Engineering month is in full swing! Get to know our amazing engineers through our employee profiles.  This week we want you to get to know Mitch Smith.

Tell us about your role and what it entails:

While over my time at Trane I have worn almost every hat imaginable, my role on paper is Controls Account Manager. I work with our customers (owners, engineers and contractors) to specify HVAC control systems to meet both their specific needs and the needs of the building they design, build, own and / or operate.

How did you decide which type of engineering to get into?

I owe everything to my physics teacher for encouraging me to go to the engineering outreach day halfway through Grade 12. I knew I liked mechanical things but didn’t know where to learn more about it until after that day. I submitted my university application the next day! Mechanical was always my preference (I like things that move), though I’d argue I spend a lot of time in the electrical world these days.

What do you like most about working in engineering? 

There are two sides of this – first off, I love understanding and learning how the world around me works. As a kid I took apart far too many things I couldn’t put back together, largely to see what the insides contained. With the theory that I learned in university; I can at least explain to myself some of the decisions other engineers made during their design process. Secondly, I can take that learned knowledge to design systems as efficiently and effectively as possible. While being in a sales role tends to limit some of those design decisions, my conversations with consulting engineers in particular often dive deep into the weeds, so I need to have a firm grasp on both theory and application of different HVAC and HVAC control components. I love seeing something I worked with an engineer on show up on their construction drawings.

What types of challenges do you tend to encounter in your current role and how do you solve them?

Working in a sales role brings a lot of ‘soft skill’ challenges versus the typical ‘hard skill’ tools you learn in engineering. While you still need to know how to solve equations, select products for a certain application and speak theory about HVAC and HVAC controls, you also need to have the soft skills to converse with a wide variety of customers with varying degrees of friendliness to you and the company you represent. Nothing prepares you for walking into an engineer’s or contractor’s office and being met with crossed arms and hostile, one-word answers. So, summary; learning effective communication and how to diffuse uncomfortable situations has been a major opportunity for learning and growing in this role. I’ve met this with some reading and Googling, discussing with peers and lastly, trial by fire.

What sets Trane apart from other companies you’ve worked for?

I would say the people. Trane spends a lot of time and effort hiring and grooming great people, and it shows based on how many, and the strength of relationships I have with the team, both locally and remotely. If I run into a problem during a particular project, I know within a couple of calls, I can have the experience and wisdom of not only my local office, but all of Trane behind me to support me on whatever issue is at hand.

How do you contribute to the industry outside of work?

I have to say I haven’t been good with this as of late. I am a member of the local ASHRAE chapter and have recently joined the Board of Governors, but besides that, not much!

Get to know me: 

Grew up in: Selkirk, a town about 15 minutes north of Winnipeg. I ride the fine line where I can vibe with both country and city folk.

Calls home: Winnipeg

Hobbies: I love being active, though as injuries stack up, some previous activities like basketball and volleyball have been replaced with some less intense sports, e.g. cycling, skiing, and rowing. I enjoy working around the house, and once I’m spent for the day, I enjoy getting the Xbox warmed up to online game with the guys (thanks Covid!)

Favorite pet: My dog Mia, who’s staring at me while I write this.

Favorite place to be when you’re not at work: Nowhere in particular if there is something to keep me active and some sort of adventure.

Superhero you would like to be: Hmmm, tough one. I’m going with Iron Man. Reason being, he can design some sort of technology to be equal to any other superhero’s powers.

Least favorite chore: No question, hand-washing dishes. My best friend and I nearly ended our friendship because of it, which he poked fun at during his best man speech at my wedding.

Favorite band: If you ever want to channel my inner air guitar and potentially some karaoke, throw on some Boston.

If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be? I don’t have an inspiring answer for this; I think one of my grandparents, to talk more about our family history and ‘the old country’.


Engineering Month 2021 – Greg Burke

Engineering month is in full swing! Get to know our amazing engineers through our employee profiles.  This week we want you to get to know Greg Burke.



Tell us about your role and what it entails:

I work as an Account Manager/ HVAC Systems Engineer. My day to day is being a Technical Advisor of HVAC Equipment for Mechanical Consultants, Contractors and Building Owners.

How did you decide which type of engineering to get into?

A: I was always interested in Physics and Mathematics in High School, so Mechanical Engineer seemed fitting.

What do you like most about working in engineering? 

I’m always learning. It’s an industry where there is so much involved that you can never know it all! So, I try to continue to challenge myself and continue to learn and grow with the profession.

