By Duane Huisken, Interim Executive Director, Radiant Professionals Alliance
One of the significant efforts of the Radiant Professionals Alliance is being done by the Hydronics Industry Alliance – Commercial Committee. By listening to our membership, it became clear that a simple tool is needed to rationalize the lab results with what really happens in a building.
The issue is that once a particular comfort system goes in, it is very difficult to switch it out, if the selling point behind the product selection decision doesn’t live up to the marketing literature. The BEST software rerates the various systems to model energy consumption between systems, quickly and easily. The BEST system evaluates a building HVAC system early before plans are drawn.
1. The lowest cost to move comfort in a building is in water piping by a factor of 10 or more.
2. Central hydronic systems improve and maintain efficiency because the HVAC system is not directly exposed to outdoor temperatures – hot or cold – controlling PEAK demand charges
3. There is a hydronic solution for every owner requirement that will meet the budget and deliver at the utility bill, especially on those high demand days.
4. Competitive bidding is standard from original installation to operation for the life of the building.
For your consideration water has a global warming potential of ZERO, CO2 is 1, methane is 84, and refrigerant is 2000. As with past changes in refrigerants it is even more critical that refrigerant be contained in factory-sealed and tested circuits as the move to flammable refrigerants is being considered. Yes, A2L or R-32 is better but it still as a GWP of just under 700.
A key element in the application of hydronic central systems is, what is referred to as heat transfer capability. The Efficiency comes from speed. “Think” about a skillet on a hot burner… To cool that skillet what is faster? Wave it around in 70-degree room air or put it in a sink full of 100-degree dishwater? Now that’s Water-cooled versus outdoor condensers. The principle is why most large building have central hydronic systems saving 30-40 percent. Plus, do not add to the “Urban Heat Island Effect” in cities caused by air-cooled condensers lined up on the roof or hanging on the exterior.
We all know stories about old boilers and old chillers or cities with central heating or cooling pipelines being in service for years. HVAC is not about short-lived products. Today’s technology in the hydronics industry is forward- and backward-compatible. Upgrade as you choose, incorporate renewables and enable energy sharing within and among buildings.
If you use hot water your cooling load should be heating that water. To further the thought process. Water entering your building from the street must be raised about 85 degrees. That means one ton of air conditioning will provide enough BTU’s to heat about 2 ½ gallons of water a day. So, is heating (within and among buildings) the answer to cooling? Absolutely, and hydronics makes it easy.
Today’s concerns for ventilation, filtration and moving heat around that building at the lowest net cost is what hydronic systems are all about.
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