Friday, 27 January 2017

Inspired thinking

In this month's #Build2Perform podcast, CIBSE PR and Communications Executive Matt Snowden spoke to Ant Wilson, Director of Building Engineering at AECOM, about his career, inspirations, and his opinions on some pressing issues in building services.

Opening up the paper to check the New Year Honours list isn't something that the majority of us will ever have to concern ourselves with, but it recently became a reality for AECOM Director of Building and CIBSE veteran Ant Wilson MBE. Ant will be familiar to many at the Institution, being part of CIBSE life for most of the last 40 years and lending his expertise to countless committees, groups, societies and technical projects.

A silver medal winner and Fellow of the institution, rarely has the citation in an award for 'services to Engineering' been so apt, as Ant has lent his time to a huge variety of areas across the industry - from young engineers and BIM, to lighting and facades. I sat down with him on one of this many visits to Balham, to have a chat about his recent honour, and to get his views on his last 40 years in building services.

Ant Wilson is a well-known and respected figure in the building services industry who has been involved in a wide range of CIBSE activities, including building modelling, façade engineering, lighting, carbon reduction and energy certification. He has been an advisor to government on building regulations for many years, and was awarded Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2015.

His outstanding work in the wider industry has been reflected in his extensive work for CIBSE. As well as being a CIBSE Council member from 2003-2009, he also served on the CIBSE Carbon Task Force, was a founding member of the Society of Façade Engineering committee, is a Fellow of the Society of Light and Lighting and currently serves on the CIBSE Certification Advisory Group and on the CIBSE Knowledge Programme Sub Committee.

Other accolades include the ACE Engineering Ambassadors award and the Institute of Mechanical Engineers award for promotion of construction and building services. He has also served his local church in Dunstable for over thirty years.

Friday, 20 January 2017

CIBSE Year in Pictures

It's a new year and a new start, but let's not forget all that came before in 2016! PR and Communications Executive Matt Snowden presents a picture gallery of some of 2016's best moments from head office, the regions, the groups and societies and beyond!

It's been quite a year here at CIBSE, with enough launches, awards, events and milestones to fill a decade. CIBSE has a dedicated network of members, volunteers and staff all around the globe who are striving to spread the art and science of building services engineering, and to make the industry and the planet a better place as a whole. Below is a slideshow of snaps to show just some of the things you got up to over the last 12 months.

(Note: The slideshow is best viewed in full screen mode. To access full screen mode, click the arrows in the bottom right-hand corner. To view captions, click 'show info' in the top right-hand corner)

Friday, 13 January 2017

Northern lights

The 2016 awards season has come and gone, and the year's achievements have been well and truly celebrated. But this year saw the launch of a ceremony with a difference. Simon Owen, Director at Calibre Search and Chair of the CIBSE Yorkshire Region, looks back at the first services awards outside London.

On the 18th November I nervously welcomed over 300 guests to the Royal Armouries in Leeds. A marked departure from their traditional annual dinner, the Yorkshire Region Awards 2016 (CYAs) were a first for a CIBSE region, the organising committee and the only services specific awards outside London. I need not have been too concerned, because behind me were a small army from a range of sponsors and entrants plus industry recognised speakers and a small group of volunteers who ensured the events success.

The CIBSE Yorkshire Awards are not mine, theirs or CIBSE’s: we wanted to create an opportunity for the Yorkshire Building Services family to gain recognition for their achievements to enable professional and commercial benefit for themselves and the whole industry; we have merely facilitated, and that opportunity was certainly taken.
The CIBSE Yorkshire Awards are about more than just the trophies
Certainly, trophies were given: to those with the highest CPD hours as well as the more traditional “X of the Year” awards for Project, Small and Large Consultancy in addition to categories for Students, Manufacturers and Facilities Management teams. But it wasn’t just an evening for back-slapping and handing out prizes – we also wanted those who attended to come away with some genuinely new and inspiring ideas that they could then share throughout their businesses and networks in Yorkshire and beyond.

Addressing the audience, Chris Gorse from Leeds Sustainability Institute discussed climate change and the role of building services engineers in educating clients and creating solutions. As well as quoting Spiderman (“with great power, comes even great responsibility”), he issued this call to action:

“As services engineers, the most powerful Environmental Engineers in construction, we have to innovate to help sustain the things we have grown to love.”

