LG Electronics selected for DOE tech program

lg-electronicsHVAC manufacturer LG Electronics is partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on a new program designed to accelerate adoption of cutting-edge energy-saving technologies for commercial buildings. The technology is called variable refrigerant flow (VRF), and is being used in new commercial air systems. LG’s Multi V IV system uses VRF technology and brings a new level of energy efficiency, performance and flexibility to U.S. commercial office buildings, schools, hotels and hospitals.

Using the DOE TPEx program, product evaluators and purchasers can access a centralized, web-based portal for finding and sharing energy performance data for commercial building technologies such as VRF systems. This will allow them to quickly and easily identify best-in-class technologies and data for assessing their energy saving impact on a building.

Technology evaluators can leverage the raw data contained in the Technology Performance Exchange to greatly reduce the time required to evaluate technology performance and improve the quality of their assessments. Energy-saving products will thus be able to penetrate the marketplace more quickly than ever before.

LG has chosen to start work on the TPEx project by providing DOE the performance attributes of its VRF systems. With the TPEx, builders can better assess LG’s product performance, conduct financial analyses with greater confidence, and compete more effectively for limited organizational capital resources by presenting robust energy savings and payback analysis’ for approval, McNamara explained.

Meeting demand for energy-saving HVAC technology

The fourth generation in LG’s popular Multi V series uses industry-leading VRF technology that delivers significant benefits versus traditional HVAC systems, enabling improved energy efficiency by allowing occupants to choose whether to cool or heat only the zones in use. LG Multi V IV systems, whether Heat Recovery or Heat Pump systems, build on the success of the LG Multi V III, as LG’s flagship commercial HVAC system in the United States, where demand for high-performance, energy-saving HVAC technology continues to grow.

Among its many benefits, the LG Multi V IV offers users a more compact footprint and is lighter in weight than other models currently on the market. Equally significant, the new Multi V IV model allows for a wider heating and cooling operating range than its competitors and a wider range than thought possible.

LG VRF systems are engineered to significantly reduce the costs often associated with traditional HVAC products. Typical systems include large duct work, distribution fans, water pumps, water piping, cooling towers and complex controls. The LG VRF system eliminates these huge initial costs and lowers lifecycle costs. Multi V IV effectively eliminates efficiency losses experienced by current HVAC systems and provides more sustainable energy benefits. Multi V IV will help building designers achieve as many as 16 LEED* points.

Key VRF differentiators for builders and architects

The LG Multi V IV delivers a number of key differentiators to architects, commercial contractors and building owners, including:

  • Enhanced Energy Efficiency – New compressor design and optimized heat exchanger contribute to enhanced AHRI certified efficiency of up to 28.2 IEER.
  • AHRI 1230 Certification – Multi V IV is performance-certified. This ensures building owners receive verified ratings which comply with national energy codes.
  • LG Inverter Scroll – A high side shell innovation offers a more compact size for the same capacity output with greater reliability in cold climates.
  • Low Ambient Heating – Heating operating range down to -25F which provides greater comfort and saves on installation and operating costs for additional systems.
  • HiPORTM – High Pressure Oil Return removes efficiency losses and Smart Oil return eliminates timed oil recovery cycles.
  • Greater Elevation Difference – Owners can reach extra zones with an enhanced reach of 131 feet indoor unit to indoor unit and 360 feet elevation between outdoor and indoor units. This allows for more effective piping on one system and saves on installation.
  • Compact and Lighter – More indoor zones, less outdoor space. When space or access is at a premium, this equates to significant cost advantages for the owner on large projects.

LG Multi V IV systems are available now in the United States. Additional information about these current systems can be found online at www.LG-VRF.com.

Load Share to Heat Pools, Water

Instead of exhausting building heat generated during daily activity, a thermal-load-sharing system can direct that heat to pools, spas, and water heaters.

