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Industry News Is Industry Ready for Transcritical Refrigeration?
WASHINGTON—Retailers looking at or adopting transcritical refrigeration systems, which use only carbon dioxide as a refrigerant, are confident that technicians and contractors will be able to handle the installation and maintenance of the new systems, though they may charge a premium. “With a little training on the uniqueness of certain aspects of the system and understanding the higher pressures, the vast majority of technicians have no trouble with it,” said a Phoenix-based procurement manager who participated in a panel discussion on natural refrigerants at the recent ATMOsphere America 2013 conference. Lower installation costs and lessened environmental impact were touted as plusses for transcritical refrigeration by participants. However, they generally acknowledged that the industry is still wary of adopting the technology on a more widespread basis due to higher first cost and lack of a mature maintenance infrastructure.
Energy Options Don't Necessarily Boost Home Values
NEW ORLEANS—Amenities such as solar panels, tankless water heaters and smart technology may not offer homeowners a return on investment when it comes time to sell, say some real estate professionals. "If features like solar power or a tankless water heater were really important selling points, you would see more investors installing that sort of thing when they renovate or build new properties," said a New Orleans-based realtor. " It's more often an investment for a homeowner who is staying in that home forever." Another realtor says buyer interest is higher in the basic elements of energy efficiency, such as double pane windows and weather stripping. But when it comes to more sophisticated upgrades, people will sometimes shy away from it out of fear of complexity. However, this is changing. Younger buyers generally are more inclined to want "higher end" energy features. Also, appraisers are increasingly looking for "green building" components when determining home values.
States Putting Energy Into Efficiency, Renewables Programs
ATLANTA—States throughout the U.S. are taking steps to reduce energy use and increase sustainability. Georgia's Public Service Commission recently voted to approve a new program to bring 525 MW of solar power installations to the state by 2016. This followed a unanimous vote by the Mississippi Public Service Commission to adopt energy efficiency rules requiring gas and electric companies to offer incentive programs for customers to reduce energy use within six months. In South Carolina, the Public Service Commission has agreed to hold a public hearing to review the state's five-year-old rules on net metering, which includes a cap on the amount of solar energy allowed for those who use both solar power and energy from utilities. Meanwhile, Ohio is facing intense lobbying pressure from utilities to modify or repeal its energy-efficiency mandates that were passed in 2008.
Click here to read about Georgia's new energy plan.
Click here to read about Mississippi's new energy rules.
Click here to read about South Carolina reconsidering rules on solar power.
Click here to read about the fight over energy-efficiency standards in Ohio.
HFO 1234yf Actually Has GWP of Less Than 1, Says Report
CASPER, Wyo.—A new study has found that HFO 1234yf refrigerant, manufactured by Honeywell, has a global-warming potential (GWP) four times lower than previously calculated, and even less than the GWP carbon dioxide. The peer-reviewed paper by chemists and environmental scientists from Europe and the U.S., calculated the GWPs of all fluorocarbon-based refrigerants consistently using all available atmospheric data, taking into account local atmospheric patterns. The study found HFO 1234yf to have a GWP of less than 1. CO2 is considered the baseline with a GWP of 1. Earlier studies had calculated the GWP for HFO 1234yf at 4. The paper is published in the journal Reviews of Geophysics.
High-Velocity AC Systems Growing in Popularity
CASPER, Wyo.—High-velocity air-conditioning systems are slowly gaining in popularity. The technology relies on smaller, more flexible tubing than the standard ductwork for low-velocity systems. High-velocity systems are easier to install in an older home with no existing central AC system. At only 2 in. (51 mm) wide, the ducts are much easier to retrofit into older homes. High-velocity systems also remove up to 30% more moisture than standard systems, a particularly strong selling point in hot, humid climates. The main stumbling block for most homeowners is cost.
ASHRAE News Deadline Extended for ASHRAE Developing Economies Conference
The call for papers for the “Efficient, High Performance Buildings for Developing Economies” conference has been extended until Aug. 16. The conference will be held April 24–25, 2014, in Manila, Philippines. It will address the HVAC&R industry’s role in meeting challenges developing countries face in sustainable construction, such as rapidly growing energy demand, population density and urbanization, focusing on the design, construction and operation of high performance buildings. Abstracts (400 or less words in length) are due Aug. 16, 2013. If accepted, papers are due Nov. 15, 2013.
Click here to learn more and to submit abstracts.
Feature of the Week Designing Air-Distribution Systems to Maximize Comfort
By David A. John, P.E., Member ASHRAE
This article discusses how HVAC designers can select, size, and place outlets using methods described in the room air-distribution chapters in the 2009 ASHRAE Handbook—Fundamentals to maximize occupant thermal comfort as defined in ASHRAE Standard 55-2010, Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy. It also discusses methods for evaluating comfort.
This article originally was published in September 2012. Click here to download the article. It will be available here through Aug. 1.
After Aug. 1, access to the article from this eNewsletter will no longer be available. It will remain available for free download by members here and for purchase by nonmembers in the ashrae.org online store.
Product News Flowmeter/Temperature Sensor From Spirax Sarco
BLYTHEWOOD, S.C.—Spirax Sarco introduces the MTI10 insertion and MTL10 inline mass thermal flowmeter and temperature sensor for gases and air. The MTI10/MTL10 provides accurate measurement of clean, dry gases and air using constant temperature sensing for fast response and low flow accuracy. It measures the mass flow of gases and air without the need for additional transmitters or flow computers, and is resistant to changes in temperature and pressure over a wide flow range.
Compressor From Bristol Compressors
BRISTOL, Va.—Bristol Compressors offers the Benchmark VStar compressor for heat pump applications. Models feature permanent magnet motors, which eliminate the need for start relays, start capacitors, run capacitors, and contactors.
Cooling System Control System From Armstrong
TORONTO—The OPTI-VISOR from Armstrong is an automated HVAC control solution designed to boost the energy efficiency of new buildings by 25%. It is designed to be a simple bolt-on retrofit that works seamlessly with existing variable primary flow HVAC plants and BASs to provide optimal cooling efficiency. The system helps to prevent "on-off" cycling of cooling equipment, which contributes to tenant discomfort.
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