What types of challenges do you tend to encounter in your current role and how do you solve them?

A: Everyday is different and always brings on new challenges. My role is very Customer focused, so whenever I’m solving a problem I make sure to put myself in the shoes of the Customer to make sure the solution works for both the Customer and Trane.

What sets Trane apart from other companies you’ve worked for?

Trane’s all I’ve known since Graduating University!

How do you contribute to the industry outside of work?

I am the ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning) Interior BC Chapter Co-Lead.


Get to know me: 

Grew up in: Saint John, New Brunswick

Calls home: Kelowna, BC

Hobbies: Snowboarding, Biking, Golf

Favorite pet: Our Dog, Paisley.

Favorite place to be when you’re not at work: Somewhere outdoors or in the mountains!

Super hero you would like to be: Spiderman

Least favorite chore: Laundry

Favorite band: Red Hot Chill Peppers

If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?  Wayne Gretzky



International Women’s Day 2021 Holly Denby

Here at Trane Canada West are celebrating International Women’s Day all week! Get to know our amazing employees through their profiles.



Tell us about your role and what it entails? What do you enjoy about your job?

I am an Associate Controls Account Manager and I work with engineers, architects, contractors and owners/developers in the design, application, and sale of HVAC control and building automation systems. I am currently virtually attending Trane’s 6-month Graduate Training Program (GTP) with 40 other young engineers across North America. I’m apart of the 95th GTP class and I’m really enjoying learning the fundamentals of HVAC and sales from a diverse group of instructors.


What is your background? (Where did you grow up, university you attended, why did you start working in the industry?)

I grew up in Surrey, BC and attended the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus in Kelowna, BC. I graduated in June 2020 with a degree in Electrical Engineering and started with Trane shortly after! Prior to starting full-time I completed two internships with Trane as a Sales Intern.


What is your most memorable accomplishment?

My most memorable accomplishments from university include serving a term as the President of the Engineering Society and as an Executive for the Students’ Union. Being involved in student leadership was an extremely rewarding experience and gave me the opportunity to develop the soft skills that I have carried with me in starting my career as a sales engineer.


How do you contribute to the industry outside of work? (volunteering, mentoring sitting on committees).

Outside of work I love to participate in women in STEM outreach events! Later this month I’m sitting on a virtual UBC alumni panel and sharing my experience of being an engineer with young women in grades 10-12. I will also be attending a virtual event with the Women in Engineering club at UBC Okanagan to share my experience of being a new graduate. In the future, I hope I can be a mentor to young women and join more local chapter organizations such as ASHREA and the Association of Energy Engineers.


What advice would you give to another woman hoping to peruse a similar career?

I was terrified when I started my first year of engineering but by the end of the year, I was genuinely shocked by how much I’d accomplished and grown as an individual. Pursing a career in engineering is extremely rewarding and if you set your mind to it, show up every day and do your best, then engineering is for you!


What advice would you give to your younger self if you were given the opportunity?

To become comfortable with being uncomfortable, never stop learning and never let an opportunity to pass by.


What is something you’re excited to be working on?

I’m excited to graduate from Trane’s Graduate Training Program in June and put my new skills to use in building my network and brand in the HVAC controls industry.


This year’s theme for International Woman’s Day is #choosetochallenge which is about creating an inclusive world. What does an inclusive world mean to you as part of your role at Trane or individually?

Building an inclusive world means not only ensuring that women have a seat at the table but that they are empowered to use their voice and others are encouraged to listen.


International Women’s Day 2021 Melanie Taylor


Here at Trane Canada West are celebrating International Women’s Day! Get to know our amazing employees through their profiles.


Tell us about your role and what it entails? What do you enjoy about your job?

I am the Service Coordinator for the Trane offices in Saskatoon, Regina, and Edmonton.  My position comprises many tasks; however, it all begins with receiving customer requests for service and scheduling the technician best suited to resolve the problem.  I appreciate the variety of responsibilities my role offers and the opportunities I’ve been provided.


What is your background? (Where did you grow up, university you attended, why did you start working in the industry?)

I was raised on a farm in rural Saskatchewan.  With few local opportunities, I moved to Saskatoon after graduating high school, and I attended business college. I worked in the medical field prior to becoming a stay-at-home mom. After a 6-year motherhood hiatus, I returned to the work force. In 2015, due to company restructuring, I found myself in pursuit of a new job and was contacted by the then HR manager inviting me to interview for a position with Trane. Six years later, here I am!


What is your most memorable accomplishment?

