Choosing the Right Heating System for your Facility

Understanding the Pros and Cons of Each System Can Help You Avoid Poor IAQ and Unnecessary Cost

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Is the heating bill for your plant or warehouse too high? What about cold dock door areas and unbalanced temperatures? Is negative building pressure a problem? Do your employees complain about it being too cold making it harder for them to do their job? Do you have high maintenance costs from existing heating equipment?

These are just a few common problems that result from selecting the wrong heating system, misplacing your heaters so they can’t reach their full potential or using obsolete technology. What factors determine the best space heating system? Everyone wants a heating & ventilating system that meets their unique requirements at the lowest total cost. Before selecting a heater, define the heating/ventilating requirements and understand all the cost factors that determine the true lowest total cost solution for a specific facility.

BOILER SYSTEMS

One of the oldest forms of heating, boilers have been in existence since about the 1800’s and are still a preferred Boiler Heating Systemsystem of heating in large industrial facilities where remote plants deliver steam and hot water to satellite locations to circulate through heat exchangers. These exchangers can be part of unit heaters, make up air systems, or anywhere a heat exchanger can be installed. While huge advances in boiler technologies have evolved over the past few years, boiler systems are typically the most inefficient heating technology – with the highest overall installed cost, the highest cost to maintain and repair, and a huge level of stratification of the surrounding air. When discussing boiler replacements or supplemental heating with contractors, it’s very important to consider the overall operating and maintenance costs of these systems. Boilers require maintenance to ensure they operate at their peak efficiency.  Parts such as valves, traps and fittings wear out over time. While the boiler system generates the heat, they also require a distribution system – such as unit heaters or make up air systems.  A lot of mechanical components to consider.

Unit Heater Heating SystemUNIT HEATERS

The most basic of all heating technologies, unit heaters are inexpensive to purchase and have good familiarity by most contractors and engineers. The redundant design makes servicing by contractors very simple. They are fairly effective in zone heating. Unit heaters promote poor indoor air quality and huge levels of stratification in the space upwards of 20-30 degrees without adding additional HVLS fans.  They offer a low temperature rise versus direct fired technologies, a higher operating cost, and cannot combat dock door infiltration.

INFRARED OR RADIANT TUBE HEATERS

While infrared or tube heaters are good for zone and spot heating applications, they should never be used as the sole source of heating large spaces.  Radiant heaters offer a relatively low operating cost and a way to heat tools, work stations, and people without consuming floor space.  Radiant heaters do not offer indoor air quality benefits nor any ventilation in the summer. They do not promote air mixing and have a high installation cost due to line of sight restrictions and coverage limitations.

RECIRCULATION 80/20 SYSTEMS

Recirculation systems or 80/20 systems are typically thought to be more efficient than other technologies due to the fact that a large amount, up to 80% of the air moved is recirculated, thus not requiring a large amount of gas to heat it up. Recirculation units are widely used to combat facilities with mechanical exhaust systems, especially when variable CFM is needed. They typically regulate the amount of outside air they introduce, based off the CFM needs of the building itself. Typically, fewer units are necessary and they do a decent job of providing summer ventilation. Recirculation systems are draw thru systems with a minimal effective temperature rise of about 40-50F. When dock doors are open in a facility, the recirculation units will be driven to 100% outside air and with discharge temperatures ranging between 80-100F, they must run continuously to cycle enough CFM to make up the temperature and pressure drop. The recirculation units are very large and heavy, requiring larger cranes, structural modifications, and much larger first cost and operating costs. They are not certified for use in Canada and with recirculation of air and contaminants, products of combustion can build up in the space.

Air Turnover Heating SystemAIR TURNOVER (AIR ROTATION)

Air turnover has been marketed as a package system to industrial customers since its inception in the 1920’s.  While marketed as a single piece of equipment (a large tower set in the corner of a warehouse space), the greatest advantage of air turnover is the ability to provide BOTH tempered heating and cooling to a space.  Air turnover systems offer decent heating with limited stratification due to the massive volume of air they recirculate in the space.  This air mass is moved due to a continuous operation and very large horse power motors driving the fans.   Air turnover units provide a very low temperature rise of between 20-30 degrees and a discharge temperature of about 80-90 degrees.

