attendance in 2023.” Added Sarah Beyerlein, Everwell Parts: “It does not matter where you come from or where in the industry you’re involved in, the AHR Expo is the most remarkable yearly event where we all share our passion and expertise in the HVAC industry. It cannot be missed out.”

Innovation sets the course

On Monday, January 31, the show celebrated the 2022 Innovation Award Winners with a private reception. Members from each winning company were invited to share food and drink and be among industry cohorts also being recognized as leaders in shaping the future of HVACR, IEC said. The 2022 AHR Expo Innovation Award Product of the Year Award, IEC said, went to Danfoss, for their Danfoss Turbocor VTCA400 Compressor, a winner in the Cooling category. Lisa Tryson, Market Communications Director, Danfoss, said: “Danfoss is honored to be recognized with the product of the year award for our VTCA400 oil-free compressor. Our industry is at the forefront of many critical trends, and innovation is vital to meet the challenges ahead. The AHR Expo is a great way to showcase these latest technologies.”

Stevens, speaking on behalf of the organizer, said: “We were honored to celebrate our 2022 winners with a more intimate celebration. The pace they each are setting for the future of HVACR is astounding, and collectively in each of the sectors they are raising the bar on how we are shaping the industry. Congratulations to all our 2022 winners, and to Danfoss for their leadership in innovation. As the industry looks ahead to changes on the horizon for HVACR, innovation from our exhibiting companies continues to push to new levels.”

Partnerships born through crucial in-person networking help to propel new ideas into the marketplace, IEC said. Jacques Beaudry-Losique, CEO, Enginuity Power Systems, said: “The AHR Expo is an environment uniquely suited to making high-level connections and business partnerships, as well as finding the latest state-of-the-art appliance product technology as well as supply chain and distribution channels. We were honored to be awarded the 2022 Sustainable Solutions Innovation Award, further validating our products to help homes and businesses save energy and achieve their sustainability goals.”

Education Program… something for everyone

In the Education Program, attendees were invited to sit in on more than 80 free sessions, covering topics from a wide range of industry experts, IEC said. Added to the roster this year was an industry panel discussion led by leaders representing all sectors of the industry, including Mick Schwedler, 2021-2022 President, ASHRAE; Yurek; Talbot Gee, CEO, Heating, Air Conditioning, Refrigeration Distributors (HARDI); Roberta MacGillivray, President, National Air Filtration Association (NAFA); and Dominick Guarino, CEO, National Comfort Institute (NCI). Bryan Orr, of HVAC School for Tech by Techs, and industry podcaster and well-known training advocate, moderated the panel, which included a discussion on the current state of HVACR as well as threats and opportunities as the industry recalibrates to a new normal post-pandemic.

Speaking during the discussion, Yurek said: “Our focus used to be on the box, on the equipment and the installation of it. Now, we need to address the entire HVAC system to provide efficiency and comfort. The change we will see over the next few years will be nothing we’ve seen before.” Schwedler said: “Our industry has never been more essential. The public became aware of what our industry does. We are fully connected as a world, with more people involved in problem-solving.” And MacGillivray said: “Before COVID-19, there was a tradeoff between energy efficiency and human health. As we solve the pandemic issue, we must continue our focus on how IAQ affects human health and productivity.”

Additional education program highlights included an overview of intellectual property in HVACR, by Wil Rao, an IP and Patent attorney in the greater Chicago area; a breakdown of warranty and callbacks from Bryan Orr; lessons learned from the supply chain, a panel discussion hosted by HARDI and moderated by the HVAC Jerks; and many more targeted discussions highlighting current opportunities, threats and methods across the industry. “It is absolutely fantastic to see the AHR Expo make such a strong comeback in Las Vegas,” said Jeff Littleton, ASHRAE Executive Vice President. “Bringing professionals from around the world back together to learn and share new technologies, with health and safety as a top priority, affords us the opportunity to continue moving the critical work of our industry forward.”

Strength in community

Perhaps one of the most inspiring sentiments shared throughout the floor this year was the sense of community that HVACR embraces, IEC said. Many of the industry’s workforce remained on the frontlines throughout the pandemic and relied on the daily connection with professionals through social media and other points of communication, it said adding there was an overwhelming sense of relief and contentment to be gathering again face to face at the industry’s largest event. “My first AHR was amazing, I really enjoyed meeting my social media community in person,” said Ashley Lynds, Texas tradeswoman Ashley Lynds. “Everyone was so welcoming, and I was able to network and make additional connections for future business. I can’t wait for Atlanta!”

The Podcast Pavilion returned for its second year as a show feature, IEC said, adding it was a clear fan favorite, as attendees packed the pavilions each day for live recordings from their favorite industry talents. Eric Aune, with Mechanical Hub, said: “We’ve been attending this show for over a decade. This year was different, there was a new connection with social media and a great podcast lineup. I like the direction they are taking things.”

Until we meet again

AHR Expo will head back to Atlanta for the 2023 show, bringing with it the positive energy established in Vegas, IEC said. Eager exhibitors have already reserved booths and discussions of travel plans among attendees are underway, IEC revealed, adding that it’s safe to say we are back to business! “Vegas is one for the books,” Stevens said. “We’ve been hosting this show for many years, and while it is always a great showing of our industry, this year felt like a new chapter for HVACR. We are a strong community, and we now have the attention this industry deserves to thrive on the global stage.

“We look forward to hosting many of our international attendees who couldn’t make it this year because of travel restrictions and supply chain issues. We have big problems to solve and hefty aspirations to meet, as our industry touches literally every part of society and our everyday lives.

The success of the 2022 AHR Expo is proof that we are poised to take on anything together. We are all excited to be a part of such a vibrant community, and we look forward to planning a stellar show for you in Atlanta. We’ll see you soon!”

According to IEC, the 2023 AHR Expo will take place at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Registration will open in summer 2022.

Armstrong launches medium-range line of permanent magnet pumps

LAS VEGAS, Nevada, 31 January 2022: Armstrong Fluid Technology introduced a new size range of design envelope permanent magnet pumps that are engineered to deliver 20% lower operating costs than variable-speed pumps with standard induction motors.

Making the announcement through a Press release, Armstrong said the new pumps are available with motors ranging from 15 hp to 50 hp, and operate at NEMA ultra-premium efficiency levels that exceed the efficiency targets of the US Department of Energy and the European Union.

“Better performance at higher RPMs means that in some cases, a smaller design envelope permanent magnet pump can deliver the same flow and pressure as a larger, more expensive competing model,” said David Lee, Offering Manager, Armstrong Fluid Technology. “These new pumps also feature smaller dimensions and are less expensive to purchase and install, because permanent magnet motors offer a substantial reduction in both size and weight.”

According to Armstrong, beyond the motor efficiency, a number of additional design innovations make the new design envelope pumps more energy-efficient and cost effective…

  • Armstrong’s patented Parallel Sensorless Control stages multiple pumps and regulates output for best efficiency across the entire pump array, saving 10-30% in operating costs
  • Adjustable design points and setpoint, based on the actual on-site conditions
  • A quadratic pressure control curve that provides more efficiency than a linear pressure control curve
  • A constant-flow function for maintaining a desired flow rate in recirculation applications
  • Advanced connectivity via Armstrong’s Pump Manager, a cloud-based performance tracking service, provides industry-leading analytics and insights along with alerts, alarms and data storage

World Refrigeration Day: Industry must break silos to reach public

Las Vegas, Nevada, 19 January 2022: Refrigeration and air conditioning are essential to modern life, yet most people are unaware of the technology behind cooling, partially from the RAC industry not reaching out to the public with coordinated messaging.

A free educational session, organized by World Refrigeration Day (WRD), ASHRAE and UNEP OzonAction at the 2022 AHR Expo in Las Vegas is aimed at encouraging the RAC industry to share messaging resources and to better engage with consumers, policy makers and young people. “Breaking Down RAC Industry Silos” will take place on Tuesday, February 1, from 11am to Noon, PST, Las Vegas Convention Center, Room N238/240, WRD said through a Press release.

Despite the increased number of policies, standards and codes related to RAC industry, there is still significant lack of attention and understanding of the importance of the RAC sectors by governments, end-users, and public, WRD said. Issues like refrigerant transition, emissions reduction and maximizing energy efficiency have been addressed over the last couple of decades by most governments mainly due to relevant global policies and binding frameworks, WRD said. However, the sector’s contribution to human welfare and our modern lifestyle goes beyond those topics and needs to be acknowledged and adequately considered by different groups from outside RAC community, WRD added.

World Refrigeration Day is a platform that all in the RAC industry can use to raise the industry’s profile, WRD said. Examples of how that platform is breaking down industry silos in outreach efforts will be presented by past WRD global campaign partners – ASHRAE, UNEP, IIR, EPEE, GFCCC, FAIAR, ISHRAE, and U-3ARC.

Siemens to acquire EcoDomus’ digital twin software

Switzerland, 3 December 2021: Siemens Smart Infrastructure signed an agreement to acquire digital twin software for buildings from EcoDomus, a US-based company, the company said through a Press release. The move, the company said, helps it expand its digital building portfolio, including its cloud-based building operations twin software and its flagship building management platform, Desigo CC.

The EcoDomus software creates, maintains and visualizes Building Information Modeling (BIM)-based digital building twins, making design and construction data available for building operations and maintenance, the company said.

Customers can generate digital replicas of their real buildings and assets, creating a common data environment that integrates BIM, Building Management Systems (BMS), Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) and Internet of Things (IoT) systems, the company said. The solution enables BIM-driven workflows and digital twin-based lifecycle management, complemented by 3D visualization, the company added.

“The way we operate buildings is fundamentally changing, thanks to the power of digitalization and digital twins,” said Henning Sandfort, CEO, Building Products, Siemens Smart Infrastructure. “By enhancing our existing offering for digitalized buildings with EcoDomus’ software, we are strengthening our leading-industry position in that dynamic market, offering our customers the full-spectrum benefits of BIM-based operations.”

According to the company, in the past, BIM data usage has mostly focused on a building’s construction phase. Today, it said, its benefits can also be leveraged in the operations and maintenance phase. This is crucial, because this is where 80% of a building’s total lifecycle costs will occur, it said.

Leveraging the acquired data creation and visualization capabilities, Siemens’ digital building software portfolio will bring substantial benefits to customers: Enhanced insights into the performance of their building, real-time issue identification and resolution, better space and energy utilization and many others, the company said.

Customers will be able to turn their buildings into more sustainable, comfortable and safe places to live and work, while at the same time streamlining processes and reducing operational costs, it said.

According to the company, EcoDomus is a privately held US company. The closing of the deal, it added, is expected in the next few months and subject to the conditions agreed by both parties.

ASHRAE addresses climate change solutions at COP26

ATLANTA, Georgia, 11 November 2021: ASHRAE addressed climate change solutions at the United Nations’ Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, held from October 31 to November 12.

ASHRAE said it formally participated as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) and an official COP observer. The United Nations granted permission for select organizations to participate in COP26 activities.

More than 60 of the largest and most influential international architecture, landscape architecture, engineering, planning and construction firms, along with two dozen organizations representing over one million building industry professionals worldwide, issued a Communiqué to government leaders headed to COP26 challenging them to step up their emissions reduction targets for the built-environment. The firms and organizations are signatories of the 1.5°C COP26 Communiqué — an open letter to sovereign governments demonstrating the firms’ and organizations’ commitment to meet the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C carbon budget and demanding governments do the same.

ASHRAE said its focus at COP26 was to emphasize the importance of the building community’s participation in addressing the climate crisis. Architecture 2030 and ASHRAE hosted a COP26 Official Side Event on November 10, featuring the 1.5°C COP26 Communiqué and its signatories. The event, titled ‘65% by 2030 / ZERO by 2040: Top 200 Global Firms and Organizations Lead With 1.5°C Climate Actions’, highlighted ways in which the signatories are responding to the urgency of the climate crisis and specific actions to decarbonize the built world and meet the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C carbon budget.

At the side event, 2021-22 ASHRAE Treasurer, Ginger Scoggins, highlighted the world’s growing building stock and the role of built-environment organizations, such as ASHRAE, in assisting both policymakers and industry leaders in better understanding their impact on our climate change solutions.

“ASHRAE signed onto the 1.5°C COP26 Communiqué, and we are here today because engineers and scientists involved with HVACR and building systems have been, and will continue to be, advancing solutions to address climate change,” Scoggins said. “We are here, because we recognize that the built-environment is a key source contributing to the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and with the building stock continuing to expand and doubling by 2050, solutions from the buildings community is ever more critical.”

Additionally, Scoggins spoke about the credibility of ASHRAE’s technical resources and global standing in the development of consensus-based standards. “ASHRAE’s flagship Energy Conservation Standard 90.1 is the benchmark for commercial building energy codes in the United States and has been a key basis for codes and standards around the world for more than 45 years, reducing energy consumption by 50%, yet only 38 countries have specifically named building standards and codes in their Nationally Determined Contributions,” Scoggins said. “Many of the countries where the building stock is expected to grow do not require energy standards for buildings. ASHRAE signed the buildings industry’s communique, and we are ready to help policy makers and the buildings industry around the world transform our building stock into one that is sustainable, resilient, and healthy. We are here to be part of the solution and we are up to the challenge.”

In a separate statement, 2021-21 ASHRAE President Mick Schwedler, commented on ASHRAE’s participation at COP26 and shared additional ways that the Society is addressing climate change. “ASHRAE’s climate action efforts exemplify the Society’s core dedication to engineering excellence in environmental stewardship,” Schwedler said. “The ASHRAE Global Headquarters building renovation project demonstrates that existing buildings can be transformed into net-zero-energy structures cost-effectively, using current, off-the shelf technologies. Our Advanced Energy Design Guides, developed with our partners, provide zero energy K-12 schools and office buildings guides to equip designers in achieving zero energy and significantly reducing carbon. ASHRAE is proud to work with other world leaders to not only raise awareness of the issues surrounding climate change, but collectively seek to redefine the built environment for the times and continually explore what is possible through industry leading innovation.”

Eurovent Middle East launches Cooling Tower Guidebook

DUBAI, UAE, 9 November 2021: Eurovent Middle East has introduced the Cooling Tower Guidebook, with a view to creating awareness and providing a comprehensive overview on a highly-energy-efficient cooling technology. Making the announcement through a Press release, the Association has also extended an invitation to an event to physically launch the Guidebook. The event, on November 23, in Dubai, will include a workshop on evaporative cooling, as part of the Association’s HVACR Leadership Workshop.

The publication of the Guidebook marks the end of a two-year project, where members of the Association compiled the most essential information on evaporative cooling, to provide consultants, developers, building operators and investors with a quick and comprehensive reference to the technology, Eurovent said. The use of water in cooling processes is as old as mankind, yet may provide challenges in notoriously dry environments, it said. The water-energy nexus will be one of many aspects to be discussed at the event, it added.

According to Eurovent Middle East, further topics in the workshop include:
• Introduction to the Cooling Tower Guidebook
• Overview of advantages of evaporative cooling
• Working principles
• Critical aspects of design, installation and operation
• Case study
• Cooling tower certification

According to Eurovent, the event, taking place at Le Meridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre, will start at 5pm (Gulf Standard Time). Participants, it said, will receive a printed copy of the Guidebook. Registration to attend the event, it said, is free of charge via this link.

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.

Belimo launches EV4

DUBAI, UAE, 20 October 2021: Belimo launched the EV4, an integrated thermal energy management solution, with the objectives of measuring energy, controlling the power and managing Delta T.

The new solution makes meter integration easier, the company said. It provides the facility for parallel operation, where it is possible to connect BACnet and M-Bus networks, the company said, adding that it equally provides the facility for direct integration, wherein no intermediary software is required. It can measure and control power and manage Delta T, ensure high quality metering and enabled billing, it said, adding that the EV4 also ensures digitally supported workflows for the entire product lifecycle.

The EV4 has a clever design, Belimo said. It provides ease of re-calibration and also helps establish data transparency, it added.

According to Belimo, the EV4 provides a whole range of features for building owners, including traceable verification and logging of billing-relevant data; easy and open data access, which provides flexibility when choosing the service provider for cost accounting; low commissioning and operating costs, which translate to optimum investment protection; and future-proof and full transparency, thanks to direct Internet connection.

It also provides energy-efficient system operation and stable Delta T, the company claimed, adding that this leads to minimisation of temperature surcharges from the district cooling providers.

According to Belimo, the EV4 provides a wide range of features for consulting engineers, as well, including the facility of reduced effort and time saving, owing to optimally coordinated all-in-one solutions; reduced planning effort and time savings through simple valve design; traceable verification and logging, which paves way for a true commissioning report; automatic hydronic balancing during operation at any load conditions; easy adaptations to power changes; and simple, fast and remote customisation, in case of any design changes.

UN: Pandemic causes dip in building emissions

NAIROBI, Kenya, 19 October 2021: The economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic caused CO2 emissions from buildings and construction to fall significantly in 2020, but a lack of real transformation in the sector means that emissions will keep rising and contribute to dangerous climate change, according to the 2021 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction.

The report, published by the UN Environment Programme-hosted Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GlobalABC), finds that in 2020, the sector accounted for 36% of global final energy consumption and 37% of energy related CO2 emissions, as compared to other end-use sectors.

While the level of emissions within the sector are 10% lower than in 2015, reaching lows not seen since 2007, this w333as largely due to lockdowns, slowing of economies, difficulties households and businesses faced in maintaining and affording energy access and a fall in construction activity. Efforts to decarbonize the sector played only a small role, the authors of the report said.

With large growth projected in the buildings sector, emissions are set to rise if there is no effort to decarbonize buildings and improve their energy efficiency, the authors said. In Asia and Africa, building stock is expected to double by 2050, they said, adding that global material use is expected to more than double by 2060, with a third of this rise attributable to construction materials.

“This year showed that climate change is an immediate direct threat to every community on this planet, and it is only going to intensify,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director, UNEP. “The buildings and construction sector, as a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, must urgently be decarbonized through a triple strategy of reducing energy demand, decarbonizing the power supply and addressing building materials’ carbon footprint, if we are to have any chance of meeting the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C.”

Some progress, but not enough

The GlobalABC’s Global Buildings Climate Tracker found that there have been some incremental improvements in action to decarbonize and improve the energy efficiency of the sector.

In 2015, 90 countries included actions for addressing buildings emissions or improving energy efficiency in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement. This number has now hit 136, although ambition varie, the authors of the report said.

Since 2015, an additional 18 countries have put in place building energy codes – a move that is crucial to shift emissions downwards – bringing the total to 80, the authors said. Local cities and governments have also developed codes, they said. Investment in energy efficiency rose to over USD 180 billion in 2020, up from 129 billion in 2015. Green building certification has increased by 13.9% compared to 2019, they said.

Overall, however, the report finds that these efforts are insufficient, both in terms of speed and scale. Other key findings of the report include: Two-thirds of countries still lack mandatory buildings codes; most of the increase in energy efficiency spending came from a small number of European countries; too small a share of finance goes into deep energy retrofits, and there is a lack of ambitious decarbonization targets in NDCs.

What comes next?

Energy demand in the buildings and construction sector is likely to rebound, as economic recovery efforts take hold and as pent-up demands for new construction are realized, the authors said.

By 2030, to be on track to achieving a goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, the International Energy Agency says that direct building CO2 emissions would need to decrease by 50%. Indirect building sector emissions will have to drop through a reduction of 60% in power generation emissions. To achieve these goals, the report finds, the sector has to take advantage of every lever.