At my previous place of employment, I was a recipient of the company’s Core Award which was awarded to individuals who best displayed the company’s core values and traits.


What advice would you give to another woman hoping to peruse a similar career?

Always be yourself. Lead by example. Commit to learning and growing.


What advice would you give to your younger self if you were given the opportunity?

Believe in yourself, and you can accomplish anything. Be the type of person who always adds value to the lives of those around you.


What is something you’re excited to be working on?

Outside of work, I recently began to assist people by creating, or refining, their resumes and/or cover letters. Sometimes they are returning to the work force, maybe need to freshen up what they already have, or simply don’t have one. With this being a prospective employer’s first impression of you, it’s important to present a great one. The opportunity to serve others in my community has been very gratifying.


This year’s theme for International Woman’s Day is #choosetochallenge which is about creating an inclusive world. What does an inclusive world mean to you as part of your role at Trane or individually?

To me an inclusive world is one where everyone is treated with the same respect. Everyone should be provided the same courtesy regardless of their gender, race, sexuality etc. I feel it’s important we understand the challenges people face, and equally vital, to recognize the privilege afforded to others. Inclusion creates a safe space for everyone -in spite of our differences – to be seen, heard, and accepted in our families, at our workplace, and in the community. Inclusion is a choice. Being different is not.


Stay tuned for our next employee profile.


Ready for Now, Resilient for Tomorrow: Trane Services Help Building Owners Reopen Safely and Confidently

As businesses prepare to increase building occupancy, Trane® – by Trane Technologies (NYSE: TT), a global climate innovator – recently introduced a new suite of services to help building owners and operators bring people back indoors with confidence.

“It’s a different world for buildings and those who run them,” said Donny Simmons, president, Commercial HVAC Americas, Trane Technologies. “Building operators must plan to safely welcome back employees, tenants and customers while balancing new realities. They need a trusted partner who understands the impact of indoor air quality, where to make investments, and how to make buildings more sustainable. Trane can help make the process easier and safer for building owners and occupants alike.”

The four new service offerings – Trane® Indoor Air Quality Assessment; Trane® System Startup; Trane® Energy Checkup; and Trane® Remote Services – align to the latest HVAC industry guidelines and can be customized and scaled to meet the specific needs of each building.

“Every building is unique and deserves a proper assessment by trained professionals – especially as buildings emerge from unplanned states of vacancy or reduced occupancy,” said Simmons. “Trane professionals take into account the building’s purpose, age, condition, climate and occupancy trends, and identify opportunities to improve indoor air quality conditions and building performance in line with a building owner’s broader goals.”

System Startup Services

“Just as many homeowners have their residential HVAC systems serviced before use each season, it’s important that buildings’ mechanical systems are thoroughly checked and maintained after long periods of vacancy, with consideration to ventilation, airflow and humidity,” said Simmons.

Trane® System Startup is a comprehensive examination of a building’s HVAC system and its main components to ensure reliable operation at optimal levels. Trane technicians and engineers provide a comprehensive review of the building’s system and then test, clean and address any HVAC system performance issues to help enable healthier, comfortable and efficient indoor environments.

Indoor Air Quality Assessment

Indoor air quality matters more than ever, and tenants, employees and customers want to know facilities are prepared for their return.

The Trane® Indoor Air Quality Assessment is a fact-based, data-driven analysis of how effectively a building’s indoor air quality adheres to current industry recommendations for operating HVAC systems. Trane technicians and engineers will examine and provide relevant data in critical areas that influence indoor air quality. Where possible, Trane can conduct the assessment remotely through the building automation system (BAS). Building operators will receive actionable data and insights about the building’s overall air quality to implement immediately or plan for future investment. Remote Services

Businesses can consider lower-touch and remote building services to more effectively manage their building from afar. Trane® Remote Services provide reduced-contact building maintenance and management through our connected building automation systems. Technology advancements continue to expand the tasks that once required a service truck and on-site support.

Remote Diagnostic Services and Remote Service Specialists act as a “second set of eyes” to monitor and support HVAC system performance remotely 24/7. Trane remote specialists can handle most standard HVAC service tasks without an on-site visit. If on-site work is required, remote diagnostics help to ensure the technician is prepared with the right tools and parts to resolve in a single visit, resulting in reduced downtime and fewer on-site visitors.

 Energy Check-Up

Energy efficiency is a fundamental part of any sustainability program and offers short- and long-term benefits for businesses, building occupants and the environment. An efficient building is better able to maintain consistent comfort and optimized indoor air quality for increased resiliency and stability; yet, many of the same enhancements that improve indoor air quality can increase energy use.

