CR4 - The Engineer's Place for News and Discussion®
Login | Register for Engineering Community (CR4)

GEA's Global HVAC Technology Blog

GEA's Global HVAC Technology Blog covers a range of topics including:

  • Core HVAC Technologies
  • Technology & Patent Evaluation
  • Manufacturing Technologies
  • Product Quality Improvement
  • Materials/Failures/Corrosion
  • Product/Technology Commercialization
  • Business Strategy Development
  • New Factory Design & Equipment

We'll draw upon our range of experts to provide comments, insights, technical articles and a little humor from time to time

We encourage your participation and feedback!

September 2015 U.S. Heating and Cooling Equipment Shipment Data

Posted November 18, 2015 1:00 AM by geanorm
Pathfinder Tags: hvac industry HVAC Supply Chain

AHRI released September shipment data for small Central Air Conditioners and Air-Source Heat Pumps up to 650 MBTUH.

U.S. shipments of central air conditioners and air-source heat pumps totaled 488,464 units in September 2015, down 9.5 % from 539,628 units shipped in September 2014. U.S. shipments of air conditioners decreased 3.5 % to 335,867 units, down from 348,143 in September 2014. Shipments of air-source heat pumps decreased 20.3 % to 152,597 units, down from 191,485 shipped in September 2014.


Year-to-date combined shipments of central air conditioners and air-source heat pumps increased 1.8 %, to 5,700,792 units, up from 5,599,693 units shipped in September 2014. Year-to-date shipments of central air conditioners increased 3.0 % to 3,824,980 units, up from 3,713,244 during the same period in 2014. The year-to-date total for heat pump shipments decreased 0.6 percent to 1,875,812 units, down from 1,886,449 units shipped during the same period in 2014.


The most popular size is the nominal 3 ton size with 1,145,568 shipped through September of this year. Second most popular size is the nominal 2 ton size with 1,057,287 through September 2015.

Highest growth rates were in the two smallest size ranges with units under 16.5 MBTUH showing an 18% increase over YTD shipments in 2014. In the size range 16.5 to 21.9 MBTUH 34% more units shipped through September of this year versus the same period in 2015.

For additional shipment data please visit AHRI September 2015 U.S. Heating and Cooling Equipment Shipment Data

Editor's Note: CR4 would like to thank GEA Consulting's President, Larry Butz,, for contributing this blog entry, originally appearing at

1 comments; last comment on 11/18/2015
View/add comments

See The Future of Smart Office Buildings, Today -The Edge

Posted October 28, 2015 9:39 PM by larhere

What is a Smart Building?

According to Siemens "Smart buildings improve the productivity of people and processes by leveraging technology & actionable information to help you & your building make better decisions and become smart, efficient and sustainable".

Not a perfect answer but with the building industry going through an evolution toward Smart Buildings it seems appropriate to pause and evaluate this change to see how it affects our companies and our plans in the HVAC Industry. We'll take a look at arguably the most advanced Smart Building in the world, the Edge, located in Amsterdam.

What is the Edge?

The Magazine Fast Company describes the Edge...
"When you pull up for work at Deloitte's new office building in Amsterdam, the garage automatically recognizes your car or bike, opens the gate, and guides you to a parking spot and a free electric charger. The office app assigns you a desk, based on your schedule for the day and whether you're in the mood for a standing desk or a place to concentrate. Once you start work, you can use the app to tweak the lighting or heat until it's just right. Welcome to the Edge, the most connected office anywhere.
The building's massive network of sensors-around 40,000-is unprecedented.....every light in the building hooked up to Ethernet cables that also deliver Wi-Fi. "Every light has its own IP address". View the Fast Company article and slide show here.
Solar panels on the roof and south wall provide all the electricity to power the building, laptops and smart phones and recharge occupant's electric cars.

Heat and cooling are provided with the help of a natural aquifer with two 400 foot boreholes being used to pump warm water in during summer periods for extraction during winter heating season with the opposite occurring during winter with cooling being stored in the aquifer.

The Edge lays claim to the title of most well connected office building in the world with a unique design of LED panels powered by low voltage ethernet cables. Every light panel contains sensors that measure temperature, light, movement and infrared effectively becoming its own internet connected data hub making the building and its occupants smarter.

