The importance of certifications lies in offering the client a reliable alternative that meets the characteristics mentioned in the tables.
By Alfredo Sotolongo *
The most economical energy to produce is the one that saves!
In order for the equipment and components of the different air conditioning systems to truly save energy the way we expect, they must reflect the same in their operation as they do in their technical literature. How do we make sure of this? They must be certified by one or more of the institutions that inspect and confirm that what the manufacturers publish is real. Among some of the institutions that certify our equipment are the following:
CTI - Cooling Technologies Institute. Formerly known as Cooling Towers Institute. They do technical tests to our Protec cooling towers to verify that the features we publish are correct and thus certify them.
AHRI - Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Institute. They visit the factories of our represented companies, such as AAON and randomly request any equipment from the production line to do the tests and be able to certify their tables.
AMCA - Air Movement and Controls Association. The manufacturers of serious and responsible fans, such as Loren Cook, provide this institution with its complete line of fans that they manufacture for them to do the relevant tests and by satisfying said tests, they certify their tables.
These institutions, by certifying the capacities presented by the manufacturers, provide peace of mind to those who select these equipment to be sure that they will achieve the energy savings they are looking for in their designs. According to some colleagues who have addressed this issue, in the case of cooling towers and air conditioning equipment, most manufacturers are certified by both CTI and AHRI. But in the case of fans, one of the main problems they have is that there are several manufacturers that do not have AMCA certification or that only have some certified models.
The users or owners of the projects, in many cases, are unaware of the existence of AMCA and the protection it provides. Manufacturers without certification offer more economical fans that are not certified by AMCA. Many of these fans do not comply with the capacity that appears in the technical tables in the literature that these manufacturers publish. The serious problem is that only after being installed and in operation, when it is too late, is it evident that these fans do not meet the capacity for which they were selected.
In the case of fans, I would like to give you a brief overview of the history of AMCA, which was founded 100 years ago in 1917 where all the manufacturers joined together through an independent institution, to guarantee the integrity of ventilation systems in applications industrial, commercial and residential. One of the most important responsibilities of AMCA has been to check the performance not only of fans, but of gates, blinds, etc., components that handle air.
The technical tables of the air flow and the pressure drops of the fans that AMCA certifies guarantee to the consulting engineers, architects, contractors and owners that really the operation of the ventilation system is in accordance with the design. In addition, in applications where energy consumption and sound levels are critical, they verify that the values published by the manufacturer are real.
In regards to my great passion, saving energy, I wonder: what would be the environmental and economic impact when a non-certified fan operates outside the values published by that manufacturer? To answer this question, AMCA has developed the program that estimates the energy that the fan wastes. To use this tool, the user selects the country where the fan will operate, which automatically includes the country's currency and the average cost of electric power.
This program allows to determine the cost of the inefficiency of a fan that is not certified. AMCA members can use these results to compare their certified fans with those of manufacturers that are not, which justifies their membership and the cost of certifying their equipment.
In addition, consulting engineers, contractors and owners should consider specifying the manufacturers that are certified by AMCA and ensure that the fans that are installed have such certification. This is the only security that they will have that the operation of the ventilation system will be in accordance with the design and that meets the needs of the owner.
All serious and responsible manufacturers, such as Loren Cook, have an AMCA certification, which guarantees that their product operates in accordance with the technical tables they publish. I suggest to our colleagues that they make sure to design their ventilation systems using manufacturers that have their certified line and that the AMCA logo appears both in the technical tables and in the equipment.
If you need more information on any of the topics covered in this column, please contact me at email: email@example.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.