A Trane® Energy Check-Up can help pinpoint areas of inefficiency and opportunities for adjustments that improve energy efficiency and savings. Trane delivers a system-wide, data-driven analysis of a building’s energy consumption and action plan to help building leaders manage energy use and associated costs today – and prepare for future needs.

Visit for more information.



Preparing Your District: The ABC’s of Optimizing Indoor Air Quality

As a school administrator, you are already well aware there are no easy answers regarding the best way to re-open schools. While there is heavy focus on the importance of masking and surface cleaning, even more important is addressing your schools’ indoor air quality (IAQ) to meet appropriate and ever-evolving guidelines.

Why this matters : Your re-opening preparations should include ensuring your heating, cooling and ventilation (HVAC) system is working the way it is designed to perform. The system needs to address comfort, safety and efficiency.

It is important to realize the transmission and mitigation of COVID-19 in buildings has not yet been tested and confirmed, and there are still many unknowns about the spread of the coronavirus. Based on recent research, as well as guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Canada’s Public Health Agency of Canada, HVAC systems can help with overall IAQ by filtering air, improving ventilation, and managing airflows. Read more about airborne transmission findings.

Taking a three-pronged approach to optimizing your schools’ IAQ can help provide comfort to teachers, staff and parents, and build confidence in your schools’ re-opening. This approach includes:

  • Aligning with guidelines from leading experts
  • Optimizing building IAQ based on data-driven assessments
  • Collaborating with experienced partners who have proven expertise in enhancing building IAQ

Aligning with health and industry expert guidelines

When optimizing your school’s environment, you can ensure your approach is on track by following guidelines provided by ASHRAE®. *Note that ASHRAE® aligns its guidelines with those issued by the CDC.*

For background, ASHRAE® is a global industry society advancing HVAC systems research and education for buildings systems, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, refrigeration and sustainability for more than 100 years.

Data-driven path to optimizing building IAQ

While the pandemic is shining the spotlight on IAQ, studies have shown that addressing IAQ concerns has long been of major importance in schools as well as other built environments. For example, previous research done in the U.S. found nearly half of that nation’s school buildings reported problems [i] related to IAQ.

ASHRAE®’s current HVAC-related recommendations, designed to optimize building environments, generally focus on the following four key areas of addressing IAQ:

  1. Dilute: Proper ventilation ensures that plenty of fresh, outdoor air comes into the building to dilute the buildup of indoor contaminants and help reduce the total volume of particles in the air. Adjusting building ventilation is one tool that can influence IAQ.
  2. Exhaust: Getting exhaust air out efficiently is equally important—especially air from kitchens, restrooms and combustion systems
  3. Contain: Maintaining indoor humidity levels within the ASHRAE-recommended range maximizes the comfort of building occupants and reduces the risk of microbial growth
  4. Clean:Of increasing concern is the HVAC system’s ability to reduce microorganisms, such as mold, bacteria and viruses. While filters are one cleaning technology that are often used in both commercial buildings and homes, they are not the only option. Additionally, cleaning technologies should be approached as part of a holistic plan to address IAQ needs now and long-term — rather than as an “ideal-solution widget.”

This video graphic provides a visual depiction of the 4 Key Areas of Indoor Air Quality “in action.”

Undertaking an IAQ assessment on your building will address the four key areas above and help identify and prioritize the most critical updates using a fact-based, data-driven analysis of your building’s air quality.

The assessment should provide you with the following:

  • A report of documented findings with strategic recommendations to improve overall IAQ
  • Guidance on system updates or improvements to address critical issues
  • Options for turn-key implementation of recommendations  with Documented results once complete

Collaborating with experienced partners

During this time of rapid change, it can be tempting to rush to a solution. Gain third-party credibility by collaborating with an expert who uses a holistic approach to optimizing IAQ. They can help direct your efforts and ensure that you complete your project on time and on budget.

Here are key capabilities to look for in selecting your partner:

Responsive to you – you need a consultant now; look for a ready-now expert.

Responsive to the changing environment – your consulting team should stay abreast of the quickly moving research, news and options so you do not have to. Are they watching for any updates on ASHRAE® guidelines? Can they help you filter out less-than-credible news?

Experienced and knowledgeable – while the world is focused on IAQ for a “moment” so to speak, find an industry-leading organization that has focused on it for a significant period of time and can take a holistic approach to the current challenges.

