Fri 30 Jul 2021

Energy Efficiency and Air Conditioning

When considering what small businesses deem essential for successful performance, one of the top priorities is investing in technologies that fulfill both their expected function and make reducing energy expenditure simple. Understanding commercial air conditioner energy efficiency can be daunting if not complicated, and its often that the business owner is looking for units with technical features that surprise and that integrate easily into the space installed in, be it the indoor or outdoor unit.


Investing in technology that supports business cost management should be an easy process and air conditioning is no different. Hitachi Cooling & Heating aims to deliver just that, essential cooling and heating technologies that surprise and make keeping tabs on operational costs a breeze. At the end of the day, by helping you use energy more efficiently, ultimately your business will save money.  


In this article we look at: 

  • Energy efficiency indicators and what they mean 
  • Energy efficiency labels around the world 
  • The Hitachi ranges perfect for small to medium-sized businesses 
  • Other technologies we offer to provide efficient comfort 

Energy efficiency indicators 


As with all technologies, to understand the efficiency of an air conditioner there are a number of indicators used to help the consumer when making their buying decisions. The most common and useful is the use of energy efficiency labels that highlight specific ratios related to performance and consumption of air conditioners depending on the country of use.


One thing to keep in mind is that country or region has its own regulations and methods of measuring product efficiency. A product that rates highly in one country may be classified with lower efficiency in another. 


Understanding Hitachi air conditioner EU energy labels and regulationsExample of generic EU energy label 


Take the EU energy labels used on air conditioners for example. They provide a condensed and accurate snapshot of a product’s performance capabilities. On these labels, the following indicators, ratios, and terms are considered:


Color Coding


Thinking of the EU energy label, color-coded bars that are associated with a letter are used as the primary visual aspect. This is designed to give the consumer an instant idea of an air conditioner’s electrical consumption, with green/A being the most efficient and red/G being the least efficient. 



EER - Energy Efficiency Ratio


What is the EER Rating? It is a ratio to determine the cooling power of an air conditioner and is the standardized measurement of the energy efficiency for air conditioners when cooling. 


How to calculate EER


EER is based on a fixed set of conditions: outdoor temperature of 95°F, an indoor temperature of 90°F, and with 50% relative humidity. It is then calculated taking the cooling capacity of a unit (in BTUs per hour) and dividing it by the power input (the watts used to cool). This helps determine the cooling power an air conditioner will achieve per 1kW. The higher the EER rating the more efficient the product. The calculation of EER can vary from country to country, where different measurement units can be used to calculate it. This info can be found in the catalogue of Hitachi Air Conditioning products.


EER 5.0 = 5kW of cooling power per 1kW of electrical input



SEER - Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio


What is the SEER rating? Like EER, it is a ratio that indicates how efficiently an air conditioner operates during an entire season and, rather than being measured using one temperature, it considers the efficiency of a unit’s cooling operation in a range of temperatures from 65°F to 104°F. This ratio is generally favored by homeowners, who will most likely use their air conditioner for shorter periods during an entire year.  


What SEER rating do I need? 


The higher the better. For homeowners, a minimum SEER rating of 13 -14 is suggested, whilst commercial HVAC owners will want a higher rating to improve efficiency and cost effectiveness. 



COP - Coefficient of Performance 


Applied What is COP in air condition? For both air conditioners and heat pumps, this ratio tells you how much output an air conditioner offers based on the energy input. Unlike EER and SEER, this can be used to measure the output of heat from a system and so is also used for heat pumps. In this case, it is the ratio of heat produced in relation to the energy input.


For example, is a unit has a COP of 4, that means that for 1kW of electrical input, 4kW of heating output is generated.



SPF – Seasonal Performance Factor


What does SPF reveal about HVAC equipment? While COP reflects the efficiency of a heat pump in general whereas the SPF ratio tells us the annual performance of a heat pump, taking the seasons into account and the impact they have on generating the desired heat output. 


