Yes, the facility management industry has entered the age of ‘big data’ where extremely large data sets are being collected and analyzed to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, primarily between HVAC equipment and energy optimization.
However, “Big Data” may be the most worn out catchphrase ever. When you think “big” you think Wall Street, the Pentagon, Silicon Valley. Places far and away from where you live and work, with needs far different from what you encounter in systems management. And is there any word less exciting than “data?” But unlike in other industries, the HVAC industry seems to realize big data is driven by small data and small data is still king. Without small data, big data is useless.
Martin Lindstrom recently wrote a book with a simple premise: sweat the small stuff. Big data, says Lindstrom, extrapolates correlations between small data. Small data, however, provides the why and HVAC facility technicians are already masters of small data. You deal with it every day. Your life revolves around minute differences of 1 and 2 percent that translate into massive differences for your boss or client. Those facilities gauges and monitoring systems are a treasure trove of small data. And small data is what you rely upon on a day-to-day basis. While big data has a lot to offer regarding big, sweeping decisions on energy policy at the very top, small data helps you to troubleshoot and make improvements at the micro level. Those small changes can mean big differences in terms of system performance.
The difficulty with spending your day at the small data level is that you’re often tasked with inputting that data yourself, and there’s quite a bit to track. Think of all of the maintenance log data you’ve scribbled on paper. Now, additional time must go into comparing that data to past logs. Consider that you can’t immediately get feedback on the implications of your latest reading so you’ll have to pause and eventually restart your thought processes. LogCheck reduces this pain and provides you insights from your small data right in the field. By entering routine inspection data into their mobile app rather than paper, you get instant feedback while you’re still in front of your equipment as well as an online dashboard for deeper analysis.
Goodway’s VS-S Video Borescope and VS-W Borescope, are also great tools for getting the small data you need to keep your facilities running. These borescopes are primarily used for inspecting inside tubes. To focus in on the tube’s walls and blockages, each scope’s field of vision is quite small. They are used to visually identify issues before cleaning and gather photographic evidence after cleaning to help assess quality.
Most everyone can agree that Big Data is the likely future in facility maintenance. But Big Data’s power comes mostly in making big decisions. The day is coming, sooner rather than later, when your chillers will tell you what they need. Until then, you’ll need to continue to figure out the small stuff, and we’ll keep trying to make it as pain free as possible.
Unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly called “drones,” are coming into their own in facility maintenance. Facility managers employ drones to inspect areas difficult or dangerous to monitor, including HVAC systems. No longer the exclusive domain of hobbyists and the military-intelligence community, drones are poised to revolutionize the way America does business.
Consider drones also being deployed to inspect difficult and dangerous areas like rooftops for HVAC maintenance. Using a drone to survey a rooftop allows you to fully understand a maintenance or cleaning need before sending a technician up, drastically reducing his time spent in a dangerous situation. Even with scaffolding and safety harnesses, he’s taking on risk. A drone, however, takes virtually no risk. You might lose the drone, but drones are comparatively inexpensive and prices keep dropping.
Check out this UAV Boiler Inspection by a drone.
Drones possess benefits far beyond safety, however. They reduce maintenance costs significantly, collecting data faster than any human can. That’s not just money saved in man hours. It’s also money saved through getting equipment back online sooner rather than later. High definition video, recorded via drone, allows facilities managers and maintenance engineers the opportunity to examine potential problems and discuss solutions from the safety and comfort of their offices.
And you can say goodbye to your clipboard. Drones collect data, then send it off for storage in the cloud. Once uploaded, facility management software makes sure maintenance requests don’t get filed away in the “pay no mind” file. Your facility management software will send an alert to the relevant maintenance technician. You then have a record of that alert, increasing both efficiency and accountability.
The footage your buddy took after he strapped a GoPro to a drone is just the tip of the iceberg. Drone applications over the next year will make day-to-day maintenance safer, easier and more cost effective. Perhaps most importantly, drones and related technology will make sure maintenance gets done. That’s an overall increase in your company’s efficiency. And that means more money to reinvest. With the cost of drones plummeting, don’t get left behind as this revolutionary new technology reshapes American industry.