Helps solve funding issue – although you understand how critical it is to optimize the school environment, you also need to find a way to pay for any improvements. Look for a partner who can help you identify financing solutions to get it done –– so that you can focus on the job at hand.

Enhances credibility with key stakeholders – look for a consulting team who can help you address concerns with parents, teachers and staff that you have a process in place to prepare for building re-entry.

By taking a strategic, thoughtful approach to the IAQ improvement process, you can pave the way for a re-entry that addresses the concerns of your learning community.

As a long-standing educational partner with more than a century of IAQ experience and focused expertise, Trane is ready now to assist you with reopening campaigns. To learn more about indoor air quality, visit Trane’s “Ready for Now. Resilient for Tomorrow” page.


[i] United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 2014 National Center for Education Study

Trends in HVAC Technology

By Neal Lorenzi of Health Facilities Management, interviewing Mike Patterson, Product Manager, Centrifugal Chillers, Trane

  1. What are the big issues for chillers in hospitals? What challenges do hospitals pose to chiller manufacturers?

The concept of “population health” is becoming increasingly common in healthcare. This is a more holistic, proactive approach to patient care, which the healthcare facility plays a vital role in. As a result, there is increasing pressure to make sure the right facility investments are made.

Hospitals have unique energy needs due to their around-the-clock operation and energy-intensive medical equipment, which puts a huge demand on chillers. Hospital owners and facility directors require chiller systems that not only help them meet demands and requirements related to temperature, humidity levels, infection control and providing a comfortable environment for patients and workers, but are also energy efficient and will help meet building performance goals and reduce costs.

Trane focuses not only on the individual chiller, but also on how the chiller will perform in the specified building application. While it’s important to choose chiller equipment that delivers high-efficiency performance, it’s even more critical to take into consideration all the systems within a hospital. This is important because installing a high-efficiency chiller alone may not yield the building performance hospitals are seeking to reduce energy costs. However, placing greater emphasis on total-system efficiency instead of chiller-only optimization helps ensure that all components of the system (not just the chiller) integrate for seamless operation and energy savings throughout the life of the system.

  1. What new chiller product have you recently introduced to the hospital market? What are its key features for improving efficiency?

Trane continuously seeks to enhance its product offering to provide the highest efficiency and most reliable chiller solutions in the market. Most recently, Trane has expanded its Series S™ CenTraVac™ chiller line with the new CVHM model to provide customers with a design solution focused on reducing the impact of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through reduced energy consumption and the use of low pressure, low GWP refrigerant. The new CVHM model operates with R-514A next generation refrigerant with ultra-low GWP of less than two.

In addition, the chiller’s industry leading efficiency is achieved through innovative AdaptiSpeed™ technology, the integration of an all-new specific speed, direct-drive compressor, a permanent magnet motor and the Adaptive Frequency™ drive. The Series S specific-speed compressor features the industry’s first mixed-flow impeller design. Offering the best attributes of both radial and axial designs, the impellers enable the compressor to deliver better efficiency across a wider operating range.

  1. Overall, how is technology changing for control of chillers in hospitals? 

The internet of things (IoT) has provided a new level of insight into the overall operation of heating ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems, enabling a greater level of efficiency and reliability. When working with customers, Trane takes a systems approach, focusing not only on the individual chiller, but also on how the chiller interacts with the other building system components. When a chiller is ‘connected,’ it broadens the realm of possibilities. The chiller can do something as simple as matching its operation to the building’s actual occupancy and load, or a more complicated optimization like switching energy sources.

Wireless technology offerings are increasingly vital options in hospital facilities given their flexibility and meeting building needs. Trane Air-fi™ wireless system operates on BACnet®, which is an open, standard communication protocol that provides the ability to integrate multiple HVAC systems and BAS together — allowing for more intelligent and effective hospital management.

Integrating information from multiple systems can help a hospital when it wants to track important key performance indicators in areas such as infection control, which can involve monitoring and keeping control of humidity levels and air changes for critical areas of the hospital. By continuously monitoring the chiller’s operating conditions and performance, facility managers can quickly react to changes any time − day or night − addressing potential problems before they become more serious.

  1. What is happening with refrigerants? With the phase-out of HCFCs, what is recommended for new equipment?

With the global increase in the use of refrigerants, regulations have continued to evolve, and Trane is ready to support customers through the phase-out of HCFCs and global phase-down of HFCs through the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol. Trane provides customers with product choices that balance performance and sustainability without compromising safety, reliability and efficiency. In order to do this, Trane has expanded its chiller portfolio significantly in the last 18 months to address the increasing customer demand for climate-friendly systems. Our promise has always been to deliver the right refrigerant in the right product at the right time, ensuring that products achieve all regulatory requirements.