While pandemic recovery spending has not sufficiently prioritized climate-friendly approaches to the level required, the authors said, there is still an opportunity to invest in decarbonizing our buildings while increasing their resilience:

  • Countries need to harness the sector’s transformative potential for achieving the energy transition.
  • Governments need to commit to further decarbonizing the power, as well as heating and cooling energy supply. This includes stepping up ambition in NDCs to include building decarbonization targets that contain the so-far largely overlooked embodied carbon and the emissions from the production of building materials.
  • The rate of growth of investment in building efficiency needs to double to over 3 per cent per year, and must expand beyond direct government investment to private investors.
  • Scope and coverage of building energy codes need to increase. All countries need to have in place mandatory building energy codes, and these would ideally address performance standards for building envelopes, design, heating, cooling, ventilation systems and appliances, and ensure links with integrated urban planning.

Buildings’ resilience needs to increase to futureproof our homes and workspaces. A typical building constructed today will still be in use in 2070, but the climate it encounters will have changed significantly.

  • The necessary interventions to reduce the climate impact of existing buildings should be combined with investing in adaptation and resilience measures.
  • In addition, both public and private sector need to seize the tremendous investment opportunities this sector offers – for example, through green bonds or through banks increasing green building construction and mortgage finance.

Carel launches new iJM solution

BRUGINE, Padua, Italy, 22 September 2021: Carel launched a new iJM solution, backed by a strategic partnership with Vision IoT platform for connecting field assets, the company said through a Press release. Describing iJM as a dedicated product line for refrigerated merchandisers, Carel said the launch was against the backdrop of an increase in demand in the beverage cooler market for solutions that reduce environmental impact by cutting energy consumption and emissions, and for those that feature connectivity options to give beverage companies better intelligence on the sales performance and user habits of their merchandisers in the field.

Carel said it has extensive experience in this sector and continuously invests in new technologies to satisfy the trends. iJM, it added, is the latest result of these investments.

iJM, the company said, includes cutting-edge options for energy efficiency, such as direct control of variable speed compressors, and a completely new flat and frameless display, with various cosmetic customisation options, available according to the customer’s brand. Owing to its connectivity options (NFC, Bluetooth and Beacon), iJM is ready to connect to the Vision IoT cloud platform, so as to offer customers analytics to improve retail management, Carel said.

Vision IoT, Carel said, is a long-standing industry leader in IoT solutions for connected beverage coolers, with more than 1.7 million active units on its Harbor Cloud Platform. Carel and Vision IoT have defined an end-to-end seamless offering that will help Carel’s global beverage customers reduce asset loss, improve utilisation and increase sales, Carel said.

The new feature will allow bottlers to equip their merchandisers with the latest generation electronic controllers for energy-efficient management of their units, as well as to monitor them remotely, analyse their profitability and optimise operation through corrective actions in the field, Carel said.

The combined Carel, Vision IoT solution will provide key insights to bottlers, who will be able to gain competitive advantages at the point of sale, Carel said. For bottlers, being able to better understand the performance of their different assets in a retail environment allows them to take actions to improve important KPIs, such as planogram compliance and sales, reduce asset downtime and optimise asset locations within a store.

“CAREL has a strong presence in the beverage cooler market around the world,” said Giovanni Tonin, Group Marketing Manager – Food Service, Carel. “This partnership combines our quality and experience in control solutions with Vision IoT, a vertical, effective cloud platform for beverage coolers.”

Austin Groves, CEO, Vision IoT, said: “We are proud to have been selected as the platform partner of choice by Carel. Our device-agnostic platform is helping more and more global CPG brands gain mission-critical insights to their in-store operations. The scalability and ability to deliver insights directly to the representatives solving these issues are what’s enabling the continued success of our clients and partners.”

ASHRAE announces call for abstracts for 2022 Annual Conference

ATLANTA, Georgia, 16 August 2021: ASHRAE announced it is accepting abstracts for the 2022 ASHRAE Annual Conference, from June 25 to 29, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

 

According to ASHRAE, the conference will address the changes to buildings created by the pandemic and will present papers and programs that are pertinent to the future of the built-environment.

 

“As we move into 2022 and face climate extremes and natural disasters along with the pandemic, buildings continue to be critical to our everyday lives,” said Kristen Cetin, Conference Chair. “These commercial, industrial and residential buildings, in particular, face an increasingly complex set of competing priorities to balance, as well as an increasing number of technologies and solutions to use and implement. The 2022 ASHRAE Annual Conference focuses on such diverse priorities and methods to address them, while considering the dynamic nature of such priorities over time.”

 

According to ASHRAE, the conference’s technical program comprises eight tracks:

 

The “Buildings in the Aftermath of COVID-19” track highlights the significant impacts on how buildings are used, the priorities associated with building operations to ensure healthy environments for occupants, and the transition to design and operation in the aftermath of the pandemic.

 

The “Connected Buildings, Connected Communities” track focuses on advanced smart building technologies and renewable energy resources, and the coordinated efforts in accomplishing improved building performance and demand flexibility.

 

The “IAQ, Energy Use, Comfort and Health of Sustainable Buildings” track features the following topics, and how they interact and impact one another: Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ), energy use and efficiency, occupant comfort and health, sustainability goals and owner/operator priorities.

 

The “Cold Climate Building System Design, Operation and Resilience” track covers efforts and topics specifically focused on buildings, building systems and equipment in cold, arctic and sub-arctic climates. The track will also cover specific considerations for the building envelope and HVAC&R systems, and the resulting thermal and hygrothermal performance.

 

The “Professional Development” track will cover all aspects of business outside of engineering/technical applications and lends itself to interactive session types, such as workshops and forums.

 

The “HVAC&R Systems and Equipment” track will focus on the development of new systems and equipment, improvements to existing systems and equipment and the proper application and operation of systems and equipment.

 

The “Fundamentals and Applications” track will provide opportunities for papers of varying levels across a large topic base. Concepts, design elements and shared experiences for theoretical and applied concepts of HVAC&R design are included.

 

Finally, the “Research Summit” features active research, and the exchange of research findings, critical to the development of the HVAC&R industry and built environment. The track includes a partnership with ASHRAE’s archival journal, Science and Technology for the Built Environment.

 

ASHRAE said that abstracts – 400 words or less – are due on September 20, 2021. If accepted, final conference papers (8-page maximum) are due on December 1, 2021, it added.

 

In addition, it said, technical papers – complete 30-page maximum papers published in ASHRAE Transactions – are also due September 20, 2021, and considered for Science and Technology for the Built Environment.

 

ASHRAE urged those interested in submitting to visit ashrae.org/2022Annual for more information on the call for abstracts and the 2022 ASHRAE Annual Conference.

Ziehl-Abegg invests €36 mn in expanding its facilities

KÜNZELSAU, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany, 4 August 2021: “The world’s markets will continue to need high-quality electric motors and fans in the future,” said Peter Fenkl, CEO, Ziehl-Abegg, explaining why the company invested €16 million euros in the expansion of its production buildings at the Kupferzell site in the middle of the pandemic. This, he added, will be followed by a further €20 million for machinery. Dr Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut, Minister of Economic Affairs, Baden-Württemberg, added: “With the new building, the company is further expanding its high degree of vertical manufacture and the resilience of the supply chains here at the site, whilst also securing valuable jobs both within and beyond the region.”

Peter Fenkl shows Dr Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut how fans for data centres and hospitals are assembled

Fenkl described how, in the early summer of 2020, many economic decision-makers were in shock due to the pandemic. “No-one knew what was coming next – and that’s when we started our current construction project,” he recalled. “The year 2020 resembled a rollercoaster ride – rapidly alternating between border closures, interruptions to material supplies, falling sales and rising orders. Thanks to the commitment of each and every one of the employees, the company still succeeded in posting an increase in sales at the end of the year – followed by an order intake that exceeded all previous records.”

Referring to the new building, he said, “So we’re now glad that we’ve already created more space for rapid growth.” New machines and systems that had already been ordered in spring 2020, will be arriving on a weekly basis, he said, adding that the building is also intended to create an additional 180 jobs.

The new building will result in an additional 8,700 square metres for manufacturing state-of-the-art generation of energy-efficient electric motors, the company said. “The durable and efficient electric motor has been our core area of expertise for more than 100 years,” Fenkl said, adding that the company is a technology leader in the design of fans based on the concept of biomimetics. “However, since many geometries offering perfect aerodynamics cannot be implemented in steel or aluminum, we are expanding the area of composite materials,” he said. “It is essential for us to have more space for additional injection-moulding machines for composite materials.”

Ziehl-Abegg, he said, is expanding its production facilities worldwide or optimising existing plants – in Schöntal-Bieringen, where the aluminium casting operation is based, and in America and Asia. “Corona,” he said, “has shown that we have to consider very carefully how we can design our production facilities in a way that enables us to satisfy the needs of the market to optimum effect.”

AMCA introduces tools to aid transition to Fan Energy Index

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Illinois, 2 August 2021: AMCA International introduced tools to aid transition to the Fan Energy Index. The body did so against the backdrop of recent developments related to energy efficiency in the United States.

On July 28, the US Department of Energy (DOE) issued determinations that the 2019 edition of ANSI/ASHRAE/IES 90.1, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, and the 2021 edition of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) “will achieve greater energy efficiency in buildings subject to the code” and “will improve energy efficiency in residential buildings,” respectively. Upon publication of these affirmative determinations, the DOE said, states in the country must review and certify their building codes relative to ANSI/ASHRAE/IES 90.1-2019 and the 2021 IECC.

As states begin to examine and update their energy codes, some are adopting an earlier edition of ANSI/ASHRAE/IES 90.1 (2016 or 2013) or the IECC (2018 or 2015), AMCA said. In so doing, they are prolonging the use of fan efficiency grade (FEG) as the metric for efficiency provisions for commercial and industrial fans and blowers, AMCA said. FEG, which the DOE concluded in an as-yet-unfinished rulemaking is not an appropriate metric for a federal appliance/equipment regulation, was replaced by Fan Energy Index (FEI) for ANSI/ASHRAE/IES 90.1-2019 and the 2021 IECC, AMCA said, adding that it advises states adopting earlier editions of ANSI/ASHRAE/IES 90.1 and the IECC to “leapfrog” the outdated FEG metric to take advantage of the energy-saving, compliance-easing FEI.

For example, Florida, which on December 31 became the first state to adopt FEI when the seventh (2020) edition of Florida Building Code: Energy Conservation was published, adopted the 2018 IECC, but the 2021 IECC fan-efficiency provision, AMCA pointed out.

“Florida has set the example of how to leapfrog model-energy-code provisions to avoid prolonging the use of an outdated metric,” Aaron Gunzner, Senior Manager, Advocacy, AMCA International, said. “To help other states achieve the goal of phasing in the new FEI metric, AMCA International has, with permission from ASHRAE and the International Code Council, developed templates with exact strike-out/underline language.”

Additionally, to describe the rationale for and the benefits of changing metrics, AMCA said it recently updated its Advocacy Brief: New Fan Energy Index (FEI) Metric and Scope for Energy Codes, a document for code officials and others considering proposals to transition from FEG to FEI.

Formalized in ANSI/AMCA Standard 208-18, Calculation of the Fan Energy Index, FEI considers the effects of motors and drives, not just fans, and aids the right-sizing of fan systems for the conditions they will operate in, AMCA said. In addition to ANSI/ASHRAE/IES 90.1-2019 and the 2021 IECC, it added, FEI has replaced FEG in:

  • 2021 International Green Construction Code (IgCC)
  • ANSI/ASHRAE/ICC/USGBC/IES 189.1-2020, Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings

AMCA recommended visiting www.amca.org/FEI, to download the templates and to view Advocacy Brief: New Fan Energy Index (FEI) Metric and Scope for Energy Codes. The microsite, AMCA said, additionally includes links to related codes and standards, technical articles and white papers, webinar recordings, and presentations.

Chillventa launches new Web site

Nuremberg, Germany, 2 August 2021: Following the Chillventa eSpecial 2020, and after four years without an in-person gathering, the exhibition for refrigeration, air conditioning, ventilation and heat pump technology will run from October 11 to 13 at the Exhibition Centre Nuremberg, the organisers said.

The Chillventa CONGRESS, will take place on October 10, the organisers said, adding that exhibitors can register for the event immediately. The organisers said they have launched a new Web site, which offers an improved user experience and provides even more focused information.

Chillventa, the organisers said, will offer opportunities for networking in person and view innovations through live demonstrations. The planned trade fora, Chillventa CONGRESS and supporting programme will spotlight issues like energy performance, contributing to the energy revolution, combined cooling and heating and the cooling of data centres, the organisers said. The event will also look at topics like the circular economy and the cold chain in the pharmaceutical sector.

“We are preparing to finally see our exhibition halls back in action again and to welcoming the international refrigeration, AC, ventilation and heat pump community in person to Nuremberg,” said Daniela Heinkel, Director of Chillventa at NürnbergMesse. “We are sure that the kind of platform offered by Chillventa is now more in demand than ever and are confident that it will build on its successful 2018 round.”

Smart Farnek launches HITEK solution 4.0

DUBAI, UAE, 11 July 2021: UAE-based smart and green facilities management (FM) company, Farnek, today unveiled its new 24/7 command and control room, located in Farnek Village, the company’s new staff accommodation centre in Jebel Ali.

L-R: Markus Oberlin; Khaldun Aburok, Director of Business Development, Farnek; Javeria Aijaz; and H.E. Frank Eggmann

Making the announcement through a Press release, Farnek said that through its 5G and Wi-Fi 6-enabled, operational ‘nerve centre’, it will be able to take advantage of increased bandwidth, ultra-low latency and enhanced security, to connect assets from multiple sites, so that they can be centrally monitored and managed.

This, Farnek said, will allow it to rollout connected and transformative applications of technology that not only uplift the face of FM digitalisation but also offer enhanced efficiency. This is achieved through the concept of a digitally connected workforce and customers, to its in-house stream of technically advanced and cost-effective solutions, utilising the Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud, Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) based technologies, amongst others, the company said.

Following a tour of Farnek Village and the inauguration of its command and control room, H.E. Frank Eggmann, Consul General of Switzerland to Dubai said: “I was particularly impressed with the innovative approach Farnek has taken by developing its own in-house ‘Swiss made’ technology. Equally impressive is the way this is being utilised, which will not only improve cost-efficiency but also has staff welfare and sustainability at its core. This is an excellent example of Swiss state-of-the-art technology at its very best.”

According to Farnek, beyond operational efficiencies and sustainability, its HITEK solution 4.0 will save its customers significant amounts of money. The company said it has estimated that it can save up to 17% in manpower costs after traditional FM operational management has been transferred to HITEK’s smart management.

In addition, through IoT sensors, there is also the massive benefit of predictive and proactive maintenance, which can reduce downtime and improve the lifecycle of assets, facilitating remote monitoring with a fully connected and mobile workforce, Farnek said.

Markus Oberlin, CEO, Farnek, said: “In the case of manhours, a centralised system can manage multiple sites, whereas operating a traditional Building Management System (BMS) could well require a series of operators in each building. In addition, they may not be experts in every aspect of facilities management and probably will not have the advantage of benchmarking property performance.”

So far, Farnek said, its in-house technology team has developed initiatives, such as a smart washroom, wearable technology, eProcurement, telematic solutions, facial recognition as well as benchmarking and forecasting software to make buildings more sustainable.

Oberlin said: “As the technical specifications of 5G continue to evolve and expand that will capture and encourage even more advanced IoT and AI applications, which could start to become a reality, next year. So, we want to be ready to capitalise on these market opportunities, just as soon as the technology and connectivity is available.

“It is certainly going to take remote FM work to a whole new elevated level, enabling technicians to carry out tasks in either virtual reality or augmented reality environments, which are absolutely ideal for training purposes as well.”

According to Farnek, standalone 5G deployment consists of user equipment – the RAN and NR interface – and the 5G core network, which relies on a service-based architecture framework with virtualised network functions. Network functions that usually operate on hardware, become virtualised and actually run as software, the company said.

Javeria Aijaz, Senior Director – Technology & Innovations, Farnek, said: “We have managed to develop our own 5G network infrastructure-based intelligent and connected platforms, which has its own cloud-native network core, which connects 5G New Radio (NR) technology, and non-standalone (NSA) infrastructures, which still partially rely on existing 4G LTE infrastructure.

“Until Etisalat and Du are able to build out the independent infrastructure needed for 5G, our approach uses a combination of 5G Radio Access Network (RAN), 5G NR interface, and existing LTE infrastructure and core network to provide a 5G-like experience.”

Eurovent, FAIAR sign MoU

BRUSSELS, BOGOTÁ, 23 June 2021: Eurovent and the Federation of Ibero-American Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Associations (FAIAR) signed a Memorandum of Understanding, underlining their commitment to greater harmonisation and stronger ties between Europe and Latin America, Eurovent said through a Press release.

In the framework of the Memorandum, Eurovent said, the two organisations will collaborate on standards development, codes of good practice and networking events, among others. Eurovent and FAIAR will have their first high-level coordination meeting still this year to identify concrete opportunities for joint action, Eurovent said.

Raul Corredera Haener, President, Eurovent, said: “In order to raise and harmonise industry standards worldwide, Eurovent’s ambition is to strengthen its international partnerships with like-minded associations. FAIAR has proven to be such a partner, and we look forward to working together with our colleagues from Latin America much more closely in the future to bring new opportunities to our industry.”

Odete de Almeida, President, FAIAR, said: “To achieve FAIAR objectives, we understand the importance of integration of related associations of any territorial scope, in order to provide mutual collaboration and exchange experiences in the professional field, which benefit the partners.”

Eurovent said the two organisations have agreed to work together to promote energy-efficient, environmentally friendly, safe and reliable HVACR technologies based on common principles. The HVACR sector, it added, has an important role to play in the welfare of society and in the fight against climate change. The two regional associations, it further added, aim to avoid disjointed regional approaches to these questions, which would turn opportunities for growth and innovation into market barriers.

ASHRAE participates in High Performance Buildings Coalition Congressional Event

ATLANTA, Georgia, 9, June 2021: In recognition of High Performance Building Week, 2020-21 ASHRAE President Charles E Gulledge III, spoke on a panel, titled ‘Building Better: Congressional and Private Sector Efforts to Promote High Performance Buildings’. Congressman, Peter Welch (D-VT), Co-Chair, High Performance Buildings Caucus, and the High Performance Building Coalition organized the event. The Coalition comprises more than 200 manufacturers, trade associations and other stakeholders who support policies and legislation that advance the next generation of buildings.

Joining Gulledge on the panel were chief executives from the International Code Council (ICC), the Green Building Initiative (GBI) and the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAMPO), ASHRAE said. This was followed by a Q&A session moderated by Lakisha A Woods, CAE, President and CEO, National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS).

In his remarks, Gulledge spoke from ASHRAE’s current Society theme, ‘The ASHRAE Digital Lighthouse and Industry 4.0’, which focuses on reimaging the building industry, ASHRAE said.

“With the technological transformation of how we design, build, and operate buildings, the lines within the built environment including energy and infrastructure are increasingly blurred,” Gulledge said. “We must think about how existing buildings fit into this transformation. About half of the commercial buildings in the U.S. were constructed more than 35 years ago. Revitalizing these existing buildings represents Congress’s single best opportunity for making a significant impact on sustainability, resiliency, and energy efficiency. ASHRAE is committed to working with Congress to provide resources and knowledge which continually drive the innovative and strategic improvements needed during this transformation of the built environment.”

