August 6, 2018
In the middle of a hot summer it’s easy to appreciate a well-functioning heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system -- one that doesn’t make you freeze at your desk, while simultaneously requiring your coworker down the hall to use a fan. Fortunately, technology makes this goldilocks situation easier to achieve, and nearly effortless to detect when a system needs attention.
Another benefit that you may not realize is that while improving occupant comfort, this technology can also reduce the energy used by the building.
Earlier this summer I had the pleasure of stopping by Trane Moves, a traveling showcase and open house, to learn all about Trane’s digital and analytical tools and capabilities.
Trane®, a world leader in indoor comfort solutions and services and a brand of Ingersoll Rand, is a company you may know for its’ HVAC equipment—however, the company also offers advanced technology tools to monitor building performance in order to ensure optimal energy efficiency and comfort.
If equipment isn’t running as expected, the company has expert technicians and project managers who can implement the right-sized solution for each client.
I learned that Trane hosts this road show each year with events in several states around the Midwest, but this year the focus turned from their physical products to their intelligent services portfolio. The showcase provided the opportunity to see the digital control systems and the dynamic information made available through them.
Jeff Seewald, Senior Energy Engineer, said about the event, “Lots of our customers are familiar with our high efficiency and sustainable equipment portfolio. Trane Moves gives us an opportunity to share our expertise in building and energy performance tools, which is where the real opportunity for energy savings and optimization can be found.”
The event also featured the opportunity to test a virtual reality experience to get a glimpse of how a chiller operates, learning about each component, and putting it back together again. Chillers are large and complex configured HVAC systems used in commercial buildings to manage temperature control in complex environments (think hospitals, universities, shopping centers, etc.). Since HVAC systems are one of the largest consumers of energy in a building, this demo could be a training tool for technicians and facility managers. It’s a great way to show just how futuristic work in the energy efficiency sector can be.
Energy efficiency means savings
Efficiency is an essential part of Minnesota’s clean energy ecosystem. Energy efficiency helps commercial and industrial (and residential) customers save money on their utility bills and run leaner operations, which is often critical to a strong bottom-line and to fulfill corporate commitments related to sustainability.
Energy efficiency also provides system-wide benefits. It allows utilities to provide reliable service at least cost to everyone, and, importantly, it avoids the need for new power plants that all customers pay for through their electric rates.
The State of Minnesota is a leader in energy efficiency programs (it’s true—our state is rated #9 on the ACEEE list) and there are almost 45,000 Minnesotans working in the energy efficiency sector as software implementers, contractors, engineers and technicians, including many talented folks at Trane.
- By Lily Osborne