The Death of Federal Geothermal Tax Credits?

Oil Stocks Soar After Donald Trump Victory, But Coal Is The Real Winner

Oil Stocks Soar After Donald Trump Victory, But Coal Is The Real Winner

“There has been a big push to develop alternative forms of energy–so-called green energy–from renewable sources. That’s a big mistake. To begin with, the whole push for renewable energy is being driven by the wrong motivation, the mistaken belief that global climate change is being caused by carbon emissions. If you don’t buy that–and I don’t–then what we have is really just an expensive way of making the tree-huggers feel good about themselves.”  Crippled America – Donald Trump

Of course, it is only conjecture that a lame duck 2016 Congress and a 2017 Republican Congress and President will not renew the Federal Tax Credit on geothermal heat pumps  that was established in 2009 and sunsets on December 31st, 2016. However, if I was a betting man, I’d say that the geothermal HVAC manufacturer’s will be seeing sales dip significantly starting now. Without the 30% Federal Incentive, it will be very hard to convince residential consumers that geothermal will make sense based purely upon economics. We can tout the environmental benefits all that we want, but most consumers are driven by their pocketbooks first and their conscience second.

“Among all the gifts that God gave to America was an abundant supply of natural energy. According to the Department of Energy, the natural gas reserves we have in the ground could supply our energy needs for centuries.” Crippled America – Donald Trump

The Donald believes in energy independence by drilling for oil and natural gas everywhere and anywhere first and then figuring out the rest later. In a now famous Tweet, Trump said that the concept of climate change was created by the Chinese to suppress the U.S. economy, so clearly his administration does not believe that geothermal heating and cooling is an essential component to becoming energy independent while reducing carbon gases. Why then would he push for the renewal of Federal Tax incentives?

Unfortunately, the people have spoken with their vote and they have resoundingly responded that correcting climate change should not be a priority over increased economic growth and a conservative world order.  This will cost many who have built their businesses upon geothermal HVAC manufacturing and contracting solely in the wake of what they hoped would be an increasingly renewable energy conscious world.

Perhaps the pendulum will swing back after 4 or 8 years, but the market for geothermal HVAC and even higher efficiency conventional HVAC would appear to be in hiatus for the near future.

Please note that these are my personal speculations and that I would be happy to be proven incorrect.

As always, to keep up to date with what’s new in HVAC technology and energy, visit our website at airideal.com and follow us on Twitter @airideal , LinkedIn and at our Facebook page!

 

Your Help Needed Now for Renewable Energy and Geothermal Tax Credit Extender

GEO has received information regarding the tax credits in regard to legislation. Please take action regarding this important industry legislation.

NOW is the time to act to help extend the federal tax credits for geothermal heat pumps!
Since Congress extended tax credits for solar technologies by five years last December, GEO has pushed hard for an amendment to correct that oversight for BOTH commercial AND residential geothermal heat pump installations.

That amendment for equal treatment with solar is now moving RAPIDLY in the Senate. GEO needs your help NOW to make sure the amendment is approved WITH FEDERAL TAX CREDITS FOR RESIDENTIAL GEOTHERMAL HEAT PUMP INSTALLATIONS UNDER 25D OF THE TAX CODE.

TIME IS SHORT! We have only a short window to make our voices heard, including today (Friday, April 8) and Monday (April 11).

CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE INSTRUCTIONS ON WHO TO CONTACT, WITH A SAMPLE MESSAGE AND DISCUSSION POINTS.

Rep Blackburn and Republicans look to quash Renewable Energy Tax Credits tied to FAA Bill. It is the House versus the Senate over Federal Renewable Tax Credit extensions. If you don’t make your voice heard today or Monday, these credits will disappear and geothermal heat pumps will be set back. Read about it here.

