Tag Archives: HVAC

Quick Reads on LEED

1. Challenges Seeking LEED Status in Older Buildings

Pursuing certification through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system can create major challenges for maintenance and engineering managers. The task is even greater when the institutional and commercial facilities date back to the days of Thomas Jefferson.

“It certainly presents a challenge for us to access the HVAC and lighting systems to repair and replace them without causing any further damage to the building,” says Ryan Taylor, zone maintenance superintendent for central grounds at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, whose responsibilities include many of the original buildings designed by Jefferson. “We have to work closely with our historic preservation team to make sure we’re following the appropriate procedures and using proper materials for the repairs. We work closely with them to identify major problems that we need to focus on and make sure we’re taking the right steps to prepare them properly so those buildings can be preserved.”

The university has 23 LEED-certified buildings — including one building at the platinum, four at the gold, and 12 at the silver levels — and infuses sustainability and LEED into its capital development process, from pre-planning to post-occupancy. The maintenance department plays a central role in the LEED-certification process from the development stage.

“On the maintenance side, we are involved in the design review process and work with the architects and engineers to make sure the systems being installed are maintenance-friendly,” Taylor says. “It’s a combination of looking at LEED and looking at maintenance-friendly systems that we can continue to maintain once the building is constructed or renovated.”

2.  Is LEED Broken?

Today’s tip of the day is about what we can learn from LEED’s critics.

Oftentimes, the natural response to criticism is to get defensive, dig in your heels, and then counterattack. But that is usually less productive and more polarizing. To avoid such a reaction and instead open a dialogue is the key finding common ground and moving forward.

With that in mind, one of the more fascinating sessions at Greenbuild 2013 was titled “What We Can Learn From LEED’s Critics.” The session, presented by Tristan Roberts of BuildingGreen, Rob Watson of ECON Group (and who carries the “Father of LEED” moniker), and Pamela Lippe of E4 Inc., broke LEED criticisms into three main categories, and then examined the validity of each, and how USGBC has responded.

The first criticism is that the LEED process is broken — this covered both the rating system development process, as well as the certification process. To address the first, USGBC says it has maintained an open, iterative process to the rating system development process, as evidenced by the more than 20,000 public comments over six comment periods, and then the 86 percent approval when LEED v4 was put to a vote. They‘ve also drastically cut down on the time between submission and certification — 85 percent of projects are ruled on within 25 days of submission. That’s a vast improvement.

The second criticism is that LEED is not vigorous enough. You hear this one a lot from the vocal critics who say a LEED certified building isn’t any better than a traditional. USGBC is working diligently to compile more LEED data — now requiring all LEED registered projects to submit five years of water and energy data — to show that LEED buildings are, indeed, more environmentally responsible than traditional. During this discussion, Rob Watson unleashed the quote of the conference: “If your building isn’t performing, it’s your fault. Not LEED’s.” How true.

The third criticism is that LEED is too complex and too expensive. You commonly hear this from folks who think LEED certification is simply “buying a plaque” and that the constant updates to LEED make it impossible to keep up. No one would deny that LEEDv4 is a giant step forward in terms of rigor, but that’s what is needed to move the market, says USGBC. And as for “buying a plaque,” reasonable minds can disagree on the value of certification itself, but USGBC has always said that a third-party review is what really motivates projects teams to stay the course and follow through.

3.  LEED Dynamic Plaque May Lead To Better LEED Performance

Today’s tip of the day is about the performance of LEED certified buildings, and the new LEED Dynamic Plaque.

One of the hallmarks of a high-performance building is one that performs, highly. If that sounds to you like some sort of Jedi Mind Trick of circular reasoning, you’re not totally wrong. But there’s still much to unpack there — especially when you consider the long-standing snipe about supposedly high-performance, LEED-certified buildings that they were more about the checklist, and less about the actual performance.

Last year, at Greenbuild, concurrent with its roll-out of the new LEEDv4 system, which emphasizes performance and human health, U.S. Green Building Council also re-introduced its new vision for how buildings will be scored and monitored in the future: the LEED Dynamic Plaque. (Video of USGBC’s Scot Horst’s presentation is here.)

The LEED Dynamic Plaque — the concept was first introduced at Greenbuild 2012, but now, there is actually a real, live plaque being piloted in USGBC’s own Platinum space — gives users a real-time display of how the building is doing in the areas of water, waste, energy, transportation, and human experience. So now longer will LEED be a set-it-and-forget-it proposition – every user of the building from Day 1 forward will be able to see how the building is performing. And therefore, everyone will know whether or not it truly is a high-performance building as a LEED certification seemingly promises.

While transparency of data for all seems like a great idea in theory, the idea of the LEED Dynamic Plaque may make more than a few facility managers nervous. What if the building isn’t actually performing as intended? Who gets the blame?