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The AHR Expo is a massive trade show where every year, thousands of industry insiders, manufacturers and distributors converge on a Convention Center to show off the latest and greatest in the world of HVACR. This year’s Las Vegas event is particularly exciting, with new technologies such as split cassette systems from @Samsung, VRF systems and Internet of Things-enabled technologies promising to revolutionize the field.
Samsung’s development sparked interest due to its aesthetic appeal. The HVACR industry is starting to design its products not just from the perspective of what works best, but also what customers will want to look at, year in and year out. New VRF systems mean lower costs, but also less wear and tear on the system in general. @Rinnai America debuted a tankless system with 96 percent thermal efficiency. Some companies, such as @JohnsManville even used technology to display old wares, like their tower showing differences in sound attenuation.
And, of course, there’s the Internet of Things. Smart thermostats are just the beginning. @BellGossett updated its intelligent pump and variable frequency drive. On-site setup and configuration is estimated to have been cut in half by this updated pump. @Victaulic debuted the world’s first grooved, installation-ready copper fittings. One subject that continues to be left out of the innovation conversation, however, is maintenance.
Maintenance is often an afterthought in the world of HVACR, despite the fact that companies might be losing hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in a year due to poorly running machines. Maintenance relates directly to efficiency and efficiency is synonymous with profitability in the field of HVACR. Take for example, microchannel coils. These coils are frequently cleaned using caustic hydroxides, which corrode and dissolve the aluminum within the coils. Improperly maintained machines means a shorter lifespan for basic equipment, higher cost of ownership and lower efficiency over the life of the cooler.
In fact, efficiency, tightly tied to maintenance is one of the strongest indicators of profitability. The investment, facility management and maintenance side of HVACR is aware of this. The manufacturing sector, however, seems less interested.
Goodway is proud to own innovation in the field of HVACR maintenance. We remain keyed into the industry, looking not only for new ways to clean equipment, but also constantly improving the mechanical and chemical solutions used. This means lower cost of ownership, less downtime and increased efficiency. Maintenance might not be the most exciting area of the HVACR world, but @GoodwayMachines is working hard ensuring maintenance doesn’t get left behind as HVACR becomes increasingly high tech.
In the average building, chillers account for between 35 and 50 percent of energy expenditures. Even minor adjustments in chiller efficiency can significantly lower the overall overhead of your business. Chiller efficiency and its relationship to the Internet of Things will be on everyone’s mind this weekend at the AHR Expo 2017 in Las Vegas, NV.
Magnetic bearing chillers are a quantum leap in chiller technology. They can save a single business $4 million over the life of the chiller in energy costs. These new chillers don’t require oil, or mechanical seals and gears. This ensures a far longer lifespan. At the same time, it can dramatically increase efficiency of the chiller. The U.S. Naval Facility in Newport, Rhode Island saw an energy savings of 65 percent when switching over to these new chillers. What’s more, you don’t have to change out the gaskets, bearings or seals. In terms of total cost of ownership and downtime, magnetic bearing chillers are far superior even to the chillers being producers 10-15 years ago.
Fortunately, it’s not necessary to reinvent the wheel to increase the efficiency of your chillers. The Internet of Things automates efficiency with very little upfront cost. Daikin has just released two chillers (one scroll, one screw) capable of natively monitoring energy consumption at the equipment level. This provides facility managers with a robust, streamlined solution to reduce overall energy costs without any headaches.
In fact, 2017 is set to be the year of the smart building. Internet of Things-enabled chillers will play a vital role in keeping building maintenance costs down and reducing environmental impact without skimping on keeping the building cool. What’s more, IoT-enabled chillers take the burden of scheduling maintenance off of the facilities manager. In some cases, the chillers will be able to order their own replacement parts and maintenance equipment before you even know there’s a problem. When off-site maintenance crews show up, they won’t need you to tell them what’s wrong with the chiller. They’ll already have a host of metrics to help them make the right repairs, helping to save you money on man hours and reduce downtime.
While the Internet of Things will provide significant improvements in efficiency, those won’t matter much with dirty chiller tubes. The RAM-PRO-XL Contractor simultaneously cleans your chiller tubes while preventing corrosion after cleaning. You know how quickly your tubes can start oxidizing and corroding during cleaning. The RAM-PRO-XL Contractor Chiller Tube Cleaner’s TubeGuard system makes sure that won’t happen. The tablet-based system uses biodegradable cleaners without sacrificing anything in the way of power.
