LightAir says subscription strategy is yielding results
STOCKHOLM, Sweden, 12 June 2021: LightAir said its strategic focus on sales of air purification to offices and schools in Sweden is continuing to yield results. The LightAir Health+ offer provides clean, virus-free air and is offered in Sweden primarily as a subscription service, it said, adding that the number of subscriptions is growing continuously, rising from about 60, last summer, and soon likely to exceed 300.
The positive market reception in Sweden is exemplified by how Enskilda Gymnasiet – an independent secondary school in operation for over 100 years – is now expanding its two subscriptions to 30, LightAir said. The school carried out a six-month evaluation, which documented how individuals with asthma and allergies experienced relief from problems and that other students and teachers experienced improved air quality, LightAir said. Evaluation comments mentioned reduced fatigue, improved concentration and less drowsiness, it added.
“We are located in central Stockholm and are aware that we operate in an environment that is particularly exposed to traffic pollution,” said Jonas Persson, Project Manager, Enskilda Gymnasiet. “It’s important that students can stay healthy, cope with the school day and don’t get fatigued by bad air. It’s especially important that they are alert when final exams roll around. Students with pollen allergies are prone to tire easily and perform poorly.”
According to LightAir, Enskilda Gymnasiet is now installing a total air purification capacity of over 20,000 cubic metres per hour, along with a corresponding virus inhibitor capacity. Subsequent to the sale of the purifiers, the service will be delivered in the form of a three-year subscription, LightAir said.
According to LightAir, its Health+ subscription offer is the most comprehensive service offer available and was established in the Swedish domestic market in 2020. The offer has since been awarded the International Facility Management Association’s Nordic Innovation Prize, not least since it has the distinction of being able to destroy viruses while they’re still airborne, the company said.
“More and more businesses and organizations are opening their eyes to the challenges of indoor air,” said Joakim Hansson, Business Area Manager, LightAir. “This is also shown concretely by how we expanded our subscription base from 5 to 60 last summer, and from 60 to 160 by year end. This summer we have high hopes of reaching our goal of 300 Swedish subscriptions.”
Added Lars Liljeholm, CEO, LightAir: “We see that our strategic plan is promising and starting to bear fruit, while we have a long way to go with stimulating challenges ahead of us. We will become increasingly better at utilizing the competitive advantages we have in the nascent corporate market, not least in terms of purification efficiency and noise levels, as well as with an attractive and trouble-free subscription offer. Professional solutions will be the engine of our future growth. Through an increasingly successful domestic market, we are laying the foundation for establishment in selected international markets.
“We are in the middle of the demanding – but enjoyable – work of building a leading position in the commercial segment. Initially, the new strategy will affect sales when we change our revenue model, but in the long run, this will be crucial for the company and value creation for our owners. With that said, the consumer market will still be an important part of the future LightAir we are now building, which is why we have also recruited cutting-edge expertise and are continuously developing our international ventures and e-commerce.”
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.
The Big 5 Construct Egypt returns in 2021
CAIRO, Egypt, 7 June 2021: The third edition of The Big 5 Construct Egypt will take place from June 26 to 29 at the Cairo International Convention Centre (CICC), to facilitate business opportunities in Egypt’s growing construction project market, dmg events, the organiser said through a Press release.
Making the announcement through a Press conference, dmg said Egypt is the third largest construction market in the MENA region, and that activity remains a bright spot for the Egyptian economy with a pipeline of known and un-awarded projects worth USD 354.8 billion in the country*.
Present at the press conference was Khaled Abbas, Deputy Minister of Housing, Utilities, and Urban Communities for National Projects; Matt Denton, President, dmg events; Mohamed El Dahshoury, CEO, Hassan Allam Construction (HAC)’ Heike Harmgart, Managing Director, Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Region, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Mohamed Tarek, Area Managing Director of North Africa for Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC).
dmg said powerful face-to-face connections between industry stakeholders will be significant for the sector’s sustained development. It is more important than ever for us to offer a safe environment for the community to come together, where they can boost business activities, rebuild partnerships and apply lessons learnt to future projects all in one place, dmg said. To that end, in addition to offering vital trading opportunities this year, The Big 5 Construct Egypt will launch new high-level features focused on strategic industry development and innovation, making it an unmissable business event for the construction sector in the wake of Covid-19 disruption, it added.
The event will launch The Big 5 Egypt Impact Awards, which dmg described as designed to recognise the businesses and people driving innovation in Egypt’s industry, in addition to The Big 5 Egypt Leadership Conference, a three-day event scheduled to gather regional ministers and international leaders to explore the construction sector’s contribution towards economic growth and diversification in Egypt.
Harmgart, who is set to speak at the conference, said: “The Big 5 Egypt Leadership Conference is a great opportunity for policy makers, financial institutions and investors to discuss the priorities for Egypt and to promote sustainable green infrastructure and construction sectors.”
Beyond the conference, the event also will offer free-to-attend, CPD-certified talks and the exhibition area, which dmg said, will gather hundreds of leading brands from more than 15 countries, such as Canada, Germany, Greece, Russia, Italy, UAE and Saudi Arabia, to name but a few. Heavyweights signed up to exhibit include the likes of Hassan Allam Holding, Orascom Construction, El Soadaa, ASGC, Hanimex, Al Zamil, Al Ahram, Wellbond and Al Amal, dmg said.
Speaking on the upcoming exhibition, El Dahshoury said: “The Big 5 Construct Egypt represents a great place for business leaders to discuss, sign agreements and present investment opportunities, at a time when infrastructure projects play a decisive role in the economic recovery, not only in Egypt but around the world.”
TROX Middle East gets new Managing Director
DUBAI, UAE, 4 June 2021: TROX Group, manufacturer of airside products, has announced the appointment of Saad Ali as Managing Director of the TROX Middle East region.
Making the announcement through a Press release, the Group said that prior to his current role, Saad served as a VP for Ruskin Titus Middle East, where he was responsible for growth initiatives across the Ruskin’s Group entire portfolio.
Speaking on the occasion, Ali said, “The TROX GROUP has been the leaders of their respective markets, and I look forward to taking on my new responsibilities and working with our new and existing partners throughout the Middle East and Africa.”
Karl Palmstorfer, Head of International Business (EMEA), TROX, said: “He brings deep expertise in HVAC of particular relevance to our expansion agenda, together with broad experience in manufacturing and operations. With Saad Ali, we found the right leader with the same values we stand for. Together, we will create the best indoor air quality in projects for many generations.”
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.
Eurovent, Eurovent Middle East and Eurovent Certita Certification to host webinar on global air filtration standard
BRUSSELS, DUBAI, PARIS, 19 May 2021: Eurovent, in cooperation with Eurovent Middle East and Eurovent Certita Certification, will host a webinar on June 9 with the aim of outlining the importance of adherence to the latest standards in air conditioning and ventilation. Making the announcement through a Press release, Eurovent said special focus will be placed on the application of the newest air filtration standard, ISO 16890, which has replaced EN 779 and other international standards in recent years. The virtual event, it added, is tailor-made for Africa, Middle East, India and Southeast Asia.
According to Eurovent, it will address the following topics:
- ISO 16890: The global air filtration standard
- Eurovent 4/23: Guidance for the selection of ISO 16890-rated air filter classes for general ventilation applications
- Energy efficiency and filter certification
According to Eurovent, presentations will lead to a panel discussion and a dedicated Q&A session.
Marc Schmidt, Chairman, Eurovent Product Group – ‘Air Filters’ (PG-FIL), and one of the key speakers of the webinar, by way of underlining the importance of the transition to ISO 16890, said: “This standard has been developed to increase the awareness on Indoor Air Quality related to particulate matter suspended in the air and supports the World Health Organization’s fight in reducing illnesses related to smallest particle sizes. It is essential for the HVAC engineering community around the world to be aware of this standard and to understand its application.”
Eurovent said registration to the event is free of charge. It urged those interested in attending to register at via this link.
E+E Elektonik launches EE 212 humidity and temperature sensor
ENGERWITZDORF, Austria, 19 May 2021: E+E Elektronik has launched the EE212 humidity and temperature sensor, which it described as being suitable for challenging measurement tasks in climate technology, agriculture and the pharmaceuticals industries.
A modular probe design makes it easy to replace the sensing module directly on site, if needed, E+E Elektronik said, adding that the E+E sensor coating, the wide choice of filter caps, and the robust IP65 / NEMA 4 enclosure ensure accurate and reliable measurements even under challenging working conditions.
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.
DriSteem releases Buyer’s Guide
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minnesota, 16 May 2021: Dri-Steem, manufacturer of humidification, evaporative cooling and water treatment products, released a buyer’s guide that focuses on humidification for laboratories, the company said through a Press release.
“This new buyer’s guide is written specifically for laboratory facilities personnel,” said Jennifer Montville, Director of Marketing, DriSteem. “Careful control of relative humidity levels in labs generates more accurate test results, prevents contamination, and promotes a healthier work environment. DriSteem has been designing and building world-class humidification equipment for more than 50 years and is committed to helping facilities use those products to optimize their businesses.”
According to the company, its humidification systems are made to fit each unique application, whether it is ensuring the success of critical research, preserving fragile and valuable materials and instrumentation, or protecting the health and wellbeing of building occupants. DriSteem said its mission is to support healthy environments – studies show that ideal room relative humidity (RH) is 40-60%.
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 10: Thursday, 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.
Camfil launches CamCarb VG engineered molecular filtration solution
STOCKHOLM, Sweden, 12 May 2021: Camfil launched the CamCarb VG engineered molecular filtration solution, which the company described as a robust solution suited for make-up air and recirculation air systems. The primary use of the technology, Camfil said, is the control of acidic gases that are responsible for the corrosion of electronics and electrical equipment in heavy process industries, such as pulp and paper mills; petrochemical refineries; mining and metal refining operations; and wastewater treatment plants. They are also suitable for lighter applications, such as the removal of noxious and odorous fumes generated outside airports, hospital helipads, cultural heritage buildings, and commercial offices located in city centres, Camfil added. The modules can be filled with different types of Camfil molecular filtration media to suit the specific customer application, the company said. There are two standard configurations of CamCarb VG: VG300 and VG440, it said, adding that the VG300 format is best suited for moderate duty (normally make-up air) applications, and the VG440 is best suited for light-duty (recirculation air) applications.
According to Camfil, CamCarb VG filters can be installed in specially designed housings, with options for front-loading, side-loading, or positive-seal side access (PSSA). They can also be used as replacements in housings and track systems produced by other manufacturers, the company said.
The modules are fully welded and constructed without adhesive to eliminate the possibility of off-gassing, Camfil said. They include a unique moulded mesh to allow the use of a full range of loose-fill media without shedding, it said. Many applications will require multiple molecular media to address a range of contaminants. The different media should be deployed in a series of layered modules. This layered approach will provide the highest removal efficiency, the longest life, and the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO), as each media can be changed when it reaches the end of its useful life, it said, adding that a blended-media, on the other hand, requires all the media to be replaced when just a single component has failed.
ASHRAE, IUVA sign MoU
ATLANTA, Georgia, 12 May 2021: ASHRAE and the International Ultraviolet Association (IUVA) have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), formalizing the relationship between the two organizations, ASHRAE said through a Press release.
Charles E Gulledge III, 2020-21 ASHRAE President, and Ron Hofmann, President, IUVA, signed the MoU in April to further specify the path forward, ASHRAE said. The agreement defines parameters by which ASHRAE and IUVA will work cooperatively to promote the advancement of emerging research and technologies to support a more sustainable built-environment, ASHRAE further said.
“Establishing and maintaining improved indoor environmental quality is the bedrock of ASHRAE’s sustainability mission, and the use of ultraviolet technology is a critical component towards addressing the challenges of minimizing the spread of infectious diseases,” Gulledge said. “We are pleased to partner with IUVA, as we collectively support research and new innovations to further our vision on a sustainable built environment for all.”
Hofmann added: “With a focus on the science and engineering of UV technology, IUVA members are pleased to have the opportunity to partner with ASHRAE to enhance the knowledge base and application of UV in the built environment. While the technology is already well established, the urgency of addressing the global pandemic has raised the profile of UV, and our partnership with ASHRAE promises to help develop the necessary data, protocols, guidelines, and standards to ensure its continued effective, safe use.”
According to ASHRAE, the MoU includes, but is not limited to, the following initiatives related to development of ANSI certifiable standards and related source documents:
- Test and measurements on specific pathogens across a specified light spectrum (e.g., antimicrobial UV-C: 200nm – 280nm) and in specified mediums (e.g., aerosols, large droplets, surface – dry & wet, in aqueous solution, pristine & soiled)
- Test and measurements on efficacy outcomes for antimicrobial UV-C devices and systems in specified, well defined testing environments (e.g., simulated hospital rooms, equipped and arranged in a standardized configuration, with predetermined numbers and locations of sampling points)
- Test and measurements on efficacy outcomes for antimicrobial UV-C devices and systems installed in ‘upper room’ HVAC applications
- Standards and guidelines that establish the minimum requirements for commissioning permanently installed UV antimicrobial systems in existing and newly constructed facilities
- Standard and guidelines for the application of UV disinfection of water used in cooling towers to control spread of bacteria, such as Legionella, algae and fungi into the building HVAC system
ASHRAE said that in addition to these research and publication development initiatives, ASHRAE’s and IUVA’s other areas of potential collaboration include general advocacy, joint conferences and meetings, consistent leadership communication, education and professional development, technical activities coordination and research.
Systemair Group announces changes in management team
SKINNSKATTEBERG, Sweden, 12 May 2021:Bjørn-Osvald Skandsen, Managing Director, Systemair Norway, has joined as member of Systemair Group Management, starting May 12, Systemair Group said through a Press release.
According to Systemair Group, Skandsen has many years of experience in the ventilation industry and in Systemair. Before re-joining Systemair in March 2018 as Managing Director, he was holding a director’s positions in GK Inneklima – a technical ventilation contractor in Norway. Even earlier in his professional life, from 2000 to 2006, he had headed the Systemair Group’s technical support department and domestic sales in Sweden. Skandsen holds a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and an MBA in brand management. He currently serves as board member of VKE, which is an organisation for ventilation and cooling companies in Norway.
“Bjørn-Osvald is an enthusiastic and loyal business leader, with a strong passion for new technology and modern trade,” said Roland Kasper, CEO, Systemair. “I am convinced he will be a good asset to the management of Systemair. He will take a special responsibility for our heating division Frico – an area where he has good knowledge and previous experience.”
Systemair announces supplying smart, sustainable HVAC solutions for Expo 2020
DUBAI, UAE, 11 October 2021: The Systemair Group, as official sponsor of the Swedish Pavilion at Expo 2020, from October 1 to March 31 in Dubai, will showcase modern climate solutions from Systemair and Frico that, it said, will ensure visitors to the Pavilion are able to breathe clean air and enjoy the cool climate in a smart and sustainable manner. Announcing this through a Press release, Systemair Group added that Systemair and Frico will also be organising several exciting events aimed at educating stakeholders on the importance of achieving optimum indoor air quality without compromising on energy efficiency.
Morten Schmelzer, Technical Marketing Director, Systemair Group, said: “As proud sponsors of the Swedish Pavilion, we want to ensure visitors can benefit from healthy and comfortable indoor climate. Keeping this in mind, we have carefully selected the products that will ensure fresh air supply, which is especially crucial in view of COVID-19. Our solution also offers a minimum of 50% lower electrical power consumption and sustainable cooling recovery as high as 65%, which is unique for the Middle East. Lastly, the products are in line with the latest high European and ISO standards, which enable the best possible IAQ with minimum energy utilisation.”
Systemair Group said it supplied 10 of its high-end Geniox AHUs with state-of-the-art control systems to meet requirements of the local ambient conditions, as well as the spatial challenges posed by the unique design of the structure. It said it also supplied a sorption cooling recovery system with special material on the heat-recovery wheel, along with fan-coil units, a Sysaqua 170 chiller and a roof fan – the DVG EC560. The pavilion features two of the latest-generation air curtains from Frico, installed in the shop and the cafeteria, it added.
According to Systemair Group, Systemair and Frico will hold a VIP keynote event and reception night during the Expo, featuring leading global experts, who will discuss trends and innovations relating to the next generation of sustainable HVAC technologies. Also in the information dissemination mix, Systemair Group said, is an exclusive workshop that will elaborate on how stakeholders can leverage advanced technical solutions to obtain healthy indoor air in their projects while saving energy in their projects.
ASHRAE publishes updated health care facility ventilation standard
ATLANTA, Georgia, 11 May 2021: ASHRAE has released an updated edition of ANSI/ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170, Ventilation of Health Care Facilities. Making the announcement through a Press release, ASHRAE said the standard offers guidance, regulation and mandates to designers of health care facilities.
The 2021 edition, ASHRAE said, delivers critical guidance for designers and operators of these front-line facilities and incorporates 17 addenda to the 2017 edition of the standard.
According to ASHRAE, changes include:
- Expanded requirements to allow airborne infectious isolation room exhaust discharge to general exhaust under certain conditions
- Revised scope, with improved guidance on thermal comfort conditions
- Extensive modifications to address the Outpatient and Residential sections
- Extensive revisions to air filtration requirements
- Addition of new columns in the ventilation tables to prescribe filtration requirement and designate unoccupied turndown
- Expanded guidance on separation distance requirements for varied intake and exhaust arrangements, coordinating with related ASHRAE Standard 62.1 data
- Improved guidance related to behavioral and mental health
Carel signs agreement to acquire 51% of CFM Soğutma
BRUGINE, Padua, Italy, 10 May 2021: Carel Industries, on May 5, signed a binding agreement for the acquisition of 51% of CFM Soğutma ve Otomasyon A.Ş., a long-standing distributor and partner in Turkey as well as a provider of digital and on-field services and solutions dedicated to OEMs, contractors and end users in the Turkish HVACR market.
CFM’s workforce, based in its 6,500-square-metre Izmir facility, in Turkey, numbers 34, half of whom are part of the technical and engineering team, Carel said.
With major expertise in thermodynamics, mechanics, control and connectivity, CFM offers complete solutions, starting from system design and technical support, during the start-up phase of the plants, up to the remote monitoring and supervision service, Carel said. The offer, which is based on the proposal of the best brands and includes software development and customisation, customer training in its Academy as well as energy management services, allows CFM to stand out significantly, Carel said.
According to Carel, CFM has created a unique business model, demonstrated by its high rate of customer loyalty, its long-standing relationships with the country’s main retail chains and its particularly high profitability.
A peculiar feature of CFM is also that it invoices almost all its sales in euros, thereby protecting itself from fluctuations in the local currency, Carel pointed out. In 2020, CFM reported revenues of 14.5 million euros and EBITDA of five million euros, it said. It is expected that at the time of the closing of the operation the net financial position will be slightly positive, it pointed out.
Carel said the transaction is aligned with two of its key strategic directions: geographical expansion outside western Europe and the development of the services business – on-field and digital. The acquisition, the company said, will allow it to not only establish a direct presence in the important Turkish market and to have a solid platform for the development of its Middle East market but also to adopt a distinctive business model, characterised by a wide range of complementary services. The transaction will also allow it to further develop its potential in synergy with its hardware, IoT and thermodynamic competence, it said. After having established its success in the refrigeration sector, CFM, in fact, has extensive growth potential in air conditioning and humidification, it added.
The closing of the part-acquisition is expected by the end of July 2021 and is subject to obtaining the approval for the transaction from the local antitrust authorities, and meeting other conditions precedent that are characteristic of this type of agreement, Carel said. With this transaction, Carel said, it will take control of the Turkish company through the acquisition of 51% of the share capital of CFM, with an enterprise value of 23.1 million euros for the stake. The acquisition of the remaining 49% of CFM, the valuation of which is tied to the Turkish company’s future results, is governed by a cross-option mechanism between the parties, exercisable between 2024 and 2027, Carel said. This structure in which the current management is heavily involved in the company in the medium term, it added, ensures a complete alignment of interests during the integration period of CFM into CAREL.
Fifty million more people face heat-related risks
VIENNA, Austria, 5 May 2021: In a warming world, access to sustainable cooling is not a luxury. It is essential for productivity, a healthy diet and the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines. Today 1.09 billion vulnerable people are at high risk, because they face a range of cooling access challenges. COVID-19 has intensified the situation with those forced into poverty due to the pandemic contributing to the 50 million additional urban and rural poor at high risk in 2021. Meanwhile, another 2.3 billion from the lower-middle income group face a different risk – inefficient cooling and refrigeration options that increase harmful GHG levels. Across 54 high-impact countries, 3.4 billion people face cooling access risks in 2021.
The Chilling Prospects 2021 report released today by Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) analyses the four populations of urban and rural poor, lower-middle income and middle income in 54 high-impact countries, and reveals that global cooling access risks are on the rise. This is due, in part, to the first global poverty increase seen in 20 years, impacting mostly South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time, 2020 was one of the hottest years on record, with numerous heatwaves recorded causing wildfires that emitted record amounts of carbon dioxide (CO₂).
“Last year was, without a doubt, a challenging one for all of us, and as the pandemic continues, it is essential more than ever to focus our efforts on increasing energy access,” said Francesco Starace, Chair, SEforALL Administration Board; Chief Executive Officer and General Manager, Enel. “Coupled with the effects of climate change, our agendas should prioritise an inclusive energy transition and deliver access to sustainable cooling to support health, economic, and social recovery, especially in areas at high risk. Together, we must tackle the complexity of today’s challenges and commit to achieving with great speed and scale access to clean, sustainable, and affordable energy for everyone throughout the world.”