 

Ecovent – High Tech Disruptor of HVAC Air Distribution

 Just as Nest disrupted the thermostat industry with its Nest Learning Thermostat, there is a new tech start-up attempting to solve home comfort and air distribution balancing issues.   Ecovent stealthily started up around May 2015, but really debuted recently at the 2016 Consumer Electronics show. This time, the disruptor wasn’t developed in Silicon Valley, but in the northeast in Charlestown, Massachusetts. Ecovent markets itself as room-by-room temperature control with automatic adjustable air outlets that open and close based upon feedback received from a plug in room mounted sensor. The Ecovents replace standard supply registers and ceiling diffusers in ceiling, wall or floor models and receive feedback from a smart sensor that doubles as an electrical outlet that plugs into a standard wall receptacle. Multiple sensors communicate with a central “smart hub” that can be integrated with the home WiFi for control.

Ecovent Smart Sensor

Ecovent Wall Outlet

 

 

 

 

 

 

My immediate initial concerns regarding automatic air outlets that shut off a register while a system is running would be increased static pressure and velocity. In cooling mode, closing off registers could lead to less air movement accross the evaporator coil leading to decreased coil temperature and possible freeze ups. However, when researching their site, it is found that the outlets contain pressure, temperature and humidity sensors that prevent issues that could cause noise, temperature, humidity and pressure issues. In rooms with multiple air outlets, a single wall sensor can be set up to control multiple outlets. The entire connected system of multiple outlets and sensors is controlled via a smartphone or tablet app.

Econovent Control App

Ecovent, like Nest, has gone to marketing directly to the consumer instead of via installing contractors. Obviously, they are making similar claims as to the simplicity of installation that any consumer with a screwdriver and correct WiFi key should be able to perform. However, lowering cost and maintaining margin may be the real reason here as the claim is that an average 4 bedroom home will cost about $2000 to outfit, depending upon how many rooms, outlets and sensors are required. I priced out my 4 bedroom home and it was more like $2400. Certainly, this will be for the high end residential market for consumers who either really want to be on the cutting edge of technology and climate control or for those who have some serious system balancing problems that they have been unable to address with volume dampers. It will be interesting to see how Ecovent manages to find growth and who it’s angel capital investors will be. Google gobbled up Nest quickly, perhaps the folks at Ecovent are hoping for a similar outcome. However, this system will really actually be in competition with Nest and WiFi thermostats in general because individual zone control may potentially eliminate the need for smart thermostats with a sophisticated enough Android or iOS app.

As always, to keep up to date with what’s new in HVAC technology and energy, visit our website at airideal.com and follow us on Twitter @airideal , LinkedIn and at our Facebook page!

 

 

 

New 2016 Efficiency Standards Kick in for HVAC

Don’t buy that 13 SEER replacement unit you were thinking about. The 2015 New York State (and International) Energy Conservation Construction Code has 2016 efficiency standard increases built in. Minimum efficiency standard increases kicked in on 1/1/2016. You can’t replace that rooftop package unit with a bad heat exchanger with a 13 SEER anymore. As of 1/1/2016 it has to be 14 SEER.

You can view all of the minimum efficiency increases for commercial heating and air conditioning equipment here at the International Code Council.  You can find the new residential heating and air conditioning standards here. Most states have now adopted the International Energy Conservation Code.

As always, to keep up to date with what’s new in HVAC technology and energy, visit our website at airideal.com and follow us on Twitter @airideal , LinkedIn and at our Facebook page!

NY State Geothermal Tax Credit & Sales Tax Exemption Bills on Gov Cuomo’s Desk

The following comes from Bill Nowak, Executive Director of NY-Geo, Please Act:

Governor Cuomo has called the geothermal tax credit (S2905) and sales tax exemption (S4279) bills to his desk. He has until Friday, November 20th to sign them or veto them. It is our understanding that we probably won’t find out until the 20th.

WE DO NOT HAVE AN INDICATION OF WHAT HE’LL DO AND HE NEEDS TO HEAR FROM YOU TODAY.

These bills fit NY State’s needs perfectly as they give the state a tool to lower greenhouse gas emissions and peak demand while cutting heating and air conditioning bills for New Yorkers.  At the same time the Governor has often vetoed bills that may impact state revenues when they are passed after the budget has been set (as these were). That means YOUR CALL can make the difference between success and failure on this initiative.

I’ve attached a few items that explain these bills, list advantages of geothermal heating and cooling, and document that the bills will have A minimal revenue impact.