Combine the latest advancements in connected technology with robust maintenance tools for optimum performance in your chillers. And if you happen to be attending the AHR Expo this year, make sure to check out our exhibit at Central Hall – C4328.
Innovation will take center stage at the AHR Expo 2017. The Innovation Awards recipients this year represent the very forefront not just of HVAC, but of the trend toward automation, smart buildings and Internet of Things integration. This new industry trend, poised to explode in the coming year, can save your company and clients tens of thousands of dollars through efficiency and optimization.
Next week the industry will be introduced to Telkonet’s EcoSmart VRF Controller. This is one of the first devices offering control of variable refrigerant flow HVAC systems. The controller operates on the EcoSmart platform, one of the most flexible platforms in the HVAC industry. With VRF technology reducing energy costs by 30 to 40 percent, the time is right for smart controllers that will help to reduce those costs even further. Find it at exhibit C970.
KMC Commander from KMC Controls, Inc. is an enterprise-class IoT control platform for building and operations management. You can visualize your operations in real time and access them straight from your mobile device. This is for any larger enterprises looking to maximize efficiency, safety and comfort, while minimizing energy consumption, saving your company thousands of dollars per year. Check it out at exhibit C1552.
PMPost is an IoT-enabled particle sensor able to measure particles in 10, 2.5 and 1 micrometer. You can monitor your readings in real time through a web portal. Measure particles in your clean room or construction site with the most accurate and up-to-date information. You can see the PMPost at exhibit C1758.
The SMART Air Hood™ Balancing Instrument from Dwyer Instruments measures the airflow in HVAC systems, including grilles, diffusers and registers. It’s also the first in its industry to offer predictive airflow balancing. This sets the perfect flow setpoint for each individual diffuser, while maintaining the appropriate balance for the HVAC system as a whole. See this at exhibit C4124.
You don’t need to be fully connected to use the VG200W Wireless Digital Vacuum Gauge. It works just fine on its own or connected to a smart device utilizing the free VGLink application. Completely wireless, the device provides not just measurements, but also diagnostics, monitoring, testing verification and support, streamlining your maintenance process and preventing problems before they happen. Find it at exhibit C2322.
There will also be a variety of chillers, including those with game-changing magnetic bearing technology. With magnetic bearing technology you never have to change gaskets, bearings or seals ever again, because they don’t use oil. They also boast significant savings, such as the U.S. Naval Facility in Newport, Rhode Island that found a 65 percent energy savings when switching over to magnetic bearing technology.
If you agree that chiller maintenance is a key to optimizing energy efficiency, come check out Goodway’s exhibit C4328. We’ll show you the next generation of chiller tube cleaning, RAM-PRO-XL. Our most advanced tube cleaner yet, this product will prevent corrosion even while the chiller is offline after cleaning. Combined with emerging Internet of Things technologies, your company can reap a significant savings on your overall energy costs.
Typically, a chiller is the single largest consumer of power and most expensive piece of equipment in a building, so it’s logical to allocate time and budget towards energy efficiency and equipment maintenance.
Without routine chiller maintenance, energy usage can double in just a few years and components can fail early, causing service interruptions. Poor maintenance procedures also lead to declining equipment reliability, the service life of a chiller can be reduced by 25% to 50%, according to an article in Facilitiesnet.com.
“While many managers look to chiller retrofits, system add-ons, or even replacements to improve efficiency, many overlook the single most important factor in determining both chiller efficiency and reliability: maintenance,” according to the article.
Chiller system efficiency is also a worthwhile investment because for every $1 facility managers invest in chiller maintenance, they can “expect a return of $10 dollars in the form of reduced operating costs and fewer breakdown maintenance repairs,” the article notes.
There are several chiller tube cleaning methods. One method is chemical cleaning, where a chemical solution – an acid, in some cases – is circulated through the chiller to clean the tubes.
An alternative method is a mechanical approach. Some manual chiller tube cleaning methods involve pushing a brush through each tube, then flushing afterward. However, the residue left after the brush is pushed through may dry on the surface before flushing, and the subsequent water flush will not remove it.
