Since the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive was passed more than 10 years ago by the European Union (with many countries passing their own versions of the law), IAQ in data centers has become a major issue.
The late, great D. Brian Baker, president of Custom Vac Ltd. in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and a frequent contributor to The NEWS, once said the labor shortage in the HVAC industry could be attributed, at least in part, to families having fewer children these days.
Retrocommissioning refers to identifying improvements that can increase the energy savings and performance of existing buildings. Considering that about half of all commercial buildings in the U.S. were constructed before 1980, it’s easy to see why there is a growing demand for contractors who offer retrocommissioning.
Chillers have long been the HVAC systems of choice for large commercial buildings and other facilities, but they are facing fierce competition from new technologies, such as VRF systems, which are frequently considered to be easier to install and maintain.
While modeling software is often used for the initial design of high-performance buildings, the on-going benchmarking, commissioning, and monitoring of these structures is usually the purview of a building automation systems (BAS).
HVAC systems in commercial buildings consume a lot of energy, which is why many building owners and managers are looking at replacing their older, inefficient equipment with new high-performing systems.
Variable refrigerant flow (VRF) technology is relatively new to the U.S., yet it has quickly become a very popular option in the commercial market. VRF is now moving into the residential market as well.
Energy efficiency ratings (SEER/EER) of air conditioners and heat pumps keep rising, thanks to new technologies such as electronically commutated motors (ECMs), inverter-driven compressors, and advanced heat exchangers. These technologies have helped boost high-end cooling equipment ratings to the mid-20-SEER range, which was unthinkable just a few years ago.