According to ASHRAE, Gulledge highlighted the new ASHRAE Global Headquarters building to demonstrate how to transform older existing buildings into high-performance workplace environments in a cost-effective and practical way.

AHRI certification program expands test conditions

ARLINGTON, Virginia, 28 May 2021: The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) on May 18 announced that it is implementing a wide range of test conditions in certain of its certification programs, to help promote global energy efficiency; to suit varying global environmental conditions and regional needs; to align itself with local, regional and international regulations; and to address requirements of its members and certification program participants.

AHRI said that in addition to the standard T1 test conditions (35 degrees C outdoor dry-bulb), it has been introducing the T3 test conditions (46 degrees C outdoor dry-bulb) and T4-Kuwait (48 degrees C outdoor dry-bulb), with operability tests at 52 degrees C for a large range of “tropical” air conditioning products in the high-ambient temperature (HAT) countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region.

AHRI said that with T3 ratings already available for applied products, such as air-cooled and water-cooled chillers, and for direct-expansion products, such as ducted-split systems, packaged rooftop units in both residential and commercial segments, and inverter-type residential units, it continues to expand the T3 ratings to other products, such as VRFs. These actions and many others, it added, are why a growing number of entities around the world are relying on AHRI-certified products and equipment, which have provided performance assurance for more than 60 years across 40 programs and with more than 1,100 certified licensees across the globe.

The initiative’s first part, it said, is to help its GCC region, Asian, European and American members and program participants certify their tropical high-ambient products to T3 test conditions through simplified mechanisms and processes. The second part, it said, involves its outreach to regional regulators and authorities, informing them of their ability to ensure compliance to T3 conditions, if they wish to do so.

“We are confident that this dual approach directly supports the important value proposition of achieving governmental energy efficiency goals and regulatory/policy initiatives, while providing a wider range of quality equipment to the residential and commercial sectors in HAT regions,” said Khalil Issa, Managing Director, AHRI MENA. “Governments, consumers, and other entities have always had the assurance that AHRI Certified products have been tested by third-party laboratories to perform as promised, helping to ensure expected energy and cost savings for the benefit of institutional clients, end-users, consumers, and the environment. The expanded test conditions solidify that assurance and allow customers in these regions access to a wider array of quality product choices.”

AHRI said its publicly available, free Directory of Certified Product Performance not only allows consumers, contractors, and others to quickly assess whether a product is AHRI Certified or not but also enables local regulators to immediately enforce compliance by easily identifying non-compliant products.

IEA releases ‘roadmap to net zero’ report

BERKELEY, California, 18 May 2021: The International Energy Agency (IEA) said it has published its first ever comprehensive roadmap to net-zero emissions by 2050. The report, it added, provides guidance for governments, companies, investors and the public on what is necessary to fully decarbonize the energy sector and lower greenhouse gas emissions to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The report, it said, comes after it received widespread criticism for systematically underestimating the pace of adoption of clean energy technologies, such as solar and wind, and substantially overestimating their costs. Critics, it said, argued that IEA projections had effectively acted as support for the fossil fuel industry’s business-as-usual operations.

In a significant shift, the IEA said, it today recognizes that on a net-zero pathway there can be no investment in new fossil fuel supply. This, it said, includes oil, gas and coal projects. The IEA said, it confirms that with the introduction of policy to achieve climate stabilization at 1.5 degrees, the fossil fuel sector will face significant demand reduction.

Danielle Fugere, President, As You Sow, responding to the release of the report, said: “This new net-zero scenario from the IEA finally aligns with investor expectations and makes abundantly clear to fossil fuel companies that they must set net-zero targets, develop a clear transition strategy, and evolve in step with the decarbonizing global economy. Standing in the way of progress is no longer acceptable for companies’ own enterprise success or for the global economy.”

Daniel Stewart, Senior Research Associate, As You Sow, said: “Until now, the IEA’s research has been used to play down transition risks faced by the fossil fuel industry and as a support for inadequate energy and climate policy. IEA’s new scenario firms up what investors already knew about the steps needed to achieve climate stabilization by mid-century. It demonstrates without a doubt that it is difficult but absolutely possible to contain the catastrophic impact of runaway climate change, and signals major disruption on the horizon for industries reliant on fossil fuels.”

VC funds, Hollywood stars invest heavily in climate change innovation

CHICAGO, Illinois, 18 May 2021: The year 2021 has already seen multiple climate-focused fund launches. London-based One Planet Capital launched a fund for green tech, fintech and sustainability-based B2C businesses, while Hollywood ‘Iron Man’ actor, Robert Downey Jr has founded FootPrint Coalition Ventures to invest in high-growth, sustainability-focused companies.

Robert Downey Jr

The financial world used to think environmental issues couldn’t generate viable rewards, but another climate-focused fund, Congruent Ventures, believes a tipping point has been passed. 

Congruent raises investment specifically for Climate Change solution start-ups and, with USD 300 million under management after closing its second fund at USD 175 million, Managing Partner and Co-Founder, Abe Yokell, said: “If you brought up the word ‘cleantech’ to any institutional investor allocating to venture 10 years ago, they would do their best to avoid the meeting, but now, there’s a fundamental belief there will be significant financial returns investing broadly in climate tech over time.”

Congruent’s portfolio includes electric vehicle-charging provider, Amply, which raised USD 13.2 million last year from investors, including Soros Fund Management and Siemens. Digitally controllable electrical panel company, Span raised USD 20 million in January through Congruent, with investors including Munich Re Ventures’ HSB Fund and Amazon’s Alexa Fund.

And Congruent itself is well-founded, with investors including UC Investments, the Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund, Three Cairns Group, Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust and Surdna Foundation, among other institutions, foundations and family offices.

Regulation A+ crowdfunding companies are also seeing investment, such as digital twins company, Cityzenith, who recently launched their international ‘Clean Cities, Clean Future’ campaign as part of the Race to Zero movement.

Cities worldwide generate 70% of the world’s carbon emissions, but Cityzenith’s AI Digital Twin platform technology can help property asset management groups, city planners and developers reduce emissions and move to carbon neutrality in the next 10 years. 

Michael Jansen, CEO, Cityzenith, said at the launch of the ‘Clean Cities – Clean Future’ initiative: “We have to help the most polluted urban centers become carbon neutral, and we plan to do this by donating the company’s Digital Twin platform, SmartWorldOS to key cities, one at a time, after every USD 1 million we raise. We’re able to do this because of the recent surge of investment we’ve had as part of our USD 15m raise.”

Cityzenith is already benefiting from the funding shift, reportedly attracting USD 2.5 million in investment since late 2020 through Regulation A+ crowdfunding and a surge in shares from USD 0.575 to USD 1.50 in just five months. The US company has raised USD 10 million to date.

Jansen said: “In the past decade, investors struggled to justify backing Climate Change solutions, but global demand for net-zero carbon by 2050 and a sustainable future means a tipping point has been passed.

“Products, such as our own SmartWorldOS™, which monitors and collects data on future and existing building assets, so construction and maintenance can occur at optimal efficiency, will be essential to reducing carbon emissions and energy waste. We must invest in climate solutions now so that we can protect our planet sooner and more effectively.

“We’ve seen a significant amount of interest in our current USD 15m raise from accredited investors in recent months, as there are tangible, financial upsides in the built-environment to going climate-friendly, and carbon credits are going to become an enormous part of this in the next few years.”

European-based fund 2150 also launched this year, investing €200m (USD 240 million) into start-ups developing sustainable technologies to lower carbon emissions in Europe’s cities.

Co-founder Christian Hernandez has seen a shift in perceptions, too. He said: “There are enough proof points now that those two (profitable investments and investing in climate solutions) can coexist.”

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.

Belimo announces webinar to launch integrated thermal energy management solutions

DANBURY, Connecticut, 14 May 2021: Belimo said it will be introducing a new era of integrated thermal energy management, through a webinar at 8am (Eastern Time) on June 10Thursday, June 10, 2021 @ 9:00 AM (ET).

According to Belimo, its technology experts will use practical examples to show how its new device will increase energy efficiency and reduce operating costs. The webinar, Belimo said, is geared for individuals within the HVAC industry; building technology, building automation, general contractors/investors, consulting engineers, system integrators, installers/plant engineers, building owners, facility managers/building maintenance and OEMs. Belimo said it will unveil and demonstrate the new integrated thermal energy device and provide in-depth conversation with developers, experts, customers and partners.

This new innovation, Belimo said, marks its commitment to bring more sustainability into buildings while optimizing energy efficiency throughout the HVAC system.

Valmet to deliver multi-fuel boiler plant to Veolia

ESPOO, Finland, 2 May 2021: Valmet will deliver a multi-fuel boiler plant to Veolia Energie ČR, in Prerov, in the Czech Republic, the Finland-headquartered company said through a Press release. The new boiler will replace an old coal-fired unit and strengthen Veolia’s strategy to move toward more environmentally friendly production of district heat and electricity, Valmet added. Valmet said the order was included in its orders received in the first quarter of 2021. Typically, the value of this kind of order is EUR 35-40 million, it said. The boiler plant will be taken over by the customer in January 2023, it added.

“We chose Valmet based on the criteria of public procurement, in other words, on the combination of price and operational costs for 15 years,” says Jaromir Novak, Head of Technical Department, Veolia Energie ČR. “Valmet has a high number of running references and long experience with boilers. That is why we trust Valmet and already cherish our future relationship.”

Jari Niemelä, Director, Boilers and Gasifiers, Valmet, said: “This is yet another great example of how Valmet can support decarbonization in the energy sector. We will even reuse the existing boiler house to help reduce not only CO2 emissions from energy production but also from constructing the power plant. With flexible use of biomass and waste in all possible mixtures, the plant is fit for the challenging energy transition.”

Valmet said its delivery scope includes a 40 MWth Valmet BFB Boiler, utilising bubbling fluidised bed combustion technology. The boiler steam production is 52 t/h at 4.2 MPa(g) and 420 degrees C, it said. The multifuel boiler is designed to run from 0 to 100% on refuse-derived fuel (RDF) and/or biomass, it added.

Additionally, Valmet said, the delivery includes a flue gas cleaning system, refurbishment of an existing steel structure and its modification, electrification and instrumentation as well as an upgrade of an existing automation system.

Green Building Alliance, UN’s partners receive International Climate Initiative Award

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania, 21 April 2021: Green Building Alliance (GBA) announced an international collaboration led by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) to develop a USD 24 million project to improve the energy efficiency of the global building supply chain and its products to deliver high performance buildings. The International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety awarded this project, signaling the advancement of a planning phase and full proposal. The launch of the project was announced on April 21 by Elisabeth Winkelmeier-Becker at the UNECE’s 69th Commission meeting.

According to GBS, the award solidifies the Greater Pittsburgh region as a global leader in the expeditious innovation of technologies, products and training aimed at curbing carbon emissions and creating healthy, sustainable buildings. The project presents an opportunity to work with international leaders in the field to identify solutions and strategies, and then implement best practices for the Pittsburgh region. GBA said the IKI award, in conjunction with Pittsburgh’s designation as a UN International Center of Excellence on High Performance Building, confirms GBA as a leader in providing solutions to improve the built environment thereby positively impacting climate change, human health, social equity, and a thriving economy.

“Funding high-performance buildings and retrofitting existing buildings can rapidly reinvigorate local economies, supporting or creating quality jobs through the entire building supply chain while delivering on long-term quality of life for everyone,” said Scott Foster, Director of Sustainable Energy, UNECE, about this innovative work. “Given its size and its history both as a coal-mining and steel-making center and as an example of urban rebirth, Pittsburgh has a lot to offer the cities of the world in terms of its experience and know-how.”

GBA said it is eager to begin the important work. “It is an honor to play such an important role in the US commitment to climate and infrastructure and the need to rapidly transform the building industry,” said Jenna Cramer, Executive Director, GBA. “We have an opportunity to build upon our 28-year history of making Pittsburgh and the Western Pennsylvania region a leadership hub for green buildings and sustainable products. This project is part of our efforts with the Greater Pittsburgh International Center of Excellence, a public private partnership that uniquely positions organizations, researchers, companies, and governments to collectively problem-solve for our region’s future while also connecting on a global platform to share best practices and advance solutions.”

According to GBA, the building and construction sector plays a key role in addressing global issues, including significant emissions reductions, improved energy security and increased circular economy. The sector is integral to achieving the Paris Agreement goals, as it is responsible for approximately 40% of energy- and process-related emissions. The project kick-off will take place in May 2021. Led by UNECE, other partners include UN Environment, UN Development Programme (UNDP) offices in select countries, UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP), Passivhaus Institute (Germany), and the Technical University of Denmark. GBA is the only partner in the United States.

The Greater Pittsburgh Center of Excellence current partners include Allegheny County, City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny Conference on Community Development, PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, PJ Dick, Fourth Economy, Duquesne Light, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pittsburgh, Duquesne University, Covestro, Partner4Work, Innovation Works, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, other nonprofits, and professionals.

Eurovent Middle East joins Cool Coalition

DUBAI, UAE, 20 April 2021: Eurovent Middle East has become a member of the Cool Coalition, a global initiative led by UN Environment and the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Programme, the HVACR industry association said through a Press release. The initiative promotes a holistic and cross-sectoral approach to meet the cooling needs of industrialised and developing countries through better building design, energy efficiency, renewables, and thermal storage as well as phasing down refrigerants with a high global warming potential, Eurovent said.

The Cool Coalition is a global multi-stakeholder network that connects a wide range of key actors from governments, cities, international organisations, businesses, finance, academia and civil society groups to facilitate knowledge exchange, advocacy and joint action towards a rapid global transition to efficient and climate-friendly cooling. The Cool Coalition is currently working with over 100 partners, including 23 countries.

Markus Lattner, Managing Director, Eurovent Middle East, said: “The Middle East stands like no other region for the essential role of cooling and refrigeration for a successful socio-economic development. Eurovent Middle East has been established to provide crucial coordination between governments, industry and service providers and to build up competence in cooling and refrigeration within the region. We have joined the Cool Coalition, as we fully believe that it will be by cooperation and collaboration that we are able to transform societies towards a responsible and sustainable use of resources. We are proud to join other organisations from our region and strengthen the role of the Middle East in this global initiative.“

Lily Riahi, Cool Coalition Coordinator at UNEP, said: “To put the cooling sector on a path to net-zero emissions, we need everyone on board. The Cool Coalition is thrilled to welcome Eurovent Middle East among its members. Together, we can transform the sector and put it on a path to decarbonisation, in line to global climate targets and sustainable development goals.”

ASHRAE To host Tech Hour on building commissioning

ATLANTA, Georgia, 1 April 2021: ASHRAE premiered ‘Tech Hour #3: Commissioning’. It is presented by Jay Enck, Co-Founder and Chief Technical Officer of Commissioning, Green Building Solutions, Inc. and Reinhard Seidl, Principal, Taylor Engineering LLP, ASHRAE said.

The Tech Hour series, ASHRAE said, provides relevant technical content in the form of one-hour videos to members and interested individuals through the ASHRAE 365 app.

The third in the series will analyze the impact of climate change and evolving technology on commissioning of new and existing buildings, ASHRAE said. Viewers will learn about evaluating building characteristics and usage patterns that affect building energy footprint and occupant productivity, in addition to data presentation and communications to facility managers and O&M staff, it added.

According to ASHRAE, viewer learning points include:

  • Understanding why commissioning existing building stock is so important.
  • Important steps to reducing energy consumption.
  • How new technologies help in implementing higher systems efficiency and ongoing Cx with cloud-based documentation methods and energy monitoring.

According to ASHRAE, one PDH will be available to viewers upon completion of a survey link in ASHRAE 365. Due to the cancellation of many in-person ASHRAE Chapter meetings and the DL program, the PDH period for Tech Hours has been extended through June 30, 2021, ASHRAE added.

To view ASHRAE Tech Hour videos, ASHRAE suggested downloading ASHRAE 365 on the App Store or Google Play.

Digitalisation of cold chain assets

While 2020 will undoubtedly join the pantheon of eminently forgettable years in modern recorded history, it will be remembered as the time when we further strengthened the food sector by making use of opportunities presented by technology and other disciplines. Indeed, it would be accurate to say that the pandemic sent food retailers into a tizzy with consumers relying on e-commerce platforms more than ever.

Now, amidst the melee that ensued on the front end, very few noticed the steady rise of IoT acceleration at the back end or the machinery. With that, the need for digitalisation of refrigeration technical assets started gaining pace with the objective of improved energy efficiency.

Since October 2020, companies such as Eliwell Schneider Electric, Danfoss, Carel, Carrier, Emerson, Bitzer and Daikin vigorously started showcasing their digital solutions through such shows as e-Chillventa. The digital ‘show of strength’ highlighted the importance attached to digital transformation and its vast positive implications on operational efficiency. Based on these developments, CPI Industry, which is organising the Food Chain conference – and in doing do so, stands on the threshold of conducting the 10th edition of the event – has aptly themed it as, “Digital transformation of cold chain & food machinery technical assets”.

Apart from the topic of food safety, the conference will be a platform for brainstorming on IoT acceleration, which is one of the main pillars of Industry 4.0 in back-end technical assets. Digital transformation is the current business buzz-term in the GCC region, and I do believe there is considerable untapped market potential for this in cold chain verticals.

What is digitalisation? How is it different from digitisation? Is it technological or cultural?

Who are responsible for making it happen? How does it help the cold chain verticals? Whom does it benefit? Why do we need it? To what extent does it play a role in energy and eco efficiency and sustainability? What are the human and technology-related processes? What are the skills required and their availability in the region? Is digital transformation a bane or a boon? Do we indeed need to incorporate digitalisation to progress?

I look forward to answering these and more in the April issue.

The writer is an independent cold chain consultant after having served in the refrigeration sector in the GCC region as part of major MNCs. In May 2021, he will serve as Chairperson of the 10th edition of the Middle East Cold Chain Food Safety Conference, popularly known as Food Chain. He may be contacted at rasubra7@yahoo.com

The Crux of building performance

Buildings often do not perform in an optimal and efficient way despite significant investment during design and construction. The reasons can be wide and varied, and there is a certain inevitability that issues during construction will arise, and decisions will be made that could ultimately affect the long-term performance of the building. Building Commissioning, when utilised correctly, is a systematic quality assurance process. It increases the likelihood of buildings operating in line with their design intent, by verifying and documenting the fact that building services are designed, installed, tested and are operating in line with the Owners Project Requirements (OPR). This is primarily done with detailed planning, organisation, coordination and control of all commissioning activities.

Martin Williamson

Conversely, a building that is not operating in line with project requirements can be inefficient from an energy standpoint, financially uneconomical or suffering from poor indoor environmental quality (IEQ), of which indoor air quality (IAQ) is a significant part. This scenario is particularly prominent across the GCC region, where commissioning is largely misunderstood, under-utilised or is carried out to a low standard. A study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), based on a database of 643 buildings across approximately 100 million square feet of floor space, found the main causes of energy inefficiency in commercial buildings to be ductwork leakage, HVAC systems running and lights left on when spaces are unoccupied, ventilation systems incorrectly balanced, dampers not working and incorrect controls set-up, with an estimated 94.6 billion kilowatt hours annually (BkWh/year) wasted across the top 13 of 100 issues identified. Ductwork leakage was responsible for the greatest energy inefficiency, accounting for 28.6 BkWh/year alone, which has been seen to be a common issue across construction projects in the GCC region.