Jay Egg, Egg Geothermal

Jay Egg, Egg Geothermal

Spring is here, and the cooling season is quickly approaching. Pools around the country that have been decommissioned during the winter are likely to stay that way well into June, unless some type of pool heating is implemented.

But heating open bodies of water with conventional HVAC heat sources can be a rather expensive undertaking, particularly in northern climates, forcing designers and owners to look for a relatively inexpensive heat source. Let’s look at the options.

Solar-thermal is the most energy efficient and renewable source for potable water and pool heating, but solar depends on cooperative weather. Cloudy and cool days can mean a cold pool, necessitating the need for backup heating sources much of the year.

Fossil fuel heating of potable water, pools, and spas is an old favorite. First cost is relatively low, but that comes at a higher price environmentally and monetarily as you move forward. In addition to high costs for propane and other fuels, safety issues are involved when fossil fuels are used as a heat source.

Electric-resistance heating uses raw electricity to warm heating elements over which the water passes, providing a clean and safe water-heating alternative. But it can be extremely expensive. Using the coefficient of performance (COP) rating system (used internationally) for heating equipment, electric heating has a COP of 1.0, meaning that 1 unit of heat is provided for each unit of electricity, a one-to-one ratio, or 100% efficient in the COP rating system.

Air-source heat pumps, designed for pool and potable-water heating, are environmentally friendly and pump outside air into a pool or hot-water tank. However, they too rely somewhat on cooperative weather conditions, i.e., air temperatures being warm enough to facilitate efficient heat extraction. Air-source heat-pump efficiencies are in the 3.0 COP (300% efficient) range.

For swimming pool and spa heating, the best scenario is attained with geothermal-sourced water-to-water heat pumps, pulling heat from a dependable, steady, and renewable energy source; the earth. Geothermal heat pumps can be about 5.0 COP (500% efficient).

Outside temperatures fluctuate with the changing seasons, but underground temperatures don’t change nearly as dramatically, thanks to the mass of the earth. Some 4 to 6 ft. below the ground, the temperature remains relatively constant year round (about 50 F to 75 F in the U.S.).

A geothermal-sourced water-to-water heat pump, which can work in tandem with a geothermal HVAC system, typically consists of water-sourced heat pump and a buried system of pipes called an earth loop, and/or a pump to send fluid to a reinjection (Class V thermal exchange process) well. This geothermal source can be shared between the building’s HVAC and water-heating systems.

Think of it like this: While providing power to run your building’s HVAC cooling system, you are also providing the energy to run computers, lighting, servers, copiers, and domestic water heating. Then the building’s HVAC system must use power to remove the heat created by all of these internal gains, on top of the occupant loads (one occupant presents a load of 1,200 BTU each hour). You pay for energy twice to remove this waste heat through the process of cooling your building. Why not channel that heat to where it’s needed?

Among the benefits that you can realize from a geothermal HVAC system is the ability to channel and use this waste heat energy. That’s because, unlike widely used cooling towers and air-sourced cooling equipment (those that have an outside condenser that discharges waste heat), geothermal systems discharge the heat through a liquid heat exchanger (such as with a chiller-cooling tower combination). The heat is entrained in the discharge water line. Most manufacturers of geothermal heat pumps even have a factory installed hot water generator available. This option gives you two extra connections, labeled DHW (Domestic Hot Water) “In” and “Out,” that may be connected to almost any hot-water tank.

There are thousands of geothermal heated pools around in the US. There is a good chance that the local YMCA, hotel, health club, or community pool near you already has geothermal sourced pool heating. Surprisingly, many of these still have air sourced cooling systems that could be converted to geothermal (and likely will be) during the normal course of HVAC equipment attrition and upgrade. When specifying a geothermal HVAC system, consider including a thermal-load-sharing system to make maximum use of building heat.

Jay Egg is a geothermal consultant, writer, and the owner of EggGeothermal, Kissimmee, FL. He has co-authored two textbooks on geothermal HVAC systems published by McGraw-Hill Professional. He can be reached at jayegg.geo@gmail.com.