But progressive facility managers see any data as an opportunity, especially when that data specifically shows opportunity. The LEED Dynamic Plaque will show occupants and upper managers alike — far outside the confines of a budget-request power point or an energy data spreadsheet — that the organization has a building it can be proud of.

4.  What Is High-Performance Building?

Today’s tip of the day is about the meaning of the term “high-performance building.” “High-performance” is actually a much more encompassing, and frankly, more accurate, term than “green” when it comes to describing the buildings facility managers own, manage, and maintain. But what does “high-performance” actually mean? Does it mean LEED-certified buildings that are energy and water efficient? Facilities that are people-friendly and get high marks from occupants for creature comforts? Highly automated, integrated buildings that turn big data into big efficiency gains with smart analytics? The answer, of course, is yes. A high-performance building is all of those things and more. The key to a high-performance building is optimization and integration of all things — whether fan speeds or fire safety, whether landscaping or lighting efficiency. It means thinking on both a micro and macro level about how building systems interact, and how building occupants interact with those systems. Yes, “high-performance” does tend to have a bit more to it than the traditional definition of green (a building that is environmentally responsible). Thinking about making a building “high-performance” means considering aspects of the building— fire/life-safety, ADA compliance, communication plans, even art work or other occupant-focused “bonuses” — that were certainly also considered in a green building, but may not have been emphasized. “High-performance” is how those in the industry will think about and define successful buildings in the future.

Source: Facilitiesnet

Ensuring the Most Energy Efficient Equipment

How can facility managers make sure they’re getting the most energy efficiency out of new or upgraded building equipment?

Ongoing energy use measurement and diagnostics will help optimize energy performance and keep building systems operating smoothly. There are new building energy management applications which bridge between data collection to diagnostics, alerts, and work orders, but an excellent facilities manager is the key to success. It’s also a tremendous asset to have tenant billed for actual energy consumption. Sub-metering tenant spaces with easily accessible, simple energy reports allow both building owners and tenants to understand energy use and costs. This transparency makes it easier to keep things running as planned and adapt as necessary.

Answers provided by Wendy Fok, project director, High Performance Demonstration Project of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Center for Market Innovation.

Source: http://www.facilitiesnet.com/energyefficiency/article/Ensuring-the-Most-Energy-Efficient-Equipment–14995?source=part

Big Strides in HVAC and Lighting Efficiency

There have been big strides made recently in efficiency in HVAC and lighting. What do you see as the next area that offers the potential for improved energy efficiency?

Tenant spaces typically account for 50-70 percent of a building’s overall energy use, and building owners who effectively engage with tenants to build out and operate energy efficient leased space will improve the building’s overall energy performance and comfort while both sides can benefit financially. Office equipment plug loads are the primary energy driver in leased space and managing these ‘phantom loads’ through outlet switches and computer energy management software can be cost effective strategies.

NRDC’s High Performance Tenant Demonstration Project is focused on energy use in leased commercial space, and the economic benefits of building owner and tenant collaboration, and the projects are realizing strong returns of 25 percent IRR and payback periods well under 5 years.

Answers provided by Wendy Fok, project director, High Performance Demonstration Project of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Center for Market Innovation.

Quick reads on variable refrigerant flow systems

1. Variable-refrigerant Flow (VRF) Systems: Weighing Benefits And Limitations

Variable-refrigerant flow (VRF) systems have been used for the better part of three decades in Europe and Asia. While clearly not as common in North America, the design has been catching on — mostly for its ability to respond to fluctuations in space load conditions. Because of this, it excels at saving money during part-load system use. VRF is appealing for reasons beyond energy savings. After all, the systems can simultaneously heat and cool separate spaces in the same building. VRF systems also can vary compressor speed to meet load condition and have quieter operation than a direct exchange system. But that’s not to say that it’s perfect for every building or every climate. Facility managers have to weigh benefits and limitations.

Affify is careful to note that a VRF system isn’t an off-the-shelf solution. It generally Ramez Affify, principal at E4P consulting engineering the assistance of a design engineer, who needs to review the load profile for the building so that each outdoor section is sized based on the peak load of all the indoor sections at any given time; then the outdoor unit can be specified.

Designing a VRF by selecting the outdoor unit first, Affify says, is a sure way to end up with an oversized system.

A VRF isn’t suitable for all applications. Limitations include:

There is a limitation on the indoor coil maximum and minimum dry- and wet-bulb temperatures, which makes the units unsuitable for 100 percent outside air applications, especially in hot and humid climates.

The cooling capacity available to an indoor section is reduced at lower outdoor temperatures. This limits the use of the system in cold climates to serve rooms that require year-round cooling, such as server rooms.