Here’s the lowdown on calling the Governor:

Please take a quick minute today to leave a message with Governor Cuomo at (518) 474-1041. Ask him to sign S2905 (geothermal tax credit) and S4279 (geo sales tax exemption), both of which were passed unanimously by the legislature. We CAN move away from burning fossil fuels to heat our homes and buildings!

THE CALL IS EASY – YOU’LL BE ASKED IF YOU WANT TO LEAVE A MESSAGE (press 2) OR TALK WITH AN AIDE (press 3) – IT’S YOUR CHOICE.

If you speak with an aide they’ll just listen politely and ask for your zip code.

As you are probably aware, the 2015 New York State Energy Plan notes that 35% of New York’s fossil fuel greenhouse gas emissions come from “on-site combustion” – mainly heating homes and buildings by burning  oil, gas and propane.  We can eliminate these emissions by switching to geothermal heating and cooling, which uses the ground beneath us as a heat source in the winter and as a cooling heat sink in the summer.

In this year’s legislative session both the NY Senate and Assembly UNANIMOUSLY passed these bills to give geothermal heat pumps the same tax treatment as solar panels.

PLEASE DON’T DELAY – CALL TODAY – YOUR VOICE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE !!!

Put your message in your own words or go with this suggestion  “Please tell Governor Cuomo to support renewable energy by signing S-2905, the geothermal tax credit and S-4279, the geothermal sales tax exemption.  Geothermal heating and cooling will cut greenhouse gas emissions, create jobs, lower utility bills and cut peak demand”.

As always, to keep up to date with what’s new in HVAC technology and energy, visit our website at airideal.com and follow us on Twitter @airideal , LinkedIn and at our Facebook page!

VRF is Unique Solution for Historic Tribeca Landmark

The Wool Exchange, 1896. Later the American Thread Building.

260 West Broadway Today

260 West Broadway Today

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the eleven story building at 260 West Broadway was built by the New York Wool Warehouse Company as the New York Wool Exchange in 1894-1896. Designed by William B. Tubby in the Renaissance revival style, the building was advanced in the simplicity of its overall design. The Wool Warehouse Company, a business venture by a group of wool men, sought to create not only a building exclusively for the wool trades but also an actual trading organization, the Wool Exchange, with the intent of wresting control of the wool trade from Boston. Both the Wool Warehouse and company and the bank that supported it failed in 1898.

In 1907, the American Thread Company occupied the building and since the 1920’s the building has been known as the American Thread Building.  The building was later converted to residential and commercial condominiums in the early 1980s.

Today its impressive, broad facades curving from Beach Street into West Broadway make the former New York Wool Exchange a distinguished downtown landmark fronting Tribeca Park.

In 2012 Air Ideal Inc. had been the HVAC contracting company that had been providing service and maintenance for the existing cooling tower and condenser water system that served the commercial offices and some of the residential spaces in the building. After the system reached its life expectancy it was struggling with water quality, pipe integrity and chemical treatment issues.  John Ottaviano, Air Ideal’s President, recommended that the old water cooled system be replaced with a new VRF system.  A VRF system was presented as the ideal solution because of the long refrigerant line runs required throughout the building and because one of the building’s priorities was to have all outdoor equipment located on the roof of the 11 story building. The building board also wanted to have the capability of billing condominium owners for their individual electric power consumption based upon usage. The board requested a system that could be expanded as more owners decided that they wanted HVAC systems and better environmental control that would enhance their residential resale values.

As the building is located in a very busy area in Tribeca in lower Manhattan, Air Ideal also wanted to have the ability to provide a remote monitoring capability that would allow it to view any problems that might be corrected without dispatching service technicians to diagnose the issues.  Individual condominium owners wanted the ability to select indoor units that could satisfy a multitude of different applications since each loft style condominium is unique in size, layout and design. Mitsubishi City-Multi was presented to the board as the product that had the flexibility to meet these unique criteria.  Subsequently, New York City developed stringent inspection and cleaning requirements for all cooling towers because of the recent legionella outbreak and the elimination of the cooling tower became a major benefit for the building leadership, its liability and its residents’ health concerns. Replacement of the existing cooling tower and the condenser water risers had been a consideration, but the costs for such far exceeded that of the ultimate solution.

