Sustainable HVAC system – a new reality


Gaurav Mathur, Head – Business Development (Building Services), Grundfos India in a discussion talks about the inclination towards energy efficient HVAC system and explains how the idea is further taking the industry and the country towards a sustainable future. Moreover, he talks about the concerns over CO2 emissions which have been taking a toll on the environment.

How do you delineate the current demand ratio for air conditioners in India?
India’s air conditioning market has exploded in the recent couple of years, with an expected sale of a billion units by 2050. With the intensifying temperature, air conditioners are no longer considered a luxury, instead, they have become a mainstay in residential homes, offices, commercial buildings and even in Tier 2 and 3 cities. As this demand grows, the amount of energy consumed is projected to triple globally. Therefore, it is essential at HVAC solutions are energy efficient.

HVAC systems consume around 31 percent of energy in commercial buildings and 7 percent in residential buildings. What measures can be taken to augment the same?
Globally, HVAC systems accounts for 40 – 50 percent of the building’s total energy consumption and contributes to 34.7 mega tonns of carbon dioxide emissions every year. This exponentially increases the cost of running a business, and thereby simultaneously increases the carbon footprint.

Considering that pumps are at the heart of any HVAC system, they can be used to improve the overall efficiency while minimising energy consumption. In the recent past, the HVAC industry has been inclining towards adopting such energy efficient pumps; and with sustainability at the heart of our business, Grundfos has been pioneering a range of pumping solutions for this industry over the last several years. Unlike traditional pumps that operate with a default function, our intelligent solutions adapt itself to climate conditions and weather changes. This ensures minimal energy wastage at maximum points of efficiency as different situations will have varying demand.

Our advanced ‘Magna3’ solution is one such revolutionary HVAC offering. With an Energy Efficiency Index (EEI) value that surpasses EuP benchmarks, this solution enables energy savings of upto 75 percent.

Additionally, digital solutions such as Grundfos iSOLUTIONS, are useful in gathering actionable insights on the energy consumption patterns of a HVAC system. This information can be used to streamline processes and make decisions to use energy efficiently.

What is your say on recent BEE’s star rating systems for air conditioners? How is it impacting the demand scalability?
It’s indeed a requirement. Room air-conditioners in India ought to obtain a BEE star labeling. One-star label indicates the lowest efficiency level and 5-star label has the highest efficiency level, indicated as ISEER (Indian Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) on the ACs sold in India. BEE programs to educate consumers on the energy savings and calculations for recovery of incremental price with energy efficient ACs, is increasing the demand for 5 star rating / energy efficient ACs in Indian Market.

What is your organisation’s contribution to cut down the carbon emission in the environment?
Grundfos offer solutions that use as little energy as possible and take an iterative approach to integrating sustainability, making tangible improvements year-on-year. Having achieved good energy efficiency in products, which now have little room for improvement. Since 2005, Grundfos calculated the electricity savings of all our high-efficiency circulator pumps in the European Union (EU). As of 2018, these pumps have achieved a total annual energy saving of 7.9 billion kWh, or the equivalent of the annual electricity consumption of 4.8 million EU residents. With the current activities and our manual disassembly, we have achieved water savings of 50 percent and reduced CO2 emissions by 13.5 percent compared to mechanical disassembly at commercial waste-handling operations. We have always been strong advocates of reducing the impact on the environment and this is reflected in everything we do. As a company with sustainability at the core of its business, we have been continuously evaluating our processes and products to ensure that we maintain the highest energy efficiency standard and thereby reduce our carbon footprint.

How far is it feasible to have complete sustainable HVAC systems in the coming years?
The HVAC industry is expected to grow exponentially to meet the growing demands of urbanisation. Simultaneously, the world is moving towards a sustainable future. Given this situation, a completely sustainable end-to-end HVAC system is expected to become the new reality. Additionally, the increased emphasis on energy efficiency standards of air conditioners to reduce its impact on the environment will increase the need to establish such as system.
In a tropical country such as India, solar energy driven HVAC solutions has ample untapped potential. It can possibly reduce energy consumption by 30 percent to even 65 percent while improving adaptability, scalability and minimising the footprint. For this to become a successful venture, it is important that government and industry stakeholders come together and align themselves towards progressive policies and accelerate the pace of adoption.

What is the current market size of cooling industry in India?
India launched its “India Cooling Action Plan” (ICAP) in 2018. Its goals:
Space Cooling in Buildings (stock and projections as per ICAP document):

What are your views on having star rating systems for efficient buildings in India?
These rating systems are a great step towards sustainability as it understands the impact of excessive energy consumption. It also encourages OEMS, building owners and consumers to make the right decisions while selecting their building or buying their cooling system.

As per the ICAP, building design and construction can enhance the comfort levels considerably, if built in a climate sensitive manner. National Building Code, Model Building Bye-Laws and various green building rating systems lay emphasis on building sustainably by integrating climate responsive design elements which are low cost and energy efficient. BEE’s upcoming Energy Conservation Building Code – Residential (ECBC – R) Part 1, delves into designing an energy efficient envelope which helps in reducing heat transfer through envelope thus enhancing the thermal and visual comfort. With better building design and better urban planning, we can reduce the demand for air-conditioning. With the rising temperatures, we must take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

How do you define significance of cooling towers in an HVAC system?
Cooling tower plays an important role in water cooled chillers air-conditioning plants in the heat rejection cycle. Cooling Tower performance is vital for the over all performance and efficiency optimisation of the air-conditioning system. With better building design and better urban planning, we can reduce the demand for air-conditioning and further reduce the environmental impacts. -Gaurav Mathur, Head – Business Development (Building Services), Grundfos India,

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