HVAC Tech­nolo­gies In 2018

HVAC tech­nolo­gies are con­stantly up­grad­ing to be more en­ergy ef­fi­cient and en­vi­ron­ment friendly. Man­u­fac­tur­ers are en­vis­ag­ing re­new­able en­ergy sources and even com­pletely reimag­in­ing the work­ing of HVAC sys­tem.

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Green HVAC (Heat­ing, Ven­ti­la­tion & Air­con­di­tion­ing) sys­tems con­sist of com­pact and less com­pli­cated equip­ment to ful­fil the im­me­di­ate needs of a fa­cil­ity thereby pro­vid­ing en­ergy sav­ings. Al­though green HVAC con­cept is rel­a­tively new in In­dia, the new tech­nolo­gies are be­ing looked upon favourably by busi­nesses for their re­duced op­er­at­ing costs.

SMART tech­nol­ogy

In­te­gra­tion of tech­nol­ogy so­lu­tions have been the top trends in the HVAC seg­ment. For ex­am­ple, the col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Pana­sonic and Schnei­der Elec­tric to de­liver a wire­less in­ter­face so­lu­tion to con­trol the HVAC equip­ment, se­cu­rity, light­ing and power & elec­tri­cal dis­tri­bu­tion, from a sin­gle sys­tem. Such seam­less prod­ucts of­fer busi­nesses a bet­ter con­trol on their util­ity op­er­a­tions. Smart ther­mostats are ex­am­ple of en­hanc­ing en­ergy ef­fi­ciency and com­fort. They al­low tem­per­a­ture to be con­trolled and ad­justed re­motely through wire­less net­works, giv­ing busi­nesses the abil­ity to eas­ily mon­i­tor the sys­tem’s per­for­mance and achieve sig­nif­i­cant en­ergy sav­ings. Des­ic­cant En­hanced Eva­po­ra­tive (DEVAP) sys­tems cool the air by em­ploy­ing an eva­po­ra­tive cool­ing sys­tem with a des­ic­cant to ab­sorb the hu­mid­ity from the air. The sys­tem pro­vides cool, dry us­ing less en­ergy and uses no harm­ful re­frig­er­ant.

build­ing au­toma­tion

Build­ing au­toma­tion sys­tems (BAS) es­sen­tially con­trols the en­tire fa­cil­ity’s util­i­ties from light­ing, se­cu­rity and plumb­ing to HVAC, etc. As­sisted by smart tech­nolo­gies and in­te­grated sys­tems within the BAS, HVAC so­lu­tions are in­creas­ingly be­com­ing more au­to­mated to achieve greater con­sis­tency and op­ti­miza­tion. Ad­vanced BAS runs con­tin­ual di­ag­no­sis for fine-tun­ing the sys­tem, preven­tive main­te­nance and to iden­tify un­der-per­form­ing ar­eas. New build­ings are now be­ing de­signed with sus­tain­able HVAC sys­tems in mind. In­te­grated in the BAS are the nat­u­ral air­flow sys­tems and al­ter­na­tive power sources to re­duce en­ergy costs. Daikin Ap­plied’s In­tel­li­gent Equip­ment™ sys­tem, which is pow­ered by a Linux OS and an In­tel pro­ces­sor, al­lows users to mon­i­tor and con­trol equip­ment with real-time data.

in­ter­net Of things

The In­ter­net of Things (IOT) is en­abling re­mote ca­pa­bil­i­ties to con­trol a fa­cil­ity’s HVAC sys­tem.

Ac­cord­ing to Emer­son Cli­mate Tech­nolo­gies pre­dic­tion, by 2019, al­most 75 per cent of ther­mostats will be Wi-fi en­abled. BAS pro­vide con­trol­la­bil­ity, but web-based al­ter­na­tives add the ben­e­fit of so­phis­ti­cated data col­lec­tion, an­a­lyt­ics and greater con­nec­tiv­ity op­por­tu­ni­ties. The IOT sen­sors help track a unit’s con­di­tion, us­age pat­terns and other data needed to im­prove prod­uct de­sign. Also, ad­vances in IOT are mak­ing sys­tems and ap­pli­ances com­mu­ni­cate with us in new ways, HVAC sys­tems are now able to send an alert when it needs a re­pair or rou­tine main­te­nance check, even sched­ul­ing the ap­point­ment on its own.