Slash Geothermal Costs With Free Money

Couple inherent energy cost savings with incentive dollars to make a huge dent in the cost of a geothermal system.

Jay Egg, Egg Geothermal

Jay Egg, Egg Geothermal

The economics of purchasing and operating a geothermal HVAC system are not solely reliant on paying notable upfront costs and then counting on energy-cost savings to recoup those costs in the first few years of operation. In fact, much of the upfront costs can be quickly offset by taking advantage of a variety of available incentives.

To start the discussion, let’s simply list the various incentives that are available to residential and commercial consumers. Residential options are included for comparison purposes. Here is a list of the most readily available options:
Residential:

  • 30% Federal tax credit, uncapped.

Commercial:

  • 10% Federal tax credit, uncapped
  • Maximum Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS)–benefit as high as 38%, uncapped.

Commercial and residential:

  • Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) funding funds entire geothermal HVAC projects for property taxpayers
  • State and local government incentives (varies by region)
  • Utility incentives and funding (On-Bill financing)
  • Geothermal utility services (ORCA Energy).

Many of the incentives/benefits cover the entire cost of a new geothermal HVAC system or retrofit/improvements to an HVAC system. These improvements can include the following:

  • Geothermal source (ground loop/pond loop/Class V well system or standing column well
  • Geothermal (water sourced) chiller/heat pump equipment
  • Ductwork, distribution piping, and specialties
  • 100% fresh-air equipment (geothermal water sourced)
  • Controls and indoor air quality (IAQ) items
  • Electrical service connections
  • Excavation & recovery costs
  • Engineering drawings, permits, and fees.

Federal incentives for geothermal HVAC systems that are currently in effect through the year 2016 include different criteria for commercial and residential.

If the project is residential, all that is required is that the client be a taxpayer and fill out IRS form 5695. The customer will realize 30% of the entire cost of the geothermal HVAC system in direct tax credits. The credits can be rolled over from year-to-year until the full incentive is earned. For example, a $30,000 HVAC system, purchased in 2014, will generate a $9,000 tax credit on the very next tax filing, through 2016.

The reason I included residential is for comparison. If the customer is a commercial entity who owns the commercial property, that entity receives a 10% Federal tax credit. That doesn’t appear to be favorable until the rest of the story is considered. When MACRS is applied, the geothermal HVAC system is depreciated in an accelerated manner from 27 yr. down to an abbreviated 5 yr. A 50% bonus depreciation is also applied to the first year. This 50% bonus has been extended and modified several times since 2008, most recently in January 2013 by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012.

By taking advantage of the commercial/corporate geothermal HVAC tax credits and incentives, an expenditure of $1 million for a geothermal HVAC system will net tax incentives amounting to $480,000 over 5 yr. under current program guidelines. A 48% tax incentive for corporate clients is clearly favorable to the 30% tax credit for residential clients.

PACE is a Federal program, currently available in 31 states, designed for residential and commercial consumers. The program works best for commercial customers in participating areas. PACE is arranged by local government and pays for 100% of the project’s costs. Payback is accomplished through property-tax assessments. Though PACE is also available for the residential sector, the housing market reverses in 2010 brought that funding to a halt. Commercial PACE programs have accelerated and, as of February 2013, 16 commercial PACE programs in seven states are accepting applications to fund geothermal HVAC and other energy-efficient projects.

On-Bill financing provides a way for consumers to repay the capital costs of retrofit geothermal HVAC systems as part of their monthly electric bill.

Electrical service providers have made energy-efficiency retrofits available to consumers for years. The utility companies use their reserves or third-party capital providers to cover the cost of the efficiency upgrade projects. Consumers/businesses are then obliged to pay the costs back over a period of 20 yr. on their electric utility invoice. These programs seem to be gaining favor and continue to grow, as shown by House Bill 1428, MD., “Public Utilities-Geothermal Heating and Cooling On-Bill Financing-Pilot Program,” initiated in February, 2013.