Ingersoll Rand created the EcoWise™ portfolio as part of the company’s Climate Commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its products and operations by 2030. Trane chiller products within the EcoWise portfolio meet the following requirements:

  • Are available with next-generation, lower-GWP refrigerants
  • Reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
  • Maintain safety and energy efficiency through innovative design
  • Meet or exceed emissions regulations

Trane offers water-cooled and air-cooled chillers within the EcoWise portfolio from 80 to 4000+ tons.

  1. What about sizing? For hospitals, is it best to use one large chiller or multiple smaller units?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for a hospital. Due to redundancy requirements, it is extremely rare for any healthcare facility to use a single chiller. In healthcare, downtime is not an option and the ability for a chiller to come back online is critical – if one chiller fails, a standby unit needs to be ready to take on the total load. In addition, not having the right amount of chillers in the plant can negatively impact performance or result in capacity shortfalls.

In the past, many hospitals would install one small chiller to satisfy smaller night-time loads or for heat recovery. The February 2017 ASHRAE Journal article, “Using Low-Load Chillers to Improve System Efficiency,” states in its summary, “…using 2016 design practices, a system using a (same size) … chiller saves more energy than the ‘low-load chiller’ system, except in a climate that is hot and humid all of the time.”

Facility managers should focus on system efficiency by installing same size chillers with a variable speed drive on one of those chillers for use during low-load conditions.

A resource that is commonly used within the market is the 50% Advanced Energy Design Guide for Large Hospitals (50% Hospital AEDG). This design guide was co-developed by ASHRAE and several of its partners to promote building energy efficiency. It details multiple chilled water system features that will increase the energy efficiency of the building to include: chiller-tower optimization, low flow and high delta T designs, and heat recovery.

  1. What advances do you see in the future for hospital chillers?

With the continued focus for hospitals to conserve energy, save money, and build more sustainable operations, leveraging options that increase efficiency and lower environmental footprint will be key in creating systems for the future.

As chiller plants become more sophisticated in order to meet the complex hospital application requirements, so do the new chiller testing capabilities. With many advancements in the area, manufacturers can now offer factory testing under ‘real-world’ conditions that simulate operation of a specific project and application versus a standard Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) test. The growing testing capabilities allow for documented proof of chiller performance and efficiency for the specific application before it leaves the factory, which more organizations will require in their quest to improve energy efficiency.

Additional chiller system advancements that are gaining momentum are heat recovery, free cooling and thermal energy storage. Chillers with heat recovery reduce the ancillary power necessary to reject the heat while also reducing the amount of purchased heat required. This reduces operating costs and lowers the emissions output through the reduction of burned fossil fuels, such as natural gas, that would otherwise be needed to generate heat.

Free cooling is a refrigerant migration feature that can provide up to 45 percent of the nominal chiller capacity, without running the compressor – reducing energy use and annual operating expenses for a hospital.

With a thermal energy storage system, the chiller makes ice during nighttime hours — when utility rates are usually at their lowest — which is then used to help cool buildings during peak-rate daytime hours. Ice-enhanced cooling systems not only use less expensive electricity, they also use less of it, in a more environmentally sustainable manner. In fact, ice storage systems are specifically identified by the U.S. Green Building Council as being eligible for LEED® design credits.

Trane, the Trane logo, CenTraVac, AdaptiSpeed, Adaptive Frequency, Air-Fi, EcoWise are trademarks of Trane in the United States and other countries.



Predictive Building Analytics: The Future of HVAC Automation

by Neil Maldeis, Energy Solutions Engineering Leader

Would you feel more confident in your building’s performance if technology could predict equipment failures before they happen? In the Internet of Things (IoT) age, this level of insight is possible and is known as predictive analytics.

Across all industries, IoT is expected to grow from $900 million in 2015 to $3.7B by 2020.1 Thanks to the expanding amount of smart technology, many things we interact with daily — including televisions, refrigerators and stereos — have internet-capable sensors to make every-day tasks easier. Even though this might seem like a 21st century fad, IoT is driving business growth in all industries, including HVAC.



Rapid Growth in IoT

The global building automation and control systems are marketed to grow at a CAGR of 9.52 percent from 2017 to 2021.2 This rapid IoT growth is allowing building owners and managers to proactively manage their facilities with technology that turns electricity, security, lighting, appliances and HVAC activity into data. And the ability to collect and analyze actionable utility insights is driving major savings and efficiencies in commercial buildings.