Challenges, impacts on vulnerable populations
Lack of access to adequate cold chains for life-saving COVID-19 vaccines is one of the most immediate concerns facing developing countries and, indeed, the world. The Economist Intelligence Unit forecasts that 85 poor countries will not have widespread access to COVID-19 vaccines before 2023, including all African economies, except Gabon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco and South Africa.
Dunli launches X-Pro axial fans
Yuhang District, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China 3 May 2021: Dunli has launched the X-Pro series of axial fans, which the company described in a Press release as designed to feature the latest rear guide vane and three-dimensional flow impeller.
The range covers a variety of impeller diameters, including 500mm, 630mm, 710mm, 800mm and 900mm, Dunli said. The maximum static pressure efficiency is up to 56%, and the air volume is as high as 35,000m3/h, the company claimed. The noise and range – throw distance – are able to perform significantly better than the equivalent fans from the motor fan industry all over the world, the company further claimed.
According to Dunli, the X-Pro fans can be used on a variety of HVAC equipment, such as air coolers, air-cooled heat exchange modules, heat pumps and cooling towers. This X-Pro series, Dunli said, is reliable, lends itself to easy installation and maintenance and is convenient to control.
ASHRAE supports USGBC IAQ schools survey and report
ATLANTA, Georgia, 29 April 2021: With technical support from ASHRAE, the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) published a new report on indoor air quality (IAQ) measures that schools have taken in response to the pandemic, ASHRAE said through a Press release.
The report, titled “Preparation in the Pandemic: How Schools Implemented Air Quality Measures to Protect Occupants from COVID-19”, presents the survey responses of school districts representing more than 4,000 schools serving over 2.5 million students in 24 states, on the protocols and operations plans implemented to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
“Maintaining proper ventilation and good indoor air quality are vital in keeping school buildings healthy and operating as energy efficiently as possible,” said 2020-21 ASHRAE President Charles E. Gulledge III. “This report provides a wide-scale, foundational framework to school leaders and lawmakers alike towards the implementation of new building design guidelines and to advance health and sustainability goals, while instilling confidence in the places where people learn.”
According to ASHRAE, the report is the only known national view of air quality measures implemented in schools during the pandemic. It highlights what school districts have prioritized, which actions they have taken, how they have made decisions and what the consequences have been. The results of the survey show that schools have implemented some protective measures to improve IAQ, prioritizing ventilation and filtration to reduce the transmission of the virus, ASHRAE said. However, school districts still have unmet needs and face numerous challenges related to costs and outdated building infrastructure, ASHRAE added.
“Indoor air quality continues to be a critical concern as more teachers and students are returning to the classroom,” said Anisa Heming, Director of the Center for Green Schools, USGBC. “Increasing clean air circulation for our teachers and students is vital to promoting public health and is a key green building strategy for school buildings. Our aim with this report is to inform policymakers and nonprofits that support our schools of the challenges that our education institutions face in combatting the spread of COVID-19, particularly given the deficient state of many school buildings across the country.”
Additional findings from the survey include:
- The most-frequently-cited challenge to implementing protective air quality measures at schools was that school buildings were not designed to support the strategies that were being recommended.
- School districts that have been able to act have leaned heavily on their mechanical systems, such as increasing air supply through HVAC systems or upgrading filters to implement protective air quality measures for students and teachers.
- Only two-thirds of respondents were regularly monitoring IAQ before the pandemic, indicating that providing time, staff and funding for regular monitoring and data collection has not been a priority for many districts in the past.
- Respondents want to continue the measures implemented during the pandemic, citing student and teacher health. Seventy per cent of school districts plan to continue some or all of the strategies they have implemented.
“As schools re-open and develop health and safety plans to mitigate airborne transmission of COVID-19, many are prioritizing and upgrading current HVAC systems to provide the highest indoor air quality for building occupants,” said Corey Metzger, Lead, ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force Schools Team. “We know that improved indoor air quality has a positive impact on student performance and general well-being, and I’m hopeful that more schools will consider and implement the guidance provided by ASHRAE.”
Carrier launches Abound
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Florida, 27 April 2021: Carrier Global Corporation on April 26 launched Abound, which it described in a Press release as a new cloud-native platform, as part of its growing investment in digital solutions designed to give people confidence in the health and safety of their indoor environments. Abound is an open-technology platform that aggregates data from different systems and sensors and provides building owners, operators and occupants transparency into relevant and contextual insights about air quality, thermal comfort and other performance data, the company said.
“Abound will transform a building owner’s ability to optimize the indoor environment, boosting the confidence of each visitor and occupant,” said Dave Gitlin, Chairman & CEO, Carrier. “The access to real-time actionable data for indoor air quality and other building systems and sensors embodies the future of building health and performance for customers around the globe. With this launch, we are moving closer to establishing industry standards that will provide owners, operators and occupants greater confidence in their indoor spaces.”
According to Carrier, Abound is a cloud-native offering that uses advanced technology to make building environments more intelligent, efficient and responsive. It connects directly to existing building systems and sensors with no need for upgrades, retrofitting or replacements. And, unlike other building management platforms, Abound is designed to easily work with all systems regardless of manufacturer, to unlock and unite siloed data to provide more powerful, actionable insights, Carrier claimed. The platform can be rapidly installed and scaled and showcases data on a single pane of glass and via remote readings, the company added.
According to Carrier, a hallmark feature of the platform is the ability for building operators to benchmark building performance related to air quality, ventilation and humidity against the thresholds identified by certain air features within the WELL Building Standard (WELL) from the International WELL Building Institute, which works for achieving healthy buildings. Building owners will have the ability to display real-time information and messaging about a building’s health through the Abound application programming interface (API), which can be used to create digital wallboards and support mobile experiences, Carrier said.
“We’re proud that the thresholds in the Abound platform are based on the WELL Building Standard’s air quality features, helping Carrier to make something as invisible as air quality more visible and actionable,” said Rachel Hodgdon, IWBI’s President and CEO. “This platform will help streamline pathways for customers to measure, communicate and report their progress toward WELL Certification, advancing IWBI’s overall mission to advance people first places around the world.”
According to Carrier, Abound is currently being piloted across the United States, with customers in the commercial building, K-12 education and sports and entertainment industries, including Trust Park, home to the Atlanta Braves. It is also operating at Carrier’s world headquarters and building technology showcase, the Center for Intelligent Buildings in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
“We are thrilled to participate in the pilot of the Abound platform to give fans a safer and more informed spectator experience,” said Jim Allen, Senior Vice President of Corporate and Premium Partnerships for the Atlanta Braves. “The visual displays strategically placed throughout the stadium will provide our guests a real-time look at how our systems are working together to improve air quality. Sports bring people together, and the game just isn’t the same without our incredible fans here at the ballpark and we’re excited to welcome them back.”
While a tool for building owners, Abound was designed with building occupants and the general public in mind, Carrier said. It will make the invisible – air quality – visible through a smart, simple interface, and using its API and responsive display generators, building owners can communicate building health strategies, health performance metrics or the live indoor air quality summary through in-building digital displays, mobile applications or existing digital experiences.
“The launch of Abound underscores Carrier’s leadership in digital innovation and ability to move quickly to exceed our customers’ needs,” said Bobby George, Senior Vice President & Chief Digital Officer, Carrier. “The platform came together in a fraction of a year, and I couldn’t be prouder of the team. Abound’s platform architecture was designed around open standards and modern cloud native technologies and can quickly adapt to a wide range of integration and connectivity and scaling needs. The platform is comprehensive and delivers value to our customers through the complete integration of software, hardware and digital analytics.”
ASHRAE launches Vision 2030 webpage
ATLANTA, Georgia, 27 April 2021: ASHRAE announced the launch of its Vision 2030 webpage (ashrae.org/vision2030).
As technology continues to improve every aspect of the built-environment, ASHRAE’s Vision 2030 is committed to leading, serving and providing all professionals in the buildings industry with the resources and knowledge to continually drive the innovative and strategic improvements needed during the revolution of the built-environment, ASHRAE said.
“The Vision 2030 webpage provides guidance to support intelligent design, construction, and operation for a more adaptable and resilient built environment,” said 2018-19 ASHRAE Presidential Member and Vision 2030 Chair Shelia J. Hayter. “We believe that the contributions of the Vision 2030 team will serve as a powerful resource to industry professionals and the general public alike.”
According to ASHRAE, the webpage features the following five sections:
- Connected Communities
- Data and Integration
- Team Processes
- Member Services
Members of the Vision 2030 team, ASHRAE said, are as follows:
- Sheila J. Hayter, P.E., Presidential Fellow ASHRAE, chair, ASHRAE Vision 2030
- Thomas H. Phoenix, P.E., BEMP, Presidential Fellow ASHRAE, vice chair, ASHRAE Vision 2030
- Chip Branscum, PE, LEED AP, ASHRAE Vision 2030 Ad Hoc Committee
- Robin Bryant, ASHRAE Director & Regional Chair Region XII
- Jayson Bursill, Ph.D.
- Michael Cooper, P.E., ASHRAE Headquarters Building Ad-hoc Committee
- Drury B. Crawley, Ph.D., Fellow ASHRAE, BEMP, FIBPSA, chair, ASHRAE Standards Committee, AIA
- Christopher M. Gray, Ph.D., P.E.
- William R. MacGowan
- Tim J. McGinn, P.Eng., HBDP, ASHRAE Vice President
- Francis A. Mills
- Daniel H. Nall, P.E., FAIA, Fellow ASHRAE, LEED® Fellow, BEMP, HBDP, CPHC
- Lan Chi Nguyen Weekes, ing., P.Eng., chair, ASHRAE Multidisciplinary Task Group Health and Wellness in the Built Environment
- Joe Noworatzky Ed.D., ASHRAE Foundation Trustee
- W. Andrew Perrin, BASc
- Chandra Sekhar, Ph.D., Fellow ASHRAE, ASHRAE Director-at-Large, Distinguished Lecturer
- Manish K. Sharma
- Jiri Skopek
“Cool Careers” webinars planned for World Refrigeration Day
ASTON ON TRENT, Derbyshire, United Kingdom, 23 April 2021: A series of webinars focusing on the cool careers that make the world better are coming in June to celebrate World Refrigeration Day, June 26, the World Refrigeration Day Secretariat said through a Press release.
The Secretariat said it will partner with seven organisations to make students and young professionals globally aware of career opportunities in fields relying on refrigeration technology.
By way of listing the issues expected to come up for discussion in June, the Secretariat posed the following questions: Who researches how food can be preserved from its source to the table and how vaccines and medicines can be shipped around the world? Who enables data centres to function? How can climate change be stabilised while not sacrificing modern convenience? Who safely manages the processes that enable air to be cooled? How can the quality of indoor air be improved, and disease transmission prevented?
The people, “cooling champions,” and the careers that make modern life possible will be spotlighted in “cool careers” webinars over two weeks in June, the Secretariat said.
Organised as part of the day’s 2021 campaign theme, “Cooling Champions: Cool Careers for a Better World”, the webinars will be conducted by groups whose networks reach into developed and developing nations, the Secretariat said. Campaign partners are UNEP OzonAction, ASHRAE, EPEE, FAIAR, IIR, ISHRAE and U-3ARC, it added. The objective is to inspire students and those early in their career path to join the more than 15 million people worldwide currently employed in the refrigeration sector, making the world better, it further added.
“Partnering with these organizations enables the refrigeration industry to reach out globally, with particular emphasis on developing countries, to expand the workforce that supports life-giving and society-dependent technologies,” said Steve Gill, Founder & Head, World Refrigeration Day Secretariat. “Opportunities within the industry abound for young people with a wide range of career aspirations. Advanced cooling technologies provide them with a profession that improves life in their communities and in the world as a whole.”
According to the Secretariat, each campaign partner will target career opportunities with webinars in the language common within that network. Special emphasis will be given to sectors that are commonly less known, like Cold Chain, Refrigerant Management, Indoor Air-Quality, Sustainability, Heat Pumps, and Not-in-Kind Technologies. Gender equality and promoting women in cooling careers will be highlighted in this year’s campaign as well, it said, adding that the schedule of webinars and topics will be available in the coming weeks at www.worldrefrigerationday.org.
Carel launches pCOe
BRUGINE, Padua, Italy, 22 April 2021: Carel said it has widened its range of I/O expansions in the first part of 2021 with the development of a new digital input expansion board. I/O expansions are modules that can be added to a typical air conditioning application, to increase the number of inputs and outputs available on the controller and, consequently, optimise the flexibility and modularity of the solutions, the company explained through a Press release for the purpose of making the announcement of the launch.
Carel said one of the most common uses of the digital input expansion board involves ventilation sections comprising several fans with electronic motors; in this case, the speed of the individual devices needs to be monitored in order to check their operating status and act on the other fans accordingly, if one of them fails. Carel said it has for many years now offered all of the tools needed to support large systems, such as air-handling units or dry coolers, in which the fans are equipped with electronics that communicate via Modbus®, making it possible to directly monitor their operating status.
However, units that are smaller in size and capacity have simpler and more economical fans that do not feature serial communication and provide a pulse signal based on the rotation speed, which can be read by fast digital inputs, Carel said. This is the basis for the development of its new digital input expansion board, which the company described as an ideal solution for all cases where numerous digital inputs – including fast inputs up to 500 Hz – need to be read, however, while limiting the total number of I/Os and space required, adding only those that are needed.
One typical example involves so-called “in row units” used for cooling data centres. The highly compact units do not require complex device control architecture or specific sensors for their operation, Carel said. These feature a single ventilation section with at least eight fans in parallel, which need to be monitored individually. In this case, reading the signal is a simple and effective way to verify operation, as well as being a more economical solution than installing expensive air flow-rate sensors, Carel said.
The new expansion board, Carel said, features a high number of digital inputs to ensure maximum flexibility in different applications. This is essential on units where the main controller features a limited number of inputs and outputs, while multiple digital inputs need to be connected, for example to detect alarms or various signals.
The entire range of I/O expansions, Carel said, can be integrated into solutions based on the CAREL pCO and c.pCO programmable controller platforms, or into architecture using different controllers.
President Biden invites JCI’s CEO to speak at Leaders Summit on Climate
MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin, 21 April 2021: Johnson Controls (JCI) announced that George Oliver, its Chairman and CEO has been invited by U.S. President Joe Biden to participate in the virtual Leaders Summit on Climate.
Making the announcement through a Press release, JCI said the summit will bring together leaders of the world’s major economies and other vital partners for an urgent and open dialog on ways to strengthen collective efforts to address the climate crisis. President Biden has made tackling climate change a top national priority since taking office and is urging other world leaders to attend the summit to discuss how their governments will help drive the goal of limiting global temperature rise.
“I am honored to accept President Biden`s invitation to join him and other world leaders calling for urgent climate action,” Oliver said. “It is especially important to establish a roadmap to limiting the rise of global temperatures as we get closer to the COP26 climate conference, scheduled for November in Glasgow. Transitioning to a lower-carbon economy is an opportunity to build back better, as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Providing clean, sustainable and energy-efficient solutions creates jobs while building strong, resilient global economies.”
According to the White House, a major theme of the summit will be the broad economic benefits of climate action, with a strong focus on job creation. This will explore both the economic benefits of green recovery and long-term decarbonization and the importance of ensuring that all communities and workers benefit from the transition to a clean energy economy.
Representing both Business Roundtable and Johnson Controls, Oliver will address these topics in a session on April 23 as well as the role buildings can play to slash both emissions and costs, JCI said.
Business Roundtable is an association of chief executive officers of America’s leading companies. According to JCI, Oliver was named Chair of the Business Roundtable Energy & Environment Committee in January this year. The Committee is dedicated to advancing policies that encourage innovation and support an environmentally and economically sustainable future.
The vast majority of Business Roundtable’s 223-member CEOs have made public commitments to reduce their companies’ greenhouse gas emissions/carbon footprints, are making serious progress and reporting on it publicly. Nearly half of those commitments are for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, if not sooner.
According to JCI, Business Roundtable members are playing a significant role in driving ambitious climate action and the policy needed to spur low-carbon economic growth. Last September, JCI said, the organization endorsed the goals of the Paris Agreement and proposed aggressive policies to achieve those goals.
JCI said its own ambitious emissions reductions targets were recently approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative – an independent organization that assesses corporate sustainability claims. JCI said that as part of its environmental sustainability commitments, it aims to cut operational emissions by 55% and reduce customers’ emissions by 16% before 2030. It said it believes its OpenBlue platform for optimizing building sustainability will be central to fulfilling these goals and ultimately creating an environment for healthy people, healthy places and a healthy planet.
JCI said it also recently joined the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign and is a signatory to The Climate Pledge, an initiative of business leaders co-founded by Amazon and Global Optimism. Signatories to the pledge commit to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 – 10 years ahead of the Paris Climate Agreement goal.
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.”
Craft makes first complete R-290 commercial system
SAN DIEGO, California, 13 April 2021: US-based contract manufacturer, Craft said it has designed its first complete propane (R-290) refrigeration system that includes a condenser, compressor and evaporator for a US-based display case OEM, Hydrocarbons21.com reported on its Web site.
It is the latest move by Craft in the R-290 commercial refrigeration space, where it has stepped up its investment in the past year, Hydrocarbons21.com said.
The OEM, which had approached Craft about making the R-290 system, will begin marketing the cabinet “in the next few months,” said Dean Rafiee, Partner and Managing Director, Craft. “We will go into mass production by July.” He declined to name the OEM without their permission, Hydrocarbons21.com said. Craft, which focuses primarily on the North American market, will also manufacture its own version of the R-290 refrigeration system over the next few months, Hydrocarbons21.com quoted Rafiee as saying.
According to Hydrocarbons21.com, since 2016, Craft has manufactured Thermocraft R-290 condensing units for retail cabinets and other applications, first under the SF line and, then, the more efficient EH line. R-290 condensing units comprise about 10% of the condensing units manufactured by Craft, which also makes units for HFO blends R-448A, R-449A and R-513, and for R-404A, Hydrocarbons21.com said.
However, Rafiee sees a “big trend” to R-290 refrigeration among Craft’s OEM customers, Hydrocarbons21.com said. “The number of clients contacting us for R290 is amazing,” Rafiee said. “They see that’s where the future is headed, and they want to be there with the right products.”
Over the past year, Craft has been preparing for that future by making a “significant investment” in its manufacturing capability for R-290 products, along with testing chambers and charging functionality, Hydrocarbons21.com said.
“We see [HFO blends] as a transitional fluid, which is why we have invested so much in R-290 over the past year,” he said. “We are always directing our clients to R-290, to make an early investment, so later on they can compete in the marketplace.”
Hydrocarbons21.com quoted Rafiee as saying that R-290 compressor manufacturers, especially Embraco, “have taken the efficiency of R-290 compressors to the next level”. Craft employs Embraco and Cubigel (Huayi) compressors in its EH line of R290 condensing units, Hydrocarbons21.com said.
Craft’s EH Series R290 single-speed, air-cooled condensing units range from 1/5 to 3/4HP and are available for medium/high and low temperatures, Hydrocarbons21.com said, adding that they feature EC motors and condensers with 7mm tubes that “optimize the charge of refrigerant gas required,”
AHRI, others petition EPA on HFC phase-down rule
ARLINGTON, Virginia, 13 April 2021: The Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration institute (AHRI) today joined more than 35 other industry and environmental organizations in petitioning the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seeking uniform national standards for stationary air conditioning and commercial refrigeration equipment in the transition to climate-friendly refrigerants under the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act. If promulgated, these standards will result in an additional half billion tons of CO2 reduction, over and above what already is projected to be achieved by implementation of the AIM Act, AHRI said through a Press release.
The federal standards sought by the AHRI petition align with similar standards already in place in nine states. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), and the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) submitted similar petitions under the AIM Act, AHRI pointed out.
For new residential and light-commercial central air conditioning equipment, the petition, AHRI said, seeks a regulation requiring that equipment manufacturers use refrigerants with a global warming potential (GWP) of 750 or less in equipment made after January 1, 2025, with the exception of variable refrigerant flow (VRF) equipment, whose deadline would be January 1, 2026. These transition dates would align the country with the dates adopted in December 2020 by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and nine additional Climate Alliance states, AHRI said.
For commercial refrigeration and chiller equipment, the petition seeks the GWP limits and transition dates according to the table below:
Through these petitions, AHRI said, a broad variety of stakeholders, including itself, hope to demonstrate that sufficient consensus already exists and that a regular notice and comment rulemaking would adequately represent all material interests, thereby allowing the agency to forego the negotiated rulemaking process it must consider – but is not required to undertake – for such petitions, pursuant to the AIM Act.
AHRI said its petition emphasizes that as a general matter, “the U.S. HVACR industry already is proceeding with the requested transition date as its goal; granting this petition provides order and structure to the market and streamlines industry preparation”.
The transition dates contained in its petition, AHRI said, allow “sufficient time for careful planning and preparation, both to avoid excessive costs that can unduly burden consumers, and to ensure all safety and other associated standards can be met”, according to the petition. “For example, contractors and technicians must receive appropriate training, state and local building codes must be updated and changed, and supply chains and distribution networks must be modified,” AHRI said.
“While AHRI has long believed that an earlier transition would not allow enough time for manufacturers to prepare, we have been equally clear that a later transition date would put long-term compliance with the AIM Act at risk,” said Stephen Yurek, AHRI President & CEO. “Aligning these dates also reduces costs for consumers and ensures long-term availability of energy-, environment-, and life-saving refrigerants for climate control and for the cold chain for food, vaccines, and other medicines.”