Third-party capital providers have emerged with programs such as “In-Electric Rate Funding,” introduced in January 2013 by Constellation Energy.

Geothermal Utility Services are a promising program that has been party to a market penetration of almost 40% of heating system replacements in Canada in 2011 according to the Canadian GeoExchange Coalition. Geothermal Utility Services, such as Canadian based GeoTility, and its US sister company, OrcaEnergy, cover the cost of the exterior geothermal ground heat exchanger/well system. The consumer then pays a one-time connection fee and a predetermined monthly utility charge to the geothermal utility. The consumer is then only concerned with the cost of the geothermal heat pump/chiller upgrade and is still eligible for many of the other programs mentioned, including the federal tax incentives (U.S.).

But, how much more do geothermal HVAC systems cost than standard HVAC systems? That subject is covered in the Commercial Conversation podcast, “Breaking New Ground With Geothermal.”

Briefly, standard HVAC systems may cost about $3,000/ton, compared with geothermal HVAC systems that may cost $5,000 to $6,000/ton at the lower range tonnage (less than 500 tons). As the tonnage goes up, the cost per ton goes down until, in many cases, a geothermal HVAC system can have a competitive first cost comparable to a standard HVAC system.

In other words, when a commercial entity takes advantage of federal incentives for geothermal HVAC systems, they are realizing essentially a 48% cost reduction benefit on the entire mechanical system. One can be reasonably assured that the resultant first cost of the system can actually end up being substantially less than the first cost of a standard HVAC system.

However, the federal incentives and energy efficiency of a geothermal HVAC system, though compelling, are secondary to some of the other tangible benefits of going geothermal. Consider the following advantages that can be attained only with geothermal:

  • Elimination of outdoor equipment
  • Storm proofing (geothermal equipment is sheltered from storm events)
  • Longevity of system (a result of all indoor equipment)
  • Elimination of fresh water consumption (from commercial cooling towers)
  • Elimination of fossil-fuel consumption (on-site)
  • Superior comfort in heating and cooling modes (more on this in future columns)
  • Enabling thermal load sharing (swimming pools, domestic hot water, HVAC re-heat)
  • System efficiency, as high as 40 EER.

You can see that we are in a favorable market with the many incentives for the implementation of commercial geothermal HVAC technologies. It does take a little legwork on the part of the contractor, engineer, and consumer. Construction professionals that up-sell to geothermal HVAC have all of these resources available to them.

Jay Egg is a geothermal consultant, writer, and the owner of EggGeothermal, Kissimmee, FL. He has co-authored two textbooks on geothermal HVAC systems published by McGraw-Hill Professional. He can be reached at jayegg.geo@gmail.com.

Geothermal a leader in the second green movement?

Jay Egg, Egg Geothermal

Jay Egg, Egg Geothermal

What’s the real essence of “going green?” What are we really trying to do? Is it for the environment? How about saving money? Is it to create jobs? Help the economy? Is it about looking “Green”? Or is it about just wanting to “do the right thing”?

If you remember the energy crisis of the 70s, you’ll likely remember the 50-mpg Volkswagen Rabbit diesel. When gasoline was abundant and cheap again, we entered the age of mammoth SUVs, because supply went up and prices stayed down. Now look at us.

With natural gas prices recently at an all-time low ($2.75/million Btu), heating and related costs for commercial buildings has reached an all-time low. Geothermal HVAC systems used to be clearly cost effective against natural gas—and they still are against other fuel sources.

But history has shown us that we should not be fooled by artificially low energy prices. In a 2012 article, Sustainable Plant reports, “Low natural gas prices won’t last, because way too many folks are making far too many plans to cash in.” When energy prices do increase, many of us will have no choice but to pay the increased costs until we can afford to upgrade to a better standard.

