Have you ever thought about how important the workplace usually is in people’s lives?
Many of us spend large amounts of time at work; in fact, the average person will spend more than 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime. That makes it safe to state that our jobs and – equally importantly – our workplace, have a huge impact on our lives.
Of course, there are many aspects that can make a workplace great, but among the most important aspects there are comfort and indoor environmental quality (IEQ). All aspects that in a way or another involve HVAC systems, responsible for the thermal comfort in buildings and the level of indoor air quality (IAQ).
So, when designing office buildings, HVAC systems have an important place in the design process.
Besides comfort and indoor environmental quality, other aspects that are particularly relevant in HVAC systems’ design for office buildings are energy efficiency and environmental sustainability.
These two aspects have become increasingly important, as we are required to reduce CO2 emissions in accordance with European decarbonization goals.
As reported by the European Union, the building sector is responsible for approximately 40% of energy consumptions and 36% of CO2 emissions in the EU. That is the reason why in 2021 the European Union has decided to align the rules for the energy performance of buildings with the European Green Deal and decarbonize the EU’s building stock by 2050, also defining a roadmap with intermediate targets, starting from 2030, when “Fit for 55” targets need to be met.
Within this context, space conditioning is identified as a major contributor to buildings energy consumptions, and both new buildings and renovation projects will have to integrate space conditioning solutions able to consume less and minimize buildings’ carbon footprint.
Thermal comfort and Indoor Air Quality
To guarantee the right amount of cooling and/or heating, chillers and heat pumps need to be properly sized to meet the capacity demand of the different areas of the building in any moment of the day or season.
Thermal comfort is certainly important, but another aspect that should be considered is that thermal comfort should be guaranteed through environmentally sustainable solutions able to meet environmental targets.
That means facilities should only use efficient technology for space conditioning, especially for heating, then avoiding boilers, which are often detrimental to the achievement of sustainability targets.
Besides thermal comfort and energy efficiency, Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is another important aspect to consider.
Air is a primary necessity for human beings. We can starve for days, but we can only live minutes without breathing. And yet the importance of breathing quality air is not recognized as much as the importance of eating quality foods is, for instance.
People spend most of their time in indoor environments such as offices, without really knowing that indoor environments can be up to 8 times more polluted than outdoors.
That is why well-designed ventilation systems, able to clean air in indoor environments through air-exchange and air filtration, are very important components of modern HVAC systems in office buildings.
Read more here about the importance of Indoor Air Quality
Another important aspect Daikin is very focused on, is Indoor Air Quality monitoring, as monitoring and tracking is fundamental to take actions and make improvements.
By integrating the Daikin IEQ (Indoor Environmental Quality) sensor, the HVAC system can benefit from a tool able to monitor and track indoor conditions through a set of parameters, including indoor air quality. This allows facility managers to have a clear idea of the Indoor Air Quality status in the building they manage.
Click here to know how Daikin can help monitoring IAQ
Energy efficiency and building load variation
As HVAC systems usually consume a good portion of the total energy used in office buildings, it is important to choose energy efficient HVAC solutions.
In the case of chillers or heat pumps systems, it is important to consider technology that can efficiently perform both at full and partial load.
In fact, office buildings’ load can vary depending on the season, with a a significant impact on the energy efficiency of the building. So, it is important that the variation in load demand of the building is considered.
Part-load efficiency refers to the ability of a system to handle energy use at part-load and should be taken into consideration when specifying a chiller, so that it can deliver the exact load requirement with the minimum power input.
Inverter is usually a feature that helps rising part-load efficiency.
It is an electronic power component that, by varying the frequency of the motor power supply, modulates the compressor rotational speed (RPM) and in such a way controls the compressor capacity.
Inverter technology can ensure the best performance regardless of the cooling or heating demand. In fact, thanks to the Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) technology, chillers and heat pumps can be able to match the different loads requirements, in any circumstances, as inverter continuously modulates the speed of the compressor’s motor, performing capacity control of the compressor. This is how Variable Frequency Drive provides chillers with outstanding part-load or seasonal efficiencies, also allowing great energy saving opportunities.
Another way to improve efficiency when variable load management is required – especially when multiple units are installed – is adopting a system control solution, which can sequence and optimize the performance of chillers.
As far as system control for chillers and heat pumps Daikin offers the factory-engineered system control technology iCM (Intelligent Chiller Manager). It is specifically designed to optimize the performance of groups of units, allowing them to reach their goal with minimum effort, both mechanically and in terms of energy consumption. All this ensure chillers’ durability and efficiency, generating operating and maintenance cost savings and an immediate ROI. Daikin iCM can also connect to Daikin monitoring platform Daikin on Site, for remote monitoring, and can integrate with all BMS using BACnet and Modbus communication protocols, ensuring a perfect building management integration.
Daikin iCM is integrated in the control logic of Daikin units, so doesn’t need further installations. That means there is no additional cost related to wiring, and there is the possibility to install software functionalities remotely, even years after the commissioning.
Read more here about Daikin iCM control solution
Low noise is crucial when designing an HVAC system for offices. The lower the noise produced by the HVAC system, the better for occupants, as sources of disturbance such as noise are avoided.
So, at a design stage of the HVAC system, it is always worth considering technology that can reduce noise emissions from the system. All Daikin units are designed to limit noise emission levels, and when needed can further reduce them with the “reduced noise” option available on any machine.
Reliability and monitoring
Designing HVAC systems for office buildings in an energy-efficient way is certainly a challenge. Making facility management more effective, then, is another challenge.
Being able to monitor and optimize HVAC systems’ operations is key when it comes to responding both to the comfort and efficiency demands of this building type.
Automated features, and proper remote system monitoring and control tools are a great help facility managers can significantly benefit from. So, it is important to design HVAC systems using equipment that offer these features and can perfectly communicate with monitoring systems.
Being able to monitor and control the HVAC system through a BMS (Building Management System), remotely, with appropriately controlled access, can be a huge benefit to owners or facility managers. This not only allows to optimize operations and increase efficiency over time, but also allows building managers to deal with tenants’ issues quickly and instruct the technical support personnel to resolve potential problems.
So, using equipment that ensures perfect integration with BMS systems is key.
The integration of Daikin chillers and Air Handling Units with any BMS is possible thanks to the use of standard communication protocols in the sector. BACNet, for instance, which Daikin products use natively, and is probably the most common, or the Modbus protocol.
Besides integration with any BMS solution, Daikin also offer a the monitoring platform DoS (Daikin on Site), which allows to gather information with a unique level of detail, also allowing facility managers to take preventive actions and avoid extra costs associated with breakdowns and downtime.
Daikin on Site provides 24/7 real time data, all year round. It tracks units and components’ behavior and monitors their correct functionality, allowing to create periodical reports for an in-depth analysis of the system performance, proving itself essential in chillers, heat pumps and air handling units’ plants management.
Also, Daikin on Site allows facilities to move away from on-site maintenance staff for day-to-day operational needs. And it can allow multi-site building operators to centralize facility monitoring and control, helping trouble-shooting technical issues from a distance.
Would you be interested in visiting the Daikin factories where all the mentioned technologies are designed and manufactured? Then, get in touch here.