AHRI, the U.S. Department of Energy, CARB and other stakeholders have invested more than USD 7 million in research into alternative refrigerants in preparation for this transition, AHRI said, These more climate-friendly alternatives, it added, are in use today in Europe, Australia, Japan, Thailand and in more than 90% of new passenger vehicles currently sold in the United States.
DriSteem introduces new humidifier
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minnesota, 12 April 2021: DriSteem introduced its RTS humidifier RX series, which it described through a Press release as a compact, elegant, cabinet-style, resistive-to-steam humidifier that is ideal for any application where reliable humidity control is needed.
For added application flexibility, the company said, there are 21 models to choose from, with capacities up to 324 lbs/hr (147 kg/h). In addition, the standard single stage solid state relay (SSR) control allows for a tight range of relative humidity control, keeping it within +/- 1 % RH, the company added.
According to DriSteem, the RX series offers a number of features that make it stand out against other steam humidifiers in the market:
- Removable front covers with quarter-turn latches that allow easy one-sided access to the tank and electrical connections
- Large clean-out and heater plate for easy access when cleaning the tank
- DriSteem’s programmable smart drain and scale management technology, which adjusts drain intervals automatically based on water quality:
- Removes precipitated minerals from the tank
- Skimming removes foam and suspended minerals
- Matching Space Distribution Units that disperse steam with no visible vapor trail (SDU-I-RX)
- Functionality of Vapor-logic controller with an intuitive touchscreen interface:
- Start-up wizard for simplified setup; scan QR codes to access product manuals
- Color-coded alerts to reduce down-time and technical calls
- Contextual Help link on every screen
- Standard BACnet connectivity
- Indoor and outdoor models
- Wide voltage ranges
- International approvals
- EN1717-compliant for protection of potable water supplies from pollution caused by back-flow
“The new RX series,” said Mysty Hanson, DriSteem Product Manager, “offers a next generation breakthrough in our resistive steam humidifiers, with ease of maintenance, installation flexibility, and environmental protection, while continuing DriSteem’s legacy of sustained quality and dependability.”
Johnson Controls releases 2021 Sustainability Report
CORK, Ireland, 10 April 2021: Johnson Controls on April 9 published its 2021 Sustainability Report, highlighting its new environmental, social and governance commitments and progress towards the company’s sustainability goals, the company said through a Press release.
George Oliver, Chairman and CEO, Johnson Controls, said: “At Johnson Controls, sustainability is our business. This year saw us continue to pioneer new and important paths to sustainability, including our issuance of a green bond in the U.S. capital markets – among the very first industrials to do so.
“We welcome and embrace the enhanced attention and urgency around tackling climate change and making gains across environmental, social and governance pillars. We are determined to strengthen and further build our culture of diversity and inclusion.
“Our bold new sustainability commitments demonstrate we are all-in to help drive healthy buildings, healthy people and a healthy planet for our employees, shareholders, customers and all of our stakeholders.”
According to Johnson Controls, highlights of the report include:
- New ambitious sustainability commitments that outline the company’s priority to make positive changes in lowering its company footprint, such as achieving net zero carbon emissions before 2040.
- Its first-ever Sustainability Report that includes and fully integrates its first-ever diversity and inclusion report, highlighting its D&I commitment, mission, vision, pillars and progress.
- Its goal to double its customers’ emission reductions through implementation of its OpenBlue digitally enabled solutions by 2030.
- Its intention to double the representation of women leaders globally and minority leaders in the United States over the next five years.
- Its green financing initiatives, including a green bond – one of the first industrial companies to issue a green bond in U.S. debt capital markets – and a senior revolving credit facility tied to specific sustainability metrics
- Executive compensation that is linked to sustainability and diversity performance goals
- The appointment of the company’s first Chief Sustainability Officer and the formation of a Governance and Sustainability board of directors’ committee
- Performance contracting projects that have helped its customers avoid more than 30.6 million metric tons CO2e and save USD 6.6 billion through energy and operational savings since January 2000.
- Greenhouse gas emissions intensity reduction of more than 70% since 2002.
- Our commitment to The Climate Pledge, co-founded by Amazon and Global Optimism, to reach net-zero
ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force releases updated airborne transmission guidance
ATLANTA, Georgia, 5 April 2021: The ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force released an updated, unequivocal statement on the airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in buildings, ASHRAE said through a Press release.
ASHRAE released the following statement: “Airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is significant and should be controlled. Changes to building operations, including the operation of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems, can reduce airborne exposures.”
ASHRAE said the statement replaces its April 2020 statement, which said airborne transmission was “sufficiently likely” that airborne precautions should be taken. At that time both, ASHRAE said, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Diseases Control (CDC) contended that transmission of SARS-CoV-2 was by droplet and fomite modes, not airborne. Subsequently, both have acknowledged the risk of airborne transmission indoors, ASHRAE added.
“This may seem like a small step, but we feel it is important to leave no doubt about our position, given the muted support for ventilation and filtration as important tools in the effort to stop the pandemic, from some organizations that should be leading more strongly,” said William P Bahnfleth, Chair, ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force.
According to ASHRAE, the Task Force has been developing and disseminating guidance for the control of airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 since its formation in March 2020. “ASHRAE volunteers have played a huge role in evaluating evidence and developing detailed guidance to improve indoor environmental quality,” Bahnfleth said. “The public, globally, is benefitting from the volunteer efforts of some of the most knowledgeable scientists and engineers in our field and this updated guidance is proof of it.”
To view the complete airborne transmission statement and other COVID-19 resources, ASHRAE suggested visiting ashrae.org/COVID-19.
Eurovent PG-CT elects new Vice-Chairman
BRUSSELS, Belgium, 31 March 2021: The Eurovent Product Group, ‘Evaporative Cooling Equipment’ (PG-CT) elected Frank Stocker, Managing Director, Gohl-KTK, as the successor of Doic Hordern, CEO, JACIR, in the role of Vice-Chairman of the group. Making the announcement through a Press release, Eurovent added that Laurent Petiot, General Manager France Benelux Maghreb, B1AC, continues as Chairman of PG-CT.
The Product Group, ‘Evaporative Cooling Equipment’ recently met in a fruitful online session, Eurovent said. The meeting included Chairman and Vice-Chairman elections, as well as redefinition of the group’s scope to include all hybrid and adiabatic technologies, it added. PG-CT is turning its attention to the review of Ecodesign Regulation for professional refrigeration (ENTR Lot 1), in which new efficiency requirements are being considered for process chillers connected to an evaporative condenser, it further added.
Stocker said: “With the review of the Ecodesign Regulation for professional refrigeration around the corner, we are facing a great opportunity to promote the energy saving potential of evaporative cooling technologies. By making the Eurovent voice heard in the review, we can support the EU to achieve its climate targets.”
Petiot added: “The European industry faces important challenges, regulations are getting stringent and Eurovent is instrumental in supporting the manufacturers. Our Product Group pledges to closely monitor the review process to ensure the highest energy efficiency requirements for Europe.”
According to Eurovent, PG-CT unites manufacturers of evaporative and adiabatic cooling equipment from around Europe and is supported by Eurovent Member Associations on a national level. Its main tasks consist of advocating on European level, developing Eurovent Recommendations, generally promoting the industry and export initiatives, and diminishing unfair trade barriers inside and outside Europe, it said. Manufacturers interested in joining PG-CT, it added, can get in touch with the Eurovent Secretariat via firstname.lastname@example.org.
dmg on track with The Big 5 Construct Egypt
DUBAI, UAE, 31 March 2021: The Big 5 Construct Egypt is on track to take place in person from June 26 to 29 at the Cairo International Convention Centre (CICC) in a safe environment, event organisers, dmg events said through a Press release. Construction activity in Egypt has continued at pace, despite the coronavirus pandemic and has shown great resilience over the last year, dmg said. In fact, according to GlobalData, construction in Egypt is expected to have grown at 7.7% in 2020 and looks forward to 8.9% growth in 2021, it added.
Muhammed Kazi, Vice President, dmg events, said: “We are delighted to confirm that preparations for The Big 5 Construct Egypt are well underway for our June event, and I am happy to reveal that re-opening this year comes hand in hand with a wealth of new impactful features designed to provide opportunities for the industry to network, learn and do business.
“It is more important now than ever to bring the community together to boost business activities and build strong partnerships for the post-pandemic era, and it is our belief that there is no better way to do this than through powerful face-to-face connections.”
According to dmg, The Big 5 Construct Egypt will showcase the latest construction products and technologies across an extended offering of specialised events. International brands committed to the event despite travel restrictions will join all major Egyptian contractors at the event, including Hassan Allam Holding and Orascom Construction, El Soadaa, ASGC, Hanimex, Al Zamil, Al Ahram, Wellbond, Al Amal and more, dmg said.
Eng. Hassan Allam, CEO, Hassan Allam Holding said: “The massive transformation of Egypt through crucial infrastructure works and strategic megaprojects is set to further contribute to economic growth, whilst solidifying the country’s position as the leading trade hub between Europe, Asia, and Africa.
“As the population grows, it is critical to explore how the country can build on local, regional and international partnerships to realise the value that the infrastructure and construction industry has in sustaining economic development and diversification going forward.” According to dmg, new features set to launch at the 2021 edition include The Big 5 Egypt Leadership Conference, providing insights from Ministers and international leaders through keynote addresses and panel discussions, and The Big 5 Egypt Impact Awards, set to celebrate the people, organisations and projects driving sustainable development, innovation and transformation in Egypt’s construction industry.
The event, dmg said, also offers free-to-attend and CPD-certified Talks. It is supported by Strategic Partner, Hassan Allam Holding; Platinum Sponsor, Orascom Construction and Stone Sponsor, Gremic. The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) is on board as Supporting Association, dmg said, adding that Project Management Institute, MENA (PMI, MENA) is the Supporting Partner and ABiQ is the Research Partner.
Camfil expands production in Taiwan
STOCKHOLM, Sweden, 29 March 2021: Camfil has commenced operation at its new plant in Tainan, Taiwan, which it said will contribute in a circular systematic way to benefit the business and the environment. Making the announcement through a Press release, Camfil said the new facility, with over 4,000 square metres in area, has started production and will create new employment opportunities and contribute directly towards Camfil’s mission for a sustainable future.
According to Camfil, the factory will act as a hub for molecular and particle filtration, focusing on supporting the growing semiconductor, life science and turbomachinery industry; and by producing locally, it will help reduce shipping time from other facilities located in Asia. The plant is well equipped with the latest technology and operational capability to adapt the green process to elaborate the Camfil sustainability promises to the customers and the environment, the company said. By using its technology, it said, it expects to reduce shipping costs, promote local manufacturing and reduce waste handling. It added that its manufacturing process will have a reduced environmental impact, as the facility will contribute to reducing waste generation for customers by adopting a reuse/recycle approach for many filter components.
During the opening ceremony, Bengt G Carlsson, representative of The Swedish Trade and Invest Council, was present and took the stage to highlight the benefits of this sustainable initiative and how it will shape the future of the air filtration market and leading towards reduced waste generation.
James Lin, Managing Director, Camfil Taiwan, said: “Camfil is thrilled to announce the start of our air filtration facility that will directly contribute to our commitment to sustainability and promote reduced waste generation through recycling and reusing. We believe that this kind of initiative in manufacturing and operations can be important drivers in the sustainable development of our process and the environment.”
ASHRAE announces call for abstracts for Winter Conference
ATLANTA, Georgia, 26 March 2021: Abstracts are now being accepted for the 2022 ASHRAE Winter Conference, to be held from January 29 to February 2, 2022 at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada, ASHRAE said through a Press release.
With an eye on future resources, the conference seeks to present papers and programs that cover sustainable use of energy and water, reduction of waste and improved Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ), while addressing other challenges and opportunities in facilities, applications and processes, ASHRAE said.
“It is estimated that the world population will grow from eight billion now to around nine billion in 2050; global GDP is expected to stabilize at +2%/year,” said Raul Simonetti, Chair, 2022 Conference. “This will increase the need for food, energy and other resources to support a growing population in the coming future. The 2022 Virtual Winter Conference will provide an opportunity to examine holistically – that is, at 360° – what we do and the way we do it in order to minimize the impact on our planet.”
According to ASHRAE, the following tracks are developed to support the conference theme, ‘Holism and Perspectives towards Decarbonization’…
- Buildings use a large share of a country’s final energy, particularly for heating, cooling and various services. Papers in the “Buildings at 360°” track will focus on explaining methods, equipment, systems and solutions to satisfy occupants’ needs, to guarantee buildings’ performances and resilience, and to save resources like energy and water.
- Energy is omnipresent in our daily lives in ways like electricity for appliances or heat and cooling for industrial processes. The integration of various energy sources, processes and transportation allows us to better exploit the available energy and reduce waste. The “Energy System Integration” track will explore renewables, fossil fuels, grid integration, aggregation, demand-side flexibility, smart devices, IoT, synthetic hydrogen and synthetic fuels, CCUS and electrification.
- Indoor environment is essential for our well-being and productivity, but is often regulated differently in various parts of the world due to local conditions, circumstances, history and traditions. Papers that explain local norms and trends with an eye on energy usage would fit in the “Environmental Health and IEQ in the International Arena” track.
- The “HVAC for Industrial and Commercial Purposes” track will focus on papers that examine the challenges and opportunities in improving energy efficiency of commercial and industrial facilities and transferring lessons learned to other types of facilities.
- Refrigerants play an important role in maximizing performances and minimizing direct and indirect GHG emissions. The “Refrigerants, Safety and Performance” track will focus on papers that present advancements and developments about flammability of refrigerants that can reduce the direct emissions, but that may have safety, regulatory and performance issues when deployed on the field.
- 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 from long-term protection of fragile ancient inks of historical documents to others.
- 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.
According to ASHRAE, Abstracts (400 words or less) are due April 5, 2021. If accepted, final conference papers (eight pages, maximum) are due July 12, 2021.
In addition, technical papers (complete 30-page maximum papers) are also due March 29, 2021, ASHRAE said, adding that accepted conference papers and technical papers are published in ASHRAE Transactions, cited in abstracting indexes and considered for Science and Technology for the Built Environment, ASHRAE’s research journal.
For more information on the call for papers and the 2022 ASHRAE Winter Conference, ASHRAE urged those interested to visit https://ashrae.org/2022Winter.
In conjunction with the ASHRAE Winter Conference is the 2022 AHR Expo, to be held from January 31 to February 2, 2022, at the Las Vegas Convention Center. For more information on the 2022 AHR Expo, ASHRAE urged those interested to visit https://www.ahrexpo.com/.
LU-VE Group announces record turnover and order book
UBOLDO, Varese, Italy, 21 March 2021: LU-VE Group announced its financial results as of December 31, 2020, which includes a turnover of €401.5 million (a 2.5% increase compared to 2019). The company posted an EBITDA of €45.2 million, which it said represents a decline by 3.3% compared to 2019.
LU-VE also announced an order book at €88.8 million, as of February 2021, which it said is the highest ever reached by the Group (+5.3% compared to February 2020; +15.3% compared to December 2020).
“I would like to thank all the men and women of LU-VE Group for showing their usual strength and sense of duty,” said Iginio Liberali, President, LU-VE Group. “This attitude has allowed us to grow even in a year as difficult as 2020. Our strength lies in the fundamental values we have always practiced: humility; passion; creative intelligence; to generate value for us, for our company and for the market.”
ASHRAE, IAPMO to co-publish water efficiency document
ATLANTA, Georgia, 18 March 2021: ASHRAE and the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAMPO) have announced an agreement to co-publish a document to address water efficiency in buildings.
The document will combine ASHRAE 191P, Standard for the Efficient Use of Water in Building Mechanical Systems, along with WE-Stand™, IAPMO’s Water Efficiency and Sanitation Standard, to offer complementary water efficiency guidance and references in one publication, ASHRAE said. ASHRAE 191P provides minimum requirements for the design of building mechanical systems that limit the volume of water required to operate HVAC systems, ASHRAE said. WE-Stand™ focuses on achieving safe and efficient water use in both residential and non-residential buildings, ASHRAE added.
“Water efficiency and energy conservation are major considerations in the design and operation of HVAC systems in high performance buildings,” said 2020-21 ASHRAE President Charles E. Gulledge III, P.E. “Escalating costs and concerns regarding availability have brought much needed attention to the issue of water use in the built environment. We are pleased to collaborate with IAPMO to provide a balanced resource to the water-energy nexus as the demand for sustainable strategies grow.”
Dan Cole, Senior Director of Technical Services and WE-Stand™ Secretariat, said: “We’re excited to coordinate our development efforts on WE-Stand™ with ASHRAE’s 191P Committee. With the development cycle for 2020 now finalized, we will look forward to ensuring that both standards eliminate any conflicts toward achieving high levels of water efficiency for both mechanical and premise plumbing systems.”
According to ASHRAE, the co-published document will be available upon the conclusion of the 2023 WE-Stand™ development process, which is on a three-year cycle.
Rubber World Industry launches AED 90mn HVAC production unit
DUBAI, UAE, 21 March 2021: Rubber World Industry, which manufactures and supplies HVAC and MEP products and accessories in the UAE, has launched ‘United Air-Conditioning’, a specialised company with an investment of AED 90 million (approximately USD 25 million), which includes a production plant in Al Jurf industrial area, Ajman, to meet what it described as a growing demand for its environmentally friendly products. Rubber World made the announcement through a Press release.
The new manufacturing unit, spanning over 10,000 square metres, is part of the company’s expansion plans backed by the rising demand for the company’s cooling, heating and now coronavirus-related products, Rubber World said through the Press release. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company said it saw a sharp increase in health and environment-related products, such as disinfectant chambers, HVAC filters, air cleaners, optimised HVAC products, and configured rubber insulation and ducts to limit the spread of the virus.
Muzammil Shaikhani, Managing Director, Rubber World Industry, while attributing the new milestone to the company’s customers, said: “I am grateful to our local and international buyers, who have put a strong trust in us, which kept our growth not only intact but rising. In addition, during the pandemic, Rubber World thrived rather than survived and launched United Air Conditioning to cater to the increasing needs of its customers. Our R&D quickly responded to the new demand for health-related products that people and businesses need to maintain health [and] safety and [to] contain the spread of coronavirus and its variants, and started manufacturing this line, which helped doubled our growth and created the need for a specialized production line.”
The new entity, United Air Conditioning will complement Rubber World in manufacturing heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, cooling, mechanical, electrical and plumbing products, parts and accessories for commercial and residential use in the UAE, Rubber World said. United Air Conditioning will focus on health and environment-related products, modified HVAC and MEP parts, such as rubber insulation and ducting lines, which have become essential in the current environment, Rubber World said. It will help in reducing emissions, improve energy efficiency and contribute to the climate change agenda, it added. Rubber World has two units in the UAE and one in Sri Lanka. The company said it plans to set up six new production facilities in South Asia and the Middle East in the next three years to cater to the needs of its growing customer base.
Rubber World said that United Air-Conditioning has helped it increase its range of products, such as cooler tubes and sheets, which are CFC-free and are designed for exposed pipe area, as commonly seen in supermarkets, hospitals and schools. Another key area of demand for United Air-Conditioning’s products is all types of flexible ducts and ducting accessories with a broad range of adhesive tapes, Rubber World said. Rubber World said it currently serves several customers, including Leminar Air Conditioning Company, Century Mechanical Systems Factory, Gulf-O-Flex AC Spare Parts Trading, Gmark Middle East FZC and Al Emadi Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Equipment.
‘One cup at a time’
The cold chain may not come to mind when one thinks of a hot cup of coffee, but for Andrés Londoño and Santiago Londoño, third- and fourth-generation farmers of Colombian Exotic Coffee, this is the key to unlocking the critical tastes of coffee drinkers in the Middle East, which is a region known for its love of the brew.
“Our goal is to change people’s view on coffee, one cup at a time,” Andrés says, adding that the family has been farming in Colombia for nearly 100 years and selling the beans to different parts of the world. His cousin, Santiago adds that although the company is new to the Middle East market, it is confident about the appeal of its products, given its history. “Our main goal is to introduce our unique varieties, as these have never been seen before,” he says. “We take immense care of our product from start to finish, we feel that it is just as important for the end user to understand the great work that goes into it, and that is why we plan on educating the Middle Eastern market on what the procedure is.”
Every step of the way
There are different factors that must be considered in green coffee quality, Andrés says, and names variables such as flavour profiles or scores, physical preparation, shelf life and safety for the consumer as the most crucial. “All these are carefully considered in our farming practices,” he says, “but we have also noticed from different research and our own experiments that the storage conditions afterwards affect all these factors of quality – temperature being one of the most important variables for these changes.” Santiago, in agreement, adds that this was an important realization, considering traditionally, only moisture content has been the indicator for the preservation of coffee. “We have been researching and experimenting in our farms and warehouses and found out that when the three variables – water activity, moisture content and temperature – are not controlled, the sensory and physical quality can decrease substantially. In coffee, a slight decrease in flavour and physical quality is problematic.”
This also has ramifications in terms of safety, Santiago adds. “Not many people know that these fungi produce a toxin called Ochratoxin-A, which is resistant to temperature, which means it cannot be degraded in the roasting process or preparation of the beverage, and when drunk, the human body is not capable of liberating it, accumulating in it for long periods. Ochratoxin-A has also been associated with cancer development,” he says. “For this reason, assuring the proper conditions for storage and transportation not only helps us maintain the cup and physical quality but also helps prevents moulds and fungus to develop inside the bean, which, in terms of food safety, is very important.”