In addition to energy savings, correcting these issues would likely improve the indoor environment, as the identified issues would have an expected impact on heating and cooling, ventilation of spaces, and potential for drafts and noise. Identifying and correcting these commonly found issues should lead to an overall increase in occupant satisfaction. Commissioning is arguably the most cost-effective process for short-term and long-term advantages to building owners, facility managers and building occupants. However, there are many projects in the GCC region, where commissioning is not utilised or is carried out to a low standard. To put this in perspective, the LBNL study found the median cost for commissioning a new building accounted for 0.4% of the total construction cost. The data received demonstrates a significant 13% energy saving in new buildings, should commissioning and management be implemented effectively. On this basis, the client’s ROI would be 4.2 years.

The purpose of commissioning in new buildings is to ensure the performance requirements of the building owners’ objectives are achieved, making sure the building is operating as efficiently as it can at the time of handover. Commissioning in existing buildings is to validate whether the building is operating efficiently and to identify performance gaps, inefficiencies and improvements needed to return it to an efficient operational condition.

There are several names for commissioning in existing buildings, namely Re-Commissioning, Retro Commissioning and Continuous Commissioning. Retro Commissioning is utilised in buildings where no commissioning was previously performed. Re-Commissioning is typically carried out every 5-10 years and completed when the building use has changed, internal fit-outs completed or equipment and components in the systems are upgraded. Continuous Commissioning is based on frequently monitoring the building use, diagnosing improvements and fine-tuning the building performance.

Re-Commissioning and Continuous Commissioning are beneficial, as they allow flexibility for changing the use of internal spaces without affecting the building’s performance. The way a building is used and operated is often different from the condition predicted during design stage, where assumptions are made for occupant density, temperature set-points, control schedules and operation of HVAC systems. A major factor is occupant behaviour, which is difficult to predict and cannot be known at the time of design. The use of the building compared to the predicted design is monitored and changes made to fine-tune the system performance. A study by Wang L, et al (Uncertainties in energy consumption introduced by building operations and weather for a medium-size office building) showed poor practice in building operation can result in an increase in energy use of 49-79%, and good practice can reduce energy consumption by 15-29%.

Commissioning as a process has become more prevalent in the GCC region in recent years, with several high-profile developers, project management companies and consultants specifying this as a requirement. As an example of implementing commissioning in the GCC region, the Dubai Green Building Regulations and Specifications (DGBR) outlines requirements for commissioning in new as well as existing buildings, highlighting the value of commissioning in securing a green future for Dubai.

To take this a step further, the regulations in the GCC region could outline the requirement of commissioning as a process by referencing publications such as CIBSE Commissioning Code M – Commissioning Management, BSRIA Model Commissioning Plan or ASHRAE Standard 202 – Commissioning Process for Buildings and Systems, which are useful publications for capturing the commissioning process throughout the lifecycle of a building.

To enhance this, it would be beneficial to specify requirements of who can complete the commissioning and management, and the level of training and experience needed. Commissioning is often completed by an independent company, whose role is to ensure compliance with the OPR; the impartial nature is part of the value of commissioning. Unless regulations specify commissioning must be independent, this allows ‘in-house’ commissioning to be completed, which is not unbiased and, citing from experience, often results in ‘covering up’ issues identified instead of resolving them.

In comparison to the UK Building Regulations, commissioning of building services is a key requirement identified, and for buildings to conform to the energy efficiency requirements, CIBSE and BSRIA methodology are to be followed, and the process should be overseen by someone suitably qualified by relevant training or experience. The regulations cite membership of the Commissioning Specialists Association (CSA), the Commissioning Group of the Building and Engineering Services Association (B&ES) and Lighting Industry Commissioning Scheme as a way of demonstrating this.

The writer is Senior Commissioning Manager, AESG, and Committee Member, Commissioning Specialists Association (GCC). He may be reached at m.williamson@aesg-me.com

THE EVOLVING BUILDING-RETROFIT LANDSCAPE

The Middle East’s construction sector remains resilient despite the complexities brought on by 2020. For stakeholders, the resiliency stems from the sector’s ability to withstand difficulties even prior to COVID-19. Providing an example, Majd Fayyad, Technical Manager, Emirates Green Building Council, says that in 2018, the growing oversupply of high-end residential and commercial properties saw investment yields start to fall, way before the pandemic triggered further reductions in construction contract awards in 2020. Fayyad says that though there has been a decline in the value of new contracts in the GCC region – for instance, it went down by 40% to just over USD 4 billion in April 2020 – the outlook for 2021, according to Deloitte, is more optimistic, with the UAE’s GDP set to grow 2.5%.

Phillipa Grant

For Phillipa Grant, Partner and Director of Sustainability, AESG, the construction pipeline is not as dry as people may think. “I think there has been a shift, and Dubai has become a bit more of a regional design hub for the Middle East,” she says. “There is a lot of work being done in Dubai, which covers the wider GCC region, as well as in Africa; so, for the whole MENA region, a lot of new construction is still going on, which is managing to keep the architects and engineers within Dubai busy.”

A more pressing issue affecting project pipelines is the shift in the overall energy intensity in buildings following the onset of COVID-19,with Fayyad pointing out that social distancing measures and teleworking reduced people’s use of commercial buildings, while increasing energy consumption at home. He adds that in the first half of 2020, electricity use in residential buildings in some countries grew by 20-30% while falling by around 10% per cent in commercial building*. “Further, the 2020 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction states that CO2 emissions from the operation of buildings have increased to their highest level in 2019,” he says.

Majd Fayyad

Overall, Fayyad says there is ample opportunity in 2021 to look at the way buildings are utilised. He points out that these factors are increasing focus on implementing green building best practices in upcoming developments and driving momentum for retrofitting practices, which has already been a strong focus in recent years in the move to achieve greater energy efficiency and reduced emissions and costs. Azmi S Aboulhoda, Director, EMergy Consultancy, shares a similar opinion. “In the UAE, attention towards energy retrofitting has been increasing for several years now,” he says. “It is moving in parallel with the new construction. Recently, few steps have been taken in Saudi Arabia to govern the business and establish guidelines and regulations. With the increase in number of people working remotely, a new concern has been raised that will push the retrofit business in the region towards homes.” Aboulhoda points out that retrofitting holds strong opportunity to enhance the value of buildings and that it will need to be considered not just from an energy perspective but also in the way we use spaces.

Azmi S Aboulhoda

Ronak Monga, Segment Development Manager – Commercial Building Services, Grundfos, says that the same trend can be seen in Oman and Kuwait, as well. “Many of the buildings you see in these countries have now existed for more than ten years,” he says. “These old buildings present a high energy savings potential. Business sectors that operate their buildings, such as hospitals, schools and hotels, have the highest energy savings opportunity in their existing infrastructure. Not only will retrofit ensure smooth operation and maintenance, but it will also significantly reduce operational expenditure, which then improves their bottom line.” He adds that with the pandemic situation, businesses are focusing on keeping operational expense to a minimum to survive the global economic impact brought by COVID-19.

ENERGY FOR THE PURPOSES OF ROI

To date, a lot of the retrofitting initiatives are directed towards addressing the changes in energy consumption profiles. Fayyad points out that with mass teleworking and eLearning shifting activities to the residential subsector and several major companies allowing their workforce the freedom to work from home, existing commercial and office spaces, undoubtedly, need to be adapted, retrofitted and/or repurposed to cater to occupancy profile, be it partial or full. Aboulhoda says that this is the main concern driving building and business owners towards retrofitting, as they will be paying almost the same amount of utility bills, despite the reduced occupancy.

Ronak Monga

Grant adds that these trends have a long-term effect on discussions surrounding office spaces and that this will lead to different streams of thoughts from architects and designers. “A lot of building owners are looking more at flexibility and the use of space in different and more innovative ways,” she says. “This is better than having a vacant space, which is a waste of energy, as you will still need to keep it running; and also, there is the cost impact. So, there will be focus on flexibility, looking at how spaces can be used and how we can make the most of existing stock we have with the changing environment.”

Monga adds that this drastic change in occupancy has brought into focus how buildings perform in part-load conditions – and usually, the efficiency during part load is a focus during design – but has not brought much into focus when buildings are in operation. “This drastic change in occupancy in buildings has brought into attention both during new projects and retrofits how various systems operate in part load,” he says. Fayyad says that a lot of the older building stock is not equipped to handle these challenges, as the existing control systems are outdated or, in some cases, not even present. “Building retrofits in these scenarios can allow owners and facility management to respond adequately using demand-controlled control strategies,” he says. “It not only allows them to save energy and water but also gives them the tools necessary to respond to different occupancy levels. They are also able to record the time-of-use and the energy profile throughout the operations to gather data and optimise their controls and operations.”

Fayyad says that in the UAE, there is an enormous potential in the buildings and construction sector to increase resource and material efficiencies, drive carbon emissions reductions and stimulate economic growth. “Based on the EmiratesGBC’s Building Efficiency Accelerator Project Report, the best hotel and hotel apartment performers consume 58% less energy and 65% less water per unit area than the worst performers in the category,” he says. “The best performers among schools consume 61% less energy and 84% less water per unit area compared to the worst. Among malls, the lowest consumer uses 35% less energy and 58% less water per area compared to the highest consumer.” Fayyad points out that this shows the strong potential for savings and operational efficiencies that can be achieved through remedial actions, such as audits, retrofits, energy management and the use of awareness campaigns or trainings to drive changes in behaviour.

Grant says that there has been a lot of push from a sustainability perspective. “That’s only going to increase, because there is going to be more and more pressure to reduce energy consumption, improve efficiency, reduce carbon, and hit international, regional and local targets,” she says. “So, the pressure is going to mount from a sustainability perspective, which is great, because I think it needs to happen. There needs to be that pressure, and we’re still not on track to hit targets, and there is a lot more that needs to be done across all areas.” An area that Grant says has also been gaining better awareness in retrofits is fire and life safety, especially in existing high-rises, which typically face risk from poor cladding.

FOCUS ON HEALTH AND WELLNESS

In addition to energy-related and fire-and-safety-related building performance, retrofits have placed greater emphasis on occupant health. Aboulhoda says that nowadays, the energy-retrofitting projects are being combined with indoor environmental quality (IEQ) measures through projects that can be categorised as retro-commissioning, where energy is not the only or main concern. “This will attract investors looking forward to overcome the financial crisis of the current and any future pandemics,” he says. This move, Fayyad says, is especially evident in the retail and hospitality sectors. “Consumer confidence and spending were influenced, as employers took steps to manage the impact of COVID-19 by reducing salaries and cutting jobs,” he says. “In light of the ease of restrictions, lockdowns and the availability of vaccines, the tourism and retail sectors are slowly picking up.

These sectors are looking to increase customer confidence and, as a result, are following not only social distancing protocols but also the overall efficient operations of their facilities.” Fayyad points to ASHRAE and REHVA, which have released guidance for safe HVAC operations for the prevention of transmission of COVID-19 indoors, and these practices stem from proper IAQ and IEQ practices. “Increased outdoor-to-indoor ventilation and filtration, however, does increase energy consumption, and the only way to mitigate this is through efficient operations and/or retrofits,” he says. “This is not only limited to retail or hospitality but other sectors, as well, such as schools and commercial buildings. In critical times such as this, owners are increasingly aware that their buildings’ operations should not only have minimal costs but also be safe.”

Fayyad adds that the guidance developed by ASHRAE and REHVA rely on the core principles of sustainable and green buildings. “Research has shown that health and wellbeing features have a positive effect on employee retention and mental health as well reduced operational costs. This is a win-win situation for building owners and tenants, as owners do not have to spend as much capital on maintenance and operations,” he says. “Tenants, in turn, enjoy the benefits of a healthier indoor environment and do not have to pay as much on their utilities. Several businesses, especially in hospitality and retail, are now obliged to ensure health and safety in buildings as a top priority. Their business revenue is now more than ever related to how seriously they take actions to ensure the safety of their guests, visitors and occupants.”

AboulHoda echoes this, saying that IEQ has become crucial for a successful retrofit. “COVID-19 has increased the awareness among building and business owners,” he says. “Further, COVID-19 has added another dimension of retrofit measures, such as economisers, which will more efficiently introduce outside air in buildings, and personalised systems, which will avoid running full systems when partial occupancies take place. The measures taken by building and business owners are more focused into concentrated hygiene practices that can be observed by occupants and visitors and can result in some kind of assurance. However, system-wise measures are yet to evolve, since they encounter high capital investments.”

For Grant, there was already a definite shift in mindset toward health and wellness being considered as part of sustainability even before the pandemic. “Buildings are expanding to have that social health and welfare aspect from a design perspective, which is really great to see,” she says. “This was already happening, pre-COVID, and of course, COVID shone a light on health on a global scale to make sure people have healthy and safe spaces to live and work. I would expect additional drivers to that growing area and field. It will shift the way residential design is considered.”

Monga is in agreement, adding that pre-COVID, there was a lot of talk about improvement of employee productivity in relation to IAQ and IEQ “But the safety and health aspect of it has increased even more during the pandemic,” he says. “COVID-19 has also increased the focus on water disinfection – controlling the growth of any micro-organisms, like Legionella, in the water that we use on a day-to-day basis is equally important to stop the spread of communicable diseases.” Grant believes while there has been positive movement, more needs to be done. “I would still say, we are not seeing as much activity in retrofit as we would like to,” she says. “It would be great from a sustainability perspective to see that part of the market incentivised more to promote improvements in the existing buildings stock. I know there are regulations and government incentives coming into play. I should say that would hopefully stimulate more retrofit activities. We are hoping to still see more happen.”

Fayyad agrees. “While the efforts taken by the UAE government in this direction are commendable, we must continue to push the building and construction sector towards greater efficiencies and to lower the carbon emissions,” he says. “We only have a few years to meet the Paris Agreement targets, and now is the right time to start looking at deep retrofits as a key step in this journey.” Fayyad recommends achieving deep buildings retrofits, targeting 50% energy reduction by decreasing energy demand and implementing energy efficiency measures before adding on-site renewables. “In fact, 50% energy reduction is a realistic target for poor performing buildings, as our Deep Retrofit Study identified,” he says. Elaborating more on this study, Fayyad says that all respondents showed a positive position, with a majority agreeing that deep retrofits are achievable in the UAE with an acceptable payback period using the current technologies available in the market. “While most in the private sector agree that retrofits should be mandated, the developers prefer that building rating schemes should be made compulsory, instead, or retrofits made voluntary with more financial incentives developed,” he says. “Developers also agreed that an annual reduction target of 11-20% (in kWh) is adequate, should retrofits be mandated.”

Monga says that possibly having an incentive-based model, where higher commercial value is given to energy-efficient buildings, would be a “dream come true”. “Denmark has a similar concept – where a home or a building that is rated higher in energy efficiency can demand higher rent and selling price,” he says. “Therefore, incentivising the building developers also incentivises the potential tenants or buyers, as it helps them save on energy and heating costs in the long run.”  In the region, Fayyad adds that the top three challenges to deep retrofits identified by the respondents were lack of landlord interest, lack of financial incentives and low tariff rates. “The results also showed there is greater need of market awareness of both retrofit projects and the  expertise of the retrofit market,” he says. “EmiratesGBC recommends that ESCOs should report their project savings transparently and consistently to build confidence and repertoire within the industry to encourage the public to pursue more retrofits.” Fayyad adds that with the support of regulations and incentives, a decarbonisation roadmap can be realised.

RAK Municipality signs MoU with Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL)

RAS AL KHAIMAH, UAE, 17 February 2021: Ras Al Khaimah Municipality signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) – a joint venture of Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) under the Ministry of Power, Government of India – for a strategic collaboration for energy efficiency and clean energy projects. Making the announcement through a Press release, the Municipality added that H.E. Munther Mohammed bin Shekar, its Director General, and Saurabh Kumar, Executive Vice Chairperson, EESL Group, were the signatories.

According to the Municipality, the MoU establishes a framework for collaboration across various energy efficiency and renewable energy programs in support of the Ras Al Khaimah Energy Efficiency & Renewables Strategy 2040 (EE&R Strategy).

Commenting on the objectives of the MoU, H.E. bin Shekar said, “The Government of Ras Al Khaimah is committed to the successful implementation of Ras Al Khaimah Energy Efficiency and Renewables Strategy 2040. We welcome the collaboration with EESL, as their unique and vast expertise in energy efficiency can be relevant for us in developing effective projects across many sectors of energy efficiency and renewable energy in Ras Al Khaimah.” Sharing his views on the collaboration, Kumar said: “We are always exploring new avenues for implementing energy efficiency initiatives that are sector- and geography-agnostic. This partnership with Ras Al Khaimah Municipality is a big step towards tapping the immense potential for energy efficiency in the Emirate. Our expertise in handling the world’s largest energy efficiency portfolio and Ras Al Khaimah Municipality’s local experience and technical skills will synergise perfectly to create lasting positive impact in the region.”

Under this MoU, EESL, through its presence in the UAE, will support Ras Al Khaimah Municipality in implementing clean energy and energy efficiency projects under its Integrated Energy Efficiency Service (IEES) model, the Municipality said. This model includes integration of EESL’s various programmes, including the consumer-based Efficient Appliances Programme, Industrial Energy Efficiency Programme, Building Energy Efficiency Programme, Utility-scale Solar Programme, Trigeneration, National Motor Replacement Programme and the National E-mobility Programme, the Municipality added.

The Municipality said it will jointly develop and implement the programme framework with EESL. It said that EESL will make investments and develop customised project models relevant to Ras Al Khaimah. The collaboration is expected to develop and drive energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, as part of the Ras Al Khaimah Energy Efficiency and Renewables Strategy 2040, it added. The Strategy, established under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, targets 30% energy savings, 20% water savings, and 20% contribution of electricity from renewable sources by 2040.

GEA speaks of improving plant efficiency, reducing carbon emissions

DUESSELDORF, Germany, 12 February 2021: Potential energy savings of up to 30% and a significant reduction in CO2 emissions by as much as 90% or even 100% – that’s what its Sustainable Energy Solutions (SEnS), which integrates processes and utilities (refrigeration and heating) solutions, can help in developing optimisation strategies for customers in diverse industries, GEA said through a Press release. Numerous successfully completed SEnS projects from GEA show that these optimisations reduce the customer’s energy footprint and running costs, without compromising output or the bottom line, GEA added.

Kai Becker
Source: GEA

According to the United Nations, energy efficiency offers a potential 40% of the emission reductions required to help meet global climate goals, GEA pointed out. Due to a growing number of rules and regulations and its own climate targets, there is an absolute need for the industry to reduce its carbon footprint and become more energy-efficient, overall, it said. With cooling and heating traditionally accounting for anywhere between 50% and 90% of a plant’s entire energy consumption, it’s the ideal starting point for GEA’s SEnS initiative, it added.

GEA said its SEnS offering is a culmination of a broad processing portfolio and years of industry know-how, combined with extensive refrigeration expertise. “SEnS supports customers in the food processing, dairy and beverage industries, helping them achieve their climate goals by making them more sustainable,” said Kai Becker, CEO, Refrigeration Technology Division, GEA. As a global industrial technology provider, GEA said, it will continue to strengthen its SEnS offering in 2021. Using the SEnS approach, GEA said it will promote the increased adoption of sustainable solutions, which drive down energy consumption and reduce carbon emissions while helping customers from diverse industry sectors slash their operational costs.

