It is estimated that air conditioning systems consume up to 40% of all the energy demand in buildings and facilities. Therefore, it is important that the energy efficiency of the air conditioning equipment is as high as possible, in order to achieve significant energy savings.
To air-condition a space, we must save energy by using efficient air conditioning equipment. This will not only bring economic benefits but will also improve environmental sustainability and the preservation of non-renewable natural resources.
What is energy efficiency and how is it measured?
In case you are not familiar with this concept, we will briefly explain it here since we will be using it a lot in this post. The energy efficiency of any machine is the ratio between the effective work it produces and all the energy it consumes to do it.
The air conditioning systems produce a work that is measured in calories contributed or extracted from an air-conditioned space. On the other hand, to carry out this work, the air conditioning equipment consumes electrical energy. Finally, by dividing these two magnitudes mentioned, the value of the efficiency or performance of the system is obtained. In air conditioning, four concepts related to performance are handled: COP, EER, SCOP, and SEER.
The COP, the English acronym for Coefficient of Performance, is the performance of a heating system that is obtained by dividing the heat input by the electrical power consumed. On the other hand, the EER, the English acronym for Energy Efficiency Ratio, is the quotient of dividing the cooling capacity and the electrical power consumed by the cooling equipment. Both COP and EER are very useful concepts. However, they have a very specific approach, which can vary with the thermal load of the system, season, time, ambient temperature, relative humidity, etc.
The SCOP, the English acronym for Seasonal Coefficient of Performance, is a performance that is obtained by dividing the annual heat demand by the annual consumption of electrical energy of the heating system. In relation to refrigeration systems, the SEER is obtained by dividing the annual refrigeration demand by the annual consumption of electrical energy. SEER is the English acronym for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. Both performance concepts offer more realistic information on energy efficiency since they cover a longer period of time.
Energy efficiency labels on air conditioning systems
Efficiency labels make it easy for people to identify the energy efficiency of any HVAC equipment. These labels are also carried by all types of household appliances and commercial and industrial equipment.
The labels come with a color and letter code. In relation to colors, red, orange, yellow, and green are used, in order from lowest to highest energy efficiency. On the other hand, a code of letters is also used, which goes from “G” to “A” (G, F, E, D, C, B, and A), also in order from lowest to highest energy efficiency. . According to the new regulations of the European Union (the year 2021 onwards), the letter “A” (dark green) is reserved for new equipment that will come with the highest efficiency.
The “B” (green) identifies teams previously coded as A+++, which have a SEER ≥ 8.50 and a SCOP ≥ 5.10. Then, the “C” (light green) corresponds to the previous A++ coding, with a SEER between 6.10 and 8.50; and a SCOP between 4.60 and 5.10. Subsequently, the “D” (yellow) represents the previous A+ coding, with a SEER between 5.60 and 6.10; and a SCOP between 4 and 4.60. Below, the “E” (orange) is the new denomination of the A teams, which have a SEER between 5.10 and 5.60, and a SCOP between 3.40 and 4.
The “F” (deep orange) represents the former code B, which has a SEER between 4.60 and 5.10; and a SCOP between 3.10 and 3.40. Finally, the “G” (red) groups the old codes C and D, with the lowest yields.
To air-condition a space, equipment with high-efficiency labels must be selected. This will save energy and contribute to environmental sustainability.
Evolution of energy efficiency in refrigeration compressors
Piston compressors, also known as reciprocating, were the ones that were used intensively in all refrigeration systems. These are robust pieces of equipment, but with relatively low energy efficiency. In addition, they generate a lot of noise, and vibration and leak lubricating oil at the outlet.
Subsequently, the technology of screw compressors gradually prevailed over piston ones, since they improved energy savings, noise, and vibrations. However, piston compressors have the advantage that they are less expensive than screw compressors. For this reason, piston compressors continue to be used to air-condition small businesses and homes.
Currently, the compressors that allow maximum energy savings are the scroll type. In these, the compression is carried out by the rotation of a mobile spiral, which goes inside another spiral that is fixed. Scroll compressors generate very little noise and vibration, but are relatively expensive.
In medium and large air conditioning systems, screw and scroll compressors are essential to reduce energy consumption. This saving in energy consumption compensates, in the medium term, the costs of these compressors. In addition, this equipment generates lower maintenance costs in the long term, compared to piston compressors.
Save energy using modern inverter technology
The first air conditioning equipment to air condition the home, shops, and industries had constant speed and on/off control. Consequently, this equipment was not flexible to adapt to changes in thermal load, ambient temperature, relative humidity, etc. Therefore, saving energy in such conditions was very difficult.
The advent of inverter technology in air conditioning equipment made it possible to electronically regulate the working speed of the compressors and fans. In this way, it was possible to really adapt the equipment to different working conditions, which is essential to reduce energy consumption. With Inverter technology, it is not necessary to turn off the compressor or the fans, but their speed is lowered by a very wide margin. Consequently, very precise control of the refrigerant flow and the air conditioning temperature is achieved.
Intersam and energy savings in air conditioning equipment
In today’s climate control world, energy efficiency and environmental sustainability are a priority. Therefore, at Intersam, a company with extensive and recognized experience in industrial air conditioning, we are able to design and install highly efficient equipment. At Intersam we are specialists in the design and manufacture of all types of highly efficient and durable heat exchangers. These are essential for the proper functioning of air conditioning systems.
If you need to improve the energy efficiency of your air conditioning system, do not hesitate to contact us. Our exchangers have a great heat transfer capacity, thanks to an optimal design and top-quality materials.