Cover story

Sustainability emerging in HVACR 

cover story

With the fluctuating temperature in the tundra region and the soaring sun in our metro cities, the use of HVACR will rise equally. With this rise, there is a parallel awareness among users to seek HVACR systems that are efficient with balanced energy usage and whose properties are sustainable in the long term. This raises questions about attaining energy-efficient HVACR systems and technologies and how minor alterations can contribute heavily to achieving this.

A significant portion of the Indian population—60 percent—lives in hot, dry climates. It is humid, so using evaporative cooling methods or technologies is incredibly effective. However, not enough innovation is being done to ensure that the humidity in the area is controlled, nor is there enough being done to reduce water consumption. But it is a simple method that consumes 10 to 15 percent of the energy. Heating and cooling account for almost half of the energy usage in any residential household, making it extremely important to manage the costs.

Service Industry

The servicing sector is shifting from an uncontrolled to a highly regulated market due to the availability of innovations made possible by open economies and global supply chains. Jitendra Bhambure, Advisor, Blue Star and Council Energy Environment & Water, observes that energy consumption and air conditioning costs are the primary obstacles to adopting new technologies, even though both are essential for economic growth and productivity. For ages, India has employed conventional techniques for heating and cooling, like radiant cooling in temples and wood insulation in roofs. Now, real-time performance based on equipment efficiency, helping to find the newest equipment availability, and deciding when to get rid of older assets should be the main goals of the servicing industry. AI, or machine learning, will be crucial to this change.

When designing clothing for diverse places, we consider how different elements, such as humidity and ambient conditions, overlap and integrate. Humidity can be comfortably controlled by high-efficiency independent systems, individual systems, or variable-speed systems using low RPM or RPS compressors. However, lateral load, or humidity, is the primary worry in hot and humid climates. To manage this, specific chemicals that use the air conditioner’s heat to absorb humidity and replenish it need to be included in the system.


Utility costs are one issue that we need to consider in order to promote more energy-efficient activities. Managing director at AHRI MENA, Nabil Shahin has witnessed some nations have low utility costs. Thus, customers need to understand that they will not immediately profit from investing in more costly, more effective technology. Certain governments and utility companies provide financial awards or tax rebates to people who buy more energy-efficient products.

The technology is available, starting with the least efficient product—a window unit that uses more than 2 KW of Spectron—and moving up to evaporative cooling, district cooling, which is currently gaining popularity, and variable-speed VRF water-cooled chillers. He states that we must encourage individuals to learn how to install, maintain, and service equipment because efficiency declines immediately after installation. Inadequate installation, upkeep, and servicing will cause efficiency to decline and prevent you from reaching the consulting engineer’s design. Other things to think about are procedures, technology, and other things.


Air conditioning and the vapour compression cycle (VRF) have been around for almost a century, with patents dating back to approximately 1802. But in the real world, these ideas often need fixing. The difficulty of changing established structures is the root cause of the market’s inertia. In the discussion on HVACR technologies, Madhusudhan Rapole, Managing Director of Oorja Energy Engineering, shared, “Although AI technologies are flexible, they come with costs and resistance to change once implemented. Residential choices include passive design with a large orientation, which provides greater flexibility in design and shading devices. Despite these drawbacks, passive design and AI technology allow homeowners to improve their houses significantly.”

As more people in India move to high-rise structures, there will be a greater need for passive energy systems. The construction of these structures plays a vital role. By making a minor business model modification, such as constructing a transformer for a chart or three megawatts, the annual or peak average energy consumption per apartment might decrease to approximately four tons. This can be accomplished by building houses and cities with transformers weighing only 2000 tons, resulting in more efficient and cost-effective energy utilisation. This strategy could lessen the environmental impact of India’s high-rise structures.

Cost Management

“In a scenario with a 100-square-foot space on the southwest side with a 50-square-foot window, the service provider recommends simply one TR chiller AC. However, the underlying principle is missing. The southwest absorbs more heat, so 1.2, 1.3, or 1.5 TR are required. The design should be expert-level or accurate, whether it is a high-rise or a small room because a poorly designed region can result in inefficient solutions. Proper design is critical for effective solutions in any field,” shares Sharad Malga, Director, M/s Remoda Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

Today, we all sell ecological or energy-efficient cooling at a premium price. People should focus on OpEx rather than paying a little extra. If anything is sold at a high price, the product caters only to a small market. The supply of sustainable, energy-efficient cooling at a discount and a lower cost than conventional cooling will see more adoption. And that is conceivable because the overall cost of ownership is lower. This can be done so that customers only have to pay a monthly fee, as they will spend less each month than they would otherwise, with almost no upfront costs, as is the case with district cooling systems.

