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A new research centre combining the HVAC expertise of four British Universities has been created to develop cost-effective and energy-efficient heating and cooling technologies.

The project, led by London South Bank University (LSBU), who successfully secured funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to investigate how to reduce UK energy consumption from cooling systems by 2050.

The £1.2 million funding is part of a £5.25 million project, led by the University of Warwick, to investigate heating, cooling and heat storage. The goal of the project is to minimize future greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption.

With more than 40 per cent of fossil fuels used for low temperature heating and 16 per cent of electricity used for cooling, these are key areas to address if the UK is to meet its targets of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.

The Interdisciplinary centre for Storage, Transformation and Upgrading of Thermal Energy (i-STUTE), which will house the project, will also bring together technologists from the University of Ulster and Loughborough University.

The collaborating institutions working will work in the i-STUTE to develop technologies to reduce energy consumption and deliver cost-effective heating and cooling.

LSBU's team will consist of Lecturers and Researchers from the Faculty of Engineering, Science and the Built Environment, including Dr Deborah Andrews, Dr Issa Chaer, Dr Gareth Davies, Dr Alex Paurine, Professor Judith Evans, and Professor Graeme Maidment.

Professor Graeme Maidment said: "Cooling is an important technology for many things we take for granted, it is critical to food manufacture, development of pharmaceuticals and chemicals, as well as keeping datacentres and the internet servers cool.

As a large user or electricity and greenhouse gas producer, it is essential that we develop better cooling technologies for the low carbon economy. This project will provide new technologies and knowledge to enable industry to adapt and meet future challenges."

Further information about LSBU can be found here, and courses run by the Faculty of Engineering, Science and the Built Environment can be found here

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Minimising the heat gains on refrigerated cabinets and cold rooms cuts the cooling load on your refrigeration system and saves you energy and money.

Any energy efficiency initiative dealing with refrigeration should start by reviewing the heat gains on your system.  If you understand the nature of these gains, you’ll be able to manage the amount of cooling that needs to be done and make energy savings. Heat gains include warm air entering the cabinet or cold room and heat produced by electrical equipment within the cooled space.

This guide covers in detail two opportunities to reduce heat gains: reducing cold air changes using strip curtains, and using EC (electronically commutated) replacement motors for evaporator fans.

The business case - You will find opportunities for reducing heat gains on refrigerated cabinets and cold rooms in most applications.  Improving door management in cold rooms results in substantial energy savings. For example, installing plastic strip curtains to a cold room can give savings of up to 30%, and have a payback period of around a year.

Replacing conventional shaded-pole fan motors with equivalent EC motors can cut their energy use by 65%, as well as generating less heat and reducing your maintenance replacements.  You can maximise the saving achieved by fitting a whole new fan assembly instead of just replacing the motor. In most applications the payback period for fitting EC motor fans is one to two years, but it can be much shorter.

How to reduce heat gain in refrigeration (CTL137)- Click to view

Further information on the Carbon Trust guidance documents can be found by clicking here.

Reducing the heat load on your existing large refrigeration systems can save energy and cut your running costs. It can also reduce the capital cost of a new plant and even eliminate the need to invest in a new plant altogether.

This guide is aimed at users of existing large refrigeration systems such as those in supermarkets, central air conditioning systems, large cold stores and large industrial processes. It will help you to minimise your cooling needs and to meet them as efficiently as possible using the most suitable refrigeration system.  Both of these will result in energy savings.

Before you start any refrigeration energy efficiency initiative it is vital to review the heat loads on your cooling plant. If you understand the nature of your loads you can make sure they are met while at the same time minimising the energy cost of your refrigeration systems.

The business case - There are opportunities to reduce the heat load on refrigeration systems at almost all sites.  Savings and costs will vary depending on the type of opportunity.  Often payback periods are less than one year, and sometimes even no-cost heat load reductions are possible.

If you are planning to install a new plant, reducing its heat load could reduce the capital cost. If your existing refrigeration system currently struggles to supply enough cooling, reducing the heat load on your system could avoid the need for an expensive new plant altogether.

How to reduce heat load in refrigeration (CTL138) – Click to view

Further information on the Carbon Trust guidance documents click here.