SPF = Total heat output per annum / Total electricity consumed per annum 



BTU – British Thermal Unit 


What is BTU? As mentioned above, EER is the ratio of output cooling energy in BTUs divided by the energy input in Watts. BTUs are a measurement of capacity that is common in USA, UK and the EU. Some countries use different units to measure cooling capacity, including kW, kCal, and kJ. 1 BTU is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 lb. of water by 1ºF. The higher the BTU rating the more powerful the air conditioner is, but this doesn’t mean that installing a system with a high BTU rating will save on operational costs. Remember that the units used to measure capacity and thermal output varies depending on the country and BTUs was selected to demonstrate this case.


Energy efficiency labels around the world


Depending on which country you are in, different factors that determine the efficiency of an air conditioner and, in turn, different means of displaying them. For example, India’s Bee Star label rates products between one and five stars, with more stars meaning more savings, but will show different ratios. In the example below, the Hitachi Residential Air Conditioner is rated with ISEER, whereas some air conditioners have an EER rating. 


Example of Hitachi air conditioner BEE Star energy label in India


In Brazil, unlike the information shared on the Bee Star label, the consumer is given a snapshot of a month’s power usage as well as the BTUs that the air conditioner operates at. It’s similar to the European energy label yet with fewer color coded indicators by which to rate the overall performance.  


Brazil Hitachi air conditioner energy label and what it means


How Hitachi Air Conditioners can help your business 


Hitachi Cooling & Heating aims to help keeping operational costs under control with the lineup of Hitachi Air Conditioners that we offer. Within the Commercial Air Conditioning rangethe PRIMAIRY series are an effective plug and play solution that are easy to integrate into all types of small businesses like hairdressers, cafes, independent record and clothes stores and similar establishments. 


The PRIMAIRY series’ outdoor units have been designed to withstand a wide range of ambient temperatures and conditions to provide consistent cooling. Under the hood, high efficiency heat DC fan motors are found in the indoor and outdoor unit, which can adjust speed and ESP automatically during operation (The ESP is set manually during the installation process). This makes the running of the units more reliable, efficient and operate with low noise.


If your business requires multiple units, it’s now easier to monitor their operation using the Hitachi Group Control adapter, allowing 8 PRIMAIRY units to be controlled via one controller. Previously, each PRIMAIRY unit was operated individually, but with the Hitachi Group Control adapter business owners can adapt the cooling and heating requirements from one control point. PRIMAIRY indoor units are available as Ducted, Cassette and Floor Ceiling Convertible units, all offering excellent installation flexibility.  


Hitachi VRF systems and energy efficiency for small businesses


If multi-zone climate control is what your business requires, then Hitachi VRF is a highly efficient as well as flexible and versatile solution. VRF systems are ideal in indoor environments where temperatures fluctuate constantly but consistent comfort is paramount, like in a small to medium-sized workplace or clothing store. Hitachi VRF units are packed with industry-leading energy efficiency technology to help give business owners complete control over their operational costs.  


One of these features is an exclusive scroll compressor called Hitachi SmoothDrive, which allows the VRF system provide optimal efficiency at comfort at partial load operation. SmoothDrive technology is found inside our recently released Hitachi SideSmart VRF, the world’s first slim modular VRF solution. It has been designed to adapt to projects of all sizes and be installed practically anywhere. Thanks to the modular concept and size of the units, it means less refrigerant is required, lowering running costs.


VRF indoor units offer motion sensors which give business owners the benefit of the Auto-Save function. When a room becomes vacant, the indoor unit will progressively reduce its operation and comes with the option to turn off automatically if a room is vacant for a long period of time.


This, coupled with extensive yet easy-to-use fixed and mobile controller options, business owners can schedule their system in tune with their business hours, and also monitor and customize numerous indoor units from one control point.  


Other technologies that provide efficient comfort 


In relation to VRF and to increase, efficiency and benefit from remote operation, the airCloud Pro tool means that you can have a full overview of your air conditioning performance and identify where unnecessary use of energy can be avoided to reduce costs. 


If keeping your carbon footprint to a minimum is important, air conditioners with more climate-friendly refrigerant gases are now available in some regions. Such as use refrigerant R32. This is used in the PRIMAIRY series and is included in various models found in different ranges on offer. It is becoming increasingly popular thanks to its low GWP (Global Warming Potential) and an ODP (Ozone Depletion Potential) of 0.  


If you’re interested in learning about how your business can benefit from Hitachi Air Conditioners, you can find more information about the range and the products available, here.


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