Watch the video about the Edge created by Bloomberg Business News that does a nice job demonstrating the technologies and leading edge features incorporated in the Edge.

As you look into your future you may want to also view some of these recent blog posts.

Buildings, Energy and New Technologies: Trends & Outlook

Top HVAC Trends for 2015

Prefab Skyscrapers Reach for the Heavens Reshaping HVAC

Editor's Note: CR4 would like to thank GEA Consulting's President, Larry Butz,, for contributing this blog entry, originally appearing at

3 comments; last comment on 10/31/2015
View/add comments

Buildings, Energy and New Technologies:Trends & Outlook

Posted October 07, 2015 7:41 PM by larhere

The Department of Energy (DOE) and the White House Office of Science and Technology released the second Quadrennial Technology Review. The 489 page report contains a wealth of numbers about energy use and the technologies that can affect the future of energy efficiency in the US economy. Of particular interest to our readers are the following:

Chapter 5 - Increasing Efficiency of Buildings Systems and Technologies showing US building energy use in 2014. The building sector's share of electricity use has grown dramatically 25% of U.S. annual electricity consumption in the 1950s to 40% in the early 1970s to more than 76% by 2012.

The major areas of energy consumption in buildings are heating, ventilation, and air conditioning-35% of total building energy; lighting-11%; major appliances (water heating, refrigerators and freezers, dryers)-18% with the remaining 36% in miscellaneous areas including electronics.

Key research opportunities include the following:

  • High-efficiency heat pumps that reduce or eliminate the use of refrigerants
  • Improved software for optimizing building design and operation
  • Low cost, easy to install, energy harvesting sensors and controls
  • Interoperable building communication systems and optimized control strategies
  • Decision science issues affecting purchasing and operating choices

Noteworthy is Section 5.6 Systems-Level Opportunities sees opportunities such as small buildings (<10,000 ft2) which use some kind of "energy management control" system less than 7% of the time. "Buildings as a whole will perform most efficiently if all the building systems are controlled as a part of an integrated system. Well-designed control systems can increase building efficiency up to 30% without the need to upgrade existing appliances".

Integrated building and grid systems should be able to do the following:

  • Control room temperatures, humidity, ventilation rates, tunable windows, variable louvers, and dimmable lights
  • Control major appliances - most devices are controlled by turning them off or on, but the new generation of appliances allows more sophisticated adjustment of operation
  • Use weather forecasts to develop optimum strategies for preheating or cooling the structure
  • Detect and identify component failures and look for signs that equipment is about to fail
  • Adapt performance in response to communications from utilities using new rate structures to minimize overall system costs
  • Learn and anticipate user behaviors including adjusting for holidays and integrate user preferences dynamically.

Section 5.8 Conclusions to the buildings section.

Chapter 1 - Energy Challenges where U.S. uses and sources are depicted in detail.

And finally, Chapter 11 Summary and Conclusions which presents four trends in energy technology research, development, demonstration, and deployment (RDD&D):

  1. Energy systems convergence - Virtually all sectors of the energy system are becoming more interdependent. Information and communications technologies, advanced sensors and controls, and market phenomena are enabling the proliferation of advanced technologies that overlap the power generation, electricity transmission and distribution, buildings, manufacturing, fuels, and transportation sectors
  2. Diversification within the energy sectors - the increased diversification of energy resources, carriers, and uses
  3. Energy efficiency everywhere - opportunities to advance cost-effective efficiency technologies abound throughout all energy sectors and systems
  4. Confluence of computational and empirical capabilities - includes scientific theory, modeling, simulation, high performance computing, data management and analysis, algorithms, software, and high-throughput experimental techniques to enable the prediction, design, engineering, and experimental characterization of materials and systems from the atomic through the nano-, meso-, and macroscale to manufacturing

download the complete report or view other Sections, click Quadrennial Technology Review.

You may also be interested in the following posts.

Technology Roadmap for Energy Efficient Buildings

Green Buildings and Energy Efficiency

Beware the Shift - Energy Efficiency IS Important!

