Trane Completes the Switch to Ozone-Safe R-410APosted October 16, 2009 9:25 AM by Alex Wilson
Related Categories: Product Talk
Robotics at the Trane factory
In the Trane factory
I took the last train into Clarksville, Tennessee this week (that will mean something to those with enough gray hair) to visit Trane’s commercial HVAC equipment manufacturing plant. I was invited, along with a half-dozen other editors, to report on Trane’s transition to an ozone-safe refrigerant in its commercial HVAC equipment.
Trane used the opportunity to show off the state-of-the-art mechanical systems at the new 270-bed Clarksville Gateway Medical Center, and give us a wonderful tour of their massive, 1.2-million-square-foot Clarksville factory (one of Trane’s largest). This was followed with a presentation by the Ingersoll Rand president and other company managers to the assembled 1,300 employees in celebration of the company’s 18-month conversion from R-22 to R-410A — an effort that cost the company more than $100 million. (Ingersoll Rand acquired Trane in June 2008.) That was followed by a great barbeque under tents outdoors, and an exhibit of the company’s 17 newly introduced, redesigned, ozone-safe products.
I’ve got to admit that I love touring industrial facilities. Seeing massive pieces of machinery turning raw materials into complex functioning equipment somehow gives me faith that we have the skills and technical know-how to solve the really big problems we’re facing, such as climate change.
Did you know that in the United States:
- Excessive consumption is largely responsible for the depletion of natural resources worldwide.
- The construction and maintenance of buildings are responsible for 39% of U.S. energy use and 30% of wood and raw materials use.
- Buildings account for 12% of total water consumption and 68% of total electricity consumption.
A list of additional statistics on buildings and the environment [PDF] is available on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website at: www.epa.gov/opptintr/greenbuilding
Green building is a fast growing practice among building professionals. Building green is more than just saving the environment. Building green is about improving your homes energy an environmental performance, giving you and your family a safer, cleaner, more economic and efficient living atmosphere.
By adopting green building strategies, we can maximize both environmental and economic performance. Sustainable construction methods can be integrated into buildings at any stage, from design and construction (which is, of course, the most productive), to the renovation and deconstruction. Potential benefits of green building can include:
- High Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
- Economic Benefits
- Social Benefits (improve occupant comfort, health & sense of community)
- Healthier Indoor Air
- Resource Efficiency
- Environmental Responsibility
- Waste Reduction
- Smart Growth and Sustainable Development
- Water Stewardship
Resource Efficiency and Environmental Responsibility Features:
Efficient Ductwork Design & Seal: standard duct systems can lose up to 30% of every dollar of heating and cooling costs. By using mastic to seal all duct connections, conditioned air loss is reduced to less than 6%. Mastic-sealed ducting also reduces air contaminants from entering the home through ducting.
High Efficiency Vinyl Windows reduce heat loss in winter and heat gain in the summer by use of a Low-E coating, inert Argon gas and advanced frame technologies.
Efficiency Appliances save energy through reduced demand for water and the heating of the water.
House Tightening Measures help ensure the homes energy performance by reducing air infiltration through the thermal shell. This is accomplished by sealing areas such as plumbing and electrical penetrations.
High Efficiency Gas Water Heater outperforms standard water heaters by 10%. It reduces energy use through a superior burner design and a storage tank that limits heat loss.
Compact Fluorescent Light Fixtures are used in the laundry room and under-cabinet lighting. They consume a fraction of the energy used by incandescent bulbs. Their longevity minimizes the need for continual replacements.
Whole House Ventilation improves indoor air quality by intermittently circulating fresh air into the home and exhausting stale air.
Certified Low VOC Indoor/and Outdoor Paints Adhesives and/or Caulking have almost no volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) to off-gas during the curing process. This improves indoor/outdoor air quality both during and after the construction process is complete and
Granite or Tile Counter Tops provide a lasting durable surface that minimizes mold, mildew and bacteria while adding no chemicals to off-gas.
