While pipes and UV lights may not be the first things you think of when you hear the term “sustainable,” smaller products like these can make a big impact on a building’s overall sustainability.
Aquatherm’s Blue Pipe is a sustainable polypropylene (PPE) piping system designed for heating and cooling, compressed air, and industrial applications.
“While piping systems are not typically top-of-mind when it comes to environmentally friendly mechanical systems, we have seen a growing interest in that area,” said Barry Campbell, vice president of marketing, Aquatherm. He went on to explain a few of the health and energy benefits HVAC contractors can gain when they use sustainable piping.
“A piping system has the potential to save considerable energy in a mechanical system. If it lasts as long as the building without leaking, ownership is saving repair and repipe costs along with any damage resulting from leakage,” he said. Campbell also noted that Blue Pipe provides an inherent insulation value and does not release VOCs [volatile organic compounds]. Plus, the pipes are fully recyclable, he said.
“From production to installation to recycling, Aquatherm systems are designed to impact the environment as little as possible,” Campbell said.
Cambridge Engineering manufactures a line of direct-fired HTHV (high-temperature heating and ventilation) space heaters that are designed to save energy, reduce operating costs, and improve IAQ for commercial and industrial facilities. According to Randy Niederer, marketing director, Cambridge, the S-Series and SA-Series space heaters are typically used in new and existing buildings with large open spaces, including warehouses, distribution centers, manufacturing and assembly plants, indoor sport facilities, car dealership service bays, aircraft hangars, and boat storage facilities.
“Warehouses typically have high ceilings and open spaces where significant differences in air temperature can occur between the floor and ceiling due to a lack of adequate air movement. The resulting stratified temperature results in wasted energy, as heat is not distributed where it is most needed,” Niederer said. To combat this problem, he explained that high-velocity fans in HTHV technology circulate the heated air and reduce the temperature gradient between the floor and ceiling.
“Cambridge’s HTHV products use 100 percent outside air and have been demonstrated by the U.S. Department of Energy [DOE] to significantly reduce natural gas consumption,” Niederer said.
Delta Product Corp. offers the CFP2000 Series vector control drive designed for HVAC pump, fan, and compressor applications. With an IP55 rating, the drive is meant to be used in harsh environments and is able to withstand water spray, dust, and chemical exposure.
According to Harvey Eure, product manager for VFD/PQ, Delta, the most sustainable feature of the CFP2000 is that it can provide real-time data to increase the HVAC system efficiency and energy savings of the building’s HVAC system.
Citing a U.S. Energy Information Administration study, Eure said 40 percent of total U.S. energy was consumed in commercial and residential buildings in 2015.
“Delta Product’s variable frequency drives are cost-effective methods that help reduce building electrical usage and save on energy consumption,” Eure said. “As less energy is consumed in buildings, there will be less demand on natural gas and fossil fuels, such as coal, which in turn will benefit the environment and society. Measuring and conserving building energy usage in real time is key to reducing U.S. electricity demand.”
Coil disinfection systems from Fresh-Aire UV are designed to improve both building performance and occupant health and well-being, according to Aaron Engel, vice-president, business development, Fresh-Aire UV.
“Technologies that allow for better airflow through the HVAC system are tremendously important as they affect so many aspects of the efficiency and costs of running the equipment,” Engel said. The evaporator coil within an air-handling unit (AHU) often creates perfect conditions for growing mold and microbes. When this situation is not addressed, the contaminants can be distributed throughout the HVAC system. In addition, biofilm can coat the fins of the evaporator coil and impact energy usage.
“Even a slight fouling of the coil fins dramatically reduces system performance, which may lead to poor heat transfer, increased airflow restriction, and additional strain on the HVAC system to maintain the desired temperature and humidity levels,” Engel said.
In contrast to this scenario, Engel said installing FreshAire UV systems immediately following installation prevents biofilm growth.
“UV lamp systems allow for improved airflow and better heat transfer across the evaporator coil, and that allows for the system to not work as hard to condition and move the air through the building,” he said.
Another HVAC efficiency booster is spray-foam insulation. According to Doug Kramer, CEO of Lapolla Industries, his company’s Foam-Lok 2000-4G spray foam insulation can substantially impact commercial energy usage.
Kramer referenced a recent project where Foam-Lok 2000-4G was applied in the attic and crawlspaces of a 270-unit multifamily property in Morristown, New Jersey. The Foam-Lok sealed 19 buildings on-site and provided thermal, air, and moisture barriers.
“Along with the addition of high-efficiency boilers, hot water heaters, building controls, thermostats, and energy-efficient lighting, the project upgrades totaled a complete energy conservation solution for the property with an estimated annual savings of $131,681,” he said.
Using Foam-Lok insulation can even influence the size of th HVAC system selected for a project.
“Because the insulation offers such high energy-efficiency benefits, it directly affects the size of the HVAC system,” Kramer said. “Foam-Lok essentially reduces the load of the HVAC.”
Nature’s Renewable, a subsidiary of AC Component Specialists, manufactures a forced hot-air biomass furnace called A-Maize-ing Heat. According to David Jarkins, general manager, Nature’s Renewable, the NRP620-10 model of A-Maize-ing Heat is sold to commercial spaces, including warehouses, shops, and greenhouses. It can be installed as a stand-alone central furnace or used in connection with another furnace.
“The original design used shelled corn as fuel with the target customer being corn farmers. The current model is designed to use a wide range of biomass fuels,” Jarkins explained, noting biomass is a renewable, carbon-neutral fuel product. “Wood pellets, dry grain, cherry pits, etc. are all viable fuels for the furnace.”
These options enhance the furnace’s sustainability, since the user can select the most cost-effective local fuel available and use that to heat the space.
UV Resources’ RLM Xtreme fixtureless UV-C lamp system was created with the aim of improving both energy efficiency and air quality.
According to Dan Jones, president of UV Resources, these improvements are very noticeable in commercial retrofits.
“More importantly, to a building engineer, UV-C lamps can be retrofitted into existing HVAC systems to address degraded heat transfer and pressure drop due to fouled coils, which helps return the system to its originally specified performance,” Jones said. “By eliminating accumulated organic materials and biofilm growth in commercial air handlers, the use of UV-C significantly improves airflow and heat-exchange efficiency levels, which can not only reduce energy use but also decrease system maintenance costs and provide cleaner, healthier air.”
This cleaner air results from not just the reduced mold but also from the reduced need for maintenance and chemical cleaning.
“Sustainable products, such as the RLM Xtreme UV-C lamp system, provide an opportunity to maintain the designed specification [for coil heat transfer, airflow, and IAQ] while reducing the demand being placed on building managers by eliminating the need to devote labor to cleaning coils,” Jones said.
Publication date: 11/14/2016
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