Ulrich Walk
Source: GEA

Ulrich Walk, Chief Service Officer (CSO) – Refrigeration Technologies, said: “GEA has developed a structured holistic and proven approach that begins with analysing the customer’s precise energy requirements, then making process optimizations and including utilities in the equation. By connecting heat pump technology to manufacturing processes, the GEA experts ensure energy is moving circularly, rather than being wasted.”

According to GEA, each SEnS project includes a single point of contact, enabling customers to achieve genuine and proven reductions in energy consumption and their carbon footprint. The SEnS process, the company said, is backed up by a cross-functional engineering team, with experts from dairy, food or beverage processing, as required, as well as team members with refrigeration (heating & cooling) expertise in diverse processing industries. Each project, it added, considers the customer’s business parameters and ambitions, formulated as measurable KPIs, against which the installation must deliver.

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.

ENGIE in “sustainable” server cooling initiative

LINDAU ON LAKE CONSTANCE, Germany 5 February 2021: ENGIE Refrigeration spoke of how it intends to install a thermeco2 high-temperature heat pump of machine type HHR 130 with a heating capacity of 100 kilowatts at the Ludwigsburg District Office, in Baden-Württemberg, in Germany. The company added that the model is especially eco-friendly, partly because it utilises the natural refrigerant CO2 and partly because it provides cold and heat simultaneously. ENGIE added that it has also conceptually overhauled the thermeco2 – the heat pump now contains a filter dryer and more control options.

The administrative campus of the District Office is home to almost all the important specialist departments in the Swabian district. Various services for the citizens of Ludwigsburg are provided there with the aid of digital tools. This requires a powerful IT infrastructure, which is why the District Office maintains an in-house data centre, ENGIE said. Ambient temperature plays an essential role in reliable operation. As the server racks generate a large amount of heat, the refrigeration supply must function smoothly around the clock. In the summer of 2019, it became clear that action was needed here. “The existing R22 refrigeration system was outdated and needed to be fully modernized,” said Frank Glaser, Key Account Manager for Heating Applications at ENGIE Refrigeration. “As the Ludwigsburg District Office attaches great importance to a sustainable refrigeration solution, it chose the thermeco2 high-temperature heat pump from ENGIE Refrigeration.”

The District Office intends to operate in climate-neutral fashion from 2025, ENGIE said. To achieve this, it wants to use a photovoltaic system and a combined heat and power system to produce and consume its own electricity in future.

ENGIE said it is supporting the District Office on its path towards climate neutrality with sustainable server cooling. “The Ludwigsburg District Office requires heat uncoupling in a challenging temperature range: High outlet temperatures of up to 90 degrees Celsius, and a low inlet temperature of 38 degrees Celsius,” Glaser said. “Our thermeco2 high-temperature heat pump unfolds its full potential under these conditions, while alternative solutions could only achieve this with a great deal of technical and primary energy expenditure.”

A thermeco2 high-temperature heat pump. Source: ENGIE Refrigeration GmbH

The heat pump will be installed at the District Office in March 2021 and will then provide the baseload refrigeration for year-round server cooling, ENGIE said. Furthermore, the heat pump will cool the administrative building in the winter months and, thanks to its heat recovery function, simultaneously provide heat for heating the building, for heating drinking water and for conditioning the recirculated air in the server rooms, the company added. This makes the refrigeration solution especially sustainable, which is why it is subsidised by the state. Additional chillers and boilers are available for peak loads in hot or cold weather, ENGIE said.

With its machine design, the heat pump adapts easily to local conditions, ENGIE claimed. The heat pump uses the natural refrigerant CO2 as its refrigerant. It is extremely safe (safety class A1) and, therefore, involves few safety-related requirements for the installation space, the company said. In addition, CO2 is non-combustible and non-toxic, and it does not contribute to the destruction of the ozone layer or to the greenhouse effect, the company added. In total, the heat pump will save 38.4 tons of CO2 per year when compared to the existing refrigeration system – fully in line with the sustainability strategy of the District Office, the company further added.

ENGIE said it has subjected the heat pump to fundamental enhancements, which will now take effect for the first time in the machine for the District Office. “As of now, we will be relying on our tried-and-tested QUANTUM electrical components in the thermeco2 as well,” Glaser said. “In addition, the filter dryer will become the standard. It keeps the refrigerant circuit clean and dry and, thus, counteracts the decay of the chiller oil, corrosion and further contamination. This allows us to keep the performance of the system at a constant high level.” In addition, the company said, the heat pump weighs around 10% less than the previous model, thanks to its optimised design, smaller switch cabinet and soldered connections instead of flange connections.

JCI unveils sustainability commitments

CORK, Ireland, 29 January 2021: Johnson Controls (JCI) announced new environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments, science-based targets as well as a net-zero-carbon pledge to support a healthy, more sustainable planet over the next two decades. Making the announcement through a Press release, the company said its emissions reduction drive and that of its customers will be powered by its OpenBlue technologies and innovations, which leverage big data and artificial intelligence to optimise buildings sustainability.

“Sustainability is at the heart of our business and fundamental to everything that we do as a company,” said George Oliver, Chairman and CEO, Johnson Controls. “Today’s announcement reinforces our continued commitment to developing best-in-class climate solutions, and OpenBlue will empower our customers to streamline building operations and uncover energy efficiencies that will help meet their environmental goals. We continue to make sustainability a top priority for the company, our customers and our suppliers, and have set ambitious goals that will drive significant improvements in carbon emissions.”

The launch of the new commitments, the company said, will enable it to deliver quantifiable efforts to reduce carbon emissions, drive climate-focused innovation and work closely with customers and suppliers to meet sustainability goals as well as measurable impact against its three key OpenBlue healthy building pillars: healthy people, healthy places and a healthy planet. These commitments, it added, are:

Environmental Sustainability Commitments:

  • Set science-based targets consistent with the most ambitious 1.5 degrees C Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change scenario
  • Reduce Johnson Controls’ operational emissions by 55% and reduce customers’ emissions by 16% before 2030
  • Achieve net-zero-carbon emissions before 2040, in line with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Race to Zero and Business Ambition for 1.5 degrees C criteria
  • Invest 75% of new product development R&D in climate-related innovation to develop sustainable products and services
  • Achieve 100% renewable electricity usage globally by 2040

Customer and supply chain commitments:

  • Double annual avoided emissions by 2030 through customer use of Johnson Controls’ OpenBlue digitally enabled products and services
  • Create a supplier sustainability council with cohorts of suppliers, and their tier-one suppliers, and provide suppliers with training on sustainability best practices and OpenBlue digital tools in order to meet ambitious, public sustainability goals
  • Weight sustainability equal to other key metrics in supplier performance evaluations and provide a preference for suppliers with excellent sustainability ratings

Social and Governance Sustainability Commitments:

  • Intends to double the representation of women leaders globally and minority leaders in the United States within five years
  • Launch an initiative to educate the next generation of diverse sustainable building industry leaders, in partnership with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
  • Include sustainability and diversity goals in senior leaders’ performance assessments, which are linked to executive compensation to drive accountability
  • Launch an initiative focused on underserved markets and increase Johnson Controls’ spend with women- and minority-owned businesses

Katie McGinty, Vice President & Chief Sustainability, Government and Regulatory Affairs Officer, JCI, said: “Our commitments reinforce the urgency to make positive changes that will improve the health of our planet, and we believe we are uniquely positioned to help customers and suppliers achieve their sustainability goals, in addition to our own. We are excited to step up the role we play and will continue to innovate and uncover new pathways to meet our goals which will contribute to healthier people, healthier places and a healthier planet.”

Empower signs contract to supply 30,000 RT of district cooling to wasl1 development

Ahmad Bin Shafar with H.E. Hesham Al Qassim during the signing ceremony

DUBAI, UAE, 26 January 2021: Emirates Central Cooling Systems Corporation (Empower), announced that it has signed an agreement with Dubai-based Wasl Asset Management Group, one of the largest real estate development and management companies in Dubai, to supply its mixed-use development, wasl1, with 30,000 Refrigeration Tons of district cooling.

Currently being carried out in several phases, the project is located in proximity to Dubai’s arterial Sheikh Zayed Road and Al Jafiliya Metro Station, with views of Zabeel Park. wasl1 will eventually feature 13 residential towers, of which the first phase, Park Gate Residences – comprising four towers and consisting of 746 residential units – has been completed and handed over. wasl1 will also include a range of entertainment facilities, children’s play areas, fully equipped gymnasiums, a multi-purpose hall, and a number of retail stores, restaurants and cafes.

In his comments, H.E. Hesham Al Qassim, CEO, Wasl Asset Management Group, said: “We chose Empower based on its tremendous capabilities in providing district cooling services, and we believe that its efficacy will contribute to strengthening the distinctive wasl1 project. The company’s advanced technologies support our mandate to contribute to the sustainable development of the emirate, while also ensuring the provision of the best cooling services to tenants, effectively enhancing the unique characteristics of wasl1 as a luxury residential project.”

According to Empower, providing a project of such magnitude with green district cooling services has prompted the corporation to direct AED 210 million in investments to finance the construction of seven energy transmission and storage stations (ETS), and to connect the project to the new district cooling plant that is currently underway in the Zabeel area. This, Empower said, would require the building of a subway under Sheikh Zayed Road, in addition to the expansion of the district cooling network.

Empower also said that the wasl1 project will be provided with district cooling services in a number of phases. By mid-2021, the first phase is expected to be completed, which would enable it to provide 3,351 RT of cooling and up to the total capacity of 30,000 RT – equivalent to half of the production of the new Zabeel plant, Empower said. Subsequently, the district cooling plant in the Dubai Financial Centre, currently under operation, will be connected to the new Zabeel plant, with a total load of 112,000 RT, Empower added. This comes in the framework of a proactive plan it has established to meet the needs of the existing as well as of the upcoming mega development projects launched in this vital area of Dubai, Empower further added.

Ahmad Bin Shafar, CEO, Empower, said: “We are working hard to serve the pioneering real estate projects, and we aim to provide all residential, commercial and entertainment facilities and sectors in the emirate of Dubai with district cooling services of sustainable international standards. This emphasizes the pioneering role Dubai plays with regards to reducing carbon emissions, which comes in line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, may God protect him.”

Bin Shafar pointed out that adding the wasl1 project to Empower’s portfolio reflects the confidence real estate developers and dealers have in the reliable services it provides. He added that the association with the project also enhances its role in providing more quality cooling services with 50% less energy consumption, compared to the currently used traditional refrigeration services.

Danfoss Press Release – Fresh food, with minimum energy

NORDBORG, Denmark, 21, January 2021: Danfoss said it has strengthened its Alsense IoT services with a holistic store-level software suite, moving store maintenance from reactive to proactive. Making the announcement through a Press release, the company said the technology enables food retailers to prioritise and reduce their maintenance efforts across stores and critical events. It added that the software solution was originally developed by Honeywell.

“We are thrilled to welcome the Smart Refrigeration Solution and incorporate it into our Alsense cloud-based services,” said Jürgen Fischer, President, Danfoss Cooling Segment. “We are now putting predictive maintenance into action, allowing the food retail industry to prevent unplanned cooling system downtime and inefficiencies in energy consumption.”

Natalie Schnippering, Head, Product Management Digital Services, Danfoss, said: “Combining the Smart Refrigeration Solution with our existing Alsense portfolio accelerates our ambition of meeting food retail customers’ needs for optimizing and proactively maintaining a high store performance. The solution goes beyond the traditional monitoring systems that are primarily providing alarms and data overviews. It identifies operating issues, such as compressor failure or coil icing, and provides hands-on guidance to fix them.”

According to Danfoss, Alsense provides food retail professionals with transparency and executive overviews of refrigeration assets and energy efficiency at chain level. Going forward, the combined Alsense offering will enable managers to easily benchmark and prioritise efforts across stores to save time and optimise the impact of their maintenance spend, Danfoss said. Further, Alsense will provide service technicians with a prioritised action plan, empowering them to immediately address equipment performance and operating concerns upon arrival at a store, Danfoss added.

Chris LaPietra, Vice President and General Manager, Honeywell Stationary Refrigerants, said, “The Smart Refrigeration Solution software was developed based on customer requirements gathered from leading food retailers, who were looking to save money by reducing energy spend and improving performance of their refrigeration system.”

According to Danfoss, the step follows the launch of its Alsense IoT platform in October 2020 and will accelerate its efforts in providing food retail professionals with intuitive software tools and data-driven, expert-enabled insights to optimise operational efficiency, refrigeration asset performance and energy efficiency.

Ministry of Climate Change and Environment launches policies to boost UAE’s sustainability agenda

ABU DHABI, UAE, 24 January 2021: His Excellency Dr Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, launched new initiatives and policies to boost the UAE’s sustainability agenda, the Ministry said through a Press release.  The launch happened during the annual Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), the Ministry added.

The Minister highlighted the importance of driving coordinated action to expedite the energy transition and increase the share of renewables in the countries’ energy mix at the opening ceremony of the 11th Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). He reflected on the UAE’s journey in deploying renewables at home and abroad, leading to a considerable surge in its domestic production capacity, as well as playing an effective and distinct role in reducing the cost of renewable energy worldwide.

At the Ministerial Plenary Meeting on National Energy Planning and Implementation for Fostering Energy Transition, Dr Al Nuaimi presented the UAE’s new climate ambitions, set out in its second Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement. He noted that the NDC fell under the country’s national economic and energy diversification drive, manifested in its current energy transition.

Moreover, Dr Al Nuaimi delivered the closing remarks at the first joint meeting to prepare for two landmark UN summits that will take place in New York in September 2021 – the Food Systems Summit and the High-level Dialogue on Energy. The participants proposed targets, policies, initiatives, and other outcomes for the summits that have simultaneous food, energy and climate benefits.

At a panel session, titled ‘COP26 – a Crucial Stepping Stone on the Path to a Sustainable Global Recovery’, the Minister stressed that the UN Climate Change Conference 2021 (COP26) is a timely opportunity for leaders to resume climate negotiations and work on a shared vision for raising climate ambition in the context of a green recovery.

He pointed out that throughout the tough times posed by COVID-19, the UAE has remained dedicated to accelerating its transition to a green economy, as part of its recovery plans, and has taken great strides along this path, including moving forward with its renewables and nuclear projects.

At the third edition of the Abu Dhabi Sustainable Finance Forum, His Excellency Dr Al Nuaimi announced the launch of the UAE Sustainable Finance Framework 2021-2031 in partnership with Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM). Pioneered by the Ministry, the national framework supports the mobilisation of private capital towards low-carbon, environmentally sustainable and climate-resilient investments.

With the aim of ensuring the UAE emerges as a leader in climate knowledge, the Minister launched the UAE Climate Change Research Network that brings together a group of committed scientists and researchers to advance climate data collection and policy-relevant research on climate change impacts and adaptation. The Network presents opportunities for climate scientists in the UAE to engage with one another and with their peers from other countries as well as to facilitate research collaborations.

Dr Al Nuaimi also unveiled the inaugural edition of The UAE State of Climate Report, which provides an overview of the state of knowledge on historical and projected climate changes and their impacts on the UAE and the wider Arabian Gulf region.

On the sidelines of ADSW 2021, the Minister opened the winners’ announcement of the third edition of the Global Innovation Award (GIA), organised by Globally on behalf of MOCCAE. The competition aims to attract innovations from around the world to the UAE to support the country in its quest to become a world leader in sustainable development. This year’s GIA received a record number of applications – more than 1,200 from 65 countries. The winner was Cambrian Innovation, from the United States, with its innovative waste-to-energy solution that purifies wastewater while producing energy from the contaminants.

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.

Climate change and the larger picture of finances

Mayor James Brainard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AESG in global expansion drive with 45% growth target for 2021

Saeed Al Abbar

Dubai, UAE, 06 January 2021: Consultancy, engineering and advisory firm, AESG announced the appointment of global directors for each of its lines of business, as well as the expansion of the role of the company co-founder, Saeed Al Abbar, to group-wide CEO. Making the announcement through a Press release, the firm said the move follows the establishment of offices in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom, and successful delivery of large-scale projects across the Middle East, Europe and Asia. The consolidation of service teams under unified global divisions, AESG said, will enable it to deploy the best skills and resources from all its international offices on projects worldwide.

Outlining how this strategy bolsters the company’s ambitious plans for the upcoming year, Al Abbar said: “2021 is set to be a significant growth year for AESG, as we build on the momentum we have established. While the Middle East will remain a focal market for us, we are also seeing steady growth in our business in the UK and Europe, as well as a surge in opportunities in Asia. Our reorganization perfectly positions us to capitalize on these opportunities, as we draw on the brightest and most qualified talent from each market to drive our success across the vast geography of our operations.”

Phillipa Grant

AESG said that under the direction of its newly appointed global directors it is looking to further grow its teams. The company said it has budgeted for a 45% increase in headcount, with the objective of scaling to 140 professionals through 2021. The company also revealed its intention to replicate in Asia the strategy that has proven highly successful in the Middle East and Europe by establishing a regional headquarters in Singapore. 

AESG said its newly appointed global directors will be tasked with leading teams, driving the growth of their service lines and ensuring best practices are implemented across regions. Two AESG Global Directors have been promoted from within the company, with Phillipa Grant and Nivine Issa now taking on the roles of Global Director of Sustainability and Global Director of Environment, respectively. Grant and Issa have also taken up equity partnership in the firm, demonstrating their long-term commitment to AESG and highlighting the company’s leadership in gender equality in the field.

Nivine Issa

With its appointment of Peter Downer to the position of Global Director of Fire and Life Safety, AESG said it is also looking to draw from the experience and expertise of a business leader who has worked with large multinational construction consultancy firms. An industry veteran of over 35 years – 15 of which have been in senior leadership positions – Downer has worked extensively on projects across the Middle East, Asia and Australia, AESG said. Prior to joining AESG, he served as the Senior VP at Jensen Hughes, where he led the Asia region, which included offices in China, Malaysia, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau.

Peter Downer

Al Abbar said: “AESG has successfully navigated the challenges of 2020, and as developers look to enhance and optimize the efficiency, sustainability, safety and manageability of their investments, our comprehensive portfolio of specialist services is now more relevant than ever. We maintain a highly optimistic outlook with confidence that our commitment to maintaining service excellence through our ongoing expansion will further validate our position as a leading global consultancy firm.”

GEA wins at RAC Cooling Industry Awards

 

The GEA Grasso Conversion Kit (GGCK) at the North Yorkshire site. Photo courtesy GEA

DUESSELDORF, Germany, 18 December 2020: GEA won in the ‘Contractor of the Year 2020’ category at the RAC Cooling Industry Awards, on December 9. In addition, GEA received a “highly commended” rating in the ‘Building Energy Project of the Year’ category, during a pandemic-induced virtual ceremony, organised and conducted by the British Refrigeration & Air Conditioning magazine (RAC), the company said through a Press release.

According to GEA, the award recognises companies that have made a special commitment to environmentally friendly and innovative solutions in the refrigeration and air conditioning industry. 

GEA bagged the ‘Contractor of the Year’ award for implementing the Quorn Foods project, which the company said involved installing a new compressor to improve performance – in parallel with replacing a faulty refrigeration system during a planned shutdown at the food manufacturer’s plant at its site in North Yorkshire, in the United Kingdom. The customer, as well as the judges of the RAC Cooling Industry Awards, were delighted with the solution it provided, GEA claimed. By investing in a GEA Grasso Conversion Kit (GGCK), Quorn Foods benefited from a larger compressor that replaced ageing equipment and increased cooling capacity by an additional seven per cent, GEA said. This not only improved the site’s efficiency, but also resulted in energy savings and a reduced carbon footprint, GEA claimed. GEA said it also upgraded the existing control system with a new OMNI Retrofit Panel control (GORP). The control and management system ensures optimal operation of the plant, it added.

