Keep That Energy Use Under Control

February 19, 2007
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BACnet is going strong, with its compatibility built into many control products used in the commercial-industrial HVAC industry. Manufacturers also build in compatibility with other communication protocols, in addition to the big B.

DALLAS - Sensors and controls, which have continued to flood the HVACR market, will only have a stronger role to play. This is based on comments from both the industry and academia, as represented by the past president of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and manufacturers attending the 2007 Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo).

According to ASHRAE Past President Terry Townsend, P.E., smart controls will play a major role in measuring the energy consumption of residential and commercial-industrial buildings. Operational decisions resulting from these measurements (e.g., adjusting the thermostat setting at peak times of day) could help reduce the building’s carbon footprint - the amount of greenhouse gas it is responsible for generating.

Most all of the products have been designed for additional front-end savings by combining systems and functions in such a way that helps reduce installation complexity.

Honeywell displayed an array of commercial VisionPRO programmable thermostats.

COMMERCIAL CONTROLS

American Power Conversion (APC) (www.apc.com), a power, cooling, and management solutions provider, announced that its InfraStruXure® architecture is available in a variety of preconfigured, fully assembled, and tested offerings for wiring closets and small IT rooms. These new systems are said to increase the speed of the design process by fully integrating the uninterruptible power supply (UPS), rack, and rack-mount power distribution in a single part number.

Each InfraStruXure system includes APC’s Rack Manager device, which provides UPS and rack environmental status, such as temperature and humidity levels, through a single IP address at the front of the rack. The bundled systems are available immediately in North America.

Desert Aire’s (www.desert-aire.com) TotalAire™ and VerticalAire™ dedicated outdoor air systems have been outfitted with Carel’s pCO3 Series controllers for greater compatibility with building maintenance systems. Using the controls is said to enable the company’s IAQ units to be integrated into various communications platforms including LonWorks™, BACnet®, and Ethernet™.

Honeywell (www.honeywell.com) promoted its touchscreen programmable thermostat, the Commercial VisionPRO 8000. Like its residential counterpart, the Commercial VisionPRO features menu-driven programming and a large touchscreen for programming. Special commercial-only features include economizer output, customizable override limits, holiday setback, and a commercialized control algorithm.

The product includes multiple keypad lockout levels, configurable recovery ramps, occupied-unoccupied scheduling, and California Title 24 compliance. “The Commercial VisionPRO was designed with commercial contractors and end-users in mind,” said Dan Sullivan, product manager for Honeywell.

Lennox International’s (www.lennoxinternational.com) Comfort Sensor combines common sensor types and zone controllers in a single enclosure. Its “intuitive interface” offers ease of daily user functions, the company said. Its installation requires two communication wires and power to operate.

Advanced control logic and multiple staging options allow the manufacturer’s Humiditrol® dehumidification system to independently control space temperature and humidity in commercial buildings.

PSG Controls’ (www.psgcontrols.com) new Nepra Premier digital controls offer field-configured options for use with two- or four-pipe fan coil systems. Options include a field-configurable default setpoint; one-, two-, three-speed fan control; user-selectable, constant, and auto-cycle fan; economy limits; and heat-cool limits.

The company’s new radiant programmable controls feature an easy-to-read display, 5-1-1 programming, a nonvolatile memory, and adjustable temperature limiting for property management applications such as apartments, condos, and student housing.

Using Emerson Climate Technologies’ UltraTech communicating system, “Contractors can be confident that their systems are set up accurately the first time,” said John Schneider, director of marketing, Emerson Climate Technologies Residential Systems.
Click on the image to view an enlarged version of it.

CONTROL IN THE HOME

Echelon Corp. (www.echelon.com) announced that its technology has been incorporated into low-cost home automation devices manufactured by Secyourit GmbH, a German home control company. Sienna® sensors and actuators help control electrical devices ranging from window blinds to lights; they are aimed at meeting increasing consumer demand for energy conservation management and home automation.

The Sienna system utilizes Echelon’s power line communications technology to communicate over standard, in-house power lines. The system platform features Interoperable Self-Installation (ISI) technology, which provides an automatic discovery process for home devices and appliances to communicate with each other, the company said. The products, which are now available in Europe, will become available in the United States after technical modifications are made, the company said.

According to Anders Axelsson, Echelon’s senior vice president of sales and marketing, “Homeowners are becoming more energy conscious and want to be able to automate their homes without the hassle of complex installation. Our technologies are also allowing people to do this, transforming more residences into intelligent homes.”

Emerson Climate Technologies (www.EmersonClimateCon tractor.com) formally unveiled its UltraTech™ communicating system. “Contractors can be confident that their systems are set up accurately the first time,” said John Schneider, director of marketing, Emerson Climate Technologies Residential Systems. “UltraTech auto-configures and checks system settings, using less wiring and ensuring confidence in the installation. And, with onboard Comfort Alert diagnostics, a ‘call for service’ feature on the thermostat and active protection from severe faults, UltraTech offers additional reliability and peace of mind.”

The communicating system shares information throughout the HVAC system, providing better energy efficiency via a two-stage Copeland Scroll™ compressor, variable-speed blower motor, outdoor control board, indoor control board, and programmable thermostat.

ICM Controls (www.icmcontrols.com) featured the SimpleComfort® Pro, a line of programmable and nonprogrammable thermostats. The new line offers a patented thermal-intrusion barrier that protects the control’s accuracy from in-wall-drafts. SimpleSet® target programming allow homeowners to program one thermostat, then download the program to others.

In addition, the unit features manual or automatic changeover; an “extra comfort mode,” in which second and third stages lock in and cycle off with the first stage; soft-touch controls; and a keypad lock.

SIDEBAR: SYSTEM PROTECTION

Controls aren’t limited to the user-machine interface. They also are becoming more common in the features designed to help protect systems during their operation.

Sensata Technologies (www.sensata.com) announced a new sensor that overcomes dense electromagnetic interference (EMI) barriers, thus enabling HVACR system designers to integrate reliable and accurate pressure transducers into their designs, the manufacturer said. The 2CH case-isolated pressure transducer features EMI protection of 100 V/m and a dielectric terminal-to-case strength of 1.8 kvac. The device is said to be ideal for “electrically challenging” environments such as inverter pumps and advanced HVACR systems.

The company also introduced a low-cost, plastic port fitting sensor and a low-profile transducer. The port fitting is designed for lower-pressure, commercial and residential HVACR applications. The pressure sensors provide more accurate control and monitoring of system performance, the company said. Pressure sensor feedback can be used to indicate charge, constantly monitor pressure, and control of electronic expansion valves, variable-fan motors, and compressor loading.

Publication date: 02/19/2007

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