DIRECT-FIRED MAKEUP AIR SYSTEMS


Direct-Fired Makeup Air units provide required ventilation to meet indoor air quality needs with efficiencies between 90-92% AFUE.   Widely beneficial in buildings with fixed CFM needs due to mechanical exhaust, makeup air units provide a fixed volume of air independent of the heat they provide.   With a lower discharge velocity at the plenum, air typically does not hit the floor to sweep and de-stratify the space and can lead to lower employee comfort levels.  The fixed CFM blowers require larger HP motors with over-pressurization of spaces a reality.  Larger motors, lower temperature rise, and less efficient design require more energy to run.

While Cambridge uses our Blow-thru design of the S-Series and SA-Series heaters to heat, a lot of manufacturers use makeup air units attempting to do the same.  In places where there are warmer climates and less winter cold, makeup air systems offer a way to temper the outside winter air thru a lower temperature rise of between 100° and 120°F and a draw thru design.  This places the mechanical components in the hot air stream.  For heating applications, we recommend our S-Series and SA-Series heaters.  With a Blow-thru design, our mechanicals are in the cold air stream.  The position of the blower relative to the burner and the burner’s ability to discharge 160°F, provides advantages over ANY makeup air unit – more air mass and higher temperature rise.  This provides the most BTUs per CFM from any manufacturer.

Cambridge’s M-series make up air units are designed to temper the air in situations where there is a lot of fixed or variable exhaust.  They can be interlocked with existing exhaust fans or outfitted with variable frequency drives.  Our units can come with fully modulating burners and automatic profile adjustment dampers.

Hopefully, the topic we’ve outlined today will help prepare you to address any technology claim from other manufacturers. As always, feel free to contact us with any questions. We can easily accommodate lunch and learns, audio and video conferencing, phone, or face to face sales calls.

Know the Difference Between HTHV and 80/20 Technologies – It Makes a Difference To Your IAQ!

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For years High Temperature Heating and Ventilation (HTHV), a direct-fired 100% outside air technology, and 80/20 direct-fired units have been heating solutions used for new construction and retrofit projects throughout the US with little attention to the differences in Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) from both products. However, when it comes to IAQ there are significant differences between these two technologies – HTHV being the clear winner.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance1.

Among the frequently asked questions on the OSHA website is one concerning IAQ:

What is considered good IAQ?

The qualities of good IAQ should include comfortable temperature and humidity, adequate supply of fresh outdoor air, and control of pollutants from inside and outside of the building2.

It is these pollutants, and the amount of the pollutants in parts per million (PPM), that differentiate 100% outside air HTHV technologies apart from 80/20 units. Both OSHA and the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) set limits on what the acceptable PPMs for different pollutants are for working environments. The performance and safety standards set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) are z83.4 for 100% outside air non-recirculating direct gas-fired industrial air heaters and z83.18 for 80/20 recirculating direct gas-fired industrial air heaters. The infographic below helps illustrate the differing amount of pollutants in PPM between HTHV and 80/20 units along with the acceptable limits for these pollutants in both the US and Canada.

1 Reference OSHA website: www.osha.gov/about.html
2 Reference OSHA website: www.osha.gov/OSHA_FAQs.html

What Type of Cambridge Unit Do I Need?

It's not always as clear as you might think

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When it comes to determining they types of Cambridge Engineering units that you would need to heat and ventilate your facility the answer is not always easy. You might have a small building with just basic heating needs. Or you might have a large facility that has mechanical exhaust and you need equipment that provides both exhaust replenishment and heating. Either way, knowing which products you need to provide the best indoor air quality for your facility is not always cut and dry.

So take a minute and read over the infographic below.  It asks some very basics questions that can provide a general guide as to what Cambridge products are available to help you with your heating, ventilation and exhaust replenishment needs.

 

But don’t stop here. Take the next step and engage our exceptional sales team who will work with you to determine the size and type of Cambridge units that you will need to meet your facilities requirements. Just visit us a www.cambridge-eng.com or click heres to schedule a meeting with our sales team.

