Emerson Climate Technologies Inc. recently broke ground on a $35 million innovation center on the University of Dayton campus. The facility will foster an ambitious, collaborative approach to conducting research to create new technologies that address HVACR industry challenges.
The new facility, also referred to as “The Helix,” is slated to open in late 2015 and will meet the criteria to be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
“Since we first conceived this project more than a year ago, the support from the state of Ohio, the city of Dayton, and the University of Dayton has been tremendous. The interest and support from leaders in the HVACR industry around the world has also been truly remarkable,” said Ed Purvis, executive vice president, Emerson Climate Technologies Inc. “The needs of the markets we serve are changing dramatically, and the requirements for our business to innovate in the new world of information technology and connectivity are much greater and much more challenging than ever. And we see The Helix as a hub where academic researchers and industry professionals can jointly test ideas and concepts at the system level in real-world environments.”
When completed, the Emerson Innovation Center will employ 30-50 people, and, to make this facility a real-world proving ground for solving HVACR challenges, focus on five HVACR industry markets: supermarket refrigeration, food service operations, residential connected homes, data center cooling, and light commercial buildings.
To support research on supermarket refrigeration including alternative refrigerants and controls, Emerson will build a 2,500-square-foot model supermarket, complete with refrigerated cases, dry goods shelving, and integrated controls that include lighting and point of sale systems.
A fully operational 1,500-square-foot commercial kitchen will help Emerson and its collaborators tackle challenges in the food service industry, including connected kitchen concepts, new refrigerants, and food safety.
The facility will also include a fully functional two-story, three-bedroom home with ambient temperature control to simulate seasons and climates. The model home will allow Emerson to develop innovations in heating, air conditioning, and connected-home concepts.
The approximately 1,000-square-foot data center space will expand the ability of Emerson Network Power’s Thermal Management business to deliver more holistic, next-generation approaches to controlling the data center environment and managing heat in the most effective way possible. Emerson engineers will use the space to develop intelligent and versatile cooling technologies and controls that improve energy efficiency, maximize free cooling, and protect mission-critical applications.
Lastly, Emerson will leverage the entire innovation center building to research innovations in heating, ventilation, and cooling of commercial buildings, as well as developing new building automation systems to better control them.
The facility will also include three training rooms where the company plans to host industry meetings and forums for HVACR professionals on-site. HVACR engineering education will also be a focus of the innovation center, and the company is working with the University of Dayton on plans to leverage the facility for classes and hands-on student experiences.
Publication date: 11/3/2014