Heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems are major concerns for building owners
Energy efficiency helps building owners and system operators tackle both sustainability and cost management issues.
In conjunction with International Greentech & Eco Products Exhibition & Conference Malaysia (IGEM) 2021, Malaysia Green Building Council (MalaysiaGBC) held a webinar entitled ‘Tackling energy consumption reaching sustainability goals at no extra cost’ on Oct 14.
Moderated by BK Sinha, MalaysiaGBC Council Member 2021-2023, the session featured guest speaker Chris Han, the Regional Sales Manager of Armstrong Fluid Technology, to speak on energy efficiency and green buildings.
The webinar aimed to inform the participants on how minor upgrades to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems of buildings could significantly reduce energy consumption and help organisations reach their sustainability goals.
According to Han, the demand for green buildings was strong and would continue to grow. Developers in the Asia-Pacific are also expected to accelerate their pace in constructing eco-friendly buildings and taking other measures to mitigate climate change impacts.
“Energy efficiency is a vital component of a green building. As the focus on energy efficiency increases, we also notice that governments in the region have also taken energy efficiency into severe consideration,” he said.
He also opined that, as more energy-efficient technologies were being incorporated in buildings, the easy opportunities for energy savings had started to disappear over the years.
Han then highlighted: “The message has never been louder, that making buildings greener, both in the construction or operation, could significantly affect the impacts that cities have on climate change.”
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC)
Han shared that green buildings consumed 25 per cent less energy, 34 per cent lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, 11 per cent less water usage, and an overall 19 per cent lower maintenance costs.
“The emphasis is on creating high performing resilient buildings, which are not only good for the environment but also support healthier, happier and more productive occupants who live in these buildings,” he added.
He revealed that studies showed HVAC, on average, was responsible for about 40 per cent of energy consumption in commercial buildings.
“This percentage is rising as building owners have progressively adopted energy-efficient, for example, lighting, leaving HVAC as the primary and principal area to look for energy savings.
“In addition to energy intensity, HVAC plays a very dominant role in occupants’ comfort. The HVAC system is like the lungs of buildings. It is a system that ensures there’s a comfort maintained in any building,” said Han.
He emphasised that buildings had a significant role in sustainability. He said heating and cooling costs comprised about 56 per cent of the total energy cost. The percentage was expected to increase as the energy efficiency measures in other areas continued to penetrate.
He shared some project risks and obstacles in upgrading the system of the buildings, including:
• Cost of capital
• Technology risks
• System implications
• Tenant disruption
• Lack of transparency
Customised solution for buildings
Han then revealed the Design Envelope Technology by Armstrong Fluid Technology, a customised solution to reduce GHG emissions in the building and HVAC industry. The Design Envelope Technology addresses the main barriers to energy upgrade projects in building and delivers significant reductions in energy consumptions and carbon emissions.
“In terms of sustainability, our solutions can intelligently deliver only the capacity required by the system at any given time, thereby reducing energy wastage.”
Armstrong Fluid Technology found six critical opportunities in the fluid-flow innovations to help owners of buildings, such as:
• Integration of components including sensorless pumping technology
• Parallel sensorless pump control
• A paradigm shift on redundancy
• Feedforward control loop
• Automation and optimisation
• Connecting assets – active performance management
“With sensorless pump control, the changes in the system are detected by the sensorless pump control as the motor amp draw changes. As the control valve opens and closes, it detects it as a change in motor amp draw.
“The pump control automatically adjusts its speed and ramps up or down, according to the needs of the system. Parallel senseless pump control is another strategy concerning flow control for you to consider.
“With the rise of sensorless pump control technology, parallel pumping systems can be further optimised for improved energy savings in areas where remote sensors are not possible or not even practical to place,” explained Han, adding the system response was quick and accurate, which automatically helped in terms of saving energy and reducing greenhouse gasses.
He emphasised that Armstrong Fluid Technology adopted a pump first approach rather than looking at other components such as chillers in its Energy Upgrade Road Map.
“I know a lot of times we tend to zoom in on changing the chiller as that is the most significant component of energy consumption. Perhaps you will change it to a more highly efficient chiller. But for us here, we’re looking at the pump first approach because the pump makes system operations transparent to the building automation system.
“Like our heart, it adds efficiency of other equipment to the system by ensuring optimal flow to the chillers and the towers, thereby improving on the overall operations.
“Our Energy Upgrade Road Map is a low-risk data-driven approach for such programmes (energy upgrade projects) to take place, to help you to stay cash-flow positive,” Han said.
After picking all low hanging fruits, he stated the HVAC system was the next big opportunity for energy and carbon savings in buildings. — @Green