Customer Behaviour

Customers’ understanding of savings and money influences their behaviour, so providing straightforward, non-technical advice is critical to guiding their decisions. For example, using assumptions to compare air conditioners can be misleading. Customers should be conscious of their learning and expertise throughout the product lifecycle, using various methods and supplying more information than producers.

Urbanisation can lead to heat islands, where tall buildings absorb more heat than regular rooms. Air conditioners can exacerbate this by creating a stack effect, where hot air from lower floors rises, adding to the discomfort. These suggestions should be provided to help the end user understand the importance of saving money and reducing the amount of time spent scribbling. This saves the customer money and gives them confidence in their choice.

Regulations and certificates

Mr. Shahin shares that AHRI is establishing standards to analyse carbon emissions for various equipment, which will be crucial in the future because each government or country has a carbon production limit and must adhere to it. These criteria will assist consumers in selecting items that emit fewer greenhouse gases and use less electricity.

Carbon emissions are calculated using embedded carbon, which includes the carbon invested in manufacturing the technology or product, shipping costs, power used to create and move components, and operating carbon. By 2025, these criteria will assist consumers in selecting items with lower carbon footprints and electricity use. District cooling is becoming more popular in high-rise buildings since it is more energy efficient. As a utility, district cooling is growing into distributing cold water to buildings and running it via fans to cool them. Instead of purchasing air conditioning, consumers can get it from hot water, which is about half as efficient as or double the efficiency of a traditional system.

AHRI has recently established a technical committee to develop a standard for evaporative cooling. Evaporative cooling has proven particularly effective in dry climates, typically reducing temperatures by about ten degrees. Advancements in technology now offer considerably more efficient evaporative cooling systems that consume far less energy than traditional air conditioning. AHRI is collaborating with ISHARE in India, which has already developed such a standard. The aim is to create a universal and globally applicable framework.

So, manufacturers often provide a representative sample for testing and registration with regulatory bodies to demonstrate energy efficiency. However, variations in production components can lead to discrepancies between the efficiency of units sold and catalogue data. Rigorous surveillance procedures are crucial, as evidenced by the high rate of units in the Middle East failing to meet manufacturer specifications. Therefore, third-party certification is essential, particularly for variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems.

Businesses seek to analyse data to identify energy-saving opportunities across residential, commercial, and industrial sectors, and we are witnessing a trend in data collection. Modifying behaviours such as adjusting temperatures, closing windows, and enhancing insulation can save energy. Utilising data for energy reduction is increasingly common and effective, and data collection is typically cost-free.

The Bureau of Energy Efficiency is also working on the VRS rating system; it will only be a matter of one or one and a half years until it is implemented, first as a voluntary measure, then as a mandatory one. Mr. Bhambure also adds that today, we refer to standards as rated minimum efficiency standards or rating programmes for room-AC deep freezer chillers. The next step will be VRF, which will be most common in ducted systems, followed by refrigerated equipment.

There is a requirement in the energy conservation construction code, which applies to both commercial and residential structures that materials be used in diverse ways so that the heat load is reduced. However, establishing awareness in the media, such as awareness programmes on television or write-ups in newspapers and magazines, as well as energy-saving advice, would help if we ensured that we reached the final user through several techniques.


Jitendra Bhambure, Advisor, Blue Star and Council Energy Environment & Water

“Since energy consumption and air conditioning expenses are essential for economic growth, innovations in mechanical engineering must work together smoothly to address them.”

Sharad Malga, Director, Remoda Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

“In any industry, effective solutions depend on proper design. Aiming to reduce initial expenses and increase OPEX, every company model should prioritise long-term power-saving measures above one-time expenditures.”

Madhusudhan Rapole, Managing Director, Oorja Energy Engineering

“Homeowners can benefit greatly from passive design and AI technology, which increase design flexibility and energy efficiency. Accepting these advances can lessen their impact on the environment and improve the sustainability of high-rise buildings.”

Nabil Shahin, Managing Director, AHRI MENA

”It is essential to teach people how to install and maintain energy-efficient HVAC systems. The integrity of energy efficiency claims is ensured by third-party certification, which encourages sustainability in high-rise structures.”

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