The world of commercial HVAC is always evolving, and the experts at Modine stay on top of new development. We turned to Joe Ellison, sales manager, Engineered Products, for some insight into HVAC trends in 2021.
Question: What trends are carrying over from 2020 into the year ahead?
Answer: The global pandemic has led to increased building ventilation rates (at least in the short term) and a renewed focus on IAQ. Many specifying engineers and building owners are looking at ways to upgrade the filtration capabilities of their HVAC equipment to MERV 13 to capture more particulates from the air circulating within commercial buildings. Additional technologies, such as needle point bipolar ionization or UVC lights are also being used to further combat the spread of pathogens and improve IAQ for building occupants. As we begin 2021, manufacturers of HVAC equipment will continue to look at ways to incorporate these new technologies into their product offering. These features will become the norm rather than an optional feature to upgrade equipment.
Q: What new efficiency technology trends are you seeing?
A: With increased ventilation rates, the capability of HVAC equipment to properly dehumidify outdoor air, without over-cooling the space(s) it serves, will be crucial. Energy efficient technologies such as modulating compressor capacity and modulating hot gas reheat will become more prevalent to control humidity in high occupancy buildings. Additional features relating to unit cabinetry, such as double wall construction and foam insulation, will also be in higher demand.
Q: What kind of trends are you seeing in how HVAC equipment is sold and installed? Is there a trend toward more integrated HVAC solutions?
A: Factory start-up is becoming a more regular part of the installation and commissioning process. With factory start-up, factory employed technicians visit a jobsite site to double check the installation of the equipment and ensure it is working properly. This generally occurs after the mechanical contractor has installed the HVAC unit but before the commissioning process begins. As HVAC technology advances and the control/connectivity of the units become more complex, factory start-up is an essential step in ensuring HVAC equipment is working properly as soon as it is put into operation
Q: Where do you see the growth in HVAC applications happening in 2021?
A: With an increase in ventilation demands as well as the increased focused on IAQ, dedicated outside air system (DOAS) units are positioned to continue to grow. DOAS units can handle up to 100% OA while still delivering air at the correct temperature and humidity level to the spaces it serves. With many organizations recommending to building owners to increase the ventilation rates (at least in the short term), engineers and owners are looking for types of HVAC equipment that are flexible and can maximize the amount of ventilation air brought into buildings.
Thanks to Joe for taking the time to talk with us about the future of commercial HVAC technology. As always, the experts at Modine will be watching developments closely in order to continue advancing the quality of our products.