Design engineers, contractors, and facilities teams have a lot on their plates, juggling projects while attempting to keep pace with rapidly shifting technologies in the commercial HVAC industry. It’s sometimes easier to just “go with what you know” instead of exploring new technologies or solutions that may lengthen equipment life, increase overall system efficiency, or even contribute to greater occupant building comfort. Enlisting a manufacturer’s rep to help sort through available solutions can often ease the burdens of professionals responsible for keeping equipment running and, probably most important, occupants happy.
The world is getting smarter and smarter every year, and the HVAC industry isn’t blind to that. Mechanical rooms are starting to become more modern with large touchscreens. Facilities managers and building owners are carrying around tablets to check on their commercial HVAC equipment. Service technicians are troubleshooting problems with HVAC systems through an app on their smartphone. This is why the HVAC industry began to innovate a new user experience when it came to variable frequency drives (VFDs).
HVAC and plumbing design engineers have a tough job. They’re tasked with creating comfortable building spaces while optimizing energy usage and maximizing space. Naturally, they need to do ALL of this while minimizing the budget and ensuring that the HVAC system will last until all the people who remember the project have retired. (Granted, the latter half of that statement was a joke…sort of.) While we always recommend working with our sales engineers for the best system selection for your application, we understand that engineers may want to do some quick calculations prior to enlisting a manufacturer’s rep.
Water is our business, so we take every opportunity to remind colleagues and friends of its importance. March 18-22 is National Fix a Leak week. An entire week is set aside to celebrate water by reminding us not to waste it. Those little drips add up to a significant amount of money and wasted resources. Keep in mind how much energy goes into moving water and how much water goes into making energy. Save water and you save energy. It can be easy being green!!
The idea of replacing the boilers in an existing central energy plant can be daunting. This is very high capacity, very large, and very pricey equipment. The renovation can take a long time and require extensive modifications to the existing mechanical room. The logistics of getting the old equipment out and getting the new in is a full project by itself.
Air in a hydronic HVAC system can be a problem, specifically when it comes to the development of corrosive iron oxide. When system components, like pump volutes or expansion tanks, made of cast iron or steel are mixed with oxygen and water, corrosive iron oxide is formed. Commonly known as "black sludge," iron oxide includes magnetite. Magnetite is a naturally occurring brownish-black or black material that is extremely fine and becomes a black, sticky mess inside hydronic systems. Magnetite can get into valves and ECM motors. It can also build up on the surfaces in a boiler or heat exchanger and act as an insulator to reduce heat transfer and system efficiency.
Flower and vegetable greenhouses are not uncommon in NC and SC. While growers in western climates are starting to focus on cannabis, here in the southeastern part of the country, we grow potted plants.
The advent of new products and innovation in the HVAC industry unfailingly starts with the AHR Expo in January. This past week in Atlanta, GA, was no exception. Attendees may have had sore feet, but their enthusiasm didn’t seem to waver on the showroom floor as they engaged manufacturers to show off their latest products.
We're so thrilled to be a part of a thriving commercial building industry in NC and SC. 2018 has brought many challenges and we've worked hard with engineers, building owners, and contractors to bring new (and old) HVAC and engineered plumbing projects to life. A coming new year always inspires reflection and goal-setting. In that spirit, we're sharing the top 10 blog posts of all time while we take some time offline to review topics that may be of new interest in 2019.
By now, we all know the advantages of using infrared heating for those special areas in designs with large open areas like warehouses, distribution centers, and maintenance facilities. Areas with multiple open doors and large open spaces are especially good candidates for infrared (IR) heating.
The top benefits of IR heating are:
- Like the sun, infrared heats objects via energy waves
- IR is not dependent on heating the air to provide comfort
- It is one of the simplest and most effective forms of heating