Another mechanical cleaning system rotates a cleaning brush or buffing tool attached to a motorized flexible shaft through the chiller tube while water-flushing the tube at the same time. The advantages of this system are that the tubes are given a thorough scouring and the simultaneous water flush allows the tubes to be completely cleaned before they dry.
By performing regular maintenance of chiller systems, facilities can decrease energy costs, extend operational efficiency, reduce power loads as well as save money on labor, equipment, and other associated costs.
A maintenance program for chillers also helps a facility with its sustainable goals by extending the life of the HVAC system and reducing energy consumption.
The best time to do regular chiller maintenance is in the winter or early spring when the chiller systems are not in use. To prevent the buildup of scale and sediment you must maintain the chiller tubes according to the manufacturer’s directions.
When our customers told us they needed an effective solution for removing scale that was safer than dumping acid into cooling tower water, we were all ears. Shortly after, we introduced the TFC-200 Cooling Tower Fill Cleaner as a solution and 13 categories, 20 contractor reviews and 88 entries later, its unique features and ease of use has earned it a Bronze ranking in this year’s Dealer Design Awards from the NEWS.
A special combination of innovative chemical solutions, pump technology and unique turbo nozzles makes this machine the best in its category and one of the most efficient cooling tower cleaners on the market. This all-in-one-system uses 300 PSI of cleaning power to increase the water flow, deep clean tower fill and eliminate hiding places for Legionella, scale and other energy-robbing bacteria on contact. Plus, it was specially designed for use with ScaleBreak-Gel, our low viscosity acidic solution that provides a safer alternative with far less risks than using acids.
- Complete all-in-one system for cleaning lime scale and debris from fill
- Equipped with two high-performance pumps for superior circulation
- Includes all wand extensions and nozzles for cleaning hard-to-reach areas
- Lowers health risks and eliminates growth of hazardous Legionella bacteria
Naturally, this powerful, yet safe award-winning equipment is available at Goodway. See our complete line of equipment to satisfy more of your unique cooling tower maintenance needs.
Monitoring air quality is rapidly shifting from the realm of mere research to more practical applications as HVAC companies look for ways to ensure that both indoor and outdoor air quality levels aren’t negatively impacted by a new installation or repair. This rising priority should come as no surprise: Medical News Today notes that air pollution is now a leading stroke risk factor, while ACHR News points out that a large-scale bi-partisan energy bill could have serious impacts on how HVAC units are installed and evaluated. Bottom line? It’s not just what’s inside a heating or cooling unit that counts. To stay ahead, companies need a way to effectively quantify HVAC air quality.
Managing indoor air quality is now the focus of startups like Airviz, a Carnegie Mellon University spinoff — its “Speck” device is designed to report the parts per million of certain 2.5-micron size particles which could pose a threat to human health. In a recent MIT Technology Review piece, for example, author Simson Garfinkel describes the Speck detecting a rise of PM2.5 particles in his home, such as those released by cooking oil, which are in turn linked to diseases like asthma, autism and even ADHD. In fact, the WHO says that four million deaths worldwide are caused by poor indoor air quality conditions; conditions that quickly reached worrisome levels when Garfinkel’s family was simply frying eggs.
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Companies are on the hook to cut costs; staff, services and technology all fall under the ax of balanced books. In an effort to minimize day-to-day impacts, many businesses are turning to deferred maintenance —putting off required repairs or upgrades on HVAC systems and cooling towers until they’re absolutely necessary or the unit fails. The problem? As noted by a HealthCareCAN report, this is a “short term solution with long-term consequences unless additional resources are provided at a later date.” Best case? Cooling towers fail and you’re out time and money. Worst case? Killer infections. Here’s a look at the pitfalls of deferred maintenance for HVAC units.
Big Savings, Big Problems?
At first glance deferred maintenance seems like a reasonable solution to an immediate need: If HVAC and other systems are still performing within expected parameters it’s easy to put off maintenance until the “next budget.” If the same scenario exists a year later deferring again only makes sense, right?
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Water is a constant for HVAC systems. In winter, heating systems produce water as air condenses in the cold, while in summer the need for quick cooling of large air volumes produces a significant amount of moisture build-up. Despite this ongoing relationship with condensed and collected water, however, a recent ACHR News article notes that most HVAC systems aren’t up to the challenge of proper drainage—putting both system efficiency and human health at risk.
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