HVACR professionals will need to get their green credentials in order to deal with the current COVID-19 environment which is set to lead to a radical redesign of the built environment.

A renewed focus on occupant health and well-being in building design will extend to every aspect of thermal comfort from air quality to lighting, ventilation, water efficiency, and of course, reduced carbon emissions, just to name a few.

Design will need to undergo a complete rethink and central to this shift will be HVAC.

University of NSW Associate Professor of the Built Environment, Paul Osmond, said this shift will go beyond buildings to encompass cities and entire neighbourhoods.

“The question is, how do we draw lessons from this pandemic to design houses, office buildings and cities in a way which makes us more resilient to future pandemics, while also being more people-friendly?” he said. 

“Future building design will be about minimising energy use, acknowledging climate change and understanding how we can live a lot healthier and happier in the future.”

With urban populations spending more time indoors, Professor Osmond said the focus will be on ‘living architecture’ such as green roofs and walls, more sunlight and ventilation.

“We need nature, at a minimum for viewing, but ideally through immersion and interaction,” he said.

“Being surrounded by nature improves the immune system, and a person’s physical and mental health by alleviating issues such as stress and anxiety.”

According to the United Nations (UN) 68% of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2050. It is a trend that has been clearly evident in Australia’s major cities including Sydney and Melbourne.

The first city in Australia to respond to this design shift is Sydney with the city council announcing a new strategy for buildings more than 300m tall.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said it will transform the city skyline and is the most detailed planning review of the CBD in more than four decades. 

The draft Central Sydney Planning Strategy will be on exhibition until early July.

“This strategy is the product of three years of deep research, block by block, carefully examining the way the city works and where sunlight falls,” she said.

The goal for HVACR professionals is to find solutions that thrive in this new environment.

For example, buildings may be getting taller but HVAC plants are shrinking which is why Temperzone’s CWP901 R32 Inverter (vertical water-cooled packaged unit) is such a good fit for this new landscape.

The CWP 90 is designed to run on an individual power supply, eliminating the need to install expensive central plants. Being internally installed packaged units, they are perfect for many installations where the use of balcony units are prohibited.

With the use of an inverter compressor combined with an electronic expansion valve the CWP 90 ECO ULTRA provides a precise load variation response and superior part load performance for closer comfort control and higher energy efficiency.

Temperzone’s group brand manager, Damien Walsh, said it also features new ThermoShell Technology that has taken unit’s green credentials to a whole new level.

Unlike coaxial and plate-type heat exchangers, Walsh sais ThermoShell prevents degradation in heat transfer efficiency due to water fouling, facilitating reliable operation throughout the unit’s service life.

“It also enables considerably lower water flow rates and water pressure drops to be accommodated by the system, with minimal effect on duty and efficiency,” he said.

“This leads to operational savings as well as pump power savings up to 36%, and a 20% reduction in carbon emissions.”

Water scarcity is a serious issue for cities with the UN's 2020 World Water Development Report pointing out that water use has increased six-fold over the last century and is rising one per cent every year.

The World Bank predicts by 2050 demand for water will increase 55% due to urban populations.

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