Building Industry Magazine - August 2011 - (Page 56)

SHIFTING WINDS: The Changing Shape of Air Conditioning BY CHRIS MIKESELL Green technology helps to keep Hawaii’s HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) companies in the black. New products and strategies keep cooling bills down and systems running efficiently. It’s not enough for A/C to just be green; it has to be smart as well. WHAT’S HOT IN COOLING? Air conditioning installation and operation can make or break a client’s energy budget, which is one reason why specialists like Jackson Cheng, general manager of sales at Alakai Mechanical Corp., say there is a “tremendous push” to go green with energy-efficient buildings. “Energy consumption of the HVAC system is one of the major contributors (to cost) and represents a key component in reducing energy usage,” says Cheng. He says that the key to reducing energy consumption is to adopt and retrofit new technologies and improve control systems. “On the commercial side, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, cost reduction and energy savings are coming to John Arizumi the forefront as decision drivers,” adds John Arizumi, president of Carrier Hawaii. Keith Chan, principal of Notkin Hawaii, confirms that LEED standards are playing a more prominent role in building designs and renoKeith Chan vations. Chan says his company is focusing on commissioning and its requirements not only for building codes, but also for LEED certification. In the regulatory area, adds Michael Chang, deputy program manager of Hawaii Energy, “The state and counties are in the review process to adopt new building codes Michael Chang (International Energy Conservation Code 2009) that will require higher minimum efficiency levels for A/C equipment – based on newer ASHRAE standards – as well as building envelope improvements to keep heat out and lighting efficiency requirements that will lower heat input to the buildings.” Chang also is the current president of the Hawaii chapter of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating & Air Conditioning Engineers, Inc. (ASHRAE). use of inverter compressors in refrigerant-based systems to adjust the strength of a unit to address a room’s cooling needs. More manufacturers like Fujitsu Drew Santos and Maytag, Santos says, are incorporating the technology in their air conditioners. “Inverter technology has changed the game when it comes to energy efficiency,” says Santos. He explains that while federal guidelines for A/C units manufactured after Jan. 23, 2006 mandated a minimum SEER (seasonal energy efficiency rating) of 13, systems older than that could easily have SEER of six or less. Now, “we are seeing SEER ratings of up to 26 with the new inverters.” Chang of Hawaii Energy agrees, adding that variable flow refrigerant (VFR) systems are also growing in popularity. “Inverter driven VFR systems are direct expansion A/C systems (aka split systems) that utilize variable speed evaporator/condenser fans, and a combination of fixed and variable speed compressors along with, most often, multiple individual zone evaporators to provide the ability to more closely match the A/C system’s output with the building’s cooling requirements.” He adds that that these systems have the potential NEW TECHNOLOGY As green technology continues to grow, many HVAC companies continue to develop cool new ways to tap into that demand. One of the biggest changes Drew Santos, president of Admor HVAC Products, Inc., sees is the growing 56 | BUILDING INDUSTRY | AUGUST 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Building Industry Magazine - August 2011

Building Industry Magazine - August 2011
Catepillar Showcase
Seminars Augment PBT Expo
BIA Dedicates New Hawaiian Home
NAVFAC Awards New Contracts
Living Museum Getting $38 Million Makeover
Pearl City Street Dedicated
Contracts Awarded
Spotlight on Success: New Target Store in Hilo
Architects Corner
Best Practices
Low Bids
Concept to Completion: Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort Renovation
The House Built for Hope
News Makers
New Products

Building Industry Magazine - August 2011