Throughout the installation, the GEA Refrigeration Technologies team worked under great time pressure, with only 10 days available for all the work, GEA said, adding that it successfully completed the project in just five days and, as a result, Quorn Foods was able to restart production without interrupting the plant’s workflow.

GEA said the RAC Cooling Industry Awards judges praised its strong commitment at the awards. “GEA demonstrated great foresight and found a cost-effective solution for the customer within the given timeframe through its great expertise and decades of experience in refrigeration,” GEA quoted the judges as saying. “Furthermore, GEA also took the opportunity to improve the flexibility of the plant’s operation and realized energy savings.”

GEA said the jury of the Awards also praised its project for the Scottish premium ice cream manufacturer, Mackie’s, offering GEA a “Highly Commended” recognition for executing the project.

The Mackie’s project saw GEA replace the existing freezer at the ice cream maker’s Aberdeenshire plant with a design using an ammonia and CO2 low-carbon, energy-efficient cooling system to work alongside an absorption chiller. It was the first large-scale ice cream production plant in Scotland to combine biomass heat and absorption cooling, GEA said. The solution, it added, helped Mackie’s achieve its plan and ambitious target of CO2 reductions of 90% and energy cost savings of 70-80%

Mackie’s Aberdeenshire plant. Photo courtesy GEA

Whoosh!

The design and construction of a new building or urban area is a highly complex project, which needs to take into account a plethora of considerations, including safety, durability, aesthetics, energy efficiency, sustainability and cost-effectiveness.

One critical concern is pedestrian wind comfort. The fact that a new structure impacts the microclimate in its vicinity makes wind engineering a serious application to pay attention to for many architects, civil engineers and urban planners.

Depending on its shape, height and location, a building can have a positive or negative impact on wind direction, wind speed, radiation, air pollution and more. Increased wind speeds, for example, is a common phenomenon that appears at the pedestrian level around a high-rise or buildings characterised by a complex shape.

Flatiron Building, New York City

 

A famous example is the Flatiron Building, in New York City, between East 22nd and East 23rd streets. The building splits Broadway and Fifth Avenue and sits at the end of an open passageway created by Madison Square Park, in the north. Due to the geography of its location, the wind currents around the building can be treacherous. The layout of the area, combined with the shape of the building, can create unpredictable gusts of wind, which are uncomfortable for pedestrians. This is actually one of the reasons the building has become so famous since its construction in 1902. The building had raised fears that the structural system would not be able to endure the wind loads, but this has not been the case. The engineers designed it to endure winds four times stronger than are generated on site. Owing to the building’s shape, wind currents from the leading edge of the building move in a vortex pattern in both up and down directions. Nevertheless, pedestrian wind comfort does remain an issue for the iconic building and is a lesson for all new construction projects.

Along with pedestrian comfort, wind safety is even more important, with reports showing cases of serious injuries and even deaths caused by high wind speed in urban areas.

In most countries, construction projects require compliance with a wind engineering standard, such as NEN 8100 for wind nuisance and ASCE 7 for wind loads.

Assessment of pedestrian wind comfort with online CFD simulation (Source: SimScale)

 

In complying with these standards and ensuring pedestrian safety and comfort, engineering solutions are indispensable. Wind tunnel testing and numerical simulation with CFD are the tools used to investigate wind flow around a building configuration or a built-environment.

Wind effects to consider in urban planning

The most important considerations and wind effects in assessing pedestrian wind comfort are corner acceleration, Venturi or channeling effect, downwash effect and passages.

The corners of buildings are the regions that can create the highest discomfort in a built-environment, especially if high-rise buildings are present. The phenomenon of corner acceleration is caused by sharp building shapes, which can cause accelerations around the corners even for oblique winds. Further effects, like the side vortices, can be created from the difference in pressure between the front (with high pressure) and the sides (with low pressure) of the building. In these regions, wind engineering experts recommend not placing any gardens or public spaces, to ensure wind comfort and safety.

CFD simulation showing an example of corner acceleration around buildings (Source: SimScale)

 

The Venturi effect (or channeling effect) is the reduction in wind pressure, which happens when wind flows through a constricted area between two buildings, which results in wind acceleration through this channel. This effect can create high winds, which can be unsafe for pedestrians.

 

CFD simulation showing an example of Venturi or channeling effect between buildings (Source: SimScale)

 

The downwash effect is mainly caused by tall buildings, which capture winds at higher levels and redirect them to the ground. This causes a three-dimensional flow moving downwards and often creating a large recirculation at the ground level, together causing increased wind activity.

The fourth effect, passages, can create a high amplification factor and a strong wind jet, which forms when the flow with high pressure from the stagnation side tries to escape through the passage.

CFD simulation showing an example of downwash and another 3D effect between buildings (Source: SimScale)

 

This article presents a comparison between a CFD simulation study, created by online simulation provider SimScale and experimental results taken from the Guidebook for Practical Applications of CFD to Pedestrian Wind Environment around Buildings, published by the Architectural Institute of Japan (AIJ) in 2008. The guidebook sets the standards for cross-comparison between the results of CFD predictions, wind tunnel tests and field measurements, and is helpful in determining the accuracy of CFD codes for pedestrian wind comfort assessments.

Wind comfort validation study with SimScale online CFD simulation (Source: SimScale)

 

Conclusion 

With the construction industry constantly growing, technological advancements are the driving force behind better urban designs, dedicated to a higher standard of living and increased comfort for residents and pedestrians.

Wind engineering is integrated into a multidisciplinary approach to building design and construction projects. In this set-up, CFD simulation and wind tunnel studies are key solutions in ensuring pedestrian wind comfort and safety. With the emergence of cloud-based simulation software, this technology is becoming more accessible than ever before. Right on time for a new era in urban planning – the future is now.

The writer is Team Manager, Application Engineering, SimScale.

ASHRAE publishes new guideline for Historic Buildings

Atlanta, Georgia, USA, 21 April 2019: ASHRAE has published a new guideline for increasing energy efficiency in historic buildings while minimising the disturbance of the building’s historic character and materials. ASHRAE Guideline 34-2019, ‘Energy Guideline for Historic Buildings’, provides comprehensive and detailed descriptions of the processes and procedures for the retrofitting of historic buildings to achieve greater measured efficiency, ASHRAE said through a Press communiqué. The guideline is particularly aimed at providing guidance for ‘listed’ historic buildings – that is those formally designated or eligible to be designated as historically significant by a governing body, the communiqué announced. 

Guideline 34, the communiqué said, provides a step-by-step procedure for sensitive energy upgrading, beginning with forming the project team and gathering building and energy use histories, to instituting energy-efficiency measures (EEM). Building envelope improvements, environmental control strategies, energy system analysis, HVAC selection and lighting design considerations are all addressed in the guideline. All recommendations are made in consideration of preserving the integrity of the historically valuable building character, materials and associated artifacts.

“The committee members writing this guideline are exceptionally knowledgeable about the special issues related to historic buildings and the care needed to preserve them,” said 2018-2019 ASHRAE President Sheila J. Hayter, P.E., who also served as chair of the international guideline committee. “The committee’s intent was to provide guidance for worldwide communities and specifically for entire project teams – not just engineers.”

Many historic buildings were constructed without insulation and designed without active air conditioning systems – especially for mechanical cooling. Retrofitting such buildings requires specialised techniques during construction and operation, as well as sensitivity to respecting and preserving historical significance. With nearly two-thirds of existing buildings estimated to still be in service by 2050, project teams retrofitting any historic building for energy efficiency can benefit from the content of the guideline.

IRENA report charts pathways to further accelerate energy transformation

Berlin, Germany, 14 April 2019 – As the urgency to take bold climate action grows, new analysis by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) finds that scaling up renewable energy, combined with electrification, could deliver more than three quarters of the energy-related emission reductions needed to meet global climate goals. According to the latest edition of IRENA’s Global Energy Transformation: A Roadmap to 2050, launched earlier in the month at the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue, pathways to meet 86% of global power demand with renewable energy exist. Electricity would cover half of the global final energy mix. Global power supply would more than double over this period, with the bulk of it generated from renewable energy, mostly solar PV and wind.

“The race to secure a climate safe future has entered a decisive phase,” said IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera. “Renewable energy is the most effective and readily available solution for reversing the trend of rising CO2 emissions. A combination of renewable energy with a deeper electrification can achieve 75% of the energy-related emission reduction needed.”

According to the report, an accelerated energy transition in line with the Roadmap 2050 would also save the global economy up to USD 160 trillion, cumulatively over the next 30 years in avoided health costs, energy subsidies and climate damages. Every dollar spent on energy transition would pay off up to seven times, the report said. The global economy would grow by 2.5 per cent in 2050. However, climate damages can lead to significant socioeconomic losses, the report added.

“The shift towards renewables makes economic sense,” La Camera said. “By mid-century, the global economy would be larger, and jobs created in the energy sector would boost global employment by 0.2 per cent. Policies to promote a just, fair and inclusive transition could maximise the benefits for different countries, regions and communities. This would also accelerate the achievement of affordable and universal energy access. The global energy transformation goes beyond a transformation of the energy sector. It is a transformation of our economies and societies.”

But action is lagging, the report said. While energy-related CO2 emissions continued to grow by over one per cent annually on average in the last five years, emissions would need to decline by 70% below their current level by 2050 to meet global climate goals. This calls for a significant increase in national ambition and more aggressive renewable energy and climate targets.

IRENA’s roadmap recommends that national policy should focus on zero-carbon, long-term strategies. It also highlights the need to boost and harness systemic innovation. This includes fostering smarter energy systems through digitalisation as well as the coupling of end-use sectors, particularly heating and cooling and transport, via greater electrification, promoting decentralisation and designing flexible power grids.

“The energy transformation is gaining momentum, but it must accelerate even faster,” La Camera said. “The UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the review of national climate pledges under the Paris Agreement are milestones for raising the level of ambition. Urgent action on the ground at all levels is vital, in particular unlocking the investments needed to further strengthen the momentum of this energy transformation. Speed and forward-looking leadership will be critical – the world in 2050 depends on the energy decisions we take today.”

ENGIE announces new version of the Quantum Air

Lindau, Germany, 14 April 2019: ENGIE Refrigeration is redesigning its entire air-cooled Quantum series, the company said through a Press communiqué. The new Quantum air models will be available worldwide from June 24, the company added through the communiqué.

“The requirements for the refrigeration industry have changed in recent years,” said Jochen Hornung, CEO, ENGIE Refrigeration. “Our customers are placing increasing value on greater efficiency and performance in their chillers, for example. We are accommodating these changing conditions by redesigning our air-cooled QUANTUM series.”

Jochen Hornung, CEO, ENGIE Refrigeration

On the launch date, ENGIE Refrigeration will offer 28 basic models of the Quantum Air. Fourteen of these models use the refrigerant R-1234ze, and 14 models use the refrigerants R-134a and R-513A; all of them require lower quantities of refrigerant, the communiqué said. Like its predecessor model, the revised chiller is ideal for use in a variety of industries – from automotive manufacturers and suppliers to the chemicals and pharmaceuticals industry, industrial production and data centres, the communiqué said.

According to the communiqué, customers will benefit from additional important advantages in the future – ENGIE Refrigeration has combined the individual machine components in a new way, so that the Quantum Air surpasses even the exceedingly high efficiency of the current series. The chiller is also suitable for applications from 250 kilowatts to two megawatts, the communiqué quoted the company as saying, adding that with this refrigeration capacity, the Quantum Air outperforms not only its predecessor but also all air-cooled chillers from other manufacturers that are currently on the market.

Highview Power, TSK enter JV to develop cryogenic energy storage projects

LONDON and MADRID, 14 April 2019: Highview Power, which provides long-duration energy storage solutions, and TSK, a global engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) company headquartered in Spain, have entered into an agreement to co-develop gigawatt-hour scale, long-duration energy storage systems using Highview Power’s proprietary cryogenic energy storage solution, Highview said through a Press communiqué.

The new joint-venture company, named Highview TSK, will commit to the development of multiple projects in Spain, the Middle East and South Africa, the communiqué announced. An initial number of projects have been identified for several GWh of clean energy storage to be developed from 2019 through 2022, the communiqué said.
“We are thrilled to be working with a global EPC company of TSK’s caliber,” said Javier Cavada, CEO, Highview Power. “They have an impressive track record of deploying large-scale energy projects around the world, and we are excited to work with them to deploy our cryogenic technology. This partnership with TSK will help Highview Power accelerate momentum for our cryogenic energy storage systems in global markets and is ideal for applications like renewable energy shifting, enabling wind and solar for baseload generation, and hybridising cryogenic storage plants with traditional thermal generation systems.”

Joaquín García Rico, CEO, TSK, said: “After looking at a number of storage technologies, we have come to the conclusion that Highview’s cryogenic energy storage is the ideal solution to deliver long-duration, large-scale storage services to our customers. The technology is not only cost effective, it is also scalable, clean, has a long lifespan and can be deployed now. As a result of the joint capabilities of Highview Power and TSK, we expect to progressively grow our footprint and sales to reach target revenues of over 1 billion euro by 2021.”

According to the communiqué, Highview’s cryogenic systems are the only long-duration energy storage solution available today that are locatable and offer multiple gigawatt-hours of storage. That represents weeks’ worth of storage, not just hours or days. Grid operators are turning to long-duration energy storage to help improve power generation economics, balance the grid and increase reliability. At giga-scale, energy storage resources paired with renewables are equivalent in performance to – and could replace – thermal and nuclear baseload in addition to supporting the electricity transmission and distribution systems while providing additional security of supply.

TSK, the communiqué said, has constructed more than 20 GW of generation projects across 35 countries and brings extensive experience in both traditional energy generation and renewable projects, such as solar, wind and biomass, including more than 10 energy storage projects. According to the communiqué, Highview Power has developed the ideal long-duration energy storage technology for large-scale applications with its cryogenic energy storage technology and brings a skilled team that has developed over $13 billion in energy and infrastructure projects. Combined, the Highview TSK team will have over 1,000 skilled engineers and project managers to execute long-duration energy storage projects in its target markets, from their offices in Gijón, Madrid, Cologne, London and New York, the communiqué said.

Highview Power, the communiqué said, has already built and connected two cryogenic energy storage plants to the UK grid. The first plant was commissioned in 2014 in Slough, Greater London, with a capacity of 2.5 MWh, while in 2018, the world’s largest liquid air energy storage plant was inaugurated in Bury, Greater Manchester, with a capacity of 15 MWh, the communiqué said. The Bury plant shows in real time how cryogenic energy storage provides all possible balancing services, including Short Term Operating Reserve (STOR) and supports the grid during winter peaks, the communiqué said. Highview is currently developing several large projects that will be hundreds of MWhs in scale across the United States and Europe, the company claimed through the communiqué.
Besides being the most suitable solution to balance renewables and enable reliable renewable baseload power, cryogenic energy storage plants support and accelerate the energy transition when combined with traditional thermal power plants, the communiqué said. The plants can optimise operations utilising waste heat and cold into their process, which enables even more affordable and sustainable power production, the communiqué said.
As markets around the world focus on drastically reducing carbon dioxide emissions, there is an accelerated shutdown of traditional coal-fired power stations and massive deployment of intermittent renewable energy plants (mostly solar PV and wind), the communiqué said. This is causing grid reliability issues that are dependent on weather conditions, which drives demand of long-duration energy storage in all major geographic markets in order to ensure a stable and reliable grid. When shutting down and dismantling old power stations, the existing infrastructure and connections left behind become the perfect location to install cryogenic energy storage plants, solving the challenge of integrating massive amounts of renewables while retiring traditional assets.

A case of the market moving ahead of policy

North America generally does not shy away from participating in the dialogue on sustainability, with a number of well-known organisations, certification bodies and manufacturers paving the way for initiatives that promote greater energy efficiency within the built environment, not only across the continent but worldwide.

James Walters

James K. Walters, Vice President, International Affairs, Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), in identifying trends across North America, states that the work of standardisation bodies in this regard and the uptake of programmes, such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) have helped moved the dial towards a more integrated approach in addressing building requirements. “We are supportive of climate change mitigation efforts,” Walters states. “We are supportive of rational energy-efficiency standards and of approaching them holistically.”

Mahesh Ramanujam

Mahesh Ramanujam, President and CEO, United States Green Building Council (USBC), believes that the trend towards more efficient buildings will persist, despite the viewpoint of incumbent powers, emphasising that policy decisions are no longer the sole driver impacting the progress of “Green”. As many as “88 of the Fortune 100 companies have mandated LEED as their global Green Building rating system,” he says. “It is a market-driven tool and a voluntary management tool – it’s not regulation.” Ramanujam says this extends to government organisations, with 400 municipalities, 32 states and 15 federal agencies in the United States mandating and recommending LEED as a best guideline and practice protocol. “This means two decades worth of change management that has happened, globally,” he says. “It has been integrated as part of the core strategy. Sustainability is no longer about being a nice thing to do.”

Giorgio Elia, Vice President, UTC CCS Middle East, shares the company’s history with LEED in this regard. “Carrier was the first company to join the U.S. Green Building Council in 1993,” Elia says, “and is the only company to be a founding member of Green Building councils on four continents, including in Argentina, China, France, India, Kuwait, Singapore and South Africa.” Carrier in the Middle East, he adds, is licensed as an Education Partner to train in the LEED curriculum and has trained more than 500 people in the region. Carrier’s Middle East headquarters in the UAE, he adds, is certified LEED Gold, while Carrier Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah office is certified LEED Platinum.

Saad Ali

Providing a manufacturer’s perspective, Saad Ali, General Manager – Middle East and Africa, SPX Cooling Technologies, says LEED certification is frequently a goal of designers of many North American buildings. He says: “Energy savings is a key driver for many companies, as well, so power consumption is declining. The impact of that will be evident in the next couple of years. Changes in government policies could impact these initiatives with fewer energy credits and subsidy programs available to companies for producing energy-efficient products for the market. But I think overall support for energy-efficient products will continue.”

James Connaughton

Regulations no longer seem to be a pre-requisite to encourage uptake and investment in energy-efficient technology, as James L. Connaughton, President and CEO, Nautilus Data Technologies, says. As an “ardent practitioner of free market environmentalism”, he believes a better product will always win out in the end. Connaughton, however, believes while government policy is not needed to encourage acceptance and investment of better products and solutions, it can play a role in hindering its advancement. This, he says, can happen by taking too long to permit more efficient and environmentally friendly technologies [to enter the market] and subsidising inefficient competitors. “That,” he says, “would not be helpful because government is providing our competitors with the economic advantage to improve their facilities.” Connaughton adds that while energy-efficiency standards are helpful in driving consumers and investors, they tend to work in favour of the incumbent. Thus, he says, they have to be designed appropriately so they can drive faster investment in economically beneficial outcomes and accomplish its objectives.

Ali says that while the rollback of some EPA clean energy rules by the current administration has caused headlines, it hasn’t deterred companies that develop HVAC products from continuing to pursue new technologies. “The recent paradigm shift in lighting serves as an example,” he says. “The introduction of LEDs as replacements for traditional incandescent light bulbs met with some consumer resistance. New technologies are often more expensive until they gain traction and acceptance.”