In a report that came out from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), a division of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Washington on Dec. 10, 2013, the Short-Term Energy Outlook is that the “EIA expects that the Henry Hub natural gas spot price, which averaged $2.75 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) in 2012, will average $3.68 per MMBtu in 2013 and $3.84 per MMBtu in 2014.” That’s a 34% increase between 2012 and 2013 followed by an additional 4% increase between 2013 and 2014.

Green movement number two is on the way, and for more reasons than just increasing energy costs.

Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems continue to appear everywhere. Electrical production through wind generators is becoming a more common sight in certain areas. Hydropower has been used for generations. Geothermal “hot rock” power generation is growing.

Geothermal HVAC systems don’t get much press. You can’t see them, because equipment is all inside. You can’t hear them; the classic “out of sight –out of mind” scenario. Maybe that’s why we don’t hear much about the technology.

Geothermal HVAC systems remove as much as four times the energy consumption from the electrical grid per dollar spent than photovoltaic systems can add to the electrical grid per dollar spent.* Businesses desiring the elusive “net zero” status come closer to making that a reality by first implementing geothermal HVAC technologies. When considering a reduction in energy consumption costs, geothermal needs to be the first choice. The real hero in net-zero applications is summed up by the statement, “Giant arrays of solar panels produce power, while tankless hot water and geothermal air conditioning reduce demand.” from the news report, “Downtown St. Pete boasts new, ‘net-zero’ building.” You’ll find that the majority of buildings boasting a “net zero” energy goal are employing geothermal HVAC systems.

The number one reason for going green might be reduction of energy consumption of any type. The more peak load we can take off of the electrical grid, the fewer power plants we need. But are people buying into it? According to a new McGraw-Hill Construction study released on November 13, 2013 at the International Summit at the Green Build Conference and Expo, San Francisco, “Green building has become a long-term business opportunity with 51% of study firms planning more than 60% of their work to be green by 2015, up from 28% of firms in 2012.”

Another point in the study is that in 2008, the motivating factor of green building was “…doing the right thing (42%)”. Now the top reasons for doing green construction are “…client demand (35%) and market demand (33%)—two key business drivers of strategic planning.” With green building projected to double between years 2012 and 2015, there can be no doubt that “green movement number two” is underway. The question is, what green/sustainable technologies are going to be increasingly employed?

On November 11, 2013, a press release by Carrier (a subsidiary of United Technologies, and the largest manufacturer of HVAC products in the world) in the Wall Street Journal said, “Carrier Plans Joint Venture with Bosch to Strengthen Geothermal and Water-Source Heat Pump Offerings.” By all appearances, Bosch and Carrier see geothermal HVAC as the next big thing in “green.”

Let me know your plans – are you planning geothermal HVAC projects in the future? Why or why not? I’ll be sure to address your comments in future columns.

The Author
Jay Egg is a geothermal consultant, writer, and the owner of EggGeothermal. He has co-authored two textbooks on geothermal HVAC systems, published by McGraw-Hill Professional. He can be reached at jayegg.geo@gmail.com.

*Based on installed cost of $5.90/Watt from the report “Tracking the Sun VI, An Historical Summary of Installed Price of Photovoltaics, July 2013 Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory” when compared with the installed cost of electrically powered geothermal heating and cooling ($6,000/ton) with a coefficient of performance of 4.0.

High school students learn about new technologies at Uponor

Uponor Tour

Wes Sisco, training manager at Uponor Academy, explains the concept of crosslinked polyethylene (PEX) tubing to students from Sibley High School.

On Feb. 14, more than 60 pre-engineering students from Henry Sibley High School in Mendota Heights, Minn., visited the Uponor North American headquarters in Apple Valley, Minn., to learn about new innovations in radiant heating and cooling, plumbing and fire sprinkler systems, using crosslinked polyethylene (PEX) tubing.

