WASHINGTON - The 21st Century Report, an ambitious project among those in the industry and government energy agencies, was given an update at the International Congress of Refrigeration. This important meeting was attended by some 750 engineers, scientists, and researchers from more than 50 countries.

This snapshot of the state of the research was designed to highlight projects already conducted and efforts targeted for the next three to five years, to allow an audience of researchers from throughout the world "to undertake research opportunities without duplicating efforts already under way."

The project, informally called 21-CR, "is designed to enable HVACR manufacturers to commercialize products and services in the next decade that, when integrated into buildings and process applications, will utilize dramatically less energy than today's systems while addressing the comfort and indoor environmental quality needs of the building occupants," according to a joint statement from Steven Szymurski and Elizabeth Jones, both of the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI).

Attendees were given, both in print form and on a CD-ROM, a list of completed projects, as well as those authorized or under way.

The paper presented during the conference focused on four projects in detail.

Smart refrigerant distributor: A project on the potential benefits of smart refrigerant distributors "assessed the potential heat transfer improvements in evaporators resulting from controlled distribution of refrigerant to each evaporator circuit." The research revealed significant improvements in coil performance and up to 40-percent savings in core volume (measured in extreme cases).

Building envelopes: The "Whole Building, Building Envelope, and HVAC Component System Simulation and Design Tools" project was created to "access state-of-the-art design tools and the building process itself."

Attendees at ICR were told, "Substantial reductions in energy use - estimated between 10 and 30 percent - is achievable if new buildings are constructed as an optimized entity rather than a sum of separately designed and optimized components."

According to the report, "There are currently no means to access a ‘fully integrated' building design, or even a design integrating building elements." The report said such means are possible and efforts would be made in that direction.

UV lamps: This project focused on ultraviolet germicidal irradiation lamps. "UVGI is a low-pressure-drop, nonintrusive technology that has real potential," the report states. It further calls for "test methods and guidance for performance claims regarding bioaerosol and bioterrorism agents to be developed by an experienced and broadly based group of technical experts, users, and manufacturers." (The News, June 30, 2003.)

Building exhaust: This project considered the problem of outdoor air near a packaged HVAC system that "may be contaminated with air from a building exhaust vent, or with flue gas vented by a furnace or boiler.

"This research was designed to test various configurations that exist in the fresh-air intakes and exhaust-air locations of packaged HVAC equipment, to develop the scope of potential re-entrainment, and to identify the relationship that exists between the percent of exhaust air captured and separation distances from exhaust/flue vents, direction of airflow, and wind speed."

Publication date: 12/01/2003