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08-25-2010, 01:25 PM #1Professional Member
- Join Date
- Feb 2007
- Hanoi, Vietnam
Murphy's Law: HVAC for The Age - Article and its Comments
I read this article a long time ago, when it published in 2008. The article and its comments are also impressed on me, so I shared it here.
Murphy’s Law: HVAC for The Ages
by Mike Murphy
July 7, 2008
Heating has been around since the caveman days, but cooling didn’t really catch fire until the late 1940s and early 50s. Back in the 50s this business was all about comfort. We didn’t know anything about saving money. Comfort was all there was.
The story goes that having those early air conditioning units actually cost people more money to operate compared to the alternative. The alternative was to come home from work, park your butt in a big old naugahyde recliner, and sweat until it was time to go to bed. Didn’t cost very much, but it wasn’t very comfortable.
Well, you know what happened. Manufacturers found they couldn’t build enough a/c units to keep up with demand and install them, too. So, a/c contractors became in quite high demand. Everybody was selling comfort!
Along came the 1970s with oil embargoes and long lines at the gas pumps. Some enterprising HVAC contractors discovered that payback and return on investment were catchy phrases that made customers take notice of HVAC energy costs.
Today, it’s coming full circle. Comfort and energy costs are all the rage once again — and at the same time. The big difference is that a new term has crept into the HVAC jargon — green.
I think green encompasses everything that is right about conserving resources, and that there is no reason a person can’t be comfortable while being green.
What a combination for an HVAC contractor to be selling: green, comfort, and energy efficiency.
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Title: HVAC for the ages
By: Robin Boyd
Posted: July 14, 2008 5:51 PM
Green is nothing more then a marketing cliche when it comes to mechanical cooling. No matter how efficient we make mechanical cooling, it will never be environmentally friendly. We certainly have made strides in making mechanical cooling less harmful, but it is not something that harmonizes with nature.
Keeping cool has been sought after as long as keeping warm has. Keeping warm has been a neccesity in many regions of the Earth whereas keeping cool is for the most part only a comfort issue. Staying alive should demand more of our attention then staying comfy, but we have become more and more willing to pay for both as long as we feel we are paying less.
I for one am glad we are so demanding of comfort. As an HVAC professional, I just love that we keep coming up with different ways to get consumers to justify their desire to be comfortable. I sell comfort and efficicency to contractors and they sell comfort and efficiency to the consumers. If tossing in the term "green" makes the process go even smoother, then I'm all for being green as well.
04-11-2011, 07:43 PM #2
344 clicks for thisYou sure are cocky for a starving pilgrim.
05-03-2011, 10:10 AM #3New Guest
- Join Date
- May 2011
- East Texas
hi guys , newbie here. thought I would ask an opion on the green issue. if I am correct, we went away from R22 because it is bad for our enviorment (high ODP #) and the industry decided on R410a . R410a has a low ODP but has a high GWP. everyone says the 410 is a product of the green evolution,but it seems like a lateral move to me.... input wanted..thanks
06-07-2012, 01:55 AM #4
We just have to wait for the next big thing... they are using natural refrigerants but things like ammonia and water haven't caught on. Chilled water is way to complicated for smaller systems and wastes water... so yeah I would agree with the lateral movement but at least we are no longer stagnate like we were... more new technology has come out in the last 10 years than ever before that.
06-07-2012, 01:51 PM #5
Maybe you're thining about water cooled chillers that have evaporative cooling towers. Yes, those do use a lot of water and most homeownesr can't figure out how to change an air filter more or less manage tower water quality.
There's no free lunch. But i think we can make great strides by building better homes and designing and installing HVAC equipmnt correctly. We don't do a very good job on average of the first two.
06-07-2012, 11:25 PM #6
06-07-2012, 01:30 PM #7
Chill water uses refrigerant and make up doesnt equate to waste. The " technology " jump was pushed
by the green energy movement is a step backwards when it cmes to 410A. Increases in effciency are more of a response to higher energy prices.
Ammonia has been around for ever. Low temp industrial coolers usebit.
Its cheap but corrosive and extremely hazardous.
06-07-2012, 01:46 PM #8
Ammonia from what I've read is a superior refrigerant, but ya, it's sort, like, uh deadly. There's also Propane and Butane I believe. But using it for direct combustion is harzardous enough, Putting it in a pressurized system probably isn't a great idea inside a home. Plus the equipment would get pricey. Half of the condenser would probably need to be at least Div 2 XP.
10-30-2012, 02:26 AM #9
Let me start off by saying R-717 (Ammonia) IS the superior refrigerant, totally 100% Green, if you will.
Secondly, I agree with motoguy128, Chillers are VERY EASY and typically Chillers are WAY too expensive for smaller applications. However, to comment on the second thing he/she said about the homeowner being, "ignorant" about changing the air filters - this is also true, I'm not sure if we will ever see (or at least in my lifetime) chilled water systems paired with low pressure boilers to heat and cool residential homes. I would however like to pass on an expirence I had with a former co-worker of mine. He was a great Boiler / Chiller Operator and I was luckly enough to see his home one day, This guy had a Chiller System piped under his floors and in his walls with a Low Pressure (Maxed at 7psi) boiler piped parallel with the chiller system to heat and cool his house, No fans at all. He used R-22 to chill the water and even had a water management system in his basement. I asked him how was he able to afford not only the install, but the monthly up keep on this system, well, his wife was some VP of a big food company but anyways, the system in his house was second to none, one of the coolest (no point intended) Home system set-ups I've ever seen. Very cool.
10-30-2012, 09:16 PM #10
I could see chillers becomming practical as loads in homes drop consistently to 2 tons or less. Consider a nearly net zero 2000sqftg home. It might only need 1.5 tons and most of that latent load and ventilation. Perfect for chilled water paired with a combi boiler for dhw and using say 95f water off the condenser as well for ideal dehumidification and heat recovery. Additionally both could also be used for other enrgy intensive tasks such as drying laundry.
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Last edited by motoguy128; 10-30-2012 at 09:35 PM.