Sealed Chipboard (Melamine) reduces the indoor-air contaminants normally found in chipboard by using a non-toxic polymer seal.
Sealed Gas Fireplaces use outside air for combustion and then vent combustion byproducts outside; this effectively reduces the presence of carbon monoxide and other gasses inside the home.
Kiln-Dried Framing Lumber is moisture tested to ensure that lumber is not covered by interior finish materials before the moisture content is below 19%. This testing can help prevent future wood mold problems in the home’s walls.
Engineered Siding Technology which reduces the potential for moisture damage in wall cavities and reduces the requirement for caulking as a weather barrier.
Resourceful and Efficient Construction Planning provides more living space without increasing the footprint and impact to the landscape.
Steel and/or Fiberglass Doors are durable and reusable, providing a long life and low maintenance.
Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) is made from industrial waste, reducing the demand on forest products.
James Hardie Fiber Cement Siding drastically reduces the demand on forest products by recycling industrial waste into a useful product. This durable siding can be produced to a specified size, thus supporting a waste free design.
Natural Wood Cabinets are a durable low-toxic building material that can be refinished.
Existing Topsoil and Tree Preservation retains mature trees on the property to help shade the home in the summer, keeping it cooler and more comfortable.
Buffers Along Natural Features protect existing plants and animals from the introduction of a new home.
Common Trench unifies trenching and the installation of electric, gas, cable TV and telephone lines in one trench at one time to limit disturbance to the construction site.
Stockpiled Dirt Protection prevents dirt and erosion during construction and preserves valuable topsoil for future re-vegetation of the site.
Slow Release Herbicides & Fertilizers can help reduce site contamination and the need for frequent applications.
Garden Mulch boosts the water efficiency of landscaped areas by helping the soil to retain moisture. These materials are typically organic (grass clippings, shredded leaves, wood chips and bark) and applied at a depth of at least four inches.
Solid Waste Removal properly disposes of materials that cannot be recycled or used in any form. In some cases these materials are hazardous wastes and need to be handled properly.
The National Building Museum, in Washington, D.C., released a great 10-tip plan to cut energy consumption and conserve in the home. A great list to start with (and live by) it simplifies some of what needs to be done to make your home a green home. If green construction seems overwhelming, this is a list you can just pass on to your contractor–to reap the results.
Ten Tips to Go Green
1) Turn down the thermostat. Lowering it by just one degree can reduce heating energy costs by about four percent.
2) Use ceiling fans in the summer AND winter. By reversing the direction of the blades, warm air is pushed down, helping to keep rooms warm in winter.
3) Conserve energy by purchasing major appliances with an Energy Star rating. Compared to a 1990 model, an Energy Star-qualified refrigerator would save enough electricity to light a home for more than four and a half months.
4) Repair leaky fixtures: one drop per second from a leaky faucet can waste as mush as 10 gallons of water each week.
5) Install low-flow showerheads, faucets, and toilets. Low-flow faucets reduce water consumption and the cost of heating water by as much as 50 percent; using a low-flow toilet can save Americans 2.1 trillion gallons of water and $11.3 million nationwide every day.
6) Choose carpeting, rugs, window treatments and other textiles made from natural fibers, such as cotton or wool, which are untreated and free of toxins, such as pesticides or chemical cleaners.
7) Ask for flooring products made from rapidly renewable resources, such as bamboo. Bamboo is one of the fasted growing plants in the world, requiring no replanting and little fertilization or pesticides.
8) Select solid woods harvested from sustainably-managed forests, when possible, for furniture or cabinetry, rather than pressed woods or composites that may contain formaldehyde or other chemicals that may be toxic and hazardous to your health.
9) Eliminate waste by choosing products that are biodegradable or recyclable. Consider the “lifecycle” of furnishings and accessories before purchasing: Are they made of materials that can be reused or recycled when the item eventually wears out or is no longer needed?
10) Recycle packing and shipping materials from any newly purchased items, and safely dispose of paint cans and other containers with contents that could potentially contaminate the ground or water supply.