The students’ visit was in conjunction with a push to encourage more science and technology education in Minnesota schools. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who visited Uponor on Jan. 11 to promote business innovation, also spoke in an online column about the importance of technical schools and the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) network in Minnesota.

“We have a long, strong history in education and training at Uponor,” says Wes Sisco, training manager at Uponor Academy. “Reaching out to students is one of our top priorities because it helps support the next generation of professionals coming into the workforce.”

The student outreach program at Uponor invites students from local high schools as well as vocational and technical schools to learn about the innovations and benefits of PEX-based radiant heating and cooling, plumbing and fire sprinkler systems. To learn how your school can get involved, contact Wes Sisco at wes.sisco@uponor.com or Steve Swanson, customer trainer, at steve.swanson@uponor.com.

New Engineering Center for Mitsubishi HVAC

MitsubishiMitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating (Mitsubishi Electric) has opened an industry-first Engineering Center in Duluth, GA. The Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating Engineering Center is the only dedicated facility in the U.S. geared toward developing split-ductless and variable-refrigerant-flow (VRF) technology solutions specifically for the North American market.
   “Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating’s parent corporation, Mitsubishi Electric, Tokyo, realizes there is enormous potential in the North American market for products based on split-ductless and VRF technology,” said Bill Rau, senior vice president and general manager, Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating.
   The Engineering Center houses Mitsubishi Electric application support, as well as the company industry and government relations departments. By housing these groups in a single building, Mitsubishi Electric can accelerate domestic product development.

Manufacturers optimistic about HVACR industry

AHR ExpoDespite wide-spread concern about the global economy, manufacturers appear to be very optimistic about the economic outlook for the HVACR industry. According to a recent survey of more than 1,000 AHR Expo exhibitors worldwide, nearly three fourths (72%) of the total respondents expect a ‘better year’ (59%) or a ‘much better year’ (13%) in 2012 compared to 2011. Twenty four percent replied that sales would be the ‘same’, while only four percent are expecting a ‘worse year’.

The fact that 72 percent of respondents expect a better year in 2012 is up six percent from last year’s survey that found 66 percent of respondents were expecting 2011 to be better than 2010. Actually, all categories of predictions for 2012 were up from 2011 forecasts, including those for a ‘much better year’ (13% vs. 9%) and ‘better year’ (59% vs. 57%). Likewise, only four percent predicted a ‘worse year’ in 2012 compared to seven percent in 2011.

Another very positive survey finding is that an impressive 82 percent of respondents expect sales to increase in 2012, with 29 percent anticipating increases of more than 10 percent. An additional 36 percent said sales would increase between five and 10 percent, while 17 percent expect sales to increase less than five percent. Eighteen percent expect sales to ‘stay the same’.

This overall optimistic 2012 outlook may be due in part to the fact that 76 percent of the respondents believe there is ‘pent-up industry demand’ for new products. This compares to the 61 percent that felt there was pent-up demand in 2011, which is an indication that their customers are getting ready to buy more new equipment.

Another encouraging survey finding is that 72 percent of the exhibitors plan on introducing new products at the 2012 AHR Expo in Chicago, January 23 – 25. This is up sharply from the 62 percent of companies that said they were introducing new products at the 2011 event. This also indicates that many exhibitors expect their customers to come ready to buy.

Other major findings of the survey were:

  • The industry segments where they expect the strongest demand for their products in 2012 are Light Commercial (24%), Heavy Commercial (13%), Industrial (26%), Residential (26%) and Institutional (11%)
  • The industry categories where they expect the strongest demand for products are New Construction (37%), Replacement (36%) and Renovation/Upgrade (26%).
  • The geographical marketplaces where they expect the greatest demand are domestic (71%) and international (29%).

Virginia HVAC/R Contractors Partner with Nonprofit to Deter Teen Refrigerant Huffing

SAFEA consortium of 12 Virginia HVAC/R contractors and two wholesalers have partnered with the nonprofit organization, Substance Abuse Free Environment (SAFE) to address the escalating national trend of teenage refrigerant huffing from occurring in Chesterfield County.