Andrés points out: “The benefit behind the mentioned features is that there is full transparency through unfiltered and untampered data, which will also allow us to provide feedback and request corrective actions, if necessary in real time or in future shipping. Once the product arrives at the DMCC warehouse, we will locate a data logger to record both variables. These will be checked periodically; deviations will be notified to the coffee centre, and corrective actions will be requested.”
Investment in quality solutions
Santiago also highlights the investment in data, adding that presently, the farms utilise a private software that was developed for the coffee industry and the different parts of its value chain. “It has a specific tool for each step of the value chain with accurate sample registration, monitors drying and storage conditions, green grading, sample roasting and cupping,” he says. “This data is useful to control and monitor our process and take corrective actions, if necessary. It can be easily shared with customers, as well. The idea in the near future is to integrate the last part of our value chain, which is the transit from Colombia and the storage and commercialisation here in the Emirates and even add the feedback of our customers; this way, we can really ensure quality of the whole coffee chain.”
A long-term outlook
The cost of implementing and maintaining a process cannot be avoided. However, for Santiago, it is more important to think of the benefits that such investment offers. “Specialty coffee quality is measured within Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) standards, which are between 80 and 100 points,” he explains. “If you produce at the farm a coffee that is at 89 points grade and is a complex exotic variety, like Geisha, you can sell it up to USD 70 per kg. We have calculated that during the 2-3 months transit between Colombia and the UAE, this coffee could lose 2-3 points in grade, because temperature and humidity degrades quality, so an 89-score coffee becomes an 86, which would be sold for USD 35 per kg, which means a loss of USD 35 per kg. If you bring 1.000 kg of this single exotic coffee in a container, it means you would lose USD 35,000 in this single lot. Keeping a complete cold chain from Colombia to UAE for a single container can cost about USD 20.000. It means a return of about 175% in terms of quality preservation.”
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%.
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.
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.
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.
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.
ENGIE Refrigeration bets on sustainable refrigerant
LINDAU ON LAKE CONSTANCE, GERMANY, 23 February 2021: ENGIE Refrigeration has added a new refrigerant to its portfolio. R-515B is now available for QUANTUM chillers as an alternative to R-1234ze, it said. R-515B is eco-friendly, non-toxic and non-combustible and, thus, especially safe, it said. With the introduction of the new refrigerant, the company said it is setting a clear example for more sustainability.
ENGIE said it is one of the first manufacturers in the world to use the refrigerant R-515B. It was developed as an alternative to R-134a and can be used instead of R-1234ze in the form of a drop-in refrigerant, it added. “Refrigerant R-515B combines the positive properties of a 77% lower greenhouse potential than R-134a with a classification as safety level A1 according to EN 378-1,” Daniel Keller, Head of Product Management, ENGIE Refrigeration, said. “This means that unlike R-1234ze (A2L), it is considered a non-combustible safety refrigerant.”
R-515B is an azeotropic mixture, 91.9% R-1234ze and 8.9% R-227ea, ENGIE said. With a GWP value of 293 (IPCC-AR4*) and 299 (IPCC-AR5**), R-515B meets the requirements of the F-Gas Regulation – until at least 2030, the company said. Another important advantage for companies operating existing machines run on R-134a is that because R-515B is classified as A1, no additional safety measures need to be taken for the machine room containing the chiller or heat pump, the company said.
From February 2021, the air-cooled, water-cooled and split models of the QUANTUM series are available with R-515B as an alternative to the previous standard refrigerant, R-1234ze, ENGIE said. “With the new refrigerant, R-515B, the chiller achieves almost the same refrigeration capacity and energy efficiency as with R-1234ze,” Keller said. “This means that R-515B is suitable for customers from all industries that require optimal refrigeration capacity and also wish to switch to an eco-friendly and sustainable refrigerant.
Wilo Middle East acquires PumpsPro
DUBAI, UAE, 17 February 2021: Wilo Middle East (WME), manufacturer of pumps and systems, acquired PumpsPro, a pump solution service provider under Direct Trade House International LLC (DTHI). Making the announcement through a Press release, it said the acquisition entails the creation of a new business unit, which will maintain the name, PumpsPro but will be managed and operated as a Wilo company.
According to WME, the signing of the agreement took place at its office in Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA) in the presence of Jens Dallendoerfer, Senior Vice President – Sales Region Emerging Markets, Wilo Group; Yasser Nagi, Managing Director, Wilo Middle East & Group Sales Director MENA Region and Bijan Sheibani, Chairman, Direct Trade House International LLC.
Under the terms of the agreement, WME said it will be acquiring PumpsPro, including all its assets, highly skilled service workforce, brand and extensive portfolio of customers. The move is expected to further reinforce WME’s position as a complete solution provider in the UAE and the Middle East region, it added. Nagi said: “We are proud to announce the signing of a strategic acquisition agreement with PumpsPro – a move that is expected to make Wilo a leading solutions provider in the UAE and the rest of the region. It’s a win-win agreement that falls in line with Dubai’s Demand Side Management Strategy 2030 and gives us the opportunity to support the retrofit program of 30,000 buildings by 2030, which aims to make the emirate one of the most sustainable cities in the world.”
According to WME, PumpsPro has been working with it as service partner for its overhauling and repairing business since 2018. The signing of the new agreement, it said, is expected to reinforce Wilo’s capabilities, equipping the company to bring repairing and overhauling activities in-house, especially catering to the large number of building service, water management and industrial customers that require the right servicing that leads to strong reliability and asset uptime. WME said its offshore customers in the region will also benefit from the acquisition, where demand for servicing offshore pumps has seen a big uptake, providing oil and gas customers the just-in-time reliable servicing they require.
Peter Glauner, Senior Vice President – Group Service, Wilo Group, said: “This agreement boosts Wilo Middle East’s competitive advantage over its competitors. We are confident to seeing more benefits, as business synergies are further integrated. Over the years, we have reinforced our position as a global leading premium manufacturer of innovative pumps and pumping systems in the field of building services, water management and industry. We remain steadfast in our efforts to set new standards as a leader of innovation in terms of system efficiency and maximum energy savings.”
According to WME, PumpsPro’s relationship with Wilo Middle East dates back to 2018. WME said PumpsPro has earned a reputation of being a complete solution provider, with its employees cited for their high professionalism and expertise. Sectors that will benefit from the newly signed agreement include facilities management, hotels, leisure destinations, hospitals, schools, water parks, offshore, water management and industry, WME added.
Dallendoerfer said: “We are very confident that this acquisition deal between Wilo Middle East and PumpsPro will help consolidate our efforts to position ourselves as a top candidate in terms of providing complete turnkey value-added solutions to our retrofit customers, who are looking for a one-stop shop capable of providing services in supply, installation, start-up, testing/commissioning and other value-added requirements.”
Eurovent publishes recommendation on air leakages
BRUSSELS, Belgium, 17 February 2021: The Eurovent Product Group, ‘Air Handling Units’ (PG-AHU) published the first edition of Eurovent Recommendation 6/15 – Air Leakages in Air-Handling Units, Eurovent said through a Press release. The Recommendation presents guidelines for improving Indoor Air Quality and correcting the performance of air-handling units due to internal leakages.
Eurovent Recommendation 6/15 is the first comprehensive publication that gives an in-depth overview of the issue of air leakages in Air Handling Units, including:
- Explanation of leakage types
- Reference to related standards and regulations
- Clarification of leakage indicators
- Typical leakage rates for various design options
- Guidance on design, commissioning and maintenance for eliminating or minimising leakages
- Correction of Air-handling unit performance due to internal leakages
Igor Sikonczyk, Secretary of the Eurovent PG-AHU, said: “The fundamental role of mechanical ventilation is to renew polluted indoor air with fresh outdoor air, in order to provide a safe and healthy indoor environment. One of the problems in achieving this objective is air leakage occurring in the duct network and in the air-handling units. Our new Recommendation sets out the principles for good practices to limit air leakages to ultimately improve Indoor Air Quality and reduce energy consumption.”
According to Eurovent, Recommendation 6/15 is addressed to all ventilation and air conditioning professionals, including system planners, installers and manufacturers. The association added that It is available for download free of charge at the Eurovent Document Web Shop.
ASHRAE 2021 Annual Conference to be held virtually
ATLANTA, Georgia, 17 February 2021: ASHRAE said its 2021 Annual Conference,scheduled to be held in Phoenix, will now take place virtually.
Making the announcement through a Press release, ASHRAE said the event (2021 ASHRAE Virtual Annual Conference ) is designed to provide the latest insights from industry-leading expert in the built environment. It will provide focused, actionable and innovative content to support HVACR and building systems professionals, it added.
“Our pivot to virtual conferences over the past year has been met with great success,” said 2020-21 ASHRAE President Charles E Gulledge III. “Engagement from members and industry professionals from around the world in these events is a testament to the quality of our conferences and the importance of staying connected within the ASHRAE community. The 2021 ASHRAE Virtual Annual Conference will be a wonderful forum to share fresh ideas and unique approaches to tackle the challenges of our rapidly changing world. I look to extending our digital connection, and I anticipate an immense level of interest and participation.”
According to ASHRAE, conference attendees can expect:
- Technical sessions from industry experts and thought leaders
- Online networking and social opportunities
- A chance for professionals to come together and connect with collaborators around the world
- A keynote presentation, roundtable decisions and expanded learning opportunities
- Updates and announcements from Society leaders
ASHRAE said additional information on the conference, including committee meetings and registration details, will be made available in the coming weeks. It recommended that those interested in the event could visitashrae.org/2021annual for more information.
Hira Industries launches thermal insulation solution
DUBAI, UAE, 15 February 2021: Hira Industries launched the Aerofoam NBR Lap Seal Tube, which the company described through a Press release as an effective and efficient thermal insulation solution that can be installed in various residential and commercial complexes to provide corrosion protection, whilst improving safety, efficiency and durability of the building.
Launched for the first time in the UAE market, the product is a pre-slit, closed-cell elastomeric thermal insulation tube, which is manufactured with a pre-installed adhesive that helps in reducing the use of additional adhesive by 90%, the company said. The overlap seals are particularly developed for mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) contractors for a secure sealing and for reinsulating old and damaged pipes.
“At Hira Industries, our aim is to launch several new products and technologies in this year,” said Umesh Unni, General Manager, Hira Industries. “The focus will be to establish good customer relations and deliver cost-effective solutions to them. The launch of the Lap Seal Tubes is a reflection of our vision to expand our product base and cater to the ever-growing requirements of the insulation business.”
The Lap Seal Tube is much easier to install due to the pre-slit feature and the pressure-sensitive adhesive, reducing the installation time by more than 50%, the company claimed. Along with this, the company said, the aim of introducing the Lap Seal Tube is to provide a long-lasting insulation solution at a much lower cost in terms of the time and accessories used to install the product and the maintenance costs, as it does not require frequent maintenance and replacement. This feature of Tube makes it a unique proposition in the industry, setting it apart from existing products, the company asserted.
The fact that the product is manufactured in-house, the company said, facilitates quick bulk delivery and expert support for the HVAC&R industry, the company said. The Lap Seal Tube come with the guarantee of being able to last for more than a decade, as compared to the conventional insulation solutions that require frequent maintenance and replacement, making it the right solution for all insulation requirements at a much lower price, the company claimed. It is the perfect solution for a diverse range of insulation requirements, as the tube’s size can be customised to fit the pipes perfectly, while the pressure-sensitive adhesive overlay helps in an easy and quick adhesion, as compared to the other insulation solutions in the industry, the company said.
Unni said: “The tubes are made of high-grade-quality material and have an integrated structure, yet are economically priced, which makes them an attractive solution for all requirements. That is not all – keeping the environment in mind, we have used fume-free and clean materials to produce the Lap Seal Tubes. As a result, extra precautions are not required after installing the solution, which is extremely efficient in cooling systems, as they do not form condensation. We are committed to helping buildings increase LEED points, and the insulation of Lap Seal Tubes fulfills all LEED requirements to maintain a sustainable and green earth.”
Condair releases whitepaper on healthy buildings
PFÄFFIKON/FREIENBACH, Switzerland, 14 February 2021: Humidity specialist, Condair, which specialises in humidity management solutions in the built-environment, has released a whitepaper, titled Making Buildings Healthier.
Making the announcement through a Press release, Condair said the paper contains information on how building managers can protect occupant health with a holistic approach to controlling their indoor environments.
According to Condair, the pandemic instigated by SARS-CoV-2 has focused public attention on the risks posed by viral transmission in buildings. Contributory factors that have been known about for some time, have now been placed centre stage, emphasising the influence that elements such as fresh air, temperature, minimum relative humidity and even sunlight all have on the spread of viruses.
The aim of the whitepaper is to provide an overview of these factors and promote dialogue amongst facility managers, users, and health and safety officers, enabling the right package of health protection measures to be considered, Condair said. The whitepaper also includes a checklist so that readers can take stock of their building’s current situation, discover the extent to which their premises protects against the spread of infections and identify where improvements could be made, the company added.
Oliver Zimmermann, CEO, Condair Group, said: “The Condair Group is the world’s leading specialist on humidity control, and for years, we’ve collaborated with scientists and healthcare experts to understand and promote the importance of optimal humidity for health. Through this research, we appreciate that humidity control is just one, but a decisive, weapon that can be used in the fight against respiratory infections.
“Upgrading our built-environment to better protect human health from the current COVID-19 and future potential pandemics, whilst not sacrificing the important gains we have made in energy efficiency, is the single largest challenge the HVAC industry will face in our lifetime. To achieve this objective, we must act as a sector to educate, cooperate and implement practical solutions as rapidly as possible. This whitepaper presents a clear and concise overview of the steps building operators can and should be taking to enhance occupant health, using a holistic approach, rather than a one-size-fits-all, to indoor environmental management.”
According to Condair, the whitepaper can be downloaded from www.condair.ae/making-buildings-healthier-whitepaper.
ASHRAE recognizes members for “outstanding industry accomplishments”
ATLANTA, Georgia, 14 February 2021: ASHRAE recognized what it evaluated as the outstanding achievements and contributions of members to the Society and to the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) industry, during the 2021 ASHRAE Virtual Winter Conference, which took place from February 9 to 11.
ASHRAE released the following list of awards and their recipients:
Fellow ASHRAE is a membership grade that recognizes members who have attained distinction and made substantial contributions in HVACR and the built-environment, such as education, research, engineering design and consultation, publications, presentations and mentoring. The Society elevated 14 members to the grade of Fellow:
- Cynthia Cogil, P.E., principal, SmithGroup, Chicago, Illinois, United States
- Donald C. Herrmann, BEAP, HBDP, vice president, D.C. Herrmann and Associates, Tampa, Florida, United States
- David Michael Platt, retired, Corning, New York, United States
- Martin Dieryckx, general manager, Daikin Europe, Oostende, Belgium
- Tianzhen Hong, Ph.D., P.E., senior scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California, United States
- Rajan Rawal, professor, CEPT University, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India
- E. Curtis Eichelberger, Jr., P.E., principal consultant, Eichelberger Acoustics LLC, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, United States
- John M. House, Ph.D., principal, John House Consulting Services, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
- Steven Tredinnick, P.E., CEM, associate senior project manager, Burns & McDonnell Engineering Company, Inc., Lisle, Illinois, United States
- Blake E. Ellis, P.E., principal, Burns & McDonnell, Overland Park, Kansas, United States
- Ronald Judkoff, chief architectural engineer emeritus, Center for Building Technologies and Science, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Lakewood, Colorado, United States
- John O. Varley, P.E., HBDP, mechanical discipline manager, AAA Engineering Ltd., Chicago, Illinois, United States
- Donald L. Fenton P.E., Ph.D., professor of mechanical engineering, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, United States
- R. Christopher Mathis, president, MC2 Mathis Consulting Company, Asheville, North Carolina, United States
- Ibrahim Galal Hassan, P.Eng, Ph.D., professor, Texas A&M University at Qatar, Doha, Qatar
- James L. Newman, BEAP, OPMP, founding member and managing partner, Newman Consulting Group, LLC, Farmington, Michigan, United States.
ASHRAE Hall of Fame
William M. Mackay and Hugh J. Barron, founders of the American Society of Heating and Ventilating Engineers (ASHVE). The ASHRAE Hall of Fame honors deceased members of the Society who have made milestone contributions to the growth of ASHRAE-related technology or the development of ASHRAE as a society.
- Paul Anderson Award
Samir R. Traboulsi, Ph.D., P.Eng., Fellow Life Member ASHRAE received the F. Paul Anderson Award. The award, ASHRAE’s highest honor, for technical achievement, is named in memory of Presidential Member F. Paul Anderson, who was a pioneer in the study of environmental conditions for comfort. Traboulsi is an engineer with Thermotrade SAL, Beirut, Lebanon.
Louise & Bill Holladay Distinguished Fellow Award
Charles C. Copeland, P.E., Fellow Life Member ASHRAE received the Louise and Bill Holladay Distinguished Fellow Award. This annual award is given to an ASHRAE Fellow for continuous preeminence in engineering or research work. The honor was initiated in 1979 by Presidential Member Bill Holladay. Copeland is president and CEO, Goldman Copeland Associates, P.C., New York, NY, United States.
Andrew T. Boggs Service Award
Bjarne W. Olesen, Ph.D., Presidential Fellow Life Member ASHRAE, received the Andrew T. Boggs Service Award. The award, named after ASHRAE’s executive vice president emeritus, recognizes an Exceptional Service Award recipient for continuing unselfish, dedicated and distinguished service. Olesen is director, International Center for Indoor Environment and Energy, and professor, Danish Technical University, Kongens Lyngby, Denmark.
YEA Inspirational Leader Award
Vanessa J. Freidberg, P.E. received the YEA Inspirational Leader Award. The award recognizes a Young Engineer in ASHRAE member who has gone above and beyond to make considerable contributions to the industry and community. Freidberg is in business development, Siemens, Austin, Texas, United States.
E.K. Campbell Award of Merit
Chandra Sekhar, Ph.D., Fellow Member ASHRAE, received the E.K. Campbell Award of Merit. The award honors an individual for outstanding service and achievement in teaching and is presented by the Life Members Club. Sekhar is a professor, National University, Singapore.
Lincoln Bouillon Award
Ryan Pinckard, of the Oregon Chapter, received the Lincoln Bouillon Award, which recognizes a member who performs the most outstanding work in increasing membership. The award commemorates Presidential Member Bouillon’s efforts in recruiting new members. Pinckard is business development engineer, CHC Hydro, Vancouver, WA.
William J. Collins, Jr. RP Award
Reed Coggins, P.E., of the Atlanta Chapter, received the William J. Collins Jr. RP Award. The award, named in honor of Presidential Member Collins, recognizes a chapter RP chair who excels in raising funds for ASHRAE’s RP campaign. Coggins is application engineer, Lincoln Associates, Marietta, Georgia, United States.
Homer Addams Award
Gabrielle McMorrow, of the National Capital Chapter, received the Homer Addams Award, which recognizes a graduate student who has been engaged in an ASHRAE research project at a university that has graduate programs in the areas of heating, ventilation and air conditioning, and has achieved a high standard of performance in this work. McMorrow is a mechanical engineer (Energy), Architect of the Capitol, Washington, DC, United States.
Ralph G. Nevins Physiology & Human Environment Award
Shichao Liu, Ph.D., of the Boston Chapter, received the Ralph G. Nevins Physiology and Human Environment Award, which is given to a researcher under the age of 40 for significant accomplishments in the study of bioenvironmental engineering and its effect on human comfort and health. Liu is assistant professor, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States.
John F. James International Award
Peter Simmonds, Ph.D., received the John F. James International Award. The award recognizes a member who has done the most to enhance the Society’s international presence. Simmonds works for Building and Systems Analytics, Los Angeles, California, United States, and Hong Kong, China.
Standards Achievement Award
Paul A Lindahl, Jr., Life Member ASHRAE, of the Kansas City Chapter, received the Standards Achievement Award, which recognizes exceptional service in the area of standards leadership and technical contribution. Lindahl is a consultant, SPX Cooling Technologies, Overland Park, Kansas, United States.
Dan Mills Chapter Programs Award
Beatriz Salazar, of the Toronto Chapter, received the Dan Mills Chapter Programs Award, which recognizes excellence in chapter program endeavors. Salazar is designer – electrical, Smith and Andersen, Toronto, Ontario.
Student Activities Achievement Award
- Kapilan, Ph.D., of the ASHRAE Bangalore Chapter, received the Student Activities Achievement Award, which recognizes a chapter student activities chair for growth of student activities. Kapilan is professor and head, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Nagarjuna College of Engineering and Technology, Bangalore, Karnataka, India.
Lou Flagg Historical Award
Bruce Flaniken, Fellow Life Member ASHRAE, of the Houston Chapter, received the Lou Flagg Historical Award, which recognizes an individual for preparing the most outstanding historical presentation related to HVAC&R. The award is named in recognition of Presidential Member Lou Flagg, who promoted an interest in history. Flaniken is manager of facility system design & construction engineering, Houston Methodist Hospital, Houston, Texas, United States.
Donald Bahnfleth Environmental Health Award
Paul W. Francisco, Fellow Member ASHRAE, of the Central Illinois Chapter, received the Donald Bahnfleth Environmental Health Award, which recognizes excellence in volunteer service focused on environmental health issues. Francisco is associate director for building science, Applied Research Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Illinois, United States.
Youth Outreach Award
Elise Kiland, P.E., of the San Jose Chapter, received the Youth Outreach Award, which recognizes the outstanding effort of a member who actively engages a youth audience in their country, region, or local community through science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) activities. Kiland is a project manager, Critchfield Mechanical, Inc., San Jose, California, United States.
