Smart Air Conditioning Systems to Reduce WasteWed, 11/01/2017 - 11:49
Delivery of effective, targeted air conditioning solely in spaces where it is needed can significantly cut back on electricity consumption, reducing costs while limiting a building’s environmental footprint, says Manuel Gutiérrez, Director General of Carrier Mexico. “This industry is not about merely conditioning air but making spaces comfortable without impacting the environment,” he says.
Commercial and residential buildings account for 30 percent of global energy demand, of which 30 percent accounts for space heating and 5 percent for space cooling, according to the 2016 Global Status Report of the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction. This makes reducing energy waste in these specific areas a key priority for real estate and infrastructure developers.
HVAC systems company Carrier developed its i-Vu Building Automation System to address the issue of energy waste by interconnecting every HVAC unit and emergency system in a building. This enables operators to easily manage them through a webpage, schedule when units will start and stop working, limit electrical demand and even set contingency plans for how HVAC units should react in case of fire.
Gutiérrez believes energy efficiency will be one of the key trends to watch out for in real estate development. “There are many product lines in which we mostly focus on optimizing the use of electrical power to condition spaces,” he says. “The company can now achieve cooling capacities of 0.3kW/t, which was difficult a few years ago.”
In Mexico, tourism and residential have traditionally been the largest and most important real estate sectors for HVAC systems, especially for large air conditioning units. These are easily installed and used in each room. However, the company also works in other commercial subsectors like offices and restaurants, in the hotel sector and in industrial applications of air conditioning through its air-cool and water cool-based chillers. To maintain its diversified portfolio, Carrier has a policy of continuous investment in R&D. As the world moves toward making
buildings smarter, Carrier is positioning itself at the forefront, developing innovative solutions that promote sustainability while also reducing costs for developers and operators.
This push toward innovation motivated Carrier to form a JV with Japanese electronics giant Toshiba to create Toshiba Carrier, a company that produces Variable Refrigerant Flow Units (VRFU). These are flexible systems that can be adapted to both new and existing buildings and can reduce energy costs by up to 40 percent.
The technology’s key advantages are its distribution systems that use refrigerant instead of water and their ability to measure the amount of energy being used or wasted in each unit. This enables a building’s operator to accurately charge tenants for the energy that they use to condition their spaces. In June 2016, the company announced that the systems can be connected to i-Vu, further increasing efficiency and accuracy, while reducing energy waste.
But the move toward increasingly smart construction is creating a more demanding customer base and Carrier sees the importance in adapting to changing customer needs. The company is developing its plans for the next five years and one major trend it has identified is in the growing demand for sustainability certifications. As a founding member both of USGBC and its Mexican chapter, Carrier can offer its unique expertise to its clients that are looking to obtain the all-important LEED certification.