SAFE’s campaign encourages local HVAC/R contractors to install locking caps on accessible outdoor condenser refrigeration ports, the nation’s first community-wide program of its kind, according to Wayne Frith, SAFE’s executive director. The program kicked-off during last March’s National Inhalant and Poison Awareness Week and continued through May. The contractor consortium installed more than 2,500 refrigerant locking caps free of charge on residential air conditioning condensers.

The majority of locking cap installations were retrofits. Both the International Mechanical Code (IMC) and the International Residential Code (IRC) now mandate locking caps on new construction.

The exposure of huffing confirmed what some contractors had suspected all along because of a rise in low refrigerant service calls or huffing paraphernalia found near outdoor condensers, according to Tunnell. The locking caps and their special keys are only available to the trade at HVAC/R wholesalers. They not only deter refrigerant theft, but also include an internal O-ring gasket that prevents accidental refrigerant leakage through the Schraeder valve.

Now that it’s fully established, SAFE is expanding the program awareness to building inspectors, police department home safety inspectors, state-wide media and more HVAC/R contractors throughout the state. Frith believes other counties and states may establish their own awareness programs based on Chesterfield’s ground-breaking initiative.

Computers and Sensors Curb Electricity Use in Buildings

UCSD Jacobs School of EngineeringUCSD research scientist Yuvraj Agarwal has discovered a better way to regulate HVAC systems in buildings using ‘occupancy sensors’. Based on early test results, the software- and sensor-based solution produced electrical energy savings of between 9.54 and 15.73 percent on their test deployment on one floor of a 5-floor campus building.

Buildings account for nearly 40 percent of primary energy use in the United States, and three-quarters of that consumption is electrical—half in residential buildings, half in commercial. Improving the efficency of HVAC systems in commercial buildings is, therefore, a prime target for cost savings.

Gupta, Agarwal and their colleagues had to look no further than the building where they work, and where HVAC systems usually account for between 25 and 40 percent of total annual electricity bill. Like in most commercial buildings, the campus Energy Management System sets HVAC systems on a “static occupancy schedule,” i.e., timed to coincide with standard working hours (for the CSE building, from 5:15 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays). This is done because there is currently no easy and cost-effective way of knowing when individual occupants are in their offices.

To test their system, the UCSD researchers deployed an occupancy sensor network across an entire floor of the building. The sensors detected several periods of low occupancy when HVAC systems were operating at full steam – and therefore wasting energy.

Working with administrators of the campus EMS, the researchers used the real-time occupancy information from each sensor node to turn the floor’s HVAC systems on or off. This so-called “aggressive duty-cycling” of HVAC systems saved energy while still meeting building performance requirements.

The cost of sensors and their deployment is a significant barrier that the team overcame with an in-house design that brought the cost of the sensor to below $10 – one-tenth the price of the cheapest commercial sensor. At that cost, the sensor network can make widespread monitoring and control possible inside buildings.

Carrier Offers Equipment Efficiency Analyses

With the efficiency levels of some rooftop HVAC units up to 60 percent higher than they were in 1995, Carrier feels that now is the time for building owners and facility managers to evaluate replacing their heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment. Carrier-certified Commercial Replacement Experts (CREs) can assist them in realizing rooftop replacement energy savings opportunities through detailed efficiency analyses.

Carrier CREs will load calculations to properly size and select equipment and then develop a payback analysis that takes into consideration operational costs for the future in addition to the initial cost for repairing or replacing a system. Utilizing Carrier-designed software tools, CREs provide customers with reports on equipment selection as well as operating and lifecycle costs, while also identifying rebates and leasing programs for Carrier 2 to 27.5 ton rooftops.

To take advantage of this service, contact your local Carrier distributor for a certified Carrier Commercial Replacement Expert near you or visit the Carrier website.