Top HVAC Trends for 2015

Editor's Note: CR4 would like to thank GEA Consulting's President, Larry Butz,, for contributing this blog entry, originally appearing at

Add a comment

Refrigerant Wars Heating Up

Posted September 16, 2015 1:00 AM by larhere

The race is on to replace high GWP refrigerants by low and medium GWP alternates.

Pressure on High GWP Refrigerants

There is growing pressure to limit and phase-out high GWP refrigerants in some countries as well as globally with talk of including HFCs within a phase-down plan under the highly successful Montreal Protocol.

High GWP commercial refrigeration refrigerants R404A and R507 with GWPs of around 3300 are being phased out in both Europe and the US over the next few years. The emergence of low/medium GWP alternatives is putting pressure to move to these new refrigerants. Even R134a with a GWP of 1430 is being replaced in European vehicle air conditioning systems by R1234yf (GWP of 4). R410A with a GWP of 2088 continues on, but for how long?

R-410A Concerns

Refrigerant manufacturers and HVAC OEMs have concluded that R410A will not survive.

R410A use began in the mid 1990's in Europe. It has grown in popularity globally in products from mini-splits to large screw chillers and most equipment in between. It is not used in centrifugal chillers. R410A is the dominant refrigerant in air conditioning systems today.

Replacing it in some, or all, of its applications is the target for today's HVAC industry.

Industry Taking Action

Refrigerant manufacturers, Chemours, Daikin, Honeywell, Arkema, Mexichem and others have come out with their own (proprietary) designs of alternatives to replace R410A. A second look is also being given to some previously discarded alternatives such as R-32 which was rejected as a replacement for R-22 in the 1990's due to non-compliance with flammability regulations in effect at the time. R-32 was eventually combined with (non-flammable) R-125 in a 50/50 mixture that was named R-410A and has well served the industry for two decades.

Since the introduction of R410A a new safety classification of "mild" flammability, A2L,has been developed which allows them to be treated with different regulations. Most of the currently proposed alternatives are A2L, including R32. This new classification has allowed the introduction of R32 and other mildly flammable blends in small charge applications such as window air conditioners and mini-splits.

Battle Lines Being Drawn

The competitive lines are being drawn with one camp promoting R32 as the preferred alternative. Daikin, a manufacturer of R32 as well as an OEM, promotes, manufactures and sells R32 units leading the way with most Japanese OEMs also manufacturing and promoting R-32 units. Daikin offers R32 units in Europe as well as a number of developing countries. In an effort to gain new R-32 supporters Daikin recently offered free access to 93 separate patents pertaining to the use or application of R32 to companies worldwide. Further efforts by Daikin include providing technical assistance and training to emerging economies such as Thailand to adopt R32 for their markets with funding from the Montreal Protocol.

The other camp is led by Chemours (formerly DuPont) promoting DR55, a blend of 67% R32, 7% R125 and 26% R1234yf, which it will market as Opteon XL55. Trane partnered with Chemours in recently displaying an air cooled chiller in Japan using DR55 and said they were also investigating its use in unitary and residential equipment. Chemours goes further, describing DR55 as being suitable for residential, light commercial and commercial window units, portables, mini-splits, ducted splits, PTACs, commercial packaged, multi-splits and DX chillers.

"With a GWP of only 676 DR55 is said to be the most optimized low GWP replacement for R410A, achieving a 5% energy efficiency improvement. It is also said to offer excellent performance in high ambient conditions and has a low temperature glide of just -1K." "XL55 (DR55) delivers improved energy efficiency, 67% GWP reduction as compared to R410A, ultra-low flammability properties, excellent performance at high ambient temperatures, and easy conversion from existing R410A designs due to very close physical properties,".

Although DR55 has the same A2L "mildly flammable" classification as R32, Chemours maintains that some global OEMs have indicated that the lower flammability properties of XL55 are compelling and are likely to be an important consideration in product selection, especially for larger charge size equipment.

Refrigerant Blends

Other refrigerant manufacturers including Honeywell, Arkema and Asahi Glass are touting the advantages oftheir unique formulations, which in some cases, contain new HFO molecules. Each component and composition is carefully optimized to create advantage in a (range of) applications. Quantifying (or monetizing) the differences and advantages/disadvantages compared to other alternatives in each application will challenge building owners, manufacturers, lawyers and the service industry for years. (Follow the links below for more details on this complex issue).

