A review on the importance and responsibility of air conditioning engineers in the implementation of more efficient systems for energy consumption.

by Alfredo Sotolongo *

The most economical energy to produce is the one that saves!

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It is extremely important that we remain focused on the application of air conditioning systems in which the consumption of electrical energy is minimized more aggressively to reduce greenhouse gases.

In recent days, the world press has placed great emphasis on the meeting organized by President Emmanuel Macron of France, which commemorated the first two years of the Paris Agreement, very similar to those organized by the Organization of Nations. United. This time investors and financial companies of power generation plants have presented arguments that arouse interest in developing projects related to renewable energy. On the other hand, they show a gradual decrease in the investment and financing of sectors such as generation using oil or gas.

All these companies, with financial capacity for this type of investment are being very selective. There is currently a trend towards financing and investment in projects where electricity is generated with cleaner energy. According to the experts, it is not necessarily an ecological decision, but they want to ensure that their future investments or the projects they finance do not result in economic failures or lose value.

This condition is present in the most developed countries, such as the United States and the European Union, which also have very old power generation plants that are therefore inefficient. In less developed countries, where the most important goal is to provide electricity to the people, the World Bank contributes financially to these projects and for some time decided not to engage in projects related to hydrocarbons.

Investments in making the existing generation plants more efficient and minimizing the emission of CO₂, as well as new cleaner plants where renewable resources are applied, are very expensive. Therefore, our contribution as engineers applying more efficient air conditioning systems to reduce the consumption of electrical energy is very important, especially in our tropical countries, where air conditioning is the largest consumer.

As I mentioned in many of the previous writings, the ideal application of air conditioning is in which the three fluids: air, water and refrigerant are variable and adapt to the thermal load at all times. Remember that the thermal load fluctuates during the operation of the air conditioning system and very little percentage of the time it works at maximum capacity. When this happens is when, using frequency variators, all the components of the air conditioning system are regulated to coordinate and optimize their operation through the control system. This acts as an orchestra conductor achieving harmony between the components and therefore reducing the consumption of electricity.

I think everything in life must have a balance. In the case of investment to make existing plants more efficient or build new plants using renewable resources, the first thing is to reduce the consumption of electricity that you know: The most economical energy to produce is what you save!

If you need more information on any of the topics covered in this column, please contact me at: asotolongo@protecinc.com

* President of Protec, Inc., is certified as a professional engineer in Puerto Rico and in the state of Florida; He has over 40 years of experience in the application and sale of systems and equipment for energy conservation. He is a member of ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers), AEE (Association of Energy Engineers), ASHRAE and was president of the Miami chapter of the association.

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