Kit Fransen

Kit Fransen, Director, Product Management, North America, Tecumseh, adds: “It’s no secret that there has been a shift in how buildings operate, as well as how people live and work in them. The sustainability movement is becoming more mainstream every day and plenty of manufacturers, including Tecumseh, look to reduce their overall environmental footprint, because it is shown to be profitable and drives innovation.” LEED and Green Globes, he says, are just a few programmes that were niche but now have become standard place in most building designs “as you can see with the continued integration of their requirements into ASHRAE or other international standards”. Fransen adds: “To meet these needs, manufacturers and end-users are now making investments with natural refrigerants such as hydrocarbons that require significant investment to operate equipment efficiently and safely. Before LEED or other ‘Green Building’ type standards, most people did not connect the dots regarding how much time we spend in commercial and industrial facilities that can impact our health as well as the world around us.” Ramanujam adds: “In the United States, Republicans and Democrats have disagreements on climate change and ‘Green’, but our growth was strong [even] during the Republican presidency. I’m hoping in the current trend we will grow more. Why? Because it provoked individual engagement, and that is what we are looking for.” LEED, he says, is about taking responsibility and accountability in saying “I want to go further and beyond”. Ramanujam says: “We don’t want somebody to tell us a regulation. We are going to do it, because we believe in it and we are going to push the envelope further. In a subtle way, it’s a good thing for the market, because people are going to do something about it.”

By popular demand

The market does, indeed, seem to be doing something about it, with manufacturers reporting an uptake in consumers showing more willingness to invest in a more efficient technology.

Ali emphasises that technological advancements owing to countries’ efforts to reduce reliance on petrochemicals inevitably cascades to other industries, especially HVAC, which, he stresses, is a high priority for building owners, given that it consumes as much as 70% of energy in commercial buildings. “Every consumer is looking for efficient HVAC units, with the best coefficient of performance and the least energy cost,” he says. “While environmental impact may not be their first consideration, some consumers want to balance energy efficiency with sustainability. Consumers are protected to some degree by regulations that restrict the use of refrigerants that damage the environment and so they know that available products must comply with a range of environmental standards.”

Robert Presser, Vice President, Acme Engineering and GlobeOwl Solutions, also says that he has seen more focus being placed on high-efficiency motors and VAV fans. “Twenty-five years ago, people will look at an air-handling unit and ask, ‘How many cfns?’ Now they look at an AHU and ask, ‘What is my cost to operate this?’ More than the acquisition, stakeholders are looking at life-cycle and operation.” This, he says, comes from building owners paying more attention, as there would be no incentive to choose such products unless otherwise specified.

Rakesh Saxena

Rakesh Saxena, President, Trimac Inc., says there has been an increasing demand for proper sealing of ductwork from building owners and mechanical HVAC construction engineers in North America. The current ASHRAE standard No. 90.1, he says, notes the impact of duct leakage on energy consumption and IAQ. “ASHRAE standards require a duct to be sealed to the Sheet Metal and Air-Conditioning Contractors’ National Association’s Seal Class A regardless of pressure,” he says. “This means that all seams, except spiral lock seams, joints and penetration in medium- and low-pressure, return and exhaust ductwork must be properly sealed.”

Dean Wood

Speaking on increasing emphasis for energy efficient equipment in new build specifications, Dean Wood, Sales and Marketing Manager, Envira- North Systems, says HVLS fans are a common inclusion in all commercial, industrial and institutional buildings.  “More than anything local regulations and cost savings drive designs and purchasing decisions,” he says, adding that the company’s products have gone from a “possible inclusion to an integral component of most specifications”.

Stuart Engel

Stuart Engel, International Business Development, Fresh-Aire UV, says that owing to greater emphasis on energy conversation there has been an uptake in using UV to irradiate the cooling coils in HVAC applications. “Design engineers have realised that by including UV to irradiate cooling coils the end-user can benefit from the fact that the coils will remain clean and not become blocked by biofilm growing,” he says.

Walter Ellis

Walter Ellis, Executive Vice President and General Manager, RGF Environmental Group, echoes this.  “Studies show the correlation of continuous UV treatment of coil surfaces to prevent microbial fouling of the coils,” he says, “and how this technology,in turn, reduces the associated loss of heat transfer efficiency due to the bio-fouled coils.  As well as energy-recovery systems specific for fresh air makeup systems.  These are primarily focused on industrial and commercial markets, with some more progressive adoption in the consumer market.” Engel says, “Depending on the cost of electricity, installing UV on cooling coils can save between 15 and 25% of the annual HVAC energy cost and virtually eliminate having to manually clean the coils. Payback time for installing UV will depend in part on the cost of power, annual operating and cooling hours and will normally be between two and 11 months.”

Sean Holloway, National Sales Manager HVACR, RectorSeal LLC, says the company continues to see greater emphasis towards energy efficiency across North America, in particular, for variable-speed compressors for residential applications, variable refrigerant flow (VRF) technology for commercial applications, and mini-split applications for both residential and light-commercial applications. The company, he says, is aiming to address the demand by helping contractors with accessories to encourage building and homeowners to opt for mini-split and VRF/VRV systems. “More and more individuals,” he says, “are willing to pay more up front, for higher efficiency equipment in order to use less energy, and have less negative impact on the environment in the long run.”

Fransen says that while the past decade has seen Energy Star, LEED, and other programmes push for lower energy use intensity (EUI) in all building types, reduction in energy use for commercial refrigeration has only begun “due to the tackling of “low-hanging fruit” in energy consumption such as lights, HVAC, and process loads.” This, however, is beginning to change. “Recent governmental regulations, such as requirements for walk-in coolers and freezers from the US Department of Energy with a mandated performance level of Annual Walk-In Energy Factor (AWEF) is just the first of many requirements where energy performance will become more regulated in the commercial refrigeration market place,” he says. “Technologies, such as variable-speed components, including fans and compressors, in addition to control strategies such as floating head pressure control will become more common in refrigeration system design.” Fransen adds that in staying abreast with upcoming standards to develop new products surrounding mandated and voluntary programmes, Tecumseh sees variable speed compressors and systems as well as low-GWP refrigerants transitioning over to the commercial market “once energy standards and regulations become more prevalent across the globe”.

Industry 4.0

Another key trend Walters identifies in North America is the growing move towards the use of air conditioning and water heating equipment that are connected and able to talk to the grid and electricity supplier, relative to adjusting supply with demand. “It’s not an on-and-off switch,” he says. Fransen echoes this, adding that the Internet of Things (IoT) and connected devices are quickly changing the way consumers use products, and that the company sees a similar trend in the commercial refrigeration market. “More and more components are connected, which helps end-users with a variety of different tasks, to simplify their work,” he says. “Regarding refrigeration components, some examples could be a means to show diagnostics for quick servicing or a web-based predictive analysis tool that would show when components in a system may potentially fail based on specific parameters.”

Presser adds that LEED certification also plays a role in this. “When you choose to get LEED certification for a building,” he says, “you incorporate a lot of intelligent energy controls.” However, he says, no one is dictating the backbone communication architecture to be used, whether it is an HVACR standard or an industry open standard. Presser says that the adoption of LEED certification will promote greater building intelligence and technology, but that the industry still has a long way to go.

The industry, Presser says, is currently promoting a standard that does not interface with technologies coming into buildings and devices and that he sees a move towards an international standard of communication in the HVACR space. “My feeling,” he says, “is that eventually product developers are going to take a look at the HVACR space and come with an open standard product that will ensure lower cost and ease of connectivity, which will displace proprietary technologies. You also have to realise you have a huge installed space, the opportunity will be when you look at existing buildings and you want to add intelligence. Who will win?”

Ali says that being one of the biggest retrofit markets, North America may be a little ahead of the rest of the world, in terms of planning for maintenance. “Along with new development and construction, there is a lot of renovation, where older buildings are updated and using the latest technologies,” he says. “Predictive maintenance comes into play here. You may have a LEED-certified building equipped with the latest equipment with IoT technology to communicate building conditions 24/7. Without careful monitoring, regular inspection and diligent maintenance, the initial energy efficiency will decline dramatically over the next five years.”

Maintenance, Ali stresses, is an essential component to successful energy management. He adds that though North America is a huge continent with diverse climates and with each state having its own mindset, regulations, capabilities and budget to maintain infrastructure, building owners are more or less aware of the important role that maintenance plays in ensuring a healthier environment, better indoor air quality and better, energy- efficient buildings. “If you are a building manager or owner of commercial real estate,” he says, “that would be in your mindset in order to compete in the marketplace.”

Ali adds that building owners and equipment suppliers need to work together to conduct energy audits and implement ongoing maintenance programmes. “Right now,” he says, “follow up is often lacking, whether it’s in North America, Asia or in the Middle East.”

While HVACR manufacturers in North America navigate the demands of the local market, most operate in a largely international market and grapple with the changing winds of an increasingly globalised and inter-connected consumer base.

Microgrids enhance a region’s resilience

Could you provide a first-hand account of Superstorm Sandy, and how Princeton served the community through its microgrid?

The hurricane moved its way up the eastern seaboard of the United States, and as it approached campus, it took down trees, affecting power quality and reliability. Soon, it caused the utility power to go out, and as the voltage dropped, our plant shut down. However, the microgrid was able to self-restore, and we used the power to restart power supply to the campus. So technically, we were without power for only 15 minutes. The tricky situation here was getting administrative permission to isolate the campus from the rest of the power grid. Because we had cogeneration on site, we were able to separate and shut off the less important loads on campus. We ran separately from the power grid for days. We told people in the community, if their house is cold, we had set up cots and that they could come and rest at the University. However, most importantly, the first responders – that is, the firefighters and the police – were able to come to the university and get a meal and recharge their phones and radios. They were able to have meetings and decide what they should work on next, before getting back on to the field. The important takeaway here is that you don’t need every single place to have a microgrid, but if you have one occasionally, scattered throughout a community or region, it does make a huge difference.

Microgrids reportedly lower energy costs for customers. How much, though? Are the savings significant to overcome capex barriers?

The big savings come from the fact that microgrids enable cogeneration, thermal storage and other cost-saving opportunities. We generate a lot of power whenever the grid price is higher than our marginal cost to generate. We purchase a lot of power whenever the grid price is lower than our marginal cost to generate. That way, our campus customers enjoy the benefit of the lesser cost. Savings relate to dozens of factors and are very specific to the location, the grid and the energy needs being served. Payback may take from five to 15 years, depending on these factors. Or, under a power-purchase agreement, the savings may be immediate. In any case, though, the lifecycle savings are far more than the capex. Fewer microgrids would be built if they weren’t. Even utility customers outside the microgrid save a little money if they pay real-time utility rates, because our generation has the effect of slightly lowering the total net cost of power on the grid. That is, establishing a microgrid is a win-win for all customers, not a zero-sum game.

Ted Borer, Energy Plant Manager, Princeton University

You describe microgrids as distributing risk into smaller pieces, whereby grid reliability is improved. Could you please elaborate?

Imagine there are two large utility generators serving a region. Each is capable of generating enough power to serve the grid by itself – that is, 100% redundancy. It’s easy to picture scenarios where those generators, or the substations or the wires between the plants and the ultimate customers are damaged. There are a few points with high vulnerability in the system that could interrupt service to large portions of the region. Alternatively, if we reduce the size of the two plants and scatter several microgrids around the region, it is possible to have the same (or less) total installed generating capacity, while increasing reliability.

Microgrids, as per your description, reduce both energy use and peak demand and work well with CHP to greatly increase energy efficiency. This means they can widely be used as the system of choice, or do they work well only in some applications?

Microgrids would work everywhere, but they are not financially attractive and make no sense in some places. For instance, at home, on a tiny scale, you could buy two different-sized generators; however, you might spend five times as much if you run the air handler, the oven on self-cleaning mode, the welding machine and other appliances that use electricity. It’s not about what’s possible, but whether it is cost-effective and a sensible use of your financial resources. For instance, with regard to installation and maintenance, right now the utilities provide electricity to us, and you don’t need to worry about it. But if you decide to build yourself a microgrid, you need to begin doing what they (the utilities) have been doing. You need to make sure it’s safe and that you know how to operate and maintain it. You need to make sure that you have good fuel and that the fuel is of good quality. So by establishing a microgrid, you have taken on a lot more responsibilities and you get greater benefits. You have to ask yourself, “I am going to spend some money, but is that money going to be worth it?”

Could you elaborate on the economic motivation to conserve energy and how the scenario with regard to price and energy is different from the Middle East?

In Dubai, for instance, the price of electricity is the same all day and all night; whether you’re a residential customer or commercial, it’s the same price. In our state, in New Jersey, the price of power for residential customers never changes, but for commercial purposes it changes dramatically, as fast as five minutes. It’s not rigorously a demand charge but more of an energy charge that changes every five minutes. In the middle of the night I might pay two cents per kilowatt-hour and in the day I may pay 25 cents per kilowatt-hour, so it could be 10 times as much. We have a very strong economic motivation and use as much energy as we can during the night in order to avoid the amount of energy purchased during the day.

Could you elaborate on the University’s control platform, which reportedly works relative to the energy needs of the campus in accordance with grid and weather conditions to forecast the corresponding load?

The control system advices us and helps us predict when electricity is going to be expensive and cheap. It is a combination of a software along with many meters, where we look at temperatures, pressures, flows and energy use through all the major equipment on campus. It is not rigorously an IoT-powered system, because when I think of IoT I understand it to be hundreds and thousands of data points connected to a system. In our system, we have a few hundred data points. I mean one temperature signal, a pressure signal, while the rest are sensors. The sensors are not scattered and are not radio transmitters; they are Bluetooth-enabled and hardwired directly back to the campus.

You say that existing generation assets can be operated in new ways for additional revenue with little capital investment. Could you please elaborate?

Yes. We built our cogeneration system in 1996. It wasn’t until 2003 that power was deregulated in our state of New Jersey. At that time, it became more lucrative to generate more power during the day and less power at night. We used the same asset fewer hours per year and generated more savings. More recently, the power grid has established a market for frequency regulation. By modulating the output of our existing gas turbine in response to a grid frequency signal, we are able to help support the local grid frequency. We get compensated for this activity at about 3x the price of power. It is a new revenue stream, same asset. It is a minor investment in controls.

Microgrids provide self-sufficiency and resilience especially in emergency situations. How can they be applied in the United Arab Emirates?

We put in cogeneration not because of reliability issues but in order to save us money. A collateral benefit is that it also gives us reliability and resilience in crisis. I believe that the power supply in the United Arab Emirates is very reliable and very good, so there’s nothing to take away from that. But every once in a while, we still expect that there might be a problem, something that might take out the energy supply, and it would be nice to have spots of enhanced reliability. Having microgrids at critical locations, such as police centres, firefighting stations and hospitals, is crucial. The United Arab Emirates could benefit from cogeneration, not because the power is unreliable but firstly to save money and also to be more efficient. The power plant by itself might be 25-45% efficient, but if you do cogeneration, you could even do 75-80% efficiency. Hence, I am not concerned with who owns it; it could be a government or a utility or even a privately owned microgrid. Even with technology, you can use chillers, gas turbines, jet engines or diesel fuel.

‘The real value of District Energy is seen over a long-term basis’

Jim Lodge

Could you comment on the uptake of District Cooling in the Middle East region? Do you see an opportunity for the region to drive the growth of District Cooling to a level similar to that in Denmark?

In Denmark, District Heating is just expected. It’s something in their culture for so many years. If you’re getting electricity for your building, most people don’t think of generating it themselves. They would go to the utility supplier and get it. It’s an integral part of the infrastructure, so when people think of doing their building, the first thing they think about is whether there is a network out there. That’s just what they would do; it’s sort of a natural instinct.

I think cooling in the Middle East is getting there, too. I contrast that to the United States and District Cooling/Heating – it is a much smaller slice of that effort, it’s more surprising that there would even be a system. Many times, when people are developing a building, they’re not even thinking about District Energy development in the area; they just think there is the building and they think of putting their own cooling equipment or heating equipment in.  

Is it because of diversity of geography?

A little bit. If developers are familiar with the local area, then they’ll know about it, if it’s there. But if they’re new to the area, then they may not know, and it may not be something they consciously think about. What I do say for people that want to go on District Energy, in general, too often people want to jump into the economics of it, instead of looking at it and saying qualitatively, “What does this do for me?”

In my experience, if I talked to people about the value of using District Energy, and they understand it and they go, “I like that, those values resonated with me”, that’s more than half the battle won, because if people want it, then they look at the economics, which they always have to do, to justify it. More often, if someone hasn’t gone through the process of understanding the benefits of District Energy, and I’m not talking about true financial ones, then, they may be more apt to say, “I’m not feeling comfortable”, and when you do the finances because you’re doing something over a longer period of time, it’s really easy, if you don’t want it, to put the numbers in the spreadsheet in the right way, so the economics don’t make sense. But if you want it, then you will do more investigation to make sure you have an accurate assumption of the financial model. District Energy is very different from having your own system, and too often people want to compare it to that, but it’s like a different type of car. Yes, you drive both cars, but a Ferrari is very different from a Volkswagen, and I’m not saying we are the Ferrari, but I’m not saying we are the Volkswagen, either. The quality and reliability of District Energy is significantly better than individual building systems, and when someone talks of the total cost of the development and all the operating cost over the life of the building, District Energy is relatively small in scale, compared to that.

In the United States, we have seen many customers, where we have had contracts. If someone is looking at an investor building to resell it, we have seen District Energy is a benefit, because when you have a building that is being sold and you have liabilities associated with the central plant, where people take capital investment, that is an added cost an investor is later going to top, whereas if you have a District Energy system, as long as the contract is understood, from a market standpoint, it is competitive. The new owner picks it up, and we have had new buildings in our system exchange hands multiple times with developers.

Ultimately, it’s the utility providers’ responsibility to communicate the financial value and the soft items that are more qualitative in nature. 

What are the paybacks?

Payback is not the right metric. It’s important to talk to CFOs – those interested in capital and operating expenses – and then you have to do a lifecycle cost analysis. That’s going to look at what their ultimate cost will be, both on the capital and the operating side, for an extended period of time, which would typically be 25-30 years because of the lifespan of equipment. The challenge comes when most people can look at capital cost, because they can get estimates of that nature. It is very hard for people or buildings to have a good history of the 30-year operating and maintenance expenses for the District Energy company. District Energy should win if people have done their job every single time, and the reason they should win is, if you think about it, if the overall cost is the same in the long run, why would I want to take the risk associated with operating my own plant? Because if I have risk associated with that, that is added cost. District Energy systems remove all the risk associated with reliability of service equipment, failures and construction costs. No one is taking on that risk. If someone brings a brand new building, we are taking construction risk associated with the mechanical equipment.

How much goodwill do District Energy providers have in the United States? Has that value of District Energy been revealed to more stakeholders, or do you feel more work has to be done in that regard?

I think a lot of work has to be done. I don’t think people recognize that at all. There are some customers that do. If the District Energy company is doing a good job in communicating with them and being able to let them know some of the things they are doing, they will recognize that. The challenge is that too many of the customer representatives of those buildings don’t stay very long. It gets tough, because the real value of District Energy with that goodwill is seen over a long-term basis. When you think about it, if you buy a new car, the first few years it works perfectly fine. Like leasing, it goes back. You never experience holding on to it for 20 years, because the last 10 years, maybe the last five years, the contract is the most challenging. That’s when you have to run your own equipment, you have lots of failures, you have an issue trying to extend the life. You don’t have that with District Energy. With District Energy, you are paying someone else, you are supplying reliable cooling there every day – out of sight and out of mind.