Mildly Flammable Refrigerant Use

Clearly there is, and will continue to be, a major movement into the use of mildly flammable A2L refrigerants in our industry. Revisions in safety standards that are currently being implemented are expected to allow charges of up to 60 kg.

Refrigerant Blending and Optimizing

It is unclear at this time how many winners and losers there will be, or how many different replacements there will be to R410A. What will the industry do with this newfound ability "to tradeoff some efficiency for a little less high ambient performance and a little flammability increase"? How will we value a GWP reduction from 300 to 100?

We can continue to wonder just how far we may go with the technology of customized blending of refrigerants. Anyone in the HVACR industry will need to consider this a core technology for their business.

Read more now from one of the UK's leading information sources, oCooling Post.

Is DR-55 Best Option to Replace R410A?

Daikin Gives Free Access to R32 Patents

Daikin Leads Thailand's Switch to R32

What Future for R410A?

Trane Debuts R410A Replacement

Editor's Note: CR4 would like to thank GEA Consulting's President, Larry Butz,, for contributing this blog entry, originally appearing at

Add a comment

Worldwide Energy Data and Trends

Posted August 12, 2015 1:00 AM by larhere
Pathfinder Tags: energy data energy trends trends

Energy is a leading topic for HVAC manufacturers, building owners, consultants and engineers around the world. It is a cornerstone in developing and executing a successful business strategy in today's rapidly evolving business environment where radical changes in price, availability and new energy sources compete with rapidly evolving environmental concerns and constraints.

Now, more than ever, leaders, managers, engineers need to understand the drivers in the energy industry. This starts with accurate (historical) data. Statista, a leading aggregator of data, has recently performed a study of past, present and future prices of the world's primary energies. Forecasts through 2035 are included. Examples from their slide summary can be seen below.

Download a copy of the complete PDF slide summary (Energy Prices Worldwide) complements of Industry Week.

Editor's Note: CR4 would like to thank GEA Consulting's President, Larry Butz,, for contributing this blog entry, originally appearing at

1 comments; last comment on 08/16/2015
View/add comments

Corrosion Analysis: Monitor Results

Posted July 22, 2015 1:00 AM by larhere

To mangle Dr. Seuss a little; The time has come, the time is now, to wrap up our 6-part series "A Real Corrosion Story", by discussing the final step. (I'm including links to my prior blog posts for easy reference).

1. Identify the corrosion mechanism.

2. Understand the environment, both external and internal.

3. Understand the equipment - materials of construction, operating cycles, hours.....

4. Identify alternatives - materials, coatings, limiting operating envelope, changing the environment (water treatment, alternative lubricants/refrigerants, filter the air, etc.), redesign the machine (better drainage, eliminate contact of dissimilar metals, .....)

5. Implement change.

6. Monitor results.

It seems obvious, that after all the effort, time and money we've spent completing the first 5 steps to address corrosion problems, we would take time to monitor the results and assure we've truly solved the problems we were addressing. Yet, as we all know, common sense isn't always common practice.

After changes have been implemented we're pressured, by others or by ourselves, to move on and get to work on the next item on our list of things to do. However, monitoring results doesn't need to be time consuming or difficult, but it is something that should be planned, with clear criteria established to measure how well we've done.

It's surprising how often as a consultant I've been called in to work on problems that were previously addressed by manufacturers, but nobody clearly remembers what was done to solve the problems and what the results were. All anybody knows is that something was done and now (sometimes years later) the problem is back (or never really went away).

Bottom line, follow all of the steps outlined in this 6 step process and if you happen to find you've missed something as you monitor the results, don't hesitate to go back and tweak your solution to assure you get the results you were counting on.

Editor's Note: CR4 would like to thank P J Sikorsky, GEA Consulting Associate, for contributing this blog entry, originally appearing at

1 comments; last comment on 07/23/2015
View/add comments

Previous in Blog: US Ruling Gives Supermarkets A Year To Switch From High-GWP Refrigerants  
Show all Blog Entries in this Blog