The latest technology — ultrasonic technology, electromagnetic Induction, vibration analysis and infrared thermography — anticipates equipment failures in real-time. This allows building owners and facility managers to predict equipment failures before they happen, potentially decreasing maintenance costs by up to 25 percent.3 In fact, this predictive maintenance can eliminate approximately 70 percent of unexpected failures and reduce downtime by up to 50 percent. 3

As such, predictive analytics could be the next phase of IoT. To get started, there are three key steps to equipping a building with data-gathering technology and learning to effectively analyze it.

1.      Installing smart technology: Installing smart technology allows data and insights to be collected and evaluated at all times. For HVAC, this technology measures and analyzes how often equipment is running, when a building is occupied and how quickly set points are met. Having a partner that does not believe in the one-size-fits-all approach will help structure a solution that is most appropriate for a building owner’s or manager’s needs and business goals.

2.      Gathering data from key equipment and appliances: Multiple technologies will likely be used to monitor and manage all aspects of a building, not just HVAC. This is known as a connected building — where technologies are integrated to give building owners and managers a big-picture overview to how the building in running and operating. Tracking and collecting this information overtime will develop a baseline performance to compare with when accessing performance and maintenance needs.

3.      Analyzing the data and develop a corrective action plan: Users can view and analyze the data being collected using a visual source such as a dashboard and mobile interfaces. Data visuals can help see performance patterns, so real-time adjustments can be made faster and more effectively. Building managers and owners can do this remotely to make more informed decisions anywhere at any time. Because not every building is the same, the data shown on these visuals can be customized to each user.

Quantifying energy use patterns and mapping performance over time is a move toward predictive analytics. And doing so with a reliable and knowledgeable partner can help you determine which predictive maintenance and visual data approach is best for your building. Trane® offers predictive services along with its smart technology for customers who experience excessive failures and associated costs.

Trane recently included its predictive service as part of a larger project to reduce operational costs. It partnered with Crosstown Concourse to increase its building’s value. Charged with redesigning its 90-year-old system, Trane optimized Crosstown Concourse’s HVAC system. In the end, Crosstown Concourse could start collecting data, helping identify how its building consumes energy, diagnose equipment performance and meet its energy reduction goals.

A partner like Trane can determine what data should be analyzed based on a building’s needs and function. A partner also can determine when predictive maintenance is a must and how to start developing a performance pattern. IoT will be around for the long haul, so find your source to smart technology and consider which data you need to track now to be set up for the future.

The Secret of Turning Data into Revenue

By Matt Gates, director of Intelligent Services Offers, Trane

Information technology advancements are bringing about a product revolution with smart, connected products that are more available and affordable than ever before. Near ubiquitous wireless connectivity, coupled with improvements in processing power and device miniaturization, have resulted in a wave of connected devices and systems in residential and commercial buildings.

This connectivity, referred to as the internet of things (IoT), is everywhere, which means your customers have more choices — and greater expectations.

Growing connectivity also means that more data can be gathered, so much data in fact, that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Collecting data just for the sake of data can be costly and time-consuming, and likely not helpful.

You can assist your customers in navigating these waters by helping them use building data to be more productive and efficient.

The right strategy is the key to turning the mountains of data into useful information that improves efficiency and performance, and has a positive impact on the bottom line.

Challenges and operating realities

Doing more with less, whether it be a reduced budget or fewer staffing resources, is the new normal for many customers. As financial pressures grow, capital investments often face more scrutiny, with a greater focus on reducing costs and improving efficiency and productivity. Building connectivity, and the data that results, can help address these operating realities.

Customers may ask, “Do we feel the building’s cost can be managed and improved by measuring its current performance?” The answer is yes, that better building performance reduces cost, and thus helps with some of the pressures they face as part of the new normal. The IoT can help with that challenge.

While access to building information is growing, technology advancements are driving the expectations of building owners and occupants. According to the Future Workforce Study 2016 from Dell and Intel, 72 percent of millennials expect to work in a “smart office” that uses the internet of things within the next five years. Also, recent survey data of corporate workplaces from Leesman shows that temperature control is among the most important physical features for workers in an effective workplace.

Customers are experiencing the IoT in other aspects of their lives, and they expect real-time access to their commercial building information as well. Customers also have more options as more service providers enter the market.

Given these challenges and realities, building connectivity is important, however, the key reason for connectivity should be providing value, not just gathering data.