Why Dedicated HVAC Systems Are Better for Your Facility

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For the facility’s unique processes and requirements, your team has designed and optimized every aspect of your operation. This optimization has become a minimum requirement for continued operation. But utilities and your HVAC systems are often thought of as ancillary systems. They become outdated and even neglected, despite this optimization of processes.

For facility leaders, minimizing or eliminating any process interruption is always top of mind. And you must ensure that regulatory and safety requirements are met at all times. As a result of these and other operational pressures, you probably undertake frequent routine maintenance if you have an aging facility system. For you, these aging systems with like-for-like replacement lead to increased labor investment, higher operational costs, and shorter total system lifecycle.

Production processes and technologies have changed

Many facilities’ current boiler-driven process systems barely resemble their original design. Increasing the size of these systems to handle the heating requirements as well as the process loads added massive complexity and simply doesn’t make sense today.

Instead of investing incrementally in an antiquated system, it is far more efficient financially and energy wise to take advantage of the dedicated system technology available today. Rather than continual reactive fixes, a proactive plan pays big dividends for the entire operation, from production efficiency, to air quality, comfort level, and more.

By retrofitting your existing heating, ventilating, and process steam systems with right-sized and right-located dedicated systems, you can:

  • Reduce energy costs
  • Reduce maintenance costs
  • Reduce operating costs
  • Reduce asset replacement costs
  • Reduce system complexity

 Dedicated space heating is better

 Dedicated direct-fired High Temperature Heating & Ventilating technologies like the Cambridge S-Series can provide the most cost-effective way to meet comfort requirements year round. With 20% to 70% energy savings, flexible installation configuration, and minimum operations interruption, these dedicated systems can be used to solve a myriad of problems.

Dedicated makeup air is better

 Dedicated direct-fired natural gas Outside Air Units (makeup air units) like the Cambridge M-Series provide extreme efficiency and effectiveness to solve complex building pressurization problems. Left unresolved, these pressure challenges could cause comfort, process, or indoor air quality problems. With full gas modulation and optional Variable Frequency Drives, the M-Series ranges from 1000 CFM to 100,000 CFM and 100MBH to 9000MBH, meeting the toughest of ventilation requirements.

Once you have dedicated systems handling the space heating and ventilating loads, your team can concentrate on meeting the unique process needs with the most energy-efficient and code-compliant boiler. Additionally, since the process load has been isolated, you can run the boiler at a more consistent operating window, raising the efficiency even more. Minimizing the size of this unit significantly decreases maintenance cost and complexity with fewer steam traps, steam leaks, and miles of pipes to manage.

By embracing cutting-edge dedicated systems technology, facility leaders can spend less initially to purchase and install right-sized boiler systems. Additionally, you will realize ROI quickly with lower energy consumption and operating costs, as well as longer system lifecycle.

 

For more information on our industrial retorfit solutions visit www.cambridge-eng.com/irg

Building Owners Earn Big Tax Break for New HVAC

HVAC Retrofits Bring Big New Tax Breaks

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We recently heard some great news from our tax advisors: Cambridge Engineering customers can immediately deduct 50 percent of the cost of our HVAC equipment when it is installed as a retrofit in a commercial building. The new rule applies to a variety of building improvements and renovations made in 2016 and 2017 – and HVAC equipment is included as an eligible deduction.

This is a big win for building owners! If you’ve been considering replacing your facility’s old or inefficient space heating and ventilation equipment, now is the time to do it.  The 50 percent “bonus deduction” will taper down to lower percentages after 2017, and will go away completely in 2020.

Accelerate Your Depreciation on Building Improvements

This gift from the IRS marks a significant change from past deduction allowances. HVAC equipment has always been considered part of the physical structure of the building, so until now it could not be depreciated at an accelerated rate in the same way that capital equipment can be depreciated. In the past, building improvements have been depreciated over 39 years. That’s a pretty long time to realize the benefits, and not much of an incentive to invest in building improvements.

Now, with the new rules, that’s all changed. Tax deductions for building improvements should be on everyone’s minds this year and next.