Government Affairs Award
Elizabeth Tomlinson, P.E., of the Minnesota Chapter, received the Government Affairs Award. The award recognizes individuals for outstanding effort and achievement in state, provincial and local government activities in connection with technical issues related to the Society. Tomlinson is senior mechanical engineer, Facilities Sustainability and Resilience Leader, TKDA, St. Paul, Minnesota, United States.
Exceptional Service Award
The Exceptional Service Award recognizes Distinguished Service Award recipients who have continued to serve faithfully and with exemplary effort. Ten members were recognized:
- George W. (Billy) Austin, BCxP, BEAP, BEMP, CHD, HBDP, HFDP, OPMP, principal, Shultz Engineering Group, PC, Charlotte, North Carolina, United States
- Wade H. Conlan, P.E., BCxP, commissioning discipline manager, Hanson Professional Services, Inc., Maitland, Florida, United States
- Mark W. Fly, P.E., Fellow Member ASHRAE, executive director, Norman Asbjornson Innovation Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States
- Jeff Gatlin, P.E., central energy plant manager, Aramark Healthcare/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee, United States
- Carl C. Hiller, Ph.D., P.E., Fellow Life Member ASHRAE, is president, Applied Energy Technology, Davis, California, United States
- M. Dennis Knight, P.E., Fellow Member ASHRAE, owner, Whole Building Systems, LLC, Charleston, South Carolina, United States
- Nicolas Lemire, P.Eng., HFDP, Fellow Member ASHRAE, president and CEO, Pageau Morel & Associates, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
- Kevin L. Marple, president, Benz Air Engineering Co., Inc., Beaverton, Oregon, United States
- Tim McGinn, P.Eng., HBDP, retired, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
- R. Lee Millies, Jr., P.E., Fellow Member ASHRAE, president, Millies Engineering Group, Munster, Indiana, United States.
Distinguished Service Award
The Distinguished Service Award salutes members of any grade who have served the Society faithfully and with distinction and who have given freely of their time and talent in chapter, regional and Society activities. The following 43 members were recognized:
- Jason Alphonso, BEAP, OPMP, branch manager, Wood plc, Orlando, Florida, United States
- Kevin Amende, P.E., associate professor, Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, United States.
- John S. Andrepont, Life Member ASHRAE, president, The Cool Solutions Company, Lisle, Illinois, United States
- Nathaniel Boyd, associate director, Utilities and Energy Services, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida, United States
- Robin Bryant, project manager, B&I Contractors, Inc., Fort Myers, Florida, United States
- Andrew Cochrane, P.E., vice president, Industrial Air, Inc., Greensboro, North Carolina, United States
- Michael Collarin, BEMP, senior engineer – Mechanical, Gresham Smith, Charlotte, North Carolina, United States
- Wade H. Conlan, P.E., BCxP, commissioning discipline manager, Hanson Professional Services, Inc., Maitland, Florida, United States
- John M. Constantinide, P.E., energy manager, U.S. Air Force, Cape Canaveral AFS, Florida, United States
- Michael P. Cooper, P.E., executive vice president, Bernhard, Metairie, Louisiana, United States
- Derek A. Crowe, P.E., senior associate/mechanical team leader, Stantec, Berkley, Michigan, United States
- Keith I. Emerson, Life Member ASHRAE, retired, Denver, Colorado, United States
- Vanessa J. Freidberg, P.E., business development manager, Siemens, Austin, Texas, United States
- Joseph L. Furman, senior sales engineer, Automated Logic, Wallingford, Connecticut, United States
- James T. Hanley, retired, Cary, North Carolina, United States
- Nathan P. Hart, P.E., managing principal, RWB Consulting Engineers, Dallas, Texas, United States
- Kristin Heinemeier, Ph.D., P.E., Fellow Member ASHRAE, principal development engineer, Frontier Energy, Inc., Davis, California, United States
- Carl C. Hiller, Ph.D., P.E., Fellow Life Member ASHRAE, president, Applied Energy Technology, Davis, California, United States
- Trenton S. Hunt, vice president, Mechanical Products NSW, Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
- Mark Jackson, Ph.D., sr. product manager, Indoor Environmental Quality, Daikin North America LLC, Waller, Texas, United States
- Thomas Allen Justice, Life Member ASHRAE, principal, Zene, LLC, Williamsburg, Virginia, United States
- Ganeson Kandasamy, product engineer, Trane Technologies, Lexington, Kentucky, United States
- Firouz Keikavousi, Life Member ASHRAE, retired, Orlando, Florida, United States
- Hyojin Kim, Ph.D., associate professor, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), Newark, New Jersey, United States
- Lindsey King, energy model analyst, Oglethorpe Power Co, Tucker, Georgia, United States
- M. Dennis Knight, P.E., Fellow Member ASHRAE, owner, Whole Building Systems, LLC, Charleston, South Carolina, United States
- Stephanie Kunkel, P.E., associate, Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson, Inc. (JMT), Hunt Valley, Maryland, United States
- Wichai Laksanakorn, P.E., Fellow Life Member, founder and chairman, W. and Associates Consultants, Co. Ltd., Bangkok, Thailand
- Nicolas Lemire, P.Eng., HFDP, Fellow Member ASHRAE, president and CEO, Pageau Morel & Associates, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
- Xiaobing Liu, Ph.D., R&D staff, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, United States
- Brian Lynch, HBDP, owner, Western Mechanical Solutions, Denver, Colorado, United States
- Steven A. Marek, P.E., mechanical engineer, self-employed, Hanahan, South Carolina, United States
- Farhan Mehboob, consultant/director, S. Mehboob & Company, Karachi, Pakistan
- Tim Merrigan, Life Member ASHRAE, consultant, Energy Information Services, Parker, Colorado, United States
- Corey B. Metzger, P.E., principal, Resource Consulting Engineers, LLC, Ames, Iowa, United States
- Ahmed Alaa Eldin Mohamed, Ph.D., chairman, Middle East Gate Holding Group, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
- Carrie Anne Monplaisir, mechanical EIT, Clark Nexsen, Virginia Beach, Virginia, United States
- Michael P. Sheerin, P.E., chairman and CEO, TLC Engineering Solutions, Inc., Orlando, Florida, United States
- Michelle Swanson, mechanical project manager, The RMH Group, Lakewood/Denver, Colorado, United States
- Michael L. Watz, Jr., P.E., engineering manager – Commercial Dampers, Greenheck Fan Corporation, Schofield, Wisconsin, United States
- Ronald L. Westbrook, P.E., Life Member ASHRAE, retired associate director of Physical Plant Utilities, State University of New York, Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, New York, United States
- Robert W. Yost, technical director, National Refrigerants, Inc., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
- Chariti Young, software product manager, Automated Logic, Kennesaw, Georgia, United States
Distinguished 50-Year Member Award
The Distinguished 50-Year Member Award is given to individuals who have been a member for a minimum of 50 years, and are a past Society president, Fellow ASHRAE or Distinguished Service Award recipient or who have performed outstanding service to ASHRAE or its predecessor societies – the American Society of Heating and Ventilating Engineers (ASHVE), the American Society of Refrigerating Engineers (ASRE), and the American Society of Heating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHAE). Twenty-three members were recognized:
- Stephen A. Becker, P.E., Fellow Life Member ASHRAE, senior mechanical engineer, Fellow, Lawrence Engineering Group, Fresno, California, United States
- John B. Bisset, P.Eng., Fellow Life Member ASHRAE, founder, Chorley + Bisset Ltd., London, Ontario, Canada
- Richard Burr, Fellow Life Member ASHRAE, Spring, Texas, United States
- Charles D. Callahan, Life Member ASHRAE, retired general manager of commercial market, Oklahoma Natural Gas Co., Placitas, New Mexico, United States
- Richard E. Cawley, P.E., Fellow Life Member ASHRAE, retired, Tyler, Texas, United States
- Douglas Dewerth, Life Member ASHRAE, Cleveland, Ohio, United States
- Francis Ferreira, Fellow Life Member ASHRAE, New Bedford, Massachusetts, United States
- Robert H. Fuller, P.E., Life Member ASHRAE, mechanical engineer, Gutridge Mechanical, Dublin, Ohio, United States
- David F. Geary, Life Member ASHRAE, retired, Annapolis, Maryland, United States
- Ralph Goldman, Fellow Life Member ASHRAE, Dedham, Massachusetts, United States
- Mark P. Hershman, P.E., Life Member ASHRAE, consulting engineer, Mark P. Hershman, PE, Richboro, Pennsylvania, United States
- Ronald H. Howell, Ph.D., P.E., Fellow Life Member ASHRAE, retired, Meridian, Idaho, United States
- H. Gerhard Kerschbaumer, Ph.D., Fellow Life Member ASHRAE, retired, Ludwigshafen, Germany
- John H. Klote, Ph.D., P.E., Fellow Life Member ASHRAE, owner, SmokeControlExpert.com, Leesburg, Virginia, United States
- Wichai Laksanakorn, P.E., Fellow Life Member ASHRAE, founder and chairman, W. and Associates Consultants, Co. Ltd., Bangkok, Thailand
- Valentine Lehr, Fellow Life Member ASHRAE, Kings Park, New York, United States
- Franklin Y.S. Lum, Fellow Life Member ASHRAE, San Antonio, Texas, United States
- Stanley A. Mumma, Ph.D., P.E., Fellow Life Member ASHRAE, professor emeritus, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, United States
- Ramesh Paranjpey, Fellow Life Member ASHRAE, Kothrud, Pune, India
- Mirza Mohammed Shah, Fellow Life Member ASHRAE, director, Engineering Research Associates, Redding, Connecticut, United States
- Charles Simpson, Fellow Life Member ASHRAE, Monroe, North Carolina, United States
- Stanley Slabinski, Life Member ASHRAE, Monroe Township, New Jersey, United States
- Frantisek Vaculik, Life Member ASHRAE, Nepean, ON, Canada
Crosby Field Award
Charles S. Barnaby, Fellow Life Member ASHRAE and Peter Simmonds, Ph.D., Fellow Life Member ASHRAE, are recipients of the Crosby Field Award for “Development of a Unified Tool for Analysis of Room Loads and Conditions”, which was judged to be the best paper presented before the Society. The Crosby Field Award is named for a former Presidential Member.
Barnaby is an independent consultant, Moultonborough, New Hampshire. Simmonds is president, Building Systems and Analytics, Los Angeles, California, United States.
Willis H. Carrier Award
Emily Ann Oldham received the Willis H. Carrier Award given to a member 32 years of age or younger for presenting an outstanding paper at a Society conference. The award is presented for “Energy Performance of an Occupancy-Based Climate Control Technology in Guest Rooms.” Oldham is designer, DLR Group, Washington, DC, United States.
ASHRAE Technical Paper Award
The following papers received a Technical Paper Award, which recognizes the authors of the best papers presented at Society conferences.
- Di Lu, Dennis L. O’Neal, Ph.D., P.E., Fellow Life Member ASHRAE, and Peng Yin, Ph.D., receive an award for “A Comparison of the Annual Energy Use of Fixed and Variable Airflow Parallel Fan-Powered Terminal Units in a Small Office Building.” Lu is a graduate research assistant, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, United States. O’Neal is Dean, School of Engineering and Computer Science, Baylor University, Waco, Texas, United States. Yin is assistant professor of mechanical engineering, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, Louisiana, United States.
- Lisa Meline, P.E., and Stephen Kavanaugh, Ph.D., Fellow Life Member ASHRAE, receive an award for “Geothermal Heat Pumps: Simply Efficient.” Meline is owner and principal engineer, Meline Engineering Corporation, Sacramento, California, United States. Kavanaugh is professor emeritus, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, United States.
- Douglas Reynolds, Life Member ASHRAE, and Michael A. Schwob, P.E., receive an award for “The Effect of Length on the Insertion Loss of Fiberglass Lined Sheet Metal Ducts, Part I: Rectangular Duct.” Reynolds is director, Center for Mechanical and Environmental Systems Technology, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States. Schwob is president, Schwob Acoustics, Inc., Las Vegas, Nevada, United States.
- Ngoc Dung (Rosine) Rohatgi, Ph.D., receives an award for “Effects of System Materials towards the Breakdown of Lubricants and Low GWP Refrigerants.” Rohatgi is president, Spauschus Associates, Inc., Bethlehem, Georgia, United States.
ASHRAE Journal Paper Award
Gwelen Paliaga, P.E.; Hui Zhang, Ph.D.; Tyler Hoyt; and Edward Arens, Ph.D., Life Member ASHRAE; receive the Journal Paper Award for the article, “Eliminating Overcooling Discomfort While Saving Energy,” judged to be the best article published in ASHRAE Journal. The article was published April 2019.
Paliaga is technical director, TRC, Oakland, California, United States. Zhang is professional researcher, Center for the Built Environment, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, California, United States. Hoyt is Staff Engineer, Comfy, Oakland, California, United States. Arens is director, Center for the Built Environment, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, California, United States.
Science and Technology for the Built Environment Best Paper Award
Mehdi Mehrabi, Ph.D., P.E. and David Yuill, Ph.D., P.E. are recipients of the Science and Technology for the Built Environment Best Paper Award for “Fouling and its Effects on Air-cooled Condensers in Split System Air Conditioners (RP-1705).” The article was published July 2019. The award is for the best paper published in the volume year of the Science and Technology for the Built Environment, the ASHRAE research journal.
Mehrabi is mechanical engineer, Paradigm Consulting Engineers, West Chester, Pennsylvania, United States. Yuill is Assistant Professor, Architectural Engineering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Omaha, Nebraska, United States.
Student Design Competition
The 2020 Student Design Project Competition focused on building a new 17,500-square-foot document storage and archive center in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. The new facility’s purpose was to store rare documents, books, manuscripts, photos, and audio recordings in a manner that will ensure the preservation of historical items for future generations.
First place in the HVAC System Selection category was awarded to the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska, United States. Team members are Ashley Everitt, John Kramer, Jessica Lee and Mitchael Sieh.
First place in the HVAC Design Calculations category was awarded to Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt. Team members are Eslam Mohamed Ali, Ahmed Mohamed Soltan, Amr Gamal Fawzy, Moustafa Ahmed El-Saeid and Mark Magdy Fouad.
First place in the Integrated Sustainable Building Design category was awarded to Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom. Team members are Alekhya Yalamanchili, Amr Suliman, Jacob George and Mohamad Abdul Gaffoor Seyad.
Setty Family Foundation Applied Engineering Challenge
The 2020 Setty Family Foundation Applied Engineering Challenge required students to design a system to be used by building occupants to report operational issues to building operators.
First place was awarded to Bandung Institute of Technology – Wetonia, Bandung, Indonesia. Team members are R Muhammad Nadhir Nasrudin Tanujiwa, Alpinus Raditya Dewangga, Kamilita Hening Musono, Reza Dzikri Khusaini, Hilman Prakoso and Selvia Diwanty.
The ASHRAE Technology Awards
The ASHRAE Technology Awards recognize outstanding achievements by ASHRAE members who have successfully applied innovative building designs. Their designs incorporate ASHRAE standards for effective energy management and indoor air quality and serve to communicate innovative systems design. Winning projects are selected from entries earning regional awards.
First place recipients for the ASHRAE Technology Awards are:
- Kwai Ping Lau and Raymond M. H. Yau, Ph.D., commercial buildings – existing buildings commissioning, Two Pacific Place, Hong Kong, China. The building is owned by Swire Properties Limited.
- Tomoaki Ushio, PE, P.Eng, Harunori Yoshida, Ph.D., and Shigemi Mori, existing commercial buildings category, Kyoto Station in Kyoto, Japan. The building is owned by Kyoto Station Building Development Company Limited.
- Shana Scheiber, PE and Roger W. Lautz, PE new commercial buildings category, American Family Insurance “The Spark,’ Madison, Wisconsin, United States. The building is owned by American Family Insurance.
- Brian K. Rose, PE, existing educational facilities category, Historic Mercy High School Renovation/Cincinnati Public Schools Gamble Montessori project, Cincinnati, Ohio, United States. The building is owned by Cincinnati Public Schools.
- Aaron Smith, P.Eng, BEAP, BEMP, Denis A. Morris and Andrew Bartlett, new educational facilities, the Dalhousie IDEA and Design Buildings project, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The building is owned by Dalhousie University.
- Reece Kiriu, PE and Jeff Stein, existing healthcare facilities category, Kaiser Vallejo Medical Offices, Vallejo, California, United States. The building is owned by Kaiser Permanente.
First Place and Award of Engineering Excellence
The Award of Engineering Excellence was created in 1989 to recognize a first-place winner of the Society-level Technology Award competition for an outstanding application of innovative design and effective energy utilization. The recipient of the Award of Engineering Excellence will have demonstrated the best overall compliance with the judging criteria.
First place and recipient of the Award of Engineering Excellence is:
- Ned Greene, P.E., new health care facilities category, OHSU Knight Cancer Research Building, Portland, Oregon, United States. The building is owned by OHSU.
Emerson announces SASO registration for psychrometric lab in Dubai
LOUIS, Missouri, 10February 2021:The Emerson Psychrometric lab in Dubai has been registered as the conformity assessment body by SASO (Saudi Standards, Metrology, and Quality Organization), Kingdom of Saudi Arabia vide Registration No: EE LAB 0160, Emerson said through a Press release.
The lab had previously registered with ESMA (Emirates Authority for Standardization & Metrology) vide Registration No. R-T-20-00340, Emerson said. Vadivelan Kannan, Director of Technical Services for Commercial and Residential Solutions, Middle East and Africa, said: “This is a significant milestone for our Psychrometric Lab Facility in this region. These registrations of our Psychrometric Lab will further help our customers to test their air-conditioners for performance and ensure compliance with SASO/ESMA standards and regulations.
“The certification awarded by SASO and ESMA reiterates that Emerson test lab meets both technical competence and management system requirements to consistently deliver technically valid test results for the defined scope.”
Sauermann launches six HVACR measuring instruments
BRUSSELS, Brussels, 07 February 2021: Sauermann’s new range of measuring instruments offers its 40 years of metrological expertise to distributors in the HVACR sector, the company said through a Press release.
Sauermann said it is offering six reliable and precise instruments designed to quickly check the functionality of HVACR systems. The new range of products covers a full spectrum of measurements, including temperature (dual input Si-TT3 and infrared Si-TI3 thermometers), humidity (thermo-hygrometer Si-HH3), pressure (digital differential pressure manometer Si-PM3), and air velocity (hotwire Si-VH3* and vane Si-VV3 thermo-anemometers), it said. Dependable, quick and easy measurements are done with just a few clicks, thanks to the instruments’ long-lasting batteries, it claimed.
The instruments are all equipped with a backlit display and a wireless pairing functionality, to be used with a brand-new mobile application available for iOS and Android devices (Si- HVACR Measurement Mobile App), the company said. Developed in-house at Sauermann, the app offers functionalities, such as the display of additional measurements (calculated parameters), and the recording of measurement campaigns that can be exported as PDF, XML or CSV reports (measurement tables and curves over time), it said. Further, Sauermann said it is offering reliable connected devices, with an integrated magnetic holder for handsfree measurements, with which a wide variety of measurements can be taken with ease and confidence.
Shecco to host annual trade show on natural refrigerants
BRUSSELS, Belgium, 05 February 2021: Clean Cooling market accelerator, shecco has opened free registration for its second Virtual Trade Show (ATMO VTS 2021) for natural refrigerant and sustainable cooling technologies, the body said through a Press release. The registration page can be found here, it added.
According to shecco, the event, designed for the global refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump industry, will take place over a 24-hour period, from 10 am CET (Central European Time) March 30 to 10 am CET March 31. The show is designed to fill the physical trade show void, as the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, shecco added.
shecco said it is expecting 5,000-10,000 registrations and more than 100 exhibitors of natural refrigerant products for ATMO VTS 2021. Premium exhibitors so far include Teko, Zudek, ebmpapst, Carel, Alfa Laval and Dorin, it added.
The inaugural ATMO VTS took place from September 1 to 2, 2020, shecco said, adding that it attracted 77 natural refrigerant companies as exhibitors and more than 4,200 attendees from 1,500+ organisations from around the world.
“ATMO VTS 2021 will give that ‘real’ trade show feeling, which is much needed these days,” said Marc Chasserot, CEO, shecco. “The platform allows us to explore different halls, listen to live presentations, and make valuable connections with customers and suppliers from all over the world.
“In addition to some great exhibitors, with more signing-up each week, we’ve made some big changes, including new Product Innovation Awards and 24 hours of live webinars, including panel discussions, so that everyone, no matter where you are in the world, can listen live to some key discussions from cooling thought leaders.”
The live webinars will include presentations on shecco’s first Annual Report on the natural refrigerants industry, global training, the new EU F-Gas Regulation update and food retail experiences from around the world.
GEA Refrigeration Technologies Division gets new CEO
DÜSSELDORF, Germany, 02 February 2021: Kai Becker took over as CEO of GEA’s Refrigeration Technologies Division as of February 1, 2021.
“In Kai Becker, we have an experienced manager who has successfully and continuously served in a wide variety of positions at GEA for more than 15 years,” said Stefan Klebert, CEO, GEA Group AG. “His international experience and technological expertise will be of great value for the continued success of the Refrigeration Technologies Division. Kai builds on a solid foundation, which we have Thies Hachfeld (former CEO of the Division) to thank for.”
According to GEA, Becker joined the company in August 2004 and, most recently, headed the homogenisation business unit within the Separation & Flow Technologies Division. He has held GEA positions in Germany, China and the United Kingdom.
ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force releases updated Building Readiness Guide
ATLANTA, Georgia, 02 February 2021: With the performance of many HVAC systems in buildings still being evaluated, the ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force has updated its reopening guidance for HVAC systems to help mitigate the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, ASHRAE said through a Press release.
“The Building Readiness Guide includes additional information and clarifications to assist designers and commissioning providers in performing pre- or post-occupancy flush calculations to reduce the time and energy to clear spaces of contaminants between occupancy periods,” said Wade Conlan, Lead, ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force Building Readiness team. “New information includes the theory behind the use of equivalent outdoor air supply, method for calculating the performance of filters and air cleaners in series, and filter droplet nuclei efficiency that help evaluate the systems’ ability to flush the building.”
According to ASHRAE, major updates to the building readiness guidance include the following:
- Pre- or post-flushing strategy methodology: The strategy has been updated to include the use of filter droplet nuclei efficiency, which is the overall efficiency of filter, based on viable virus particle sizes in the air, to assist in determining the impact of the filter on the recirculated air on the equivalent outdoor air. This allows the filter efficiency as a function of particle size, using ASHRAE Standard 52.2 test results, to be estimated based on the expected size distribution of virus-containing particles in the air. This calculation is currently based on Influenza A data and will be updated as peer-reviewed research becomes available for the distribution of particle sizes that contain a viable SARS-CoV-2 virus. Additionally, a chart has been added to help determine the time to achieve 90%, 95% or 99% contaminant reduction, if the equivalent outdoor air changes per hour is known.
- Flushing time calculator: There is now a link to a view-only Google Sheet that can be downloaded for use, to help determine the available equivalent outdoor air changes and time to perform the flush. This sheet is based on a typical mixed AHU with filters, cooling coil, with potential for in-AHU air cleaner (UVC is noted in the example), and in-room air cleaning devices. Provided efficiencies of MERV-rated filters are based on the performance of over 200 actual filters from MERV 4 through 16, but the tool also allows users to enter custom characteristics for specific filters.
- The sheet also calculates the filter droplet nuclei efficiency, based on the cited research but allows a user to adjust the anticipated distribution of virus, as desired. It also allows specification of the zone (room) air distribution effectiveness from ASHRAE Standard 62.1 to account for the impact of the HVAC system air delivery method on the degree of mixing. Default calculations assume perfect mixing. Finally, the tool allows for the target air changes to be adjusted if an owner wants to achieve a different per cent removal in lieu of the recommended 95%.
- Heating season guidance: The guide now includes data to consider for heating of outdoor air and the potential impact on pre-heat coils in systems.
- Adjustments to align with Core Recommendations: The Core Recommendations were released in January 2021, and this guidance document needed to be updated to ensure that the information provided aligned with the intent of those recommendations. This included minimum outdoor air supply and filter efficiency requirements and their role in an equivalent outdoor air supply-based risk mitigation strategy.
According to ASHRAE, the guidance still addresses the tactical commissioning and systems analysis needed to develop a Building Readiness Plan, increased filtration, air cleaning strategies, domestic and plumbing water systems, and overall improvements to a system’s ability to mitigate virus transmission.
Empower signs contract to supply 30,000 RT of district cooling to wasl1 development
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.
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
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.
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 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.”
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.”
ASHRAE releases core recommendations for reducing airborne infectious aerosol exposure
ATLANTA, Georgia, 14 January 2021: The ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force has released new guidance to address control of airborne infectious aerosol exposure and recommendations for communities of faith buildings, ASHRAE said through a Press release.
An infectious aerosol is a suspension in air of fine particles or droplets containing pathogens, such as the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which can cause infections when inhaled, ASHRAE said. They can be produced by breathing, talking, sneezing and other as well as by flushing toilets and by certain medical and dental procedures, it added.
ASHRAE’s Core Recommendations for Reducing Airborne Infectious Aerosol Exposure concisely summarize the main points found in the detailed guidance documents produced by the ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force, it said. They are based on the concept that ventilation, filtration and air cleaners can be combined flexibly to achieve exposure reduction goals, subject to constraints that may include comfort, energy use and costs, it added.
“This guidance outlines a clear approach for lessening the risk of infectious aerosol exposure for building occupants that can be applied in a wide range of applications, from homes to offices, to mobile environments, such as vehicles and ships,” said William Bahnfleth, Chair, ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force. “ASHRAE’s Core Recommendations are based on an equivalent clean air supply approach that allows the effects of filters, air cleaners, and other removal mechanisms to be added together to achieve an exposure reduction target.”
According to ASHRAE, specific recommendations include the following:
- Public health guidance
- Follow all regulatory and statutory requirements and recommendations.
- Ventilation, filtration, air cleaning
- Outdoor airflow rates guidance for ventilation, as specified by applicable codes and standards.
- Recommendations on filters and air cleaners that achieve MERV 13 or better levels of performance.
- The use of air cleaners.
- Control options that provide desired exposure reduction while minimizing associated energy penalties.
- Air distribution.
- Promote the mixing of space air.
- HVAC system operation
- Maintain temperature and humidity design set points.
- Maintain equivalent clean air supply required for design occupancy.
- Operate systems for a time required to achieve three air changes of equivalent clean air supply.
- Limit re-entry of contaminated air.
- System commissioning
- Verify that HVAC systems are functioning as designed.
According to ASHRAE, the task force’s Communities of Faith Buildings guidance offers recommendations on conducting worship services under epidemic conditions.
Rick Karg, ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force member, said: “The intent of the Communities of Faith guidance is to offer those who operate and care for buildings used for worship a plan for implementing short- and long-term HVAC strategies to reduce the possibilities of transmission of the SARS-CoV2-2 virus. The document also helps communities move toward a new ‘normal’ operation after this public health emergency nears an end.”
According to ASHRAE, recommendations for Communities of Faith include the following:
- Identify HVAC system characteristics. Compile and review operation and maintenance manuals and schedules.
- Verify HVAC systems are well maintained and operating as intended. For maintenance, follow the requirements of ASHRAE Standard 180 – 2018, Standard Practice for the Inspection and Maintenance of Commercial HVAC Systems.
- Consider PPE when maintaining HVAC systems, including filters, coils and drain pans.
- Operate HVAC systems, if present, with system fan set to run continuously when building is occupied for services or cleaning.
- Operate the system for a time required to achieve three equivalent air changes of outdoor air (effect of outdoor air, filtration and air cleaners) before the first daily occupancy and between occupied periods, if appropriate. Three equivalent air changes can be calculated using ASHRAE’s Building Readiness Guide.
To view the complete ASHRAE Core Recommendations For Reducing Airborne Infectious Aerosol Exposure and Communities of Faith Building guidance, ASHRAE suggested visiting ashrae.org/COVID-19.
‘The UAE leadership has a view of the future – and it is not just tomorrow’
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.
Government initiative to boost recovery will drive green economy, says Graded Spa
Dubai, UAE, 11 January 2021: The governments in the Middle East region are taking the appropriate measures towards boosting economic recovery following COVID-19, said Giuseppe Gregorini, representative of Graded Spa, an energy solutions provider headquartered in Italy. Gregorini said that in the current development model, governments in the region are boosting public investments in strategic areas, such as economic sectors that add significant value to the economy, the green and innovative economy and inclusive human capital and infrastructure that contribute to greater productivity.
Gregorini said, “Investments may look to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, strengthening the water, food and energy nexus, building the resilience of communities. Public policies and financial decisions may more consciously take account of exposure to climate risks and seek to preserve the region’s natural capital.” He emphasised that the newly created themes serve as fertile ground for the expansion of HVAC technologies and products, which the company has specialised in. “In this historical moment, the collaboration with university research institutes of excellence in the UAE is very important, both for expansion opportunities and for entry into the sector at the forefront of technology,” he said, adding that this will be reflected in the highly anticipated World Expo, scheduled to take place in Dubai in 2021.
Gregorini said that Graded continues to view the UAE as a crucial part of the company’s expansion plans with a focus on renewable energy. “Innovation and new technologies are key in order to keep pace with a market that is expanding at a level that the UAE is,” he said. “To develop these projects, we make use of partnerships with Italian universities and, above all, with research institutes and universities in the UAE, particularly in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.” He said that in addition to renewable energy, Graded intends to promote the development and growth of geothermal energy through its GeoGrid Project, which aims to reduce costs and consumption and is tailored to the Emirates.
SAER pumps says reliability is key to winning customer trust in time of COVID-19
DUBAI, UAE, 10, January 2021: Reliability has been crucial for SAER Elettropompe, in terms of maintaining customer relations in the time of COVID-19, Ilaria Favella, the company’s Marketing and Sales representative, said, adding that the decision to keep the production in Italy rather than move it to other countries has played a fundamental role in the company’s ability to strengthen its position in the UAE. “We are giving continuity to our customers and providing a winning, high-quality solution to those who are looking for a supplier in these difficult moments,” she said. “This situation has given us the opportunity to increase customers’ trust.” Favella added that thanks to the Italian production and available stock, Saer has been able to keep the scheduled lead time, as well as win contracts where a short delivery time was required, even during the first phases of the pandemic.
Favella said that SAER has continued to maintain strong links with the GCC region, adding that it was the first market to be developed when the company started exporting from Italy over 50 years ago. Favella said the range of products that is more well-known from the company includes end suction, split casing, high pressure and in-line pumps, as well as submersible pumps and motors,, and applications in the civil, agricultural and industrial fields as well. She added that the company is also positioning itself to address evolving demand for water, which is a critical resource, pointing out that desalination is becoming an important alternative to traditional freshwater resources.
ASHRAE Learning Institute opens registration for Spring online courses
ATLANTA, Georgia, 8 January 2021: ASHRAE Learning Institute announced that registration is open for its 2021 Spring online instructor-led course series. The 16 online offerings, including eight new courses, run from January through June, the Institute said
A new course, ‘Reopening Commercial Buildings: Evaluating Your HVAC System’s Readiness to Mitigate the Spread of SARS-CoV-2’, taking place on January 27, will expound the online ASHRAE COVID-19 details for reopening buildings and the Building Readiness Plan for HVAC systems, the Institute said. The course will help reiterate mitigation strategies available and understand specific buildings arrangements, the Institute added.
The course, ‘Health Impacts of Indoor Air Extraction, Ventilation, and Filtration – Same or Different’, scheduled for February 17, the Institute said, will cover the future design of forced air ventilation systems and the most cost-effective HVAC operational changes and system modifications to improve existing indoor environments in reducing the spread of viruses.
The course, ‘Hospital HVAC – Infection Mitigation, Comfort, Performance’, scheduled for February 23, will address the role of HVAC systems in helping to reduce Hospital Associated Infections (HAI), explaining airborne versus contact transmission, the Institute said. This course will describe the why and how filtration, air patterns, air changes, dilution, temperature, humidity, UV and pressurization in hospital HVAC can either help or hinder efforts to reduce HAI, the Institute added.
According to the Institute, the following is the full schedule of online instructor-led course offerings:
February 17: Health Impacts of Indoor Air Extraction, Ventilation, and Filtration – Same or Different?
February 23: Hospital HVAC – Infection Mitigation, Comfort, Performance
February 24: Evaluating Your HVAC System’s Readiness to Mitigate the Spread of SARS-CoV-2
March 2: Latest in High-Performance Dedicated Outdoor Air Systems
March 4: Humidity Control I: Design Tips and Traps
March 25: Save 40% by Complying with Standard 90.1-2019
April 6: Commercial Building Energy Audits – Part I
April 13: Commercial Building Energy Audits – Part II
April 20: Air-to-Air Energy Recovery Fundamentals
April 22: V in HVAC – What, Why, Where, How, and How Much
May 4: An Introduction to ASHRAE Existing Building Commissioning
May 11: Fundamentals of Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) for Air and Surface Disinfection
May 20: Introduction to BACnet
June 1: Principles of Building Commissioning: ASHRAE Guideline 0 and Standard 202
June 8: Powering with Renewable Resources: Thermal Energy Storage
AESG in global expansion drive with 45% growth target for 2021
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
Kingspan Insulation launches product for external ductwork applications
DUBAI, UAE, 5 January 2021: Kingspan Insulation launched the KDuct, which the company described in a Press release as catering to external ductwork applications.
According to the company, the KDuct incorporates its pre-clad ductwork system, made of thermoset, fibre-free pre-insulated duct board with a heavy-duty outer jacket. The company described the product as ideal for external applications, plantrooms, risers, congested spaces and lightweight specifications. The KDuct, Kingspan claimed, offers high performance, rigid, closed-cell insulation core, manufactured with a blowing agent with zero Ozone Depleting Potential (ODP) and low Global Warming Potential (GWP). At the same time, it said, the panels are faced on both sides with an embossed aluminium foil. The new product line would provide ultra-strength and rigidness; cost-savings over traditional exterior ductwork; extra-low air leakage, which does not allow conditioned air to escape; and high-compressive strength, among several other benefits, the company said.
Sarmad Fakhri, Managing Director, Kingspan Insulation, said, “KDuct Ductwork system would help our customers to save extra cost and time due to its lightweight and single-fix properties.” Unlike the traditional approach to ductwork construction, which requires sections to be lagged with insulation, once installed, the KDuct panels are pre-insulated with a high-performance insulation core, the company said. This single-fix and lightweight design, the company added, reduces installation time and transfers the cost benefits to the building owners.
Islington and Clapham
As we bid goodbye to 2020 and gingerly step into 2021, the feeling is not of relief, because the virus is still on the prowl. It must be added, though, that we have reached an inflexion point with the early promise being shown by some of the vaccines that have been deployed.
Now, amidst the carnage of 2020, we have been witness to heartwarming instances of human endeavour – of the medical fraternity putting their lives at risk to save others, of boffins hard at work harnessing the power of science and engineering to provide relief to not only healthcare workers but also numerous other sectors.
Away from the COVID scene, there are other instances that have stood out. Like the Bunhill Heat and Power Network project, in central London, which uses waste heat from the London Underground network to supply heat and hot water to nearly 1,500 homes and other facilities in the Borough of Islington, in a bid to lower indirect carbon emissions and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. Human ingenuity repurposed the former City Road London Underground station into an underground air extraction system. It draws warm air from the tunnels, still in use by the London Underground’s Northern Line.
Not only will the project reportedly lower indirect emissions but also cut heating costs by 10%, benefitting the residents connected to the network – a case of district energy providing succour to tenants by passing on the savings.
What is even more heartwarming, according to the company that supplied the technology to the project (see story on page XX) is that it can be replicated in underground networks the world over.
As if by coincidence, the subterranean labyrinthine depths of London constitute the theatre for yet another instance of human ingenuity and resourcefulness. Growing Underground is a farming enterprise that is using long-forgotten World War 2 tunnels used as shelter during air raids conducted by the Luftwaffe. About 100 feet beneath London’s Clapham, growers working for the enterprise are busy harvesting micro-greens using hydroponic technology, which uses 70% less water, when compared to traditional farming practices. The produce is pesticide-free and provides an opportunity to Londoners to eat fresh and without the guilt from knowledge that the greens on their plate are the result of burning copious volumes of climate-threatening fossil fuels in transporting them to their doorstep. The project is redefining food supply chains for the better and lowering food wastage by increasing shelf life.
Such examples as the Islington district energy scheme and Growing Underground serve as inspiration for us to consider abandoning some of the hackneyed approaches that are not taking us far in our quest for a better planet. They are about courage and speak of a certain frontier spirit that we ought to consider embracing.
How to kill enveloped viruses in just 30 minutes
Poor ventilation in closed indoor environments is associated with increased transmission of respiratory infections. There have been numerous SARS-CoV-2 transmission events associated with closed spaces, including some from pre-symptomatic cases. The role of ventilation in preventing SARS-CoV-2 transmission is not well-defined – that is, by preventing dispersal of infectious particles in small waterdrops to minimise the risk of transmission or preventing transfer of an infectious dose to susceptible individuals.
SARS-CoV-2 is thought to be primarily transmitted through large respiratory droplets; however, an increasing number of outbreak reports implicate the role of aerosols in SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks. Aerosols consist of small droplets and droplet nuclei, which remain in the air for longer than large droplets. Studies indicate that SARS-CoV-2 particles can remain infectious on various materials, such as air conditioning surfaces in air ducts and air handlers, as well as in aerosols in indoor environments, with the duration of infectivity depending on temperature and humidity.
While HVAC coatings are often the most cost-efficient insurance for the longevity of your air-handling system, there’s much more to them than just increasing your building systems’ lifespan. The rising demand for antimicrobial coatings was triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and tenants worried about their wellbeing from airborne diseases. In the same category, antimicrobial coatings can make a huge difference for indoor air quality and occupant safety. There are a number of HVAC coatings that drive energy savings, primarily desiccant-coatings.
Found on AHU heat exchangers, coils and in duct systems, they enable recovering heat and moisture, which then helps building owners to save on operational cost. Recent studies have uncovered an extreme antimicrobial effect of desiccant coating systems, in high relative humidity, as present in air conditioning systems. It appears the surfactants can break the exterior protein of a virus or bacteria strain. Once the protein is destroyed, the virus cannot attach to cells and transfer or alter human ribonucleic acid (RNA).
In many circumstances, once microbes have begun to proliferate on a painted surface, constant cleaning and disinfecting is required to keep growth under control, which is highly unwanted inside an air conditioning system. Recognising that the ability to clean constantly is unreasonable in most air conditioning systems, the best weapon against corrosion and microbial growth is an antimicrobial paint that prevents growth of, or eliminates, bacteria and viruses. Both the coating and the possible active ingredient should not produce any environmental, safety or health issues during application. Any off-gas from the film is unwanted, because ideally, the coating must be applied to air conditioning systems in operation without any concern of release of poisonous additives.
Antimicrobial efficacy based on silver ions
Generally, an antimicrobial surface contains an additive, like Agion, which inhibits the antimicrobial property that is composed primarily of silver ions, which have been proven in antimicrobial use throughout history. It incorporates silver ions inside a zeolite carrier, providing an area for these ions to exchange with other positively charged ions – often sodium – from the moisture in the environment.
Once exchanged, these now “free” silver ions are attracted to oppositely charged hydrogen ions, commonly found in most bacteria and microbes. The bacteria and microbes’ respiration and growth are now abruptly halted, since the hydrogen ions are no longer available. Silver based antimicrobial coatings contain a pesticide additive that evaporates slowly from the coating surface and raises questions on the durability of discharge. In Europe and North America, these coatings require a registration by the government authorities.
Antimicrobial efficacy based on desiccation
Enveloped viruses, like the H1N1 influenza virus, Corona (COVID-19) and bacteria have membranes of protein and enzymes to protect the infecting contents. The spreading of the viruses and bacteria in closed spaces and air conditioning systems is carried out by smaller aerosols. Alternative antimicrobial functionality is based on desiccation, a physical process to extract the moisture from the virus and bacteria particles. This approach may seem relatively primitive; however, it is extremely effective in slowing down or even preventing microbes from spreading and transmission. This method is similar to other physical treatments, such as UV irradiation, filtering and heating.
Desiccant coatings inactivate a wide variety of microbes that adhere to the surface through their hydrophilic surface properties. The antiviral functionality of the coating has been tested on the Phi6 virus, which is commonly used as surrogate for enveloped Corona viruses.
A recent study shows that a desiccant coating can have an extremely quick kill-rate of enveloped viruses after just 30 minutes.
Further studies have proven that strong antimicrobial working was additionally confirmed. Surface activity results in full kill-rates of > 99,99%, which were confirmed on the following micro-organism strains:
- Klebsiella Pneumoniae
An important note should be added to this paper: No claim or assertion should be made that the antimicrobial properties in the coating will improve air quality or eliminate the threat of disease-causing microbes in the air supply system. A healthy indoor air system is highly dependent on a combination of design, maintenance and cleaning measurements that are incorporated in the air conditioning system and facility management procedures.
- Knibbs LD, Morawska L, Bell SC, Grzybowski P. Room ventilation and the risk of airborne infection transmission in 3 health care settings within a large teaching hospital. Am J Infect Control. 2011 Dec;39(10):866-72.
- Lu J, Gu J, Li K, Xu C, Su W, Lai Z, et al. COVID-19 Outbreak Associated with Air Conditioning in Restaurant, Guangzhou, China, 2020. Emerg Infect Dis. 2020 Apr 2;26(7).
- Rothe C, Schunk M, Sothmann P, Bretzel G, Froeschl G, Wallrauch C, et al. Transmission of 2019-nCoV Infection from an Asymptomatic Contact in Germany. N Engl J Med. 2020 Mar 5;382(10):970-1.
- World Health Organization (WHO). Natural Ventilation for Infection Control in Health-Care Settings. 2009 [updated 4 May 2020].
- Ong SWX, Tan YK, Chia PY, Lee TH, Ng OT, Wong MSY, et al. Air, surface environmental, and personal protective equipment contamination by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) from a symptomatic patient. Jama. 2020;323(16):1610-2.
- Bahl P, Doolan C, de Silva C, Chughtai AA, Bourouiba L, MacIntyre CR. Airborne or droplet precautions for health workers treating COVID-19? The Journal of Infectious Diseases. 2020.
- Dietz L, Horve PF, Coil DA, Fretz M, Eisen JA, Van Den Wymelenberg K. 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID19) Pandemic: Built Environment Considerations To Reduce Transmission. mSystems. 2020 Apr 7;5(2):e00245-20.