Air Qual­ity

As ex­perts point out, the in­door air qual­ity is typ­i­cally two to five times worse than out­door con­di­tions —a sit­u­a­tion that can be reme­died with a well-de­signed high-ef­fi­ciency fil­ters in the HVAC sys­tem. Au­to­matic CO2 con­troller im­proves the abil­ity of air-con­di­tion­ing sys­tems to adapt to vari­able in­door am­bi­ent pa­ram­e­ters. Also, fresh air quan­ti­ties can be greatly in­creased when en­ergy re­cov­ery from ex­haust air is used to pre-heat or pre-cool fresh air. Heat re­cov­ery de­vices, such as air-to air heat ex­chang­ers, can re­cover 75% of the waste heat in ex­haust air. A chilled-beam HVAC sys­tem is con­sid­ered to of­fer bet­ter in­door air qual­ity, be­cause the sup­ply air­flow is 100% out­door air.

re­new­able sources

A so­lar HVAC sys­tem uses so­lar pan­elling to ab­sorb both heat (ther­mal en­ergy) and light en­ergy from the sun. For heat­ing ap­pli­ca­tions, the ther­mal en­ergy is used to heat a fluid, usu­ally a mix­ture of wa­ter and an­tifreeze, which then runs through a heat ex­changer. The so­lar cool­ing sys­tem em­ploys an eva­po­ra­tive cool­ing method, where the air is cooled sim­ply by the evap­o­ra­tion of con­tained wa­ter. Al­ter­na­tively, the geo­ther­mal HVAC con­sist of a sys­tem of pipes buried un­der­ground about six feet be­low the sur­face, called an earth loop. While the am­bi­ent air tem­per­a­tures out­side rise and fall with the chang­ing sea­sons, ground tem­per­a­tures re­main pretty con­stant. Geo­ther­mal heat­ing and cool­ing sys­tems take ad­van­tage of this con­sis­tency to heat and cool your build­ing. Wa­ter is run through the un­der­ground pipes and is heated or cooled by the ground’s con­stant tem­per­a­ture. An in­door unit uses a fan, com­pres­sor and pump to de­liver the tem­per­ate air through the build­ing.

reimag­in­ing Hvac

In­no­va­tive tech­nolo­gies are re­think­ing the HVAC sys­tems. Here are some tech ad­vances in HVAC to watch out for, though many of these are still on the draw­ing board.

Move­ment-ac­ti­vated Air Con­di­tion­ing:

En­gi­neers at MIT have come up with a new air con­di­tion­ing de­sign that uti­lizes sen­sors along alu­minium rods hung from the ceil­ing. Move­ment then ac­ti­vates these sen­sors. In other words, the air con­di­tioner only kicks on when peo­ple are present.

Ther­mally Driven Air Con­di­tion­ing:

An Aus­tralian com­pany named Chro­ma­sun has pro­duced a low-cost al­ter­na­tive to tra­di­tional A/C units. It uses so­lar en­ergy and is sup­ple­mented by nat­u­ral gas, mak­ing it a highly ef­fi­cient and ef­fec­tive sys­tem.

Ice-pow­ered Air Con­di­tion­ing:

A Cal­i­for­nia-based com­pany has cre­ated an ice-pow­ered A/C sys­tem called the Ice Bear that es­sen­tially works by freez­ing wa­ter in a tank overnight, so the ice can help cool a build­ing the next day. So far, the de­sign has been able to pro­vide enough cool­ing for a build­ing for up to six hours, af­ter which, a con­ven­tional com­mer­cial air con­di­tioner takes over.

Sen­sor-en­hanced Ven­ti­la­tion:

This in­ge­nious prod­uct by US based Ecovent con­sists of sen­sor­driven vents that re­place a home’s ex­ist­ing ceil­ing, wall, or floor vents. A smart­phone app can con­trol the Ecovent, pro­vid­ing pre­cise, roomby-room tem­per­a­ture con­trol. Ad­di­tion­ally, the sys­tem uti­lizes sen­sors to mon­i­tor a home’s tem­per­a­ture, air pres­sure, and other in­door air qual­ity fac­tors. 3-D Printed Air Con­di­tion­ers: A com­pany called Emerg­ing Ob­jects has cre­ated a 3-D printed “brick” that draws mois­ture out of an area to cool it. While this sim­ple in­no­va­tion is still a far cry from 3-D printed air con­di­tion­ers, it’s just one ex­am­ple of the power of such a sim­ple tech­nol­ogy.

Heat­ing from a Com­puter:

In­no­va­tor Lawrence Orsini, founder of Project Ex­ergy, has the­o­rized how com­put­ers can be used for pow­er­ing heat­ing sys­tems. Har­ness­ing heat from a lap­top or a com­puter that is used over sev­eral hours and gen­er­ates heat is an in­no­va­tion that cer­tainly seems worth look­ing for­ward to.

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