As seen on cabuildingsnews.com – December 2015
Manufacturers and Service Providers Offer a Variety of Products and Strategies
HVAC SYSTEMS CAN USE AS MUCH AS 40% OF A BUILDING’S ENERGY, says the utility company Pacific Gas & Electric. “When properly designed, implemented, and operated, these systems ensure the comfort of the people in the facility in addition to ensuring the quality and financial viability of the processes and products produced. However, while simple in concept, most air handling systems are dynamically complex and highly interactive. A disturbance in one element can ripple out and affect the stability and viability of the entire system and the utility systems serving the air handling unit. In some cases, these issues manifest themselves in a manner that demands correction; tenants complain, product quality becomes substandard, or in extreme cases, the area serves becomes un-inhabitable.
“But in other cases, the interactions can be insidiously counter acting, unnecessarily wasting energy and resources while delivering the desired level of environmental quality and safety. The bottom line is that air handling systems represent fertile ground for energy and resource conservation efforts as well as performance and environmental quality improvements. In some cases, these opportunities can be lost if they are not recognized at the time of design, making them prime targets for design review by commissioning providers and others. In other cases, the improvements can be realized by modifying or adjusting the installed equipment in an appropriate manner, making them good targets for retro-commissioning and ongoing commissioning processes,” the company advises.
Kevin Miskewicz, the senior manager for commercial marketing at Mitsubishi Electric U.S. Cooling & Heating, says, “One way commercial building owners can make their HVAC system more energy-efficient is by replacing an existing inefficient and outdated system with help from Mitsubishi Electric’s CITY MULTI® Efficiency Evaluator. This cloud-based application compares Mitsubishi Electric’s Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) systems to existing or proposed HVAC systems and calculates expected energy usages, life cycle costs and LEED points for each system based on multiple building factors.”
Other manufacturers are working hard to offer innovative solutions. “To maximize energy efficiency, building owners can leverage the Internet of Things. Given long life spans of equipment like rooftop units, enabling systems with IoT is critical to achieving top performance for the life of the equipment. Daikin’s Intelligent EquipmentTm harnesses IoT by moving data from the building to the cloud, analyzing it and optimizing opportunities to manage total building performance,” says David B. Calabrese, vice president of government affairs at Daikin U.S. Corporation. ”
|” Building environment studies show that the top two occupant complaints are uncomfortable temperature; too hot or too cold. The major challenge that stands in the way of addressing this complaint is the expense of engineering a building environment that is comfortable, while also sustainable and energy efficient. “
— Heather Perez, Acutherm, LLC
The Therma-Fuser VAV diffuser…achieves 15%- 47% energy savings, while improving IAQ and occupant comfort through providing smaller zones of individual temperature control,” says Heather Perez, director, business development and marketing at Acutherm, LLC. “A comfortable environment is achieved by providing the smallest possible zones of temperature control, allowing for individual temperature distribution and better air movement. Reduction in energy is realized by designing a low-pressure HVAC system that allows for maximum turn down while maintaining temperatures.”
She adds, “Building environment studies, for over 50 years, show that the top two occupant complaints are uncomfortable temperature; too hot or too cold. The major challenge that stands in the way of addressing this complaint is the expense of engineering a building environment that is comfortable, while also sustainable and energy efficient Highlighted throughout this portfolio are instances where comfort, sustainability and energy savings have been successfully achieved, economically, using ThermaFuser.. VAV system.”
There are yet other approaches to making HVAC more energy efficient, as Richard Almini, CEO of Legacy Mechanical, points out “One of the very interesting things that has blossomed for Legacy over the past couple of years is how we are combining our HVAC sales strategies with our Energy Control Window Films program. The correlation between the two technologies has allowed us to solve a much wider assortment of building problems than was attainable through just one a single offering. We also have an example of a major window film project we did at a 30-story building in San Francisco, where the upgrade to a modern window film allows higher levels of natural light to enter the space, resulting in lower calculated electrical costs when combined with new lighting controls with dimmable ballasts.”
Arne Irwin, business unit manager—energy systems at YANMAR America Corporation, advises that, “Building owners should investigate natural gas engine-driven gas heat pumps and micro combined heat and power products to lower electrical consumption and reduce avoid costly demand charges on their electrical utility bill. GHP and mCHP are forms of on-site distributed generation that utilize natural gas as the primary fuel source to significantly reduce reliance on the high-cost electricity produced by coal-fired power plants, as well as reduce the transmission losses encountered during the transport of electricity generated at a distant power plant.”
Finally, says Mark Gallagher, manager, building services at Armstrong Fluid Technology, “When auditing buildings managers should not overlook a conversion to variable speed pumps just because the building has a constant flow system. Variable speed pumps allow you to run the system without throttling, providing savings in pumping costs that typically range from 10-30%, while providing the same flow as before.”