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Sweden hosts Systemair seminar

Event elaborates on the progress of the HVAC industry in the context of sustainable development

| | Dec 12, 2021 | 11:52 pm
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The Sweden Pavilion, at the World Expo in Dubai, on November 10, was the setting for detailed discussions on HVAC solutions in the context of sustainable development goals. Called ‘The Forest’ for its arboreal nature, the Pavilion hosted presentations on a wide array of topics, which coalesced in a panel discussion, intriguingly titled ‘The future of sustainable HVAC – do we practice what we preach?’

Morten Schmelzer

Morten Schmelzer, Technical Marketing Director, Systemair, chaired the seminar, which pulled in the expertise of speakers on eclectic topics related to sustainable development. For instance, Dr Gerhard Schmitt, ETH Zurich, spoke on the topic, ‘A vision of the regenerative future city’. Referring to the setting of the seminar, he pointed out that forests are able to regenerate themselves, and called for the need for responsive cities.

Highlighting that an estimated two billion more people will live in cities in the next 30 years, he said that going by the prevailing situation, hot temperatures and problems relating to humidity would characterise the areas most of these people would live in, unless adequate intervention measures were introduced. “We have to go to beyond smart cities to responsive cities,” he said. “People, bottom up, demand everything that needs to be done in Zurich, which is a responsive city. Vienna is another responsive city.”

Dr Schmitt said cooling our cities in a regenerative way is important. He spoke of the need to go to the sources of cooling. By way of solutions, he called for responsive governments and regenerative enterprises to explore and establish nature-based cooling and heating.

Speaking after him, Olle Glassel, VP, Sales & Marketing, Systemair, elaborated on the topic, ‘HVAC today and its essential role in tackling tomorrow’s challenges’. He began his presentation by posing a series of questions to the audience: “What comes to mind when you think of buildings? Is it design, skyscrapers or fantasies?” What comes to mind is the efficiency of chillers, he said. People want to know if they are getting clean air, he said. They are not thinking of the refrigerant that is flowing through the building, he added.

Ventilation, Glassel said, plays an essential role in providing a healthy indoor environment. “Good IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) enables our children to learn more,” he said. “It helps us to be more productive in offices.” Broadly speaking, he said, cooling keeps many processes running and ensures food safety. At the same time, he pointed out, the world must not lose sight of the fact that HVAC is a major energy user, with 85% of total energy use in buildings in the UAE happening through operating HVAC systems. This is an important point for consideration in the context of the UAE revealing its intention of becoming a net-zero-energy economy by 2050 and Saudi Arabia pledging to reach net-zero by 2060.

By way of solutions, Glassel highlighted the importance of conducting preventive maintenance, embracing integrated controls, conducting lifecycle cost assessment, and adopting demand control ventilation and EC motors.

Much like Glassel, Tekha Semin, VP, Global Market Development, Delos International, and WELL Building representative, spoke on the importance of good IAQ. The pandemic, he said, helped people finally realise the importance of IAQ. Semin emphasised the importance of the built-environment, when he pointed out that five per cent of health outcome is owing to genetics, 25% is owing to medical care and 70% is owing to the physical and social environment, which has an impact on respiratory health, sleep health and cardiovascular health, amongst other aspects. “Planetary health is dependent on economic health, he said, which is dependent on human health.

Lars Kristensen, Senior Director for MEA, Camfil, picked up the IAQ thread from Semin, though in the context of air filtration. Kristensen pointed out that on average, humans consume one kilogram of food, two kilograms of water and 15 kg of air, and that yet we disregard the importance of good air. “When we travel abroad, we are careful about the food we eat, we avoid ice cubes over concerns it might be made of contaminated water, but do not care as much about the air we breathe,” he said. Air pollution, he pointed out, is the fourth biggest threat to human health safety. Seven million people worldwide die prematurely every year from air pollution, he said, adding that it is important to consider the value of good air filtration and to have 100% fresh air.

Speaking from a Camfil perspective, he said he recommends the use of Class ISO ePMl filters. Kristensen also spoke about the marked similarities in EN 79 and AST 52 standards. He said he recommends creating a global standard to create a level playing field and to speed up implementation.