8 Evaluation of Phi6 Persistence and Suitability as an Enveloped Virus Surrogate Aquino de Carvalho, Nathalia; Stachler, Elyse N.; Cimabue, Nicole; Bibby, Kyle Environmental Science & Technology (2017), 51 (15), 8692-8700CODEN: ESTHAG; ISSN:0013-936X. (American Chemical Society)
Recent outbreaks involving enveloped viruses, such as Ebola virus and SARS COVID-2, have raised questions regarding the persistence of enveloped viruses in the water environment. Efforts have been made to find enveloped virus surrogates due to
challenges investigating viruses that require biosafety-level 3 or 4 handling. In this study, the enveloped bacteriophage Phi6 was evaluated as a surrogate for enveloped waterborne viruses. The persistence of Phi6 was tested in aq. conditions chosen based on previously published viral persistence studies. Our results demonstrated that the predicted T90 (time for 90% inactivation) of Phi6 under the 12 evaluated conditions varied from 24 minutes to 117 days depending on temperature, biological activity, and aq. media compn. Phi6 persistence was then compared with persistence values from other enveloped viruses reported in the literature. The apparent suitability of Phi6 as an enveloped virus surrogate was dependent on the temperature and compn. of the media tested. Of evaluated viruses, 33%, including all conditions considered, had T90 values greater than the 95% confidence interval for Phi6. Ultimately, these results highlight the variability of enveloped virus persistence in the environment and the value of working with the virus of interest for environmental persistence studies.
- The use of bacteriophages of the family Cystoviridae as surrogates for H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses in persistence and inactivation studies
Adcock, Noreen J.; Rice, Eugene W.; Sivaganesan, Mano; Brown, Justin D.; Stallknecht, David E.; Swayne, David E.
Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A: Toxic/Hazardous Substances & Environmental Engineering (2009), 44 (13), 1362-1366CODEN: JATEF9; ISSN:1093-4529. (Taylor & Francis, Inc.)
Two bacteriophages, .vphi.6 and .vphi.8, were investigated as potential surrogates for H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza virus in persistence and chlorine inactivation studies in water. In the persistence studies, .vphi.6 and .vphi.8 remained infectious at least as long as the H5N1 viruses at both 17 and 28 degrees C in fresh water, but results varied in salinated water. The bacteriophage .vphi.6 also exhibited a slightly higher chlorine resistance than that of the H5N1 viruses. Based upon these findings, the bacteriophages may have potential for use as surrogates in persistence and inactivation studies in fresh water.
- Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Persistence and Disinfection of Human Coronaviruses and Their Viral Surrogates in Water and Wastewater, Andrea I. Silverman and Alexandria B. Boehm, April 2020
- Determination of the Antiviral Activity of Water-Based Coating for Air Conditioning Applications against phi6 Bacteriophage using a Method Based on ISO 21702:2019, the laboratories of Industrial Microbiological Services Ltd at Pale Lane Hartley Wintney, Hants, RG27 8DH, UK. December 2020
The writer is with Aqua Aero Coatings and may be contacted at email@example.com
AHRI applauds inclusion of HFC reduction language in Omnibus Bill
ARLINGTON, Virginia, 27 December 2020: The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) on December 22 expressed its gratitude to House and Senate negotiators who included language in the just-passed Omnibus bill to bring about a national phasedown of HFC refrigerants. Particular appreciation also is due to Senators John Kennedy (R-La.), Tom Carper (D-Del.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) as well as to Representatives Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Pete Olson (R-Tex.), and Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) for their tireless efforts to see this bipartisan initiative through to completion, AHRI said.
The language included in the bill would bring about a national phase down of HFCs and allow for a market- and consumer-friendly transition to new and better performing refrigerants and related products and equipment, AHRI said.
“We are gratified that negotiators included this bipartisan, jobs-promoting language in the Omnibus bill, and we are grateful to the Senate and House champions who worked so hard to see it accomplished, and to the House and Senate for passing the bill,” said Stephen Yurek, AHRI President & CEO. “Our industry has been working toward this goal for more than 10 years, and it is very exciting to see our vision of an HFC phasedown reach the home stretch. We are hopeful that President Trump will quickly sign the bill, so we can pivot toward implementation.”
Quoting a 2018 study by Interindustry Forecasting at the University of Maryland (INFORUM), AHRI said an HFC phasedown will create 33,000 new manufacturing jobs, increase direct manufacturing output by USD 12.5 billion, and increase the US share of the global HVACR export market by 25%.
GEA wins at RAC Cooling Industry Awards
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%
District cooling utility, Empower wins two Golden Bridge Awards
DUBAI, UAE, 17 December 2020: Emirates Central Cooling Systems Corporation (Empower) has won two Gold Awards in the 12th edition of the Annual Golden Bridge Business and Innovation Awards 2020, the district cooling utility said through a Press release. The winners received their awards during a virtual awards ceremony, on December 10.
Empower said it earned recognition as the Gold Winner for ’Company of the Year’ in the Energy and Utilities category for its impressive achievements in 2019, including the practical innovations in developing the district cooling industry in the world and raising the standards of sustainability in the sector.
Additionally, Ahmad Bin Shafar, CEO, Empower, received the honour, Gold Winner Award for ‘Executive Achievement of the Year’ in the Energy & Utilities category, in recognition of his pioneering contribution in encouraging the region to adopt district cooling concepts and his prominent role in leading Empower to become the world’s largest district cooling services provider, the district cooling utility said.
Previously, Bin Shafar was named as the ‘2018 IDEA Global Leader’, in recognition of his efforts for the enhancement of district cooling sector and his support towards global strives for a better environment. In 2017, he was also appointed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as a special advisor on district cooling for its global ‘District Energy in Cities Initiative’.
On this occasion, Bin Shafar said: “The winning of these two Golden Bridge Awards is an inducement for our work teams to move forward in making a qualitative difference. It is also an international recognition for Empower’s efforts in transforming the space cooling industry, globally, and an encouragement for decision-makers to adopt district cooling solutions and apply integrated green practices.”
Bin Shafar spoke of how Empower is pioneering in the District Cooling sector locally and internationally. The company’s efforts and the leading role in the industry also led to the crowning of Dubai as the ‘Champion City’ for district cooling globally, on the sidelines of the 8th International District Energy Association (IDEA) Annual Conference, held in December 2018.
Empower said it has bagged many international awards, as a reflection of its determination and leadership and its ability to innovate solutions and technologies in the district cooling industry. The world’s first unmanned and fully automated district cooling plant it established in the JVC Dubai community is an example of innovative practices, the district cooling utility said.
Empower spoke of how it is a partner of UNEP and plays a vital role in UN-led global initiatives, ‘Cool Coalition’ and ‘District Energy in Cities’. Empower said it is also a member of international bodies of district energy and HVAC industries, such as ASHRAE and IDEA (International District Energy Association).
Bin Shafar added that the company’s success in achieving huge savings, in terms of energy, and protection of natural resources, is the fruit of its ongoing commitment to contribute in building a sustainable future based on a diversified economy and zero carbon emissions. Empower said it saved 1,224MW of electricity, worth AED 3.2 billion, as of the end of 2019. The company’s total district cooling networks, it said, crossed 320 kilometres. It added that it awarded contracts to various companies at a total value of AED1.13 billion in 2019.
DriSteem wins award for its GTS LX Series Humidifier
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minnesota, 16 December 2020: DRI-STEEM Corporation (DriSteem), manufacturer of humidification, evaporative cooling and water treatment products, has received the BUILD Construction & Engineering award for the ‘Best in Commercial Humidification Solution Provider of 2020’ for its GTS LX Series Humidifier.
Making the announcement through a Press release, DriSteem said the Best in Commercial Humidification Solution award is selected by the BUILD Construction & Engineering research team. Those selected met merit-oriented criteria, researched via public domain with many factors taken into consideration, the company said. The nominee proved evidence of expertise within its field, dedication to customer service and client satisfaction with an ongoing commitment to excellence and innovation, the company added.
“We are truly thrilled to receive this prestigious award, five years running,” said Mysty Hanson, Product Manager, DriSteem. “It is always an honor when your work is recognized in the industry as being one of the best.”
According to DriSteem, the GTS LX Series Humidifier is the only gas-fired humidifier that combines the highest efficiency on the market with ultra-low NOx in a single design, thermal combustion efficiency, 94% higher heating value of fuel and 103% lower heating value of fuel. All LX Series humidifiers, the company said, feature new touchscreen displays. The new display, it added, has all the industry-leading functionality of its Vapor-logic controller, with intuitive interface animated graphics, and a Set-up Wizard for easier start-ups.
According to DriSteem, additional LX Series highlights include:
- Condensing design for highest efficiency and PVC venting.
- Ultra-low NOx certified to SCAQMD 1146.2 standards.
- Smart drain technology adjusts drain intervals automatically based on water quality.
- Universal water control for use with any water type, including RO/DI water.
- Modulating output with minimum 5:1 turndown for accurate humidity control.
- Outdoor and indoor models for application flexibility.
Daikin India acquires Citizen Industries
GURGAON, India, 16 December 2020: Daikin Airconditioning India acquired India-based AHU manufacturer, Citizen Industries through a share-purchase agreement, signed on December 15, the former said through a Press release.
According to Daikin, the acquisition will provide prominence to its current infrastructure influence and help increase its penetration across various applications.
Citizen Industries has two manufacturing units, a big base of R&D engineers and service technicians that Daikin said would complement its people strength. The integration of the two companies, Daikin added, would result in joint sales velocity; acquiring of ongoing air-side maintenance contracts; expansion into the applied and VRV solution business, including air side; a horizontal collaboration with American Air Filter (AAF); and catalysing economies of scale at Daikin’s Neemrana factory in the western Indian state of Rajasthan and its R&D centre.
Daikin said its acquisition of Citizen Industries mirrors its assertive philosophy of identifying opportunities ahead of time and building value around its offerings, while keeping customer requirements at the forefront to create a sustainable business, faster than the rest.
ASHRAE, CIBSE sign strategic partnership agreement
ATLANTA, Georgia, 15 December 2020: ASHRAE and the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) have signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) formalizing the organizations’ relationship, ASHRAE said through a Press release.
Charles E Gulledge III, 2020-21 ASHRAE President, and Stuart MacPherson, CIBSE President, signed an SPA during a virtual signing ceremony on December 10. The agreement outlines how ASHRAE and CIBSE will work cooperatively on activities that serve their respective memberships, to promote the advancement of a more sustainable built-environment through HVAC&R technologies and their applications.
According to ASHRAE, areas of collaboration include:
- Joint initiatives aimed at accelerating the progression of digital technologies and research
- Virtual design and construction to improve the resilience of buildings and the health of occupants in an increasingly challenging climate
- Coordinated promotion of joint grassroots meetings and conferences
- Advocacy and work on common public affairs goals and ideologies
- Consistent leadership communication
- Publication development and distribution
- Education and professional development co-development and cross marketing
“Our continued collaboration with CIBSE provides a meaningful opportunity to coordinate efforts on innovative technologies and resources to advance the growth of the built environment,” Gulledge said. “We value this partnership with CIBSE and are excited to leverage this collaboration to move the industry and buildings towards a more sustainable future.”
MacPherson said: “We are delighted to sign this agreement with ASHRAE and strengthen the long-standing relationship between our organisations. The increasing local and global challenges of maintaining safe, healthy and efficient built-environments marks this as a particularly auspicious time to share knowledge and expertise to enhance our offerings for the benefit of both our members and wider society.”
Belimo representative joins Board of automated buildings association
DANBURY, Connecticut, United States, 15 December 2020: The Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA) has appointed Tom Daenzer, Manager of Digital Business Development for Belimo Americas. CABA is an international nonprofit industry association that provides information, education and networking to promote advanced technologies for the automation of homes and buildings, Belimo said, while making the announcement through a Press release.
According to Belimo, Tom Daenzer has been with the company for over 10 years and is the Manager of Digital Business Development for Belimo Americas since 2018. He leads a team responsible for supporting the growth of HVAC valves and actuators that harness smart and/or connected capabilities, Belimo said. One of Daenzer’s primary roles is to guide the development of services and APIs that complement these connected products through relationships with industry peers and technology partners, Belimo said, adding he leads the Belimo Americas IoT Committee and is a member of the global IoT Core and IoT steering committees. Prior to his Digital role, Daenzer was Business Development Manager for Belimo’s Shared Logic line of intelligent actuator solutions. Before working for Belimo, he spent 17 years on the construction side of the building automation industry, with roles ranging from software engineer to project manager, the company said.
A CABA member company since 2018, Belimo recently began a collaboration with several other CABA members on what will be the first-of-its-kind market sizing study of the building automation control systems market, said Ron Zimmer, CABA President & CEO. “As an industry leader in the development of connected products and services, Tom Daenzer will be an outstanding addition to the CABA Board of Directors,” he said. “That extensive background, combined with active involvement in IoT task forces and committees, has given him unique expertise on the industry’s recent evolution, which I know will be an asset to the Board.”
Lexzander, Emitech enter into a JV
DUBAI, UAE, 01 December 2020: Lexzander and Emitech have formed a joint venture (JV) in a bid to give
end-to-end solutions for MEP works, with the former saying it is coming forward with construction management and engineering capabilities and the latter saying it is bringing logistics and project execution expertise to the enterprise. Speaking to Climate Control Middle East magazine, V Sekhar Reddy, Managing Director, Lexzander, said the JV, established on November 16, aims to synergise the experience and expertise of the two companies in delivering right solutions at the right time.
The JV’s immediate target is the AED 25-30 million market segment, where it wants to offer a shorter conversion time and optimised resources. Rahul Duragkar, Managing Director, Emitech Group, spoke of a fair shortage of good electromechanical end-to-end solutions.
The JV, he said, aims to give clients more satisfaction than what they are paying for and that it includes offering specialised expertise in engineering and project management. Reddy added: “This association is to add value to the products that need to be delivered, with an emphasis on techno-commercial solutions. We are looking at projects that definitely need personalised attention and, as an outcome, are well-engineered.
The JV aims to work directly with clients on design-build solutions, instead of taking a main contractor approach. Broadly speaking, the scope of work includes mid-size MEP projects, with an emphasis on energy efficiency and good indoor air quality (IAQ), all executed at a low cost per ton. Additionally, the JV aims to serve energy auditing solutions to the market and, further, renewable energy solutions, such as solar heating and associated solar sub devices, including solar PV.
“We come with a combined experience of 62 years and want to address questions arising out of a dearth of qualified MEP contractors,” Reddy said. “I will not hesitate to say that most people are doers, not thinkers. Irrespective of the value of the job, it needs due attention, and for various challenges, companies are not willing to invest in the AED 40 million segment, which takes a good portion of the market and, in the coming years, will form a substantial presence in market development and growth.”
Future of HVAC in India is bright, says Magneto Clean Tech
New Delhi, India, 18 June 2019: The HVAC industry in India has immense potential but is heavily dependent on the economic activity around the building industry, said Himanshu Agarwal, CEO, and Founder, Magneto Clean Tech, while providing an overview on the HVAC market in India. In the last few years, heavy debt has propelled the industry to undergo a restructuring, which has led to excessive competition and a price war, he said. From a broad perspective, Agarwal said, air pollution in India is high and the awareness regarding the bad air quality is a subject that is given more attention every day. This he said, will lead to high demand for air systems.
Elaborating on Magneto Clean Tech, a New Delhi-based HVAC company, Agarwal said: “Magneto Clean Tech invents and popularises clean air technology for developing nations. We focus on making clean air accessible to everyone, whether in homes, in the office or in buildings.” By pushing the limits of engineering, he said, we are able to build the highest quality of products that exhibit performance. While providing an overview of the work done in the year 2018, he said, we delivered clean air to a total area of 2.5 million square feet. “The year 2019, Agarwal said, looks bright as the company’s projected growth rate is over 100%.
Magneto Clean Tech’s products, he said, have energy-saving benefits due to a very low-pressure drop in the air conditioner. They clean the air holistically, removing dust, micro-organisms and even harmful gases, he said. “We have successfully commercialised a proprietary way of purifying indoor air that is fundamentally superior to current methods,” he said. In addition, Agarwal highlighted that the company has a diverse range of air-purification products that deals with PM 2.5, along with infection control, which as a technology, is being received with an overwhelmingly positive response from users.
Bacharach expands refrigerant gases on MGS-400 Gas Detectors
New Kensington, Pennsylvania, United States, 13 May 2019: Bacharach, which provides HVACR gas instrumentation, has added 22 halogen refrigerants for its MGS-400 gas detectors in commercial and industrial gas leak monitoring applications, the company said through a Press communiqué.
The newly added halogen refrigerants include R-1234yf, R-1234ze, R-134a, R-22, R-32, R-404a, R-407a, R-407C, R-407f, R-410a, R-422, R-422d, R-427a, R-434a, R-448a, R-449a, R-450a, R-452a, R-454a, R-454c, R-507a and R-513A. Support for additional gases are in development and will be released over the next few months, the company said through the communiqué.
The MGS-400 series product family uses three different sensor types, depending on the measurement range, temperature and gas types when detecting for hazardous refrigerant leaks, the communiqué said. The variety of sensor types within the product line offers significant user benefits, including flexibility with refrigerant leak detection and providing peace of mind when helping to protect personnel and achieve compliance with safety standards like ASHRAE 15, CSA-B52 and EN 378 inside of machinery rooms, mechanical equipment rooms, chiller plants, cold storage facilities and walk-in freezers, the communiqué said.
Other user benefits, the communiqué said, include a mobile app interface for easy commissioning and maintenance without special tools and an added sensor life of 5-7 years with plug-and-play pre-calibrated sensor modules for quick, simple sensor replacement. According to the communiqué, generating calibration certificates from the mobile app makes calibration documentation easy to create and send by email or store in the cloud. A Modbus RTU interface, the communiqué said, and analogue and relay outputs enable easy safety alarming and automation control.
Baltimore Aircoil introduces Nexus Modular Hybrid Cooler
Baltimore, Maryland, USA, 21 April 2019: Baltimore Aircoil Company (BAC) has introduced the Nexus Modular Hybrid Cooler, which it claimed in a Press communiqué as being the world’s first intelligent, plug-and-play, modular, hybrid fluid cooling system. The Nexus, BAC said, is engineered to simplify system design and optimise water and energy savings, while providing the lowest installation, operating and maintenance costs.
According to the communiqué, the Nexus simplifies both the design and installation of fluid cooling systems. The units are up to eight feet shorter in height, have a 40% smaller footprint and are 35% lighter than traditional fluid coolers, the communiqué said. Modules are designed to be moved with a pallet jack and fit in a freight elevator – eliminating the need for special rigging equipment, the communiqué said. Structural steel requirements can be reduced by up to 50%, and permanent ladders or elevated platforms can be eliminated, the communiqué added. All fans, pumps, accessories and controls are factory-installed, and wired, for true single-point wiring, the communiqué further added.
According to the communiqué, BAC’s patented hCore Heat Transfer Technology delivers exceptional heat transfer performance, durability and longevity in a compact, corrosion-resistant package that has 65% less internal fluid volume and requires no passivation. The Nexus’ new, patent-pending DiamondClear design uses 60% less spray water volume than traditional systems, has turbulent spray water flow, and the spray water basin can be inspected while in operation, BAC claimed through the communiqué. BAC’s iPilot Control System, with patent-pending, embedded intelligence minimises operating cost by effectively balancing water and energy savings based on customer needs and preferences, the communiqué said. The EC Fan System, BAC claimed through the communiqué, provides superior efficiency as well as high external static capability, with a direct-drive radial fan and a variable-speed electrically commutated (EC) motor. It completely eliminates maintenance associated with traditional fan drive systems and delivers superior reliability, the communiqué said.
The Nexus has the highest uptime and reliability, the communiqué said. As standard, it is a passivation-free unit with premium non-corrosive materials to keep customers up-and-running with their projects at the most critical times, the communiqué said. Code compliance is also very important for our customers, so a non-combustible option that meets the most stringent fire codes will now be available, the communiqué quoted BAC as saying.
“This product highlights our leadership position in innovation,” said Don Fetzer, BAC President, “as we have created the world’s first truly smart hybrid cooling solution, with the ability to switch between evaporative and dry cooling in a modular compact footprint.”
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.”
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.
Single- and two-phase secondary refrigerants have much to contribute to sustainable cooling, says academic
Uttar Pradesh, India, 14 April 2019: Single-phase and two-phase secondary refrigerants have much to contribute to sustainable cooling, said Dr Jahar Sarkar, Associate Professor, Indian Institute of Technology, Varanasi. Explaining in brief about the concept, he said, “Secondary refrigerants are heat-transfer fluids and are used for sub-ambient temperature cooling applications, which involve the transfer of heat from a conditioned space to the evaporator of the refrigeration system.” Elaborating, he said, as the working pressure is high within the refrigeration system, there is a chance that the primary refrigerant may leak with long-route evaporator applications. “To avoid the leakage,” he added, “the secondary refrigeration loop is used for a multiple cabinet cooling application.” The single-phase secondary refrigerant consists of an anti-freeze solution, corrosion inhibitor, and biocides, which generally remains in the liquid phase through the loop, whereas the two-phase secondary refrigerants take advantage of the high latent heat during the phase change process in the loop, turning it from liquid to solid to the gaseous state, he said.
Highlighting the extent to which secondary refrigerants such as single-phase and two-phase fluids are used in India, Sarkar added, “Single-phase fluids, such as water-based brines (aqueous fluid), containing glycols (e.g. ethylene and propylene glycols) or salts (e.g. magnesium and calcium chlorides) are widely used in many industries, including ice plant, food processing plant and in supermarkets.” However, non-aqueous single-phase fluids, he said, are also available in the international market.