Strategy creates clarity

To ensure that connectivity is providing value, strategy must come first. It is the key to figuring out what customers are trying to accomplish. Consider these questions:

  • How does this help my customer?
  • What are the customer’s unmet needs?
  • Does this fit our business, and is it part of our core competencies?

Begin brainstorming ideas with an internal team. Start with the end in mind, and ask, “How does this benefit my customer?” Follow up with identifying three unmet customer needs — two logical needs, and one “crazy” need, a practice that helps spawn innovation.

After this process is complete, assess the proposed solutions. For each solution, consider if it offers a clear customer benefit and a clear business benefit. Does it identify a known customer need or customer problem? Will the solution create a new revenue stream or enhance an existing one?

Once there is a clearly defined strategy in place that identifies the goals of using data — including the benefits it will generate — the tactics will become clear. You will have a better understanding of what data is needed to achieve the identified benefits, how that data can be collected, how existing databases can be used and connected to drive benefits, and how the resulting data can be used to optimally benefit your customer. After analyzing the data, you can then engage the right technology to implement the solution.

Following this process results in a well-thought-out action plan that can be executed and measured. Including measurement as part of the implementation plan is key to achieving the expected results.

Example: remote chiller controls

In one real-world example, the building owners wanted to manage and operate a more efficient and sustainable building. Their end goals were to deliver benefits to the bottom line through more productive employees and a better building environment.

Among their priorities were real-time dashboards for building equipment and actionable insights to help ensure building system efficiency. One solution, the implementation of a building energy management system (BEMS), helped put a focus on building performance and optimization.

The building chiller was connected to the building automation system (BAS), and the BAS was then connected to the cloud. This allowed for real-time access to system data and enabled users to remotely make schedule and setpoint changes.

The solution also allowed for the remote resolution of system alarms 24/7, in addition to energy usage reporting and visualization, and system-level optimization through analytics. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are among the largest energy consumers in a building, therefore, the ability to monitor energy usage can help building owners ensure that systems are operating as they should for greater efficiency and reduced costs.

From a service perspective, these remote capabilities provide significant advantages. Rather than spending time on triage or diagnostics on-site prior to maintenance or repair, system information provided remotely allows the service technician to be prepared in advance with the right parts or solution — or to sometimes even fix an issue remotely. This results in greater efficiency, lower costs to the customer and the ability to respond to more service calls in a day.

A strategic approach to address unmet needs

Technology advancements make the connectedness of devices and systems more accessible and affordable. The time is right to explore IoT capabilities and the benefits they can deliver to customers.

Keep in mind that it’s important to avoid implementing technology just for the sake of technology. Instead, take a strategic approach that focuses on solving the unmet needs of customers to help connect the technology to their business goals and outcomes, resulting in a positive impact on the bottom line.


 HSBC Tower Nets $150,000 in Annual Utility Savings Through Building Improvement

By Dino Giarrusso, Controls and Service, Solutions Leader, Trane Canada

Prince George–based property management firm Majestic Management takes pride in offering customers a high level of real estate experience and multidisciplinary technical skills among its 20-person staff. Their goal is to modernize several buildings in its portfolio to high-performance standards, with a focus on energy efficiency, building performance and comfort.

Included in their portfolio is the HSBC Tower, which is one of the premier office locations in Prince George, British Columbia. As the original heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) equipment in the building approached the 40-year-old mark there were increasing challenges with energy efficiency and occupant comfort, and Majestic Management wanted to find solutions to reduce operational costs and make the building more efficient to maintain.

“Occupant comfort has to come first, but energy efficiency and low carbon footprints are also important for many of our tenants,” said Bob Hillhouse, president of Majestic Management.

Challenges of efficiency and comfort

Improving the energy efficiency of the HSBC Tower was a key concern, and issues of occupant comfort in the building were also critical, since Majestic staff spent significant time addressing hot and cold calls. Given the building’s aging equipment, property staff struggled to keep tenants comfortable and were unable to provide the simultaneous heating and cooling they desired in varying areas of the building.

This meant many of the building systems needed to be upgraded or replaced to help reduce energy costs and provide the necessary level of occupant comfort — while also adding asset value to the building and eliminating the risk of catastrophic equipment failure.

Majestic Management sought to convert the building’s antiquated equipment — including the induction fan, chiller and boiler — into reliable, energy-efficient systems and modernize the building’s zoning and ventilation to provide zoned capabilities and the comfort levels expected in a contemporary office space.

Because