Concerning Buildings, Refrigeration, Compressors

September 24, 2012

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Net zero energy buildings, changes coming in domestic refrigeration, the future of turbo equipment, and trends in energy efficiency.

Those were the topics during plenary sessions that started each morning at the every other year Purdue conferences dealing with HVACR. The concurrent 21st Compressor Engineering, 14th International Refrigeration & Air Conditioning, and the 2nd High Performance Building conferences sent the 600 participants off to up to seven simultaneous technical sessions each on specific topics.

But each morning started with all gathered in one spot for housekeeping matters as well as expanded presentations on topics of general interest.

Net Zero

The reality of net zero buildings was offered by Jean-Louis Scartezzini of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland. He noted that in his cooler-climate country, “If you have a cooling system, you have to prove you need it,” which was a perspective he said could extend to governing authorities in geographical areas throughout the world where air conditioning is not needed for extended periods of time.

He said in his country, lower energy-use targets are such that while new buildings have to meet stringent standards, even existing buildings are requiring refurbishment. There is also, he said, an “urban energy retrofit strategy” which factors in an entire city district. The strategies, he said, figure in reduced pricing for energy demand.


Marcio Luiz Todescat, R&D procurement vice president for Embraco, Brazil, spoke on the topic, “Domestic Refrigeration: Historical Aspects and Future Prospects.” He noted, “We have done a great job (in terms of efficiencies) but we have room to improve.” He noted that while North America, Europe, and Japan have high efficiencies, there are midefficiencies in China and even very little energy-efficiency expectations in Latin America and Africa. In such cases a “positive regulatory environment” can be good when it results in high energy-efficiency standards.

He said manufacturers have to look at technology and market trends to bring about “real products.” Development teams are driven, he said, by sustainability, production costs, energy efficiencies, safety, and the need for consumer confidence. “Our goal is to surprise customers with solutions more dedicated to their needs.”

In domestic refrigeration, he pointed to better temperature control for food preservation as well as linear compressors that are oil-free and have wider capacity modulation.


Joost Brasz of Danfoss Turbocor Compressors spoke on the “Past, Present, and Future of Turbo Machinery in the HVACR Industry.” He traced the history of compressors in general from the first centrifugal in 1922. He noted significant developments over the years such as inlet valves, part-load operations, integrated part-load valves, oil-free direct drive centrifugal compressors, and high-speed permanent magnets.

As he looked to the future of turbos, he predicted axial/mixed flow compressors, use of synthetic low global warming potential refrigerants, and sculpted impellers for higher efficiencies.

Energy Efficiency

J. Michael McQuade of United Technologies walked the audience through “Grand Challenges in Increasing Energy Efficiencies in Buildings.” He said that since the mid-1990s attention has been on sustainability and efficiency. “Any new product has to be three percent more efficient than the product family it is replacing.”

He said, “Energy-efficient products matter. You have to make products that work for the energy-efficient value chain.”

The significance of increasing energy efficiency was advocated by McQuade who said that if the cost of operating all buildings in the United States was reduced by 10 percent that would be “equal to all the renewable in the U.S.,” a reference to such alternatives as solar and wind.

To make it happen, he said, requires “high-performance components and an integrated system approach.”

Publication date: 9/24/2012

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