Chris Gorse from Leeds Sustainability Institute
There were a lot of exciting, innovative and interesting projects on show. While Adam Smith from The Real Junk Food Project, (TRJFP) had to withdraw from speaking, their work is deep, green thinking. By intercepting food surplus and distributing it on a Pay as You Feel basis, TRJFP has created training opportunities, enhanced feelings of self worth and reconnected people with their senses around food and social value. Using the example that of a 40% waste allowance when externally insulating a house, there must be scope for a similar scheme in construction.

This, and other projects exhibited on the night, are a perfect example of what the Awards were about. We’re not here to pontificate, and tell the industry what they should be doing in building. We’re here to show by example what is possible, and demonstrate the enormous benefits that innovating along similar lines can bring. To inspire, rather than insist.

In a similar vein, we were joined by three great speakers who certainly inspired. The first was Peter Hansford, former Chief Construction Adviser, who gave a brief overview of the industry; the innovation, the world class expertise and the ability of UK companies to compete on the world wide stage. Peter also discussed the looming skills shortage affecting not just construction, but all industries, and so the need for construction to compete for the talent it needs to ensure its future success.

This led on to Helen Vardy of King Ecgbert School in Sheffield, whose pupils won the Class of Your Own (COYO) design competition to design a school for the Parabongo region of Uganda. She told the audience what COYO brought to her students and how it gave them an insight in to all aspects of building engineering as well as the chance to use the same tools that the industry does, in the same way.

To prove this Alison Watson from COYO launched her #BuildParabongo crowd funding campaign to take the King Ecgbert team’s design, which has since had detail design input from Arup and BAM providing costing information, and turn it in to a real, live school for the community.
The University of Bradford team with their award
In another departure from tradition, as well as raising funds at the Awards, guests also donated time and skills to The Real Junk Food Project and COYO by making pledges. This was inspired by Adam Smith’s Pay as You Feel model which demonstrates that everyone has something to offer beyond currency.

Peter Hansford summed up the night itself and its goal of creating a forward thinking legacy:

"The CIBSE Yorkshire Awards was a great success.  My congratulations to all the award winners.  I hope that many of your members take up the call to help inspire the next generation into construction, by supporting Class of Your Own and its #BuildParabongo appeal."

Given the format of the evening, the financial donations coupled with the pledges made to give time and skills to the Real Junk Food Project and COYO as well as the Awards themselves, there is a good chance that hope will be fulfilled. We're already getting the 2017 edition in the calendar, so if this sounds like something you'd like to be part of - visit the website.

Friday, 6 January 2017

A chill in the air

With a United Nations agreement promising to slash the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in refrigeration and air conditioning systems by 85% by the 2040s, we have been covering the race to find a suitable replacement. This week, Simon Lamberton-Pine, Managing Director of DPAC UK, makes the case for a different kind of chiller...

'Absorption is the process in which a fluid is dissolved by a liquid or a solid (absorbent). Adsorption is the process in which atoms, ions or molecules from a substance (it could be gas, liquid or dissolved solid) adhere to a surface of the adsorbent. Adsorption is a surface-based process where a film of adsorbate is created on the surface while absorption involves the entire volume of the absorbing substance.' "Absorption vs Adsorption." Diffen LLC, n.d. Web. 29 Dec 2016

Ok, so now the technical explanation is done, lets move on to why you should be considering the use of ADSORPTION, which is the main reason for writing this feature! But before that perhaps it would be better to look at the features, potential uses, and applications of the technology.

Adsorption causes molecules to adhere to a surface rather than add to
its mass, as in absorption
As a result of the recent HFC Phase out programme, there is heightened interest in environmentally friendly and sustainable alternatives to traditional chillers for cooling use in commercial and industrial applications. Most of these are already well known (absorption, CO2, propane, ammonia – among others) however probably the least well known is adsorption.

Adsorption equipment is only currently available from a handful of manufacturers, and therefore their individual product designs vary, however their principle of operation is the same. Adsorption chillers are ideal when used 24/7,  operate at high efficiency – even with variable loads, and also produce chilled water rapidly from start-up.

Chillers, which often have 25yr lives, will
be most affected by the new rules
An Adsorption chiller is a highly reliable, virtually zero maintenance, efficient solution that uses waste heat i.e. from CHP or Solar to produce chilled water, which can then be used for air conditioning cooling or connected for refrigeration applications. Adsorption technology produces chilled water down to as low as 3º C which is ideal for any application with a high cooling demand such as Commercial offices, Process cooling, Supermarkets, and Data centres.

