Energy efficiency the hot (and cold) topic at AHR

The huge crowds that poured into the AHR Expo in Dallas on Jan. 29 through Jan. 31 came with a number of issues to explore, but energy efficiency topped the list. While suppliers were coming forward with solutions – it was hard to find a booth where energy wasn’t mentioned – it was equally important that suppliers were coming forward with a better understanding of the problem.


The huge crowds that poured into the AHR Expo in Dallas on Jan. 29 through Jan. 31 came with a number of issues to explore, but energy efficiency topped the list. While suppliers were coming forward with solutions %%MDASSML%% it was hard to find a booth where energy wasn’t mentioned %%MDASSML%% it was equally important that suppliers were coming forward with a better understanding of the problem.

Among the white papers released at AHR was Danfoss’ 2007 EnVisioneering Insights. The company reported on three symposia it conducted in Kansas City, Chicago and Washington, DC. during 2006.

“The purpose of the report is two-fold,” said John Galyen, president of Danfoss Refrigeration & Air-Conditioning, North America. “First, we wanted to identify the key environmental, energy and engineering issues related to policy, market forces and technology. Second, it provides a summary of the major energy and environmental codes, standards and legislation affecting the HVAC/R industry.”

Danfoss plans to repeat the exercise in 2007 with a focus on short-term and long-term energy solutions. The company also released a PDF version of the EnVisioneering Insights report on the company Website, .

ABB was among other companies driving out basic solutions to the market. It supplied a four-step process for evaluating drive systems for energy efficiency. They included:

  1. Review the situation. Utilize either an outside or internal resource person to inventory the drives in the building/complex to determine the age, horsepower and duty cycle of each drive, including determining the number of drives operating in bypass mode.

  2. Replace or repair all of the drives operating in the bypass mode to begin realizing the original energy savings.

  3. Create or contract a preventive maintenance program that focuses on the specific issues of drives and how to keep them up and running.

  4. Replace older and highly critical drives before they fail. “When a drive is over 10 years old and/or in a demanding and highly critical application, consideration should be given to replacing it before failure,” ABB officials said in a press release. “Even with the cost of a new drive and installation, the benefits will include lower operating costs and improved client comfort.”

    1. Milwaukee-based Clever-Brooks noted that fuel cost issues led to the design of new products at their company, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2007. “The relentless rise of fuel costs and mandatory emissions regulations are forcing customers to find new ways to conserve energy and increase fuel efficiency in the boiler room,” said Earle Pfefferkorn, president of C-B Package Boiler. The company cited a report from WTRG Economics which said energy costs rose 22% in the first eight months of 2006.

      Working on the other side of the problem, San Rafael, CA-based Autodesk announced it was working with Integrated Environmental Solutions to enhance its design tools to better measure the environmental and energy impacts of building design, including energy use, operational efficiency and lighting.

      ASHRAE honored the innovative use of materials and techniques in manufacturing and commercial buildings as part of its ASHRAE Technology Award. The award recognizes the incorporation occupant comfort, indoor air quality and energy conservation in building and facility design.

      Receiving first place in the new industrial facilities or processes category are Pierre Roussel, P.E., vice president of the mechanical division, and Jacques Lagace, P.E., vice president of innovation and major projects, at Bouthillette Parizeau & Associates for their design of the thermal plant at the Pierre-Elliot Trudeau Airport in Montreal, Quebec.

      One of the challenges they faced was the proximity of the air traffic control tower and the possibility of the smoke plume from boiler combustion gases interfering with traffic control activities. The team designed a system to incorporate measures such as running the boilers’ flue gases through a direct contact economizer to cool them using grey water. This also allows the system to reclaim the heat and creates efficiency of up to 99%.

      Daniel Pare, project manager for IBM in Bromont, Quebec, received first place in the existing industrial facilities or processes category for his design for an IBM semiconductor packaging facility in his hometown. His use of a thermal energy system with phase change materials combined with free cooling, a variable frequency drive chiller and predictive algorithm control is a first in North America. Phase change materials are substances that can accumulate and release energy during phase change. The designed is expected to cut energy costs by 6% annually in part by using artificial phase change materials in the chiller with different melting points between 28 and 40 degrees F. The system also uses a natural cooling exchanger, which runs from September to May to take advantage of Mother Nature’s natural cooling season.

      The show itself generated plenty of heat and light. With a broad reach of interests in a rapidly-growing Dallas Metroplex, attendees gathered information on manufacturing, commercial, retail and residential solutions in the HVAC arena. With Dallas’ infrastructure still growing, the event brought a strong contingent from the housing and retail sectors, and that accounted for a good chunk of the attendance on the show’s first two days. AHR officials said it was the highest attendance at a Dallas show in history, surpassing the total in 2000. In 2008, the AHR Expo heads to the Javitz Center in New York City.

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