But in many cases, VRF systems work well. Affify references a recent VRF installation in the desert southwest where – shortly after installation – the area experienced a heat wave where ambient outdoor temperatures reached 120F, well exceeding the manufacturers recommended range.

“To our great pleasure, the system functioned and cooled the building during [those] hot times,” Affify says.

2.  Variable-Refrigerant Flow (VRF) Systems: Air-Cooled And Water-Cooled

Variable-refrigerant flow (VRF) systems have been gaining new attention among facility executives in the United States. The systems are energy efficient and can simultaneously heat and cool separate spaces in a building. But facility managers have to evaluate each project separately to decide whether a VRF system is appropriate. There are two basic systems, air-cooled and water-cooled, and a simple VRF system consists of an outdoor condensing unit and multiple indoor evaporators. The condenser and evaporators are connected by a complex set of oil and refrigerant pipes, all governed by individual thermostat controls.

Ramez Affify, principal at E4P consulting engineering, has worked extensively with VRF systems, including ASHRAE subcommittees addressing variable refrigerant flow, and notes that basic questions need to be asked before installing a VRF system.

“There are major decisions in the beginning of each project to choose the most suitable HVAC system for a building,” Affify says. “When VRF are considered, the very first question is: Will the VRF units be air cooled or water cooled?”

If they are air cooled, Affify says, exterior space is required for installation of the condenser unit. Furthermore, the space/site selected for installation has to be away from windows, accessible for maintenance, and able support the weight of the units.

In one case, “the height of an exterior [air-cooled] VRF units caused the neighbor, which was an adjacent restaurant, to complain because they said the unit blocked their view,” Affify says. “Lesson learned is to think ahead before installing a 6-foot outdoor VRF section, especially in low rise communities.”

He further notes that architectural enclosures can be considered; while the enclosures might not mitigate concerns neighbors have with blocked views, they can hide the condenser units.

If a water-cooled VRF system is used, Affify says, water source units that help comprise the system can be placed in small closets.

With both air- and water-cooled units, a feasible path to route the network of refrigerant pipes needs to be identified.

One challenge when specifying VRF systems is providing a separate outside air supply to each indoor unit to comply with ASHRAE Standard 62.1 and building codes. For larger buildings, that means that a separate outside air fan and control system is usually required, and in humid climates, providing preconditioned outside air to each indoor unit helps ensure good indoor air quality.

Today’s quick read came from, contributing editor for Building Operating Management.

Source: Facilities Net

Smart HVAC Controls Market Expected to Reach $26.60 Billion by 2020 – New Report by MarketsandMarkets

(PRWEB) April 15, 2014

According to a new market research report of “Smart HVAC Controls Market by product type (Temperature, Ventilation, Humidity, Integrated), Components (Sensors, Controlled devices, Smart Vents), Application (Residential, Commercial), Operation & Geography – Analysis & Forecast to 2014 – 2020”, published by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.22% from 2014 to 2020, and reach $26.60 Billion in 2020

Browse more than 93 Market Data Tables with 55 Figures spread through 135 Pages and in-depth TOC on “Smart HVAC Controls Market”.
http://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Market-Reports/smart-hvac-controls-market-130456761.html

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The Smart HVAC Controls market is a growing market, which includes sensors, controlling devices and Smart Vents. In future, Smart HVAC controls are expected to control the HVAC industry because of its high quality contribution to the nation and increased comfort in the HVAC ecosystem.

The overall Smart HVAC Controls Market is segmented into five major segments – product type, mode of operation, components, application, and geography. All the major segments are further segmented into sub segments. All the segments and sub segments are separately classified in the report. The Smart HVAC Controls Market is expected to reach up to $26.60 Billion by 2020, at an estimated CAGR of 8.22% from 2014 to 2020.

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http://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Enquiry_Before_Buying.asp?id=130456761

The two major driving factors for the Smart HVAC Controls Market are need for energy efficient solutions and consumer demand for remote access control. Both are expected to boost the market in coming years. The growing concept of Internet of things (IOT) is considered as well planned and is important for the Smart HVAC Controls market. In the report, different modes of operation are also discussed which includes wireless controls, remote controlled controls, programmed controls and integrated controls. Various innovations are taking place to develop the Smart HVAC Controls Market which includes the introduction and development of weather compensating controls along with the related components.

Geographical split for the Smart HVAC Controls Market is included in the report. It presents the market share of the different geographies of the smart HVAC controls. This report divides the overall market based on the four major geographical segments- The Americas, Europe, APAC, and Rest of the world (ROW). APAC is considered the market leader in the overall Smart HVAC controls market, which is followed by the Americas and Europe.