100% fresh air, throughout

A profile of the Sweden Pavilion, also known as The Forest

The Sweden Pavilion, also known as The Forest, is entirely built out of wood, specifically shipped from Sweden for the purpose. Even the basement is of wood. It is a fact that Staffan Schartner, Head of Construction, Sweden Expo Committee, The Sweden Pavilion, is particularly proud of and never tires of repeating.

The Pavilion, located in the Sustainability District of the Expo, has a built area of 2,300 square metres. It contains 1,300 tons of timber, which includes cross-laminated wooden panels and whole tree trunks shipped all the way from Sweden. Schartner said that for every tree that was felled, two were planted.

By virtue of using wood, the Pavilion scores high on emission management, Schartner pointed out. The materials used have absorbed 2,000 tons of CO2. Had the Pavilion been built of reinforced concrete, it would have emitted 1,500 tons of CO2. So cumulatively, the Pavilion has averted emitting 3,500 tons of carbon, Schartner pointed out. As a further measure of emission management, the Pavilion features vertical solar panels.

From an HVACR point of view, the Pavilion enjoys 100% fresh air supply and good ventilation, made possible by using smart technologies and components, said Morten Schmelzer, Technical Marketing Director, Systemair. He added that it features smart air-handling units (AHUs) with integrated heat exchangers. In all, the Pavilion features 10 ‘Geniox 18’ and ‘Geniox 10’ AHUs, five fan-coil units (FCUs), two air curtains, a ‘SYSQUA 170’ air-cooled chiller and an extract fan, all supplied by Systemair.

Thomas Weiss, CEO, MR Studios, said the technological intervention in the Pavilion also includes humidity and temperature control and cloud-based system. It pipes out 44.024 m3/h of fresh air, with 100% fresh air supply. The Pavilion uses heat pumps for cooling and reaches comfort zone at 33 degrees C, Schmelzer said. Sixty per cent of indoor cooling, he said, is recovered through ERV. He added that there are no cross-contamination issues owing to the use of ERV. “The air leakage is three per cent, maximum, but again, if you put correct pressure, it will leak to the exhaust side,” he said.

Gerald Engstrom, Founder & Chairman of the Board, Systemair Group, commenting on the Pavilion, said he is very pleased with the design and architecture of the building. Masood Bioki, with the Sweden Embassy in the UAE, said The Forest is not just a pavilion but a statement when it comes to innovation and sustainability.


A highlight of the seminar was a panel discussion, titled ‘The future of sustainable HVAC – do we practice what we preach?’ The panelists were Mais Baqeen, Associate Director, Black & White Engineering, UAE; Khalil El Ghazzi, Managing Director, Systemair, Saudi Arabia; Avin Gidwani, CEO, BNC Industry Network, UAE; Markus Lattner, International Director, Eurovent, Belgium; Gunther Mertz, Secretary-General, FGK & RLT-HVAC Association, Germany; and Jan Svallingson, Director, FRICO, Sweden. Here’s what some of them said…

Gunther Mertz: I see positive signals coming from the real estate industry, and sustainability is a real topic. The real estate industry is under pressure from tenants, who want certified buildings. We need sustainable refurbishment.

Gunther Mertz: In Germany, many buildings are over 35 years, and I do believe IEQ is poor.

Mais Baqaeen: I see more commitment from governments and clients for refurbishment projects in the GCC region.

Avin Gidwani: We are at least a decade behind Europe when it comes to sustainability. Major investors here have no say really on what they will get. They have zero say, zero incentive. We are not seeing enough sustainability initiatives. In the vast majority of multistorey buildings, we can’t open windows, because they are sealed. Owners have to have a greater voice, and this can happen only with a government mandate. When I buy a car, energy efficiency [is a key factor of consideration], but when I buy a building, there is no talk of energy efficiency. I make my decision on good location, etc.

Khalil El Ghazzi: I agree with Avin that the concept of sustainability is not well known. It is a gas-driven economy, and it is difficult to get out of the loop, but we are seeing steps. Initiatives are being launched by the government. Maybe if money is spent on these, we will see like in Europe.

Markus Lattner: In the beginning, when a building is commissioned, it receives a sustainability certificate, but what happens to it later on is another story. So, we can talk about sustainability certification, but in this region we have such a high demand for cooling, so we need to have re-commissioning to ensure the building operator is maintaining.

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