I would say District Energy companies and their employees tend to be long-term, the customer buildings tend to have higher turnover, so it’s harder to have people recognize some of that goodwill you’re talking about.

‘A wider pool of HVACR specialists, who understand the needs of museums, would be very advantageous’

Ellen Pearlstein

Could you provide us with an overview on how the optimum climate can ensure the longevity of art pieces or cultural objects in museums, libraries and archives?

There has been an interesting history in the consideration of climate in museums and the impact of climate in museum collection, because there was a very important book published in 1978 by a British author, named Gary Thompson – it’s called The Museum Environment. That book was important in influencing the entire English-speaking world, and it outlined the kind of research done at that point in time. The book was divided into two halves – one was designed for energy engineers, and the other half was for conservation [specialists], who care for collections. It was a very forward-looking book.

The outcome of that book was that some climate specifications were created for temperature and humidity, 21 degrees C and 50% relative humidity, respectively. Those were taken as unyielding standards and accepted by people who cared for collections, because people understood this to be something that was important for their preservation. However, the realization that has been made since the publication of that book is that not every region in the world has the same outdoor environment, so trying to achieve the indoor environment that may be appropriate for a more humid country like England, or a city like London, might not be appropriate for a museum built in a dry part of the world [with] desert climate. The realization that the region in which the actual museum or collection resides is particularly important as a variable, has taken place.

The next thing is that materials that comprise museum objects include a whole range of different materials, and those materials don’t behave in exactly the same way in response to temperature and relative humidity. So, for example, archaeological [objects] that have been buried in salty water have been subject to salts remaining in the materials. When those materials are moved into museums, the salts left behind can be very reactive and responsive to changes in relative humidity. We know archaeological metals and ceramics and some stone materials can have particular sensitivities, and certain kinds of archaeological and historical glass have particular sensitivities, and other materials like ivory and wood are sensitive to changes in relative humidity.

I would say in the last 25 years, more research has been done, and continuing research is going on now, to look at exactly what kind of damage is created when you did not have tightly controlled temperature and relative humidity. One major study was by the Smithsonian Institution in the United States, another by the Canadian Conservation Institute and yet another significant study was by Getty in Los Angeles, called ‘Managing Collection Environment’, and all of the studies are designed to look at whether, or not, you can safely relax the climate standards for museums, so that the relative humidity could be actually 35-60%. There is wide agreement that 1) it depends on the climate where the museum is, because collections acclimate to the environment they are in to a certain extent, and 2) it depends on what are the collection materials, and 3) everyone agrees that the most important thing is to only permit change in relative humidity, if it happens gradually. What is dangerous for a collection is one day your relative humidity is 15% and the next day it’s 60%, because that’s a very dramatic shift.

In view of the research that has been carried out on the effects of relative humidity and temperature, has there been a move to develop minimum standards that global or regional museums, and similar developments, would have to comply with? Or is it mostly an independent move by galleries that impose their own quality standards for their collections?

It’s a good question. So, museums develop their own standards, and they work to comply with those standards. As you might imagine, standards for climate become crucial when one museum lends materials to another museum. If the Louvre maintains a certain climate for materials and sends them to Abu Dhabi, they are going to be very aware of how the museum in Abu Dhabi maintains the climate around those collections, so museums are very active in developing loan documents, and they specify climate within those loan documents.

Also, in 2014, the ‘Declaration on Environmental Guidelines’ on the museum environment was endorsed by two professional organisations. One is called ‘International Institute for Conservation’ and the other is ‘International Council on Museums – Conservation Committee’. The Declaration is available online; it actually redefines the international standards.  

In such cases, management is very aware of the importance of implementing these standards in terms of building design and equipment choice, but, given the unique requirements, are the FM and operations personnel aware and properly trained on these issues, as well?

It is a case-by-case basis. I would say larger museums with larger operating budgets – they do have a facilities manager, who has a certain kind of sensitivity to the task of preserving the collection. They understand that the climate and HVAC systems installed need to be those that can be adjusted to maintain a safe climate for the collection.

I have visited smaller museums that don’t have the expertise or the resources to necessarily support the kinds of climate requirements that museums demand. Also, there are individuals who create their own specialization – they tend to be HVAC engineers and HVAC specialists with a particular interest in museums and libraries and archives, places that hold important collections. They then can be hired by smaller institutions that don’t have their own expertise in-house. Or they can hire those experts to work with FM that they do have on staff, who may want more information about the specialized needs.

I think, in particular, having a wider pool of educated HVAC specialists, who understand the needs of museums and collection, would be very advantageous. It would help smaller museums that cannot have these people on staff. 

Do you believe that a collaborative approach would move the dial in terms of cultivating more specialists who are aware of the unique requirements of such a development?

Yes, I see more room for collaboration. I think it would be beneficial if facilities engineers were open to working with conservators and curators and collections managers, because there’s a lot we can learn from each other. I always try to invite a facilities engineer into my class and have them talk about how they make decisions, so my students can be in dialog with them. I put collections people and facilities people in dialog.

Energy targets reshaping the built-environment

Italy currently houses 12.2 million residential buildings, featuring 31 million homes, 72% of which was built before 1980, at a time when there was no legislation on the energy saving of buildings. This is the figure that Andrea Guderzo, General Manager, Clivet Mideast FZCO, presents in an effort to highlight the importance the retrofit segment holds in the country’s energy-efficiency directives. He says: “The 2018/844 / EU Directive, published on June 19, 2018, requires European countries to develop a long-term strategy to support the renovation of residential and non-residential buildings, both public and private in order to obtain decarbonised and energy-efficient buildings by 2050, and to facilitate the transformation of existing buildings into almost-zero-energy buildings.”

This, Guderzo stresses, offers a great opportunity for the HVAC market, in view of the technological innovations in the fields of heating, cooling, air renewal and purification and domestic hot water production and the very compact units, which can contribute towards achieving high levels of global efficiency. “In Italy, modern construction technologies have brought great improvements in the insulation of building envelopes and a substantial reduction in the thermal requirements of buildings,” he says. Almost 70% of the energy needs of a building is used to regulate the indoor climate. The challenges real estate is facing are: reducing consumption to zero by working on the envelope, finding low-impact energy sources, ensuring comfort and guaranteeing economic sustainability of design choices. In this scenario, the HVACR industry has a great responsibility and must give its contribution to increase global efficiency and comfort of the buildings.”

Beyond compliance with public sector regulations to reduce consumption, Guderzo stresses that improving the efficiency and sustainability of existing buildings has an implication in terms of market value and absorbability of the property, which should not be underestimated. “A recent survey carried out by ReBuild, in collaboration with CBRE and GBCI Europe, showed how energy-efficient buildings with a LEED certification have a greater value on the real estate market,” he says. “In particular, the market recognises the Gold certification, with a premium of 7.4%, and Platinum, with a premium above 11%. The occupancy rate on the certified properties, within six months after the certification, reach about 80%, and the vacancy ratio, after two and a half years, is lower than seven per cent.”

Guderzo says the growing demand for comfort, while ensuring energy saving, has been driving design and production of companies. “Italian producers, like Clivet, are facing this challenge by focusing on research and innovation, in order to create products that guarantee maximum comfort by reducing the energy consumption and the environmental impact of comfort solutions,” he says. “This strategy is winning, as demonstrated, the last 2018 trimestral evaluations announced by Assoclima, the Italian Association of HVRAC producers, with a growth in Italy’s air conditioning sector.”

Guderzo says large part of the growth in the sector is represented by the heat pump technology, adding that inverter technology continues to be a popular choice in the residential sector and has evolved to address real-time demands of the plant, which increases the energy efficiency of the overall system.

China eyes a larger MEA footprint

Ten air conditioners will be sold per second in the next 30 years, says Moan Abraham, Vice President and General Manager for Air Conditioning, Hisense Middle East, quoting a key figure in the International Energy Agency’s “The Future of Cooling” report. The report forecasted that the global air conditioner market will grow from 1.6 billion to 5.6 billion by 2050. For Abraham, while the figure offers tremendous potential, it also poses a challenge for HVAC manufacturers, stressing that if the industry does not opt for energy-efficient systems from now on, the scenario in 2050 could be quite challenging with regard to heavy consumption. Abraham believes Chinese manufacturers could be well positioned to address this growing demand, with regard to both scale and energy efficiency.

Based on customs data published by the Chinese government, Abraham says that China is already taking a big portion of the air conditioning business, globally and that the number continues to grow for all major players. Mark Wang, General Manager of International Sales, Chigo, says the overall growth of China’s HVAC industry is expected to be around five per cent. Abraham says that Hisense alone has been able to increase its export shares by 50% in the last three years.

To further underscore the scale of Chinese exports, Abraham says that in 2018 alone, around 50 million sets were exported from China. In 2019, Abraham says, it is expected that 4.14 million units will be exported to the Middle East, and 3.19 million units to Africa. “If China is exporting [around] 50 million sets, and the Middle East and Africa is taking around 7.5 million sets, that’s a significant portion that the region is accounting for,” he says.

Growing presence in Middle East and Africa

Abraham says that the Middle East and African markets have been showcasing greater appreciation for Chinese brands. Gleaning from Hisense’s own experience in the region, Abraham says that in the past, the company was largely an OEM player but that since it has been focusing on its own brand, Hisense has achieved a good market share in the last 3-4 years. This, Abraham says, is owing to several reasons. First, he points to the gradual shift in public opinion. “The quality perception of China-made products have changed today,” he says. “You have government entities specifying China-made products – this means confidence. Basically, the quality and performance of Chinese ACs and brands have been quite high-end in the last few years. People are now recognising that the quality is next to none.” Secondly, Abraham points to affordability owing to economies of scale. “It’s not about buying low-cost products,” he says. “The product is more affordable, so people can buy. Again, the purchasing power increases and the affordability has come.” Abraham also points to reliability, stressing that Chinese brands’ move to partner with notable local companies has enhanced after-sales and maintenance services. Lastly, Abraham stresses that China has the capability to manufacture in big volumes, which allows it to remain competitive in big markets.

Abraham says that this offers a good opportunity for Chinese brands, as the demand will continue to grow, not only globally, as per forecasts, but in the region, as well, owing to a reduction in lifecycle of air conditioners, especially in residential applications. This, he says, can be attributed to three main factors: “Number one, it is exposed to harsh environments. The AC is taking a big beating in terms of performance. Also, usage – people are looking for extreme cooling.” In this regard, Abraham says there is a need to enhance consumer awareness with regard to moderate temperatures setting. “People want a set-point temperature of 16 degrees C,” he says. “This is bad for health and energy consumption. Some countries are putting some regulations, especially in Egypt, which limited thermostat setting to 20 degrees C. If regulation comes, you need to limit temperature setting to a certain level, and you can increase the efficiency   and life of ACs.”

Another cause for the reduction in life of air conditioners, Abraham says, is the lack of skilled personnel handling the maintenance of AC equipment in residential units. The third bottleneck, Abraham says, is the cost of repair as well as the response time of relevant personnel in the event there is a need for product replacements. “In peak season in the GCC region, a new air conditioner can be installed in 24 hours,” he says. “But if you have complaint relating to compressor failure, you may have to wait for 2-3 days.”

Opportunities in emerging market: Spotlight on Iraq

Chinese manufacturers are showing increasing interest in Middle East and Africa; however, it is not solely owing to the potential pipeline of projects. The growing importance the countries in the region is placing on energy efficiency has also piqued the interest of Chinese brands, which have become well-versed in navigating increasingly stringent regulations in China. Abraham says that in China, the government has cracked down on the supply chain of components to ensure that products meet certain environmental standards in view of the country’s commitment to the Paris Accord, leading to a spike in cost of products, as companies need to maintain certain standards of production. Sharing his observations on trends in China, Wang adds that the VRF market is also continuing to grow at good rate, and the proportion of VRFs, compared to conventional systems, will increase. Abraham echoes this, saying that in China, VRF systems are being sold in the market like a consumer product and that there are quality training systems for those entering the service industry.

A number of Chinese companies are leveraging this experience to address shifting standards in the region. Wang says: “With the enactment of Saudi Arabia’s new SASO energy efficiency standard, Bahrain and Oman have successively issued energy efficiency regulations similar to SASO. Kuwait has also raised the T4 energy efficiency standard that is expected to be implemented in September 2019.” As customers pay more and more attention to energy saving, Wang says, designers and consultants will also take this aspect into consideration when selecting air-conditioning systems, especially in green projects and government tenders. “The technical threshold of products is the basic requirement,” Wang says. “We are actively responding by the timely launch of related products.”

Wang says that in addition to key markets, such as Saudi Arabia, Chigo is committed towards reinforcing its presence in markets such as Syria, Palestine and, particularly, Iraq. “The political situation in Iraq from 2017 to 2018 has gradually stabilised and reconstruction has started,” he says. Wang adds that although there are challenges in the country, it will not be enough to stall the momentum the Iraqi market is undergoing, adding that the local market is evolving into a promising VRF market. Abraham echoes this, saying that as Iraq continues to develop an increasingly stable government, it will look to provide its citizens with basic services that will require further infrastructure, such as housing. “Those will be good drivers for most of the suppliers,” Abraham says. “If you look at Iraq today, 95% of what is imported is from China, and Iraq is a tough environment in terms of climate, so quality should be at the high end in order to gain the market in Iraq.”

Abraham says that for the most part, the Iraq market provides an even playing field for most suppliers, but that the differentiating factor is the partner of choice. “Local partner distributors’ knowledge in the market and relationships will play an important part in the development,” he says.

Speaking with regard to the goals of Hisense, Abraham says that the company aims to be named one of the top three brands in the next five years in the air conditioning category. The company aims to do this, he says, by offering innovative products, energy-efficient solutions and focusing on customer satisfaction, in addition to ensuring product quality, cooling performance and reduced downtime, all which will help in the company’s efforts to gain further market share. This, he says, is part of a brand’s evolution and part of its unfolding global narrative as a Chinese manufacturer taking on the global market. “It’s a journey,” he says. “You cannot build the Great Wall of China wall in one day.”

Biomimicry profiling reduces CO2 consumption

Kuenzelsau, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany, 21 March 2019: Ziehl-Abegg said through a Press communiqué that it is further utilising biomimicry in a bid to bolster its efforts towards mitigating climate change. To further reduce CO2 consumption, the company said through the communiqué, the humpback whale served as the model for the latest composite material fan development, which also incorporates biomimicry features of owls and trees. This improves the carbon footprint equally in two ways – through a significant reduction in the material used as well lower energy consumption, when operating in climate control equipment and industrial ventilation systems.

Ziehl-Abegg, the communiqué said, is already at more than 70% peak efficiency with its centrifugal fans, so every opportunity for the optimisation of performance must be utilised. The new centrifugal impeller possesses features of three completely different approaches to Biomimicry: from both aerodynamics (ornithology) and hydrodynamics (marine biology) and biomechanics (trees), the communiqué said. Savings in material content and improved aerodynamics halve CO2 emissions associated with manufacturing, whilst maintaining the same ventilation performance, the communiqué added. Modern injection-moulding tools, each costing more than half a million euros, enable the company to implement the geometries, which have been optimised through the application of Biomimicry, the communiqué further added.

According to the communiqué, the trailing edges of the fan blades are modelled on the owl wing. “As the quietest bird of prey, the owl has already been used as a role model for several designs,” said Peter Fenkl, CEO. Serrated trailing edges of fans are now seen as a trademark of Ziehl-Abegg. In the new fan however, the design of the serrations was a little smoother, the communiqué said.

Evolution has optimised the flow efficiency of the humpback whale overall in such a way that, despite its body size, it is considered a very good and agile swimmer. If this had not been the case, it would also have been unable to make its long journeys through the world’s oceans without having to feed. The latest generation of centrifugal fans at Ziehl-Abegg is now benefitting from this knowledge of biomimicry, the communiqué said.

The developers at Ziehl-Abegg, the communiqué said, also drew inspiration from Professor Claus Mattheck. The “tree whisperer” or “tree pope”, “as the media call him, creates a bridge between nature and technology. The professor is, after all, a pioneer of the science of biomechanics. Trees are a prime example of optimum strength with minimum use of materials. The five blades of the centrifugal ZAbluefin fan, the communiqué said, merge into both the cover and back plate in exactly the same way as trees grow upwards – at a slight radius to the ground. This is scarcely visible with the naked eye, because the curves, which mimic a tree, are minimal. Nevertheless, these bionic approaches in the blade transition provide the same strength as heavy wings –  enabling the use of materials to be significantly reduced. Less material consumption in production also means a lower carbon footprint, the communiqué said.

According to the communiqué, the air flow in centrifugal fans hits the fan blades at different angles, depending on the volume flow. The whale has to overcome similar challenges when swimming in the sea – the movement of the fins causes their angular position to constantly change. If its pectoral fins were to be positioned at too steep an angle to the opposing current, strong turbulence would result in the water separating from the fins. “High flow losses and noise are characteristic features of strong turbulence,” said Dr Walter Angelis, Technical Director, Ziehl-Abegg. The design of the fins on a humpback whale has been optimised over millions of years. That’s why the leading edges of the whale fins contain golf ball-sized nodules (technical term: tubercle). This allows an animal weighing 25 to 30 tonnes to swim very quickly and nimbly using its long pectoral fins. “We recreated this aspect at the leading edge of the fan blades and implemented it in the form of a rippled surface,” Angelis said.

The flow engineers also took a closer look at the whale’s tail fin, the “fluke”, the communiqué said. The V-shaped contour of the tail fin section, the communiqué said, delays any potential flow separation ­– which enables the fan to be used for numerous pressure ranges. The latest generation of centrifugal fans at Ziehl-Abegg, the communiqué said, is now benefitting from this knowledge of biomimicry.

 

ACR Project Consultants aims to drive Green cold chain applications across India

Arvind Surange

Pune, India, 19 March 2019: ACR Project Consultants has placed a strong focus on the cold chain sector over the last 30 years, said Arvind Surange, CMD. It was while working on large number of cold chain projects, Surange said, that the company realised the need for integrating Green design concepts in the sector. “We introduced this concept in 2008 and have been promoting it at a global level, highlighting the importance of environment friendliness, energy efficiency, water saving, waste heat recovery, application of renewable energy and other green features,” he said.

Surange said that realising the importance of natural refrigerants, ACR took the lead in designing the first few low-charge Ammonia DX systems in India for cold storage projects. He said: “The basic features of these are: Ammonia charge reduction; compact and lightweight equipment; full automation, including use of electronic expansion valve; and air-cooled or water-cooled setup, based on water availability.

Providing an example of one of the company’s Green projects, Surange pointed to the integrated cold chain facility of Savla Foods and cold storage in Navi Mumbai, which includes recycling of water, waste heat recovery for generating hot water for processing, along with other Green features. He added that the project was named Best Green Cold Chain Solution by the Cold Chain and Logistics Industry in 2017 and Best Food Processing and Cold Chain Project by RefCold India Emerson Awards in 2018.

In addition to this, Surange said, the latest projects the company is working on involve PEB structure with insulated panel enclosures, mechanised loading and unloading systems, eco-friendly and energy-efficient refrigeration and electrical systems, water-saving techniques and full automation. “These projects,” he said, “have been implemented in right from the northern to the southern and from the eastern to the western regions of the country.”

Banner - CCGD
Banner - RBG
Copyright © 2022 - CPI Industry, Dubai - UAE. All rights reserved.