District Cooling has strong potential for growth in Africa, says Metito
Dubai, 14 April 2019: There is strong growth potential for District Cooling in Africa, said Fady Juez, Managing Director, Metito. “We are believers that District Cooling is something good, commercially and environmentally,” he added, especially when compared to the inefficiencies of standalone cooling systems. However, Juez added, District Cooling is successful in urban centres, where there are networks of buildings, as it will make a case for the high initial cost required. As such, Juez said that he believes Egypt, particularly the capital of Cairo, would be a good entry point to advance the penetration of District Cooling in the region.
Juez said that with District Cooling being a high consumer of make-up water, there is a need to promote the use of treated sewage effluent (TSE) in order to optimise the region’s water resources, while addressing industrial and agricultural requirements. Currently, Juez said, Metito’s regional headquarters is located in Cairo, where the company has full-fledged operations that cover the requirement across the region.
The virtue of ambition
The most environmentally friendly and cheapest energy is that which is not consumed in the first place,” says Thomas Damm, Technical Manager, Sector Department, Air Conditioning and Ventilation Technology, VDMA. This, he says, is why energy efficiency is viewed as key to unlocking the country’s objectives, namely Climate Action Programme’s 2020 interim target of a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990 levels, as well as those under the German National Action Plan on Energy Efficiency (NAPE).
With the building sector accounting for 40% of final energy consumption in Germany, and around one-third of greenhouse gas emissions, Damm says, the sector plays a key role in the country’s comprehensive energy and climate policies. “To this end, the German government has set itself the ambitious goal of achieving an almost climate-neutral building stock by 2050,” he says. “This means that primary energy requirements will be reduced by 80%, compared with 2008.” To achieve this, Damm says, the energy requirement for heating and cooling, as well as for ventilation technology, must be significantly reduced through efficiency measures and the share of renewable energies, in meeting the remaining demand, significantly increased.
With European and national laws impacting air conditioning and ventilation technology, Damm says the challenge for politics and the industry is to decouple CO2 emissions from economic growth. “In Germany, in addition to the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), the German Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV) is primarily relevant,” he says. “The latter implements Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) nationally and defines energy requirements for buildings and the technical building systems and installations contained therein. In addition to air conditioning and ventilation technology, this includes heating technology.”
Citing the September 2018 prohibition of the marketing of high-voltage halogen lamps in the European Union (EU) as an example of the continuous impact political programmes have on technologies’ market viability, Damm highlights the political will in the EU to steer markets toward its environmental agenda. Jens Schuberth, Umweltbundesamt (UBA; The Germany Environment Agency), believes German HVAC manufacturers are
on track when it comes to complying with regulations, due to the time afforded to them prior to the implementation, based on observing new product lines, with features reflecting the new requirements.
Forces driving manufacturers’ compliance
While Schuberth says market compliance is also reflective of Germany’s recognition of EU directives as a member state, Damm adds that voluntary adoption can also be attributed to system operators’ move to cut operating costs. “The continuous increase in the number of central ventilation and air-conditioning units equipped with heat-recovery measures, shows that this can also be done without bans,” Damm says. “Numerous factors can be decisive here — rising energy costs, certification systems for buildings user requirements or financial support measures by the public sector and/or state financial institutions.” Ultimately, Damm says, it is a mixture of instruments, constraints and incentives from stakeholders.
David Miller, Managing Director, Ziehl-Abegg Middle East, provides a manufacturer’s perspective, saying that while, admittedly, the move towards energy-efficient solutions is influenced by political pressure, many customers are also seeing the advantages of investing in such technologies with an eye towards operational savings. “When it comes to design, people are changing their ways,” he says, “which is positive in our point of view.”
Markus-Erich Strohmeier, Senior Executive Vice President, Siemens Building Technologies – Middle East, echoes the need to comply with customer requirements. “When considering cost, we believe it’s important to take into account the lifecycle of the technology and the impact it will have on the efficiency, availability, reliability and operating costs of a customer’s infrastructure during that time,” he says. “Ultimately, we want to ensure that our customers have all the data they need to make an informed choice regarding a product or supplier.”
Bissan Abbas, Managing Director, Techem Energy Services Middle East FZCO, adds that the growing attractiveness of energy-efficient solutions over conventional systems is also driven by rising costs in bigger cities over the years and that compliance with regulations has encouraged stakeholders to thoroughly study ROI to reach a break-even point.
The need for more stringent market surveillance and enhanced efforts towards IAQ
Overall, Damm says that manufacturers view regulations as positive tools for market transformation, towards more efficient products and systems. “It has also been shown in the past that German companies, in particular, with their highly developed products, manufactured with very good quality, have a market advantage — albeit limited in time — over competitors from outside the EU.” This advantage, he stresses, would be even higher if the market surveillance stipulated by the European legislator and given to the EU member states for implementation is carried out.
“However, the system is unfortunately weak and also makes market access possible for products that do not comply with EU law,” Damm says.
Schuberth echoes this, adding that despite energy efficiency inspections on air conditioners having been introduced in Germany as early as 2007, as part of the EU [Energy Performance of Buildings] Directive requirement, this has not been carried out to the extent necessary or expected. The inspections, Schuberth stresses, aimed to identify areas of improvement for building owners, in order to present them with the most economically attractive solution. “Three years ago, Germany started to register all inspections,” he says. “Only one-tenth of the inspections that people expected were carried out. So, there is quite a lack of surveillance and this is a great potential to improve air conditioning and ventilation.”
Another potential area of improvement that Damm believes requires greater attention is IAQ, which, he says, merits the same enthusiasm afforded to energy efficiency. “It is well known and proven that good IAQ is profitable in many ways,” he says, pointing to the indoor comfort in offices, shopping centres and schools, “but currently there are no legal requirements yet related to IAQ in residential and non-residential sectors.
What is there are recommendations from the WHO and the Federal Environment Agency in Germany. However, these are merely recommendations, compliance with which is not mandatory.” Damm says that this is incomprehensible, given that people spend most of their time inside buildings, arguing that much has already been said about the importance of energy efficiency.
Damm stresses that it is important that IAQ and energy efficiency are not considered separately or played off against each other. “The filter industry shows and proves it,” he says. “High-quality air filters enable a higher IAQ, with comparable or lower lifecycle costs over the service life of the filters. And this also applies to higher acquisition costs compared to lower-quality air filters. Improving the efficiency of air filters can help to ensure that IAQ does not remain a stepchild.”
Germany is not sitting on its laurels, as new regulations are underway that could potentially address these gaps. Damm says manufacturers and users are eagerly awaiting the new revision and redesign of legislation for buildings and technical installations, which has been announced by politicians for some time. “Specifically, the existing national legal provisions of the Energy Saving Act (EnEG), the Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV) and the Renewable Energies Heat Act (EEWärmeG) are to be combined into a new regulation,” he says. “This awaited regulation is called the German Energy Act for Buildings (GEG).”
Schuberth says the lack of market surveillance and inspections could be addressed by the new regulations, recommending more effective controls over the energy performance certificates of the buildings. “There is the idea to have information in the building certificate of existing air conditioners that had to be inspected,” he says. “If the energy performance certificate were to be controlled, they could ask for inspection of air conditioners. It’s quite an indirect way that we hope could have some effect.”
Schuberth says that, additionally, gaps in market surveillance could be addressed by making air conditioners smarter, through the integration of monitoring equipment that detect operational efficiency and report to building owners in the event there are deficiencies. While promising, Schuberth says, this would be mainly applicable to new air conditioners.
Industry 4.0: The inevitability of the Internet of Things
With this recommendation, Schuberth touches on another observable trend in Germany: digitalisation. Citing “Industry 4.0” as the buzzword for 2018 in Germany and Europe, Damm says the advancing digitalisation in production and enhanced communication of devices offers new possibilities towards greater efficiency.
Miller shares a similar observation, reporting that customers are demanding more from their products. “The buzz word is cyber-physical systems,” he says. “Everything speaking to each other and manufacturers offering a lot more feedback that we did in the past.” Miller says this has prompted Ziehl-Abegg to work towards having the capability to connect networks to physical devices, such as sensor fans, frequency inverters and motors, to monitor health and efficiency. “This is an exciting time for us in terms of innovation dictated by our customers and this shift towards energy savings,” he says.
Strohmeier highlights how digitalisation is changing “the way we plan, design, build and operate infrastructure”. He says, “We see technologies, such as augmented reality and virtual reality increasing efficiency over the whole lifecycle of a building. Remote access, maintenance and servicing is gaining increasing relevance, and indoor positioning technology also has the potential to revolutionise the way we manage our infrastructure.”
Strohmeier stresses that Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a key topic that will have significant impact on the HVACR market.
Damm describes BIM as a developing tool for the optimised execution of construction projects. “BIM can and should consider all phases,” he says, “In the best case, BIM accompanies a building or plant from the first stroke of a pen to its demolition.” Damm stresses that through BIM, planning can be done in a cost-effective way to avoid typical building hazards and problems, such as, for example collisions of ducts and tubes, which can be identified early on in the design phase, and addressed by developing and implementing the most suitable solution. He adds that BIM also helps data management to optimise operation and maintenance. “Functioning BIM projects, which are kept up-to-date over the entire period of time, can prevent losses of important information, such as design calculations, design and construction plans or product documentation,” he says. “BIM is a growing system into which all participants must contribute. Anyone who deals with BIM and its possibilities will recognise the opportunities and risks.”
Rolf Werner, Director Application Engineering, Wieland, weighs in, saying that he believes that Germany is, in fact, lagging behind other countries in terms of automation, especially when it comes to BIM. However, Werner commends the platform’s ability to supply necessary data for an integrated process.
Enablers of energy efficiency
While the country still has some way to go, Damm says German companies’ commitment to sustainability has helped paved the way for manufacturers to be technological leaders, globally. “The applicable regulations and their enforcement in the market have a major influence on the use of sustainable technology outside the EU,” he says. “It is clear to see that numerous states in the Middle East are using ordinances and technical regulations as basis for buildings and technical building systems to become increasingly more efficient.”
To underscore his point, Damm says that in the first half of 2018, North Africa and the Middle East accounted for approximately three per cent of air-handling technologies’ total exports. Damm adds that sales of the German air conditioning, ventilation and refrigeration technology industry are expected to grow by a total of five per cent in 2018. Calling German manufacturers, “enablers” in the sector, Damm says, it is only a matter of time before the efficiency wave also reaches farther regions of the world.
An Inadequate Reaction
“It’s still mainly business as usual,” says Daniel de Graaf, Scientific Assistant at the German Environment Agency, who believes that the air conditioning and refrigeration sector’s adoption of low-GWP refrigerants in the country remains inadequate. This, he says, is the case despite stakeholders encountering problems with procuring refrigerants owing to the European F-Gas Regulation (Regulation (EU) No 517/2014), citing recent reports of refrigerant theft to highlight the sense of desperation in the market. “We had a wake-up call, last year, when refrigerant prices went through the ceiling,” he says. “In January 2017, in Germany, you paid EUR 100 for 12.6 kg cylinder of R 134a. Now it’s EUR 600 or even more.” Regarding R-404A, which is the standard refrigerant for commercial uses, such as supermarket refrigeration, de Graaf says, the price hike was even more dramatic at approximately 1,000% in one year and a half.
De Graaf says that due to the CO2 equivalent based HFC phase down approach of the F-Gas Regulation, there is lack of clarity about the question, ‘Which refrigerant is future-proof for the European market and which is not?’ This becomes more obvious with prohibitions, which have been put down for some applications in Annex III of the F-gas Regulation, for example, for household or air conditioning appliances. “With portable air conditioners,” he explains, “you’re only allowed to sell appliances that use refrigerants with a GWP of 150 or less, from 2020 on. In this segment, you have a complete halt for HFCs, with prohibition of mini-splits containing refrigerants with a GWP of more than 750 from 2025.” But even more important, de Graaf stresses, is the prohibition to the placing on the market of stationary refrigeration plants using refrigerants with a GWP of more than 2,500, such as R-404A, starting from 2020.
While the F-Gas Regulation provides a framework to restrict the amount of HFC, de Graaf says it is up to the market to find the most economical solution. “The problem is people do not want to adopt accordingly, because sometimes it just blows away their business case,” he says. “If you sell chillers with HFCs and made a lot of money and you are told you have to use something else — propane or ammonia, for instance — that’s not what you had as a business case. This is especially true if you don’t only sell the chillers but also the HFC refrigerant for the chillers. Natural refrigerants are definitely no business case for HFC or HFO manufacturers.” Rolf Werner, Director, Application Engineering, Wieland, adds that for manufacturers, there is a lack of clarity on the type of refrigerant that will take the lead in the market. “We can see CO2 applications on the rise for supermarkets and buildings,” he says. “That’s clear, but for all of the other refrigerants, it’s quite unclear and uncertain.” Maciej Danielak, Export Sales Director, Kampann, weighs in, saying that the increasing prices of refrigerant have paved the way for water-based systems, which has seen an uptake, adding that the companies dealing with refrigerants are looking to complement and expand their portfolio.
Dr. Karin Jahn, Technical Manager, Sector department, Refrigeration and Heat Pump Technology, VDMA, believes that the current environmental policy framework in Germany is boosting the demand for climate-friendly solutions in the refrigeration sector, stressing that the European F-Gases Regulation and the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol have triggered a lively discussion in the market about the use of various refrigerants, with renewed interest in natural alternatives.
De Graaf stresses that that there is further scope for natural refrigerants to be used, saying that manufacturers and end-users are settling for interim solutions that are unable to cope with looming targets. “R-32 is becoming more and more prominent in the market, when it comes to room air conditioners,” he says, “but R-32 still has a high GWP of 675. We need to get down to an average GWP of roughly 400 by 2030 — that’s still quite a gap to close. R-32 is not a final solution, but it’s what is marketed a lot right now in Germany and throughout Europe.”
Bottlenecks in the adoption of natural refrigerants, de Graaf says, can also be partially attributed to lack of training. Dr Jahn adds that many installers and workers are interested in converting existing refrigeration systems and ensuring the viability of future systems to be installed; however, the planning, installation and operation of systems with flammable refrigerants demands special legal expertise and safety-engineering know-how.
De Graaf believes craftsmen and technicians are the stakeholders that should be addressed, as they are the ones reluctant to move away from standard HVAC refrigerants and deal with flammable or toxic alternatives, with many apprehensive towards even R-32 appliances.
Dr Jahn remains optimistic, however, saying that the fundamentally high standard of training systems in Germany puts the industry in a very good position. “In principle, the training programmes in Germany are so broad that the graduates are familiar with all established refrigerant alternatives,” she says, “whether natural refrigerants, synthetic refrigerants or blends, and are able to pursue respective developments in refrigeration and air-conditioning companies.” Even so, Dr Jahn says that there remains a high demand for special seminars and courses to keep them up to date with the latest legislation and engineering developments.
De Graaf adds that, of late, there are a number of incentives, namely support programmes where end users can get money from the German government when opting for equipment with natural refrigerants. He also believes that investment into the development of new solutions with natural refrigerants makes economic sense for manufacturers, since they are F-Gas Regulation-proof also in the long run and outperform HFC as well as HFO equipment energetically. The latter is also important for end users, who accept higher initial investment costs when, due to lower energy costs, life cycle costs are equal or lower compared to HFC equipment.
Even with existing innovations, however, de Graaf expresses his concern at manufacturers’ reluctance towards introducing products to the market, citing instances wherein a manufacturer that received the German Blue Angel ecolabel certification for his product in March 2018, still refrained from introducing it to the market. “There are some other manufacturers, as well, for single split appliances with R-290 that still refrain from bringing them to the market because of the safety issue,” he says, “but they may be a little bit too cautious in this respect. In India, one such manufacturer sold 600,000 units, which are installed with no incident because technicians had proper training.” As such, de Graaf issues a plea to manufacturers that have solutions in their portfolio, “Please be a little braver in bringing your energy-efficient and climate- friendly solutions to the German and European market.”
Is Microsoft’s underwater data centre the future?
The Natick Phase One vessel was operated on the seafloor, approximately one kilometre off the Pacific coast of the United States, from August to November 2015. Thereafter the Phase Two vessel of Natick, deployed at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney Islands, United Kingdom, in June 2018, aims to demonstrate that you can economically manufacture full-scale undersea data centre modules and deploy them in under 90 days from decision to power on. Could you give us an insight into what prompted the company to launch Project Natick?
Project Natick reflects Microsoft’s ongoing quest for cloud data centre solutions that offer less resource intensive options, rapid provisioning, lower costs and high agility in meeting customer needs. Essentially, the project is focused on bringing about a cloud future that can help better serve customers in areas that are near large bodies of water, where nearly 50% of society resides. The vision of operating containerised data centres offshore, near major population centres, anticipates a highly interactive future which will require data resources located close to users. Deepwater deployment offers ready access to cooling and a controlled environment and has the potential to be powered by co-located renewable power sources.
From what we understand Natick data centres consume no water for cooling or any other purpose. Could you speak a little bit more about what makes this possible without compromising critical data components?
Seawater flows through heat exchangers within the data centre. The heat exchanger is like a car’s radiator, which uses cool air to cool the hot water flowing through the car’s engine. We’re the same, but we use water to cool air. Very little cooling is due to the walls of the vessel.
Modern building cooling systems, including data centres, use city tap water for cooling. This use of water greatly reduces the electricity required for cooling, but this water use can be significant. Natick puts no pressure on city water supplies and instead uses seawater, which is then returned directly to the ocean, unchanged.
Could you comment on the unique challenges that come with cooling large-scale electronics in this context and how the company addressed them?
Today, each land data centre is subject to local environmental conditions, such as temperature, humidity, particulate matter, building materials and electricity supply, which differ significantly across data centres and across seasons. Natick uses the same computers used to deliver our cloud services from land-based Microsoft data centres today and, as previously mentioned, because Natick data centres provide a sealed environment, we can use a nitrogen atmosphere, with no oxygen and very little water vapour. This reduces problems such as corrosion and allows us to provide the computers with the same operating environment, regardless of where in the world we deploy.
How could subsea data centres contribute to the growing dialogue of optimising resources in operations in a sustainable manner?
The project represents Microsoft’s investigation in the numerous potential benefits that a standard, manufacturable, deployable undersea data centre could provide to cloud users all over the world. If successful, we are on the quest for a future where cloud data centre solutions offer less resource-intensive options, rapid provisioning, lower costs and high agility in meeting customer needs.
Natick requires no footprint on land, which is a significant issue in some locations. Being offshore allows us to bring the cloud close to customers even without this footprint.
Because Natick is more energy efficient, we put less pressure on the electric grid. We are investigating the idea of co-locating Natick with its own locally generated renewable energy. In this kind of configuration, we would be off-grid. The Energy Information Administration says long-distance transmission typically costs 5 per cent of electrical power, so this reduces energy use while eliminating the need for long-distance transmission, including the transformers required in this process.
As noted earlier, Natick uses seawater and, hence, doesn’t require city water. Drinking water is likely the most valuable resource in the 21st century.
‘A wider pool of HVACR specialists, who understand the needs of museums, would be very advantageous’
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.
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.”
Sustainable cooling vital for smart cities, says MIT professor
Dubai, UAE, 24 March 2019: Although cities occupy only two per cent of the world’s surface, they host up to 50% of the world’s population and are responsible for 75% of global energy consumption and 80% of CO2 emissions, said Carlo Ratti, Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Founding Partner, Carlo Ratti Associati, during his keynote address for the ‘Design and the City of the Future’ event on March 19, at the American University in Dubai (AUD). During a comprehensive discussion on how IoT is shaping the built-environment, Ratti underscored the important role that sustainable cooling must play in cities of the future. “Fixing energy usage and occupancy is vital,” he said, “when you think about how much energy you spend cooling your homes.”
Ratti said trends in modern architecture are steadily placing greater emphasis on the importance of designing better ways to control temperature with minimum use of energy. This, he said, is especially the case in office spaces, which continue to evolve based on digital connectivity and individual requirements. Providing an example, Ratti pointed to the redesign of the Agnelli Foundation headquarters, in Turin, Italy, where Carlo Ratti Associati developed a customised environmental bubble that provides personalised heating, cooling and lighting systems to occupants throughout the building. By leveraging IoT technologies, Ratti said the building was able to optimise space and energy usage. While the company was deeply involved in the overall architecture of the historic structure, Ratti said the implementation of key technologies related to heating and cooling was done by Siemens Italy, which equipped the building with sensors for different data sets, including the location of the building’s occupants, temperature, CO2 concentration and the availability of meeting rooms.
Ratti said that he believes such an approach is scalable for other projects. “I really see it happening in high-end buildings,” he said. “Monitoring occupancy in a very fine way to create a climate around ourselves.” This, he said, is a best way to harness energy otherwise wasted from cooling in an inefficient manner.
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.
Food cold chain driving India’s refrigeration sector
Pune, India, 28 March 2019: The overall trend and future of the market of the Indian HVACR industry is very positive, said Arvind Surange, CMD, ACR Project Consultants, adding that the food cold chain has been the major driving force for the refrigeration industry and cold chain sector. “This is due to the fact that India is a major producer of perishable foods,” he said, sharing that India ranks No. 1 in milk production, No. 2 in fruits and vegetables production and is again one of top-ranking countries for meat, poultry and fisheries products. “The overall perishable food production in India is over 400 million metric tonnes (MMT),” he added.
Surange shared that current demand estimates show that the potential for growth in the cold storage capacity is about 10%. “However, in the food processing segment, there is a vast potential for the growth of the industry, as the current food processing capacity is less than six per cent of the production,” he said. Surange added that other applications of refrigeration showing great potential for growth include pharmaceutical and bulk drugs industry, beverages industry and the entertainment sector.
ACR Project Consultants aims to drive Green cold chain applications across India
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.”