Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Top Ten HVAC Predictions for 2015

It’s time for my long awaited top 10 predictions for 2015. I am becoming a bit pessimistic in my predictions. If I get a high score next January, it will mean the industry has failed its customers - building occupants.

1. LEED V4 will get less and less buy-in. Since there is no enforcement or post construction check, the LEED rating has no teeth --- but it gets “feel good” points from the “greens”. None from me though.

2. Installed linear diffusers will still fail to have pattern controllers set prior to balancing. Sadly, this is likely a gimmee. When asked, neither balancers, contractors, or design engineers take any responsibility for assuring this gets done. Building occupants will suffer, but everyone else gets paid.

3. The Variable Volume Series Fan Powered Box will be recognized as a really effective way to design an energy efficient HVAC system.

4. There will still be no new published, peer reviewed, energy savings data for any of the “energy saving” systems (VRF, displacement, underfloor, or chilled beams), but engineers will continue to claim energy savings compared to overhead systems to get LEED or Energy Star ratings. This is likely another gimmee, but I can hope.

5. The AHRI / ASHRAE study on whole system energy use of fan powered boxes will start to be integrated into the Energy Plus and possibly Trane Trace and Carrier HAP energy models under an AHRI research program. This is one I hope I win.

6. The number 1 complaint I hear is that offices get cold in the afternoon. No kidding. Design loads are overestimated by likely a factor of five. I predict this will not change in 2015… Another one I wish to lose.

7. The market for HVAC components will again be up about 5% with pent-up demand slowly coming back.

8. VAV overhead air distribution will continue to be (by far) the most used system in new buildings. As loads decrease, it will become more apparent that the ventilation load in the interior is the predominant building load.

9. While many VAV box schedules will continue to show design discharge temperatures in excess of 90°F, a number of engineers will finally get it.

10. The Cowboys will prove to be unpredictable. After last season, one has hope, but I wouldn’t bet any money. I predict a 9-7 season.

Authored by: Dan Int-Hout, Chief Engineer Krueger