Browse Related Reports
Sensors Market [(Temperature, Pressure, Speed, Level/Position, Oxygen, Nox) For Automotive Applications (Power Train, Body Electronics, Vehicle Security, Safety and Controls, Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Telematics)] 2012 – 2022
http://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Market-Reports/automotive-sensors-market-426.html

Home Automation & Controls Market by Product (Lighting Control, Security Control, Access Control, HVAC Control, Entertainment Control, Outdoor Control, Communication Protocols, Standards & Data Distribution) & Geography (2013 – 2018)
http://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Market-Reports/home-automation-control-systems-market-469.html

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Deferred Capital Renewal Can Be Used To Justify HVAC Upgrades

Facility managers should determine if deferred capital renewal should be part of the analysis to justify large energy upgrades.

An example of a deferred capital savings is the evaluation of installing a new boiler as compared to maintaining the existing boiler. A 20,000 pound per hour (pph) boiler with mud and steam drums (the heart of the boiler) may be in good condition, but the boiler tubes could be thinning and need to be replaced. The cost to retube and recase this boiler is approximately $350,000. In this example, the recasing and retubing of the boiler will not increase the boiler efficiency of the system. Also, the existing boiler is assumed to have an efficiency of 75 percent.

A newer boiler with stack economizer could have an efficiency of 85 percent and the cost to install this boiler is approximately $1.2 million. In 2012, the average national cost for natural gas was approximately $8.15 per thousand cubic feet or approximately $8.00 per million BTU. Assuming the boiler operates at full load for 2,500 hours, the increase in efficiency would save the facility approximately $62,000 per year in natural gas costs. The simple payback to replace the boiler without the deferred capital is 19.4 years (capital cost of $1.2 million and an annual savings of $62,000 per year). However, if the analysis took into account the $350,000 cost to recase and retube the boiler, this would reduce the capital cost from $1.2 million to $850,000 and the corresponding simple payback would be reduced to 13.7 years. The cost to recase and retube the boiler should be included in the analysis because this work needs to be completed to maintain the operation of the system.

Another example is the replacement of a 30-year-old water chiller. Typically, chillers installed at this time were constant speed units. Based upon ASHRAE numbers, the average service life of a water-cooled chiller is 23 years. That does not mean that, once a chiller has been in service for 23 years, the unit will fail, but rather that a plan for the chiller replacement should be in place based on that average service life. A 450-ton constant speed water-cooled chiller has been designed to have a chiller efficiency of 0.70 kW/ton, but because of the age of the equipment the chiller could be de-rated to an efficiency of 0.81 kW/ton, assuming a 0.5 percent per year degradation. A variable flow chiller unit can be selected to operate with an efficiency of 0.50 kW/ton. Based upon the unit operating at full load condition for 1,500 hours and an electric rate of $0.08/kWh, the annual savings for installing the VFD unit is approximately $16,700 per year.

The cost for the new VFD chiller system is estimated to be $250,000. This would correspond to a simple payback of close to 15 years. If the analysis included the cost to replace the unit with a constant speed chiller (assuming the cost of $203,000), the difference in capital costs is only $47,000 and the simple payback would be reduced to 2.8 years. Even if the analysis assumed that the constant speed chiller was installed with the original efficiency (0.70 kW/ton) the simple payback is still 4.3 years.

It is difficult to identify the deferred capital savings in terms of simple payback when evaluating equipment that still has useful remaining life. The cost to replace the equipment cannot be simply subtracted from the cost of the energy conservation measure. However, a complete life cycle cost analysis can be completed to identify the most economical approach.

Andy Jones, PE, is mechanical engineer/project manager at RMF Engineering. He can be reached at andy.jones@rmf.com.

Maintenance Savings May Help Justify HVAC Capital Investments

Once a bundle of projects has been identified, facility managers should also determine whether a reduction in maintenance expenses can legitimately be anticipated. Facility managers should determine if deferred capital renewal should be part of the analysis to justify large energy upgrades.

An example of additional maintenance savings that will lower the simple payback is a lighting project that changes out incandescent bulbs to CFL or LED bulbs. The typical lifespan of an incandescent light is approximately 1,200 hours, while a CFL has a life span of 8,000 to 10,000 hours and a LED light has a life span of 20,000 to 50,000 hours. The cost of the material and the time for repeatedly replacing the bulbs should be included in the analysis to identify the entire savings for the energy conservation measure.

Another maintenance savings example is replacing building pneumatic controls with a direct digital control (DDC) system. Pneumatic control systems use compressed air, which is typically generated by a compressor (or series of compressors, depending on the size of the system; some rare installations use nitrogen or other bottled gas). Typically the annual maintenance can be 40 man-hours for inspections and the scheduled monthly maintenance service required.

If this work is completed by a third party it is easily tracked and identified, but it is more difficult to identify the hours if this work is completed in house.