MCE 2022: HVAC technologies for a greener future less dependent on fossil fuelsriannelli
At the 2022 MCE Trade Fair we saw a great desire to “get back to normal”. With the pandemic that would seem to have become “manageable”, we can finally return to concentrating on plumbing and heating solutions that can help safeguard our ecosystem. This new green direction is also aimed at generalized fossil fuel savings, the distribution of which could, in the coming months, be temporarily threatened by worldwide instability.
Digitalization, even in the HVAC sector seems like it is not going to stop anytime soon. Visiting the MCE 2022 trade fair pavilions makes it obvious how much almost all companies are now focusing on digital innovation.
Making our plumbing and heating systems increasingly efficient from both the energy consumption and water saving point of view is no longer a distant goal but something we can experience every day.
Since technology is fortunately constantly improving, we can now actually hope for a future in which humans, with their needs, can thrive without endangering our ecosystem any longer.
We got a glimpse of this future right here, in the pavilions of the Milan plumbing and heating trade fair: Here is a selection of HVAC technology that, in our humble opinion, will be able to lead us to a reduction in energy consumption and the greatest possible savings of one of our most precious resources, drinking water.
Building automation systems for increasingly efficient buildings
Every day, buildings become more and more connected, able to be monitored remotely and, last but not least, increasingly energy efficient. Maximum integration of plumbing, heating and air conditioning systems with other building systems is often a major challenge for planners. This is especially true from the energy optimization point of view since HVAC systems are among the largest consumers of resources.
Contractors tend to use their own management programs for their systems, but in order to implement the advantages of integrated management of all systems, action must be taken to create IT protocols that are truly capable of intercommunicating at all levels.
Fortunately, in the planning phase for all systems and the building itself, the BIM (Building Information Modelling) method comes to our aid. In fact, with BIM files we can design systems in such a way as to be able to know, as early as the planning phase, how they will interact or even come in conflict with other systems in the building.
BIM is an extremely important innovation, all major construction material manufacturers have now implemented their own BIM libraries. Ours for pressfittings can be downloaded for free here.
Creating building management systems capable of providing a picture as close as possible to the building’s actual consumption has now become of fundamental importance. This is the only way to have a complete snapshot of our environmental footprint regarding not only consumption but also in relation to harmful emissions into the environment.
To optimize the building, we must keep all measurements constantly under control. This includes energy consumption, temperature, humidity, and water pressure. The data detected can then be transferred and processed using Artificial Intelligence, which allows optimal regulation of each component to achieve maximum comfort and keep the consumption and emissions as low as possible.
The advantages of Open Source Building Automation technology
Through greater involvement of all building automation operators, we can obtain systems that can integrate perfectly with each other in order to achieve a true global standard. This harmonization of all software would certainly be advantageous for all players in the industry.
Not to mention the advantages in terms of energy savings and reduction in polluting emissions. Just as importantly, by standardizing the interchange protocols between the various brands and types of sensors, their price could also be considerably reduced.
The final result of this standardization would definitely lead to more efficient solutions for manufacturers, building operators, and the end user.
HVAC systems: intelligent consumption measurement
Can we improve the efficiency of plumbing and heating systems through “intelligent and targeted” measurements of energy consumption and water used?
Yes. We know that HVAC systems inside a building are responsible for at least half of the overall energy consumption. In order to meet the need for both comfort and energy savings, using intelligent measurement equipment could lead to results that were unimaginable just a short while ago.
In order to have a complete depiction of the possible effective margins for improving energy savings, we must first be able to calculate the ratio between the energy supplied to the systems and how much is effectively consumed.
New thermal regulation systems for heating and cooling as well as new energy metering technology, allow the temperature to be programmed and regulated very precisely and obtain huge streams of consumption data. Through the interpretation and utilization capacity provided by artificial intelligence, this data is transformed into applicable operating models that allow for a truly incredible level of optimization.
Even the measurement of potable water consumption is extremely important for both environmental reasons and to identify any leaks that could also damage the infrastructure. In order to forestall possible leaks, the technology can provide two extremely useful innovations through two new types of sensors that have been available on the market for some time.
New technology in sensors to identify and prevent leaks
Compared to the “analogue era,” new sensors based on digital technology have led to various improvements not only in terms of precision, but also regarding the ability to transfer and process data obtained using BMS systems.
We are talking about new smart sensors. Let’s take a look at their characteristics in two important applications related to the detection and, especially the prevention of leaks.
Sensors for smart detection of leaks
This type of sensor can continuously detect the amount of humidity present in their operating range and send an alert if the pre-set parameters are exceeded. The devices also have modules for wireless data transfer, sending an alarm in the event of an actual leak.
By using these sensors, especially in particularly important areas of the plumbing system, we can prevent leaks and subsequent damage to the entire building.
Smart sensors for detecting corrosion inside the pipes
Corrosion in steel pipes, especially if they are made of carbon steel, can become a problem over time, particularly if certain conditions, such as the interior absence of oxygen are not met.
Carbon steel systems must be regularly inspected and maintained, but it is often difficult to be able to understand the actual condition inside the pipes.
To remedy the problem and maintain an account of the actual condition of the pipes over time plus be alerted in real time in the event of an imminent need for intervention, modern technology comes to our aid with a new type of sensor able to measure the corrosion in the pipes.
The data are measured at pre-set intervals and are then sent to the electronic control unit which can fully communicated with the plumbing and heating system computerized management program.
If the values are particularly worrisome, an alarm is sent to allow prompt intervention. Using these new sensors becomes truly indispensable in large systems and in those applications where the danger of oxygen penetration is considered more probable.
The advantages of the steel pressfitting system in modern energy saving plumbing and heating systems
By using steel press fittings and pipes in the construction of plumbing and heating systems we can assist the work of both the sensors and the entire building management system (BMS). Let’s look at some of these benefits:
- The reduced thickness of steel pressfittings and pipes facilitates measuring the values, even when the sensor is located outside the system, in direct contact with the metal;
- Many plastic pipes are so thick that they make measurements taken outside the system not very precise;
- Even multilayer pipes could disrupt the signal emitted by the sensors due to the internal layer of aluminium that tends to work as a screen;
- With the pressfitting system, installing sensors and control units that need to be part of the hydraulic flow of the system is facilitated by both the abundant catalogue presence of hybrid figures equipped with swivels and idle nuts. and the extreme speed of system creation in general;
- Despite their thinness, pressfitting pipes maintain a high degree of mechanical resistance to possible impacts.
At this year’s MCE Trade Fair, we saw a large assortment of technological innovations with the potential to help us save energy and conserve potable water, concepts that are now indispensable in any domestic water, heating, and cooling system. With its pressfitting line and the quality of its products, Eurotubi Europa has always been ready to respond to the innovations required by the HVAC sector, which is on the front line for the well-being of humankind and the planet.