Save Energy Right Away with HTHV Technology

Here’s another reason to act soon: when you replace old equipment with Cambridge’s HTHV (high temperature heating and ventilation) products, you’ll notice a big difference right away on your utility bills. If you’re replacing old boilers the savings can be as much as 40 to 70 percent. You’ll save at least 20 percent when you replace gas-fired, standard unit heaters.

You can’t argue with those numbers. Our customers have enjoyed significant savings on their energy bills!

Cambridge HTHV is an investment that keeps paying for itself because of the remarkable energy efficiency.

Find Out More

Want to learn more about the new tax perks for commercial buildings? Here’s a great article from our tax advisors:  http://www.uhy-us.com/News-Events/Article/752/New-2016-Tax-Perks-of-a-Company-Interior-Building-Renovation

We urge you to talk to your tax advisor or CFO about your commercial building and how you can qualify for what the IRS is calling Qualified Improvement Property. Just remember that after 2017, the tax benefits begin to shrink. So it’s in your best interest to invest sooner rather than later.

Besides HVAC, the tax deduction can apply to improvements to lighting, electrical, plumbing, permanent floor coverings, and non-load bearing walls. Again, half of the cost of these expenditures can be deducted in the year the assets are placed in service. This could be a significant benefit for any companies with plans to remodel.

Thanks for taking the time to read our blog. We value every customer and strive to bring you timely, helpful information to make your job and your company a success!

Energy Efficienct Direct Fired HTHV Products qualify for Rebates

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Another reason to get excited about HTHV technology?

Building owners and facility managers can receive additional gas utility rebates when purchasing and installing HTHV technology.

rebate

For years, both electric and natural gas utilities have offered rebates for energy efficient products, and direct gas-fired HTHV is no different. Natural gas utilities across the country have been providing custom rebates for HTHV products through their commercial and industrial rebate programs for over a decade.

Because of the DOE’s study on the benefits of HTHV equipment, many natural gas utilities are adding prescriptive rebates for HTHV products to the already available custom rebates. Amounts vary by utility, but rebates can provide as much as $12,800 in rebate funding for a 3.2 million Btu heater, promoting the installation of even the largest heaters available.

Combining rebates with the gas savings that a 92% efficiency HTHV heater provides can help drive down the return on investment that today’s building owners and facility managers need to meet when purchasing capital equipment.

If you need help applying for your rebates, feel free to contact Cambridge Client Care at 888-919-1887. Our representatives understand the steps and are more than willing to assist you.

Now it’s easier and more cost effective than ever to install HTHV technology.

High Efficiency Space Heaters Get DOE’s Attention

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Over the past 25 years, ASHRAE has dramatically increased the minimum efficiency requirements for commercial buildings and their associated equipment. The direct result:

• 44% improvement in lighting efficiency
• 27% improvement in cooling efficiency
• 21% improvement in building envelope efficiency
• 37% improvement in commercial building efficiency overall
• But only 1% improvement in heating efficiency

With such a small increase in heating efficiency compared to other categories, High Temperature Heating and Ventilation (HTHV) direct gas-fired heaters caught the attention of the Department of Energy (DOE) as a way to dramatically reduce energy consumption.

Field Demonstration of High Efficiency Gas Heaters

In many commercial and industrial buildings, unit heaters are the popular choice for space heating. But, according to ASHRAE, these buildings require ventilation systems in addition to space heating in order to meet code. With separate systems providing space heating and outside air, most buildings have complex heating systems that consume too much energy.

Wanting to find out for themselves the viability of the HTHV technology, the DOE conducted their own independent study.

They discovered that direct-fired HTHV demonstrated 20% gas savings compared to standard unit heaters, a margin that could substantially reduce energy consumption and utility bills for commercial and industrial buildings in the U.S.

Direct-fired technologies have been widely adopted as high-efficiency ventilation units. The DOE’s study has proved HTHV’s viability in increasing heating efficiency in the United States, an area that not seen much improvement in the past 25 years.

Click here to download the full DOE study >>

Variable Ventilation Controls on Cambrige MAUs

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Here is a short 2 minute and 30 second video about 3 available options on Cambridge Engineering’s Make Up Air Units. Watch the video to learn about our Modulating Gas Controls, Variable Frequency Drives and Automated Profile Damper controls.