After much consideration, the board selected Air Ideal’s proposal for the Mitsubishi City-Multi System with Phase I consisting of 94 ton of outdoor equipment and 102 tons of indoor equipment (43 units). The control system would consist of an AE-200A central controller with electronic sub-meters and AG-2000 software for tenant billing and monitoring capability. As the building did not require simultaneous heating and cooling (there was a building hydronic heating system to remain), the Y series was selected to reduce the overall project costs. The project would become a collaborative effort between Air Ideal, the building’s leadership and staff, individual condominium owners, the building management company (Orsid Realty) and the project managers (IP Group and Jonathan Rose Associates).

The project was started in December, 2014 and completed in August of 2015. The system has been operating without service issue to date and the building is happy enough with the outcome that there is a desire to expand the system with capacity to potentially encompass the entire building (A proposed Phase II would add approximately 81 tons).

Mitsubishi City-Multi heat pumps on the roof of 260 West Broadway with the Freedom Tower in the background

Mitsubishi City-Multi heat pumps on the roof of 260 West Broadway with the Freedom Tower in the background

As always, to keep up to date with what’s new in HVAC technology, visit our website at airideal.com and follow us on Twitter @airideal and at our Facebook page!

VRF HVAC Market In NYC Poised for Significant Growth

American Thread VRFThe combination of new FEMA flood insurance requirements, aging chiller and cooling tower plants, fears of legionella contamination and illness, a surging real estate market and increased population density are converging to create a perfect storm for VRF growth in the New York metropolitan area and beyond. Currently, we are involved in several multi-tenant VRF projects in Manhattan including two condominium projects converting from older traditional HVAC systems. The modular nature of VRF, its efficiency at part load and the ability to install long refrigerant line lengths from rooftop mounted equipment without oil return problems has made them the new system of choice for green urban design.

New FEMA regulations are providing significant pressure to relocate mechanical rooms which have historically been relegated to basements and sub-basements. Depending upon the market value of a building and it’s relationship to construction alteration costs, many projects located within the 100 year flood plain may be required to relocate mechanicals. VRF uniquely provides a cost effective method of relocating heating and air conditioning utilities to available roof locations in low, mid and high rise buildings in these area. This combined with the plethora of indoor unit applications for surface mounted, concealed, wall, floor or horizontal locations makes VRF perfectly suited for these types of installations.

The main design criteria, besides equipment location, will be refrigerant piping riser location, access availability and ventilation index requirements. VRF units have not typically been suited to applications with high latent loads and significant fresh air ventilation requirements, but with the advent of new lines of Energy Recovery Ventilators, this problem may be solved. Combining  a VRF system with an ERV for fresh air intake requirements now makes them more suitable for schools, public spaces and applications where significant ventilation is required.

One concern in the design and planning of VRF systems is the criteria laid out in ASHRAE Standards 15 and 34. Standard 15 was created to provide guidance for safety concerns in large refrigeration plants using ammonia and other early refrigerants. Over time, the scope of the Standard has been expanded to cover most refrigerants and systems, but the technology and features inherent in VRF systems have not been specifically addressed.  The overall purpose of ASHRAE Standard 34 is “…to establish a simple means of referring to common refrigerants… It also establishes a uniform system for assigning reference numbers, safety classifications, and refrigerant concentration limits to refrigerants. The standard also identifies requirements to apply for designations and safety classifications for refrigerants. The refrigerant concentration limit, in air, determined in accordance with this standard and intended to reduce the risks of acute toxicity, asphyxiation and flammability hazards in normally occupied, enclosed spaces” 

The concentration limit for R410A has been set at 26 lb/Mcf (thousand cubic feet). Engineers need to consider this limitation when designing and submitting plans for VRF system unit locations serving smaller occupied spaces. There are several ways that the cubic area of these spaces can be enhanced and enlarged by allowing free air return, transfer grilles and door undercuts to fall within the realms of these calculations. The standard enumerates similar concerns for the refrigerant piping locations. For a further interpretation of these standards see this Mitsubishi City-multi bulletin.

As always, to keep up to date with what’s new in HVAC technology, visit our website at airideal.com and follow us on Twitter @airideal and at our Facebook page!