The chillers can be used in applications where there is a waste heat source, i.e heat recovery off a process, Biomass Boilers, Solar Panels, District Heating or via a CHP process. These highly efficient chillers provide great cooling capabilities and uses water as its cooling agent, so it’s highly environmentally friendly.

With water as the refrigerant, any piping or valve installation can be undertaken easily as there are no hazardous substances such as lithium bromide or ammonia. The chillers have long life expectancies of 20-30 years and end of life disposal is easy as the chillers have no hazardous refrigerants to dispose of.

For more information on the above, watch these videos by SorTech AG on the Technology and Applications of adsorption chillers.

Adsorption chillers can cool buildings using their own waste heat, which
is idea for use in data centres
Primary advantages
  • Adsorption chillers can deliver a substantial reduction in both primary energy consumption and carbon emissions.
  • Adsorption chillers can operate efficiently with a lower heat source thereby delivering cooling solutions to a wide range of applications.
  • Maintenance is kept to a minimum because the Adsorption chillers use such a simple process; the downtime is minimal with no potential crystallization issues associated with Absorption
  • Long life cycle 20- 30 years of operation.
  • Adsorption chillers can be utilized with dry coolers available in micro channel design from DPAC
  • The are no hazardous substances within the chiller (i.e. HFC’s, lithium bromide or ammonia); it uses silica gel (a natural substance) and water as a refrigerant. Therefore, the whole process is highly environmentally friendly - right through to end of life disposal
  • Additionally, our Sortech models are available in a variety of smaller capacities from just 10Kw, which can easily be connected. By coupling individual modules, projects can be applied up to a nominal capacity of 310 kW
  • The cooling water evaporates in a vacuum and thereby extracts heat from its surroundings (evaporating-energy). Through this process, cooling takes place. There are no high voltage motors or large compressors and no special external temperature controls are required for capacity control or to protect the chiller
Adsorption chillers keep maintenance costs down by reducing the amount
of equipment required
UK based M&E Consultants, Contractors and FM Businesses should now be considering adsorption equipment as an alternative (particularly if they know of a project with waste heat availability) and in most cases, they are far more cost effective, being more efficient and with substantially lower running costs. Obviously, there are pros and cons to all types of cooling equipment and in particular to adsorption equipment, but one of the biggest pros is that adsorption equipment is available through the Government backed grant scheme, however there are some criteria that must be met before being considered. 

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is a UK Government scheme set up to encourage uptake of renewable heat technologies amongst householders, communities, and businesses through financial incentives. It is the first of its kind in the world and the UK Government expects the RHI to contribute towards the 2020 ambition of 12% of heating coming from renewable sources. The Renewable Heat Incentive has two schemes - Domestic and Non-Domestic. They have separate tariffs, joining conditions, rules, and application processes. 

The Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is open to industrial, commercial, public sector and non-profit organisations with eligible installations in Great Britain. This includes small Businesses, Hospitals, Schools as well as district heating schemes where one installation serves multiple homes. To qualify for the non-domestic or commercial RHI grant the installation must supply renewable heat to an eligible load and be supplied by an eligible source.

Adsorption chillers work with renewable heat sources, such as
 water source heat pumps, so are eligible for grants
The RHI will support heat where that heat is used in a building for ‘eligible purposes’, for example, heating a space, heating water or for carrying out a process where the heat is used and the heat must be transmitted by water or steam. For a building to qualify for space heating it must be totally enclosed and considered permanent.

Process heating can be: the use of heat to carry out a specific process such as industrial cooking, drying (including drying of wood and other biomass fuels), pasteurization or chemicals manufacture. Other examples include heat that is used for cooling, e.g. passing renewable heat through absorption chillers. Eligible sources of renewable heat are, the air for air to water heat pumps and water, ground or recovered heat for ground source installations. Recovered heat must not exceed 2/5 the of the entire heat production.

For adsorption equipment, the important section for the RHI grant is the lower temperatures of adsorption machines working down to 50 degrees in association with Ground Source Heat Pumps and are therefore entirely suitable for RHI grants.

The renewable heat incentive is paid quarterly based on the measured amount of heat produced in the installation. Ground and water source installations attract a two-tier grant payment in the form of £0.0895 per Kw hour thermal for the first 1314 run hours per annum and £0.0267 for the remainder of the eligible heat production per annum. Air source installations attract a flat rate of £0.0257 Kw hour thermal per annum. The tariff levels increase each year currently matching the RPI inflationary index.