Thanks for watching.

Is it “Heating & Ventilating Technology” or “Ventilating and Heating Technology?” That is the Question!

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As our clients navigate HVAC system design for high bay facilities such as distribution centers or industrial manufacturing plants, they are often asked to recommend a design that accomplishes 3 key deliverables.

1.) Meet variable ventilation requirements
2.) Meet heating requirements / (Consider air load and conductive load and comfort requirements)
3.) Evaluate redundancy to eliminate production and/or service interruptions

Warehouse

As a manufacturer of high efficiency heating technologies (S-Series, SA-Series, Infrared) and ventilating technologies (M-Series, M-Series w/Cooling) we first seek understanding regarding how the building will be operated in order to recommend a heating platform, a ventilation platform, or both. While the core technologies are both 100% outside air, direct fired gas heaters, there are differences in system performance that will impact EE (energy efficiency), thermal comfort, and system installation cost.

When there is a high level of CFM being exhausted due to processes inside a manufacturing facility, making up that building air loss with mechanical ventilation or inbound CFM is critical to balancing the air load of the building. Direct Fired Make-Up air systems with variable air flow capabilities utilizing a Variable Frequency Drive help to ensure better indoor air quality, better thermal comfort, and in some cases reduce safety incidents caused by negative environments and back drafts with non-powered combustion devices.

When high CFM needs are identified (VENTILATION DRIVEN APPLICATION) due to process exhaust in either a manufacturing facility or distribution facility, engineers will first seek to design a VENTILATION (M-Series) system to bring the building to a neutral or balanced position with proper relief. According to the International Mechanical Code and the International Fuel Gas Code Section 611.7

Relief opening – The design of the installation shall include provisions to permit non-recirculating direct-fired industrial air heaters to operate at rated capacity without over-pressurizing the space served by the heaters by taking into account the structure’s designed infiltration rate, providing properly designed relief openings or an interlocked power exhaust system, or a combination of these methods.

Depending on the application, achieving a neutral or even slightly positive pressure can be advantageous to keep natural infiltration in check and to avoid severe over pressurization, or adding to the required air load in the building. ANSI/ASHRAE Standards 62.1 is the recognized standard for minimum ventilation rates to meet acceptable Indoor Air Quality. As the complexity of a building’s air load increases with variable exhaust due to intermittent processes, variable ventilation solutions are required to maintain fresh air and neutral to slightly positive pressure in the building.

Now that the ventilation is addressed in this high CFM building scenario, the designer then seeks to understand the heat load of the building and evaluate if the ventilation solution carries enough BTUS to cover heat requirements on design days. The warehouse or manufacturing facility in this case is built to FIRST satisfy the ventilation requirement and then “stack” any supplemental heating technologies to cover the heat load (air load + conductive load = total heat load.) In order to maximize efficiency, the designer can utilize a low CFM, high BTU heating technology to build the comprehensive system if the ventilation technology does not deliver the needed BTUs on design days for that particular city or location. In this scenario, designers would utilize the M-Series ventilating and heating technology and consider supplementing with S-Series (low CFM, high BTU) heaters if necessary to deliver efficiently, any remaining BTUS required.

When there is not a significant process call for CFM or ventilation beyond basic ASHRAE 62.1 requirements for indoor air quality, High Temperature Heating and Ventilating (HTHV) technologies like the Cambridge S-Series offer the most effective solution. These offer the highest btu/cfm outputs of any make up air technology in the industry. In a HEATING DRIVEN APPLICATION, the designers seek to understand the heat load for the building and design a system that accounts for infiltration and brings the building to neutral, but does not over pressurize the building again addressing proper relief per the IFGC.

This leads me to my last deliverable. Reliability and redundancy of ventilation and heating systems in an industrial manufacturing plant is central to productivity, output and plant productivity measurements. Failure of systems or lack of redundancy of system design is not an option. Deploying systems that are designed to exacting specification, that are built to last, that are reliable and that are easy to service are minimum expectations in the plant production arena. Designers choose quality manufacturers and consider redundancy in their designs to meet the unique demands of these applications.

When designing a ventilation and heating system or a heating and ventilation system for your high-bay building, explore the advantages that two different equipment platforms may provide you in the areas of thermal comfort and operating costs (or EE.) Cambridge Engineering, Inc. manufactures both MAU (Make Up Air/Ventilating) and HTHV (High Temperature Heating & Ventilating) types of equipment. While we are most known in the industry for our HTHV heating & ventilation technologies, we have been delivering outstanding product, design service and post installation support within the MAU space for over 15 years.

Let us know how we can support you with your system design. Is it a ventilation or heating requirements based system design? Please share your thoughts on your design approach or system considerations as you navigate the nuances of heating and/or ventilating high bay buildings.

People Comfort – How Does It Effect Your Bottom Line?

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For the last 3 years my team has been traveling North America visiting with Cambridge Engineering’s, Sales Representatives to spread the word about options available to Building Owners, Building Operators, Design Engineers, Contractors and Utilities when recommending and selecting heating and ventilation solutions for their building or retrofit projects.

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We have been attempting to call out 3 core concepts for the key influencers when considering improvements to their buildings.

1.) Safety – Use of 100% outside air, direct fired HTHV and MAU technology is inherently safe. Ventilation and Heat are provided by the same blower that cannot be separated. These technologies can improve indoor air quality. Ventilation is the key to safety, preventing the buildup of products of combustion.
2.) Energy Efficiency – HTHV technologies provide the highest btus/cfm ratio thus creating more net useable btus or heat to satisfy the air load and the conductive load in high bay warehouses, distribution centers and manufacturing facilities.
3.) Lowest Total Installed Cost – HTHV technologies deliver 3 system in 1 piece of equipment. HTHV technologies deliver A.) Heat, B.) Fresh air ventilation and C.) Even temperatures throughout the building. This 3-in-1 system reduces total equipment cost and the installation costs associated with connections necessary to install multiple pieces of equipment. Engineers may call this a cleaner design.

During our recent Contractor Advisory Board, an influential Design Build Contractor, Paulson-Cheek (Atlanta, Georgia), called us out on our failure to identify THERMAL COMFORT as a primary value in his selection and use of HTHV equipment in his high bay building designs. I’d like to share a brief video from Marshall Cheek regarding his comments on this subject: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zamSuuJmlHc

Marshall’s callout on Thermal Comfort was very insightful. We often undervalue the importance of building occupant comfort in a cost competitive new construction or retrofit building environment. Understanding the importance of creating a safe and comfortable working environment for people engaged in the real physical activity such as: warehousing, distribution center and manufacturing facilities, compels us to add this 4th leg to the table.

 

safety

Are people more productive when their workplace is comfortable? One ergonomics expert, Chris Adams, who in addition to being a Human Factors Engineer & Industrial Designer, has been providing human factors engineering to NASA, states that: temperature has a major impact on productivity. According to one of Chris’s articles, 71.5 F is the optimal temperature for 100% productivity. His report details the following information:

As temperature increases at:
• 77 degrees fahrenheit we’re about 98% productive
• 82 degrees fahrenheit  = 95%
• 87 degrees fahrenheit = 90%
• 92 degrees fahrenheit = 85%
As temperature decreases at
• 66 degrees fahrenheit we’re about 98% productive
• 63 degrees fahrenheit = 95%
• 59 degrees fahrenheit = 90%

Soliciting solid Building Owners and Building Operators’ input during the design phase of one’s building project makes sense, according to this report. Adding personnel comfort level to our discussions and being able to articulate the impact that consistent temperatures may have on people’s productivity is beneficial.

Inherent Equipment Safety, Energy Efficiency, Lowest Total Installation Cost and People Comfort are all important topics of discussion when discovering what is most important to owners and operators. People Comfort is high on my list of questions. What does a 5% gain in productivity mean to an organization in real dollars? Answer this question and compare it to an investment decision and it makes for better decision making in an equipment selection.

Thanks for sticking with me to the end here. How important have you found thermal comfort to be in your conversations regarding HVAC design? Does the same hold true for people working in the warehouse? Should it? 71.5d egrees fahrenheit sounds good right now as it’s 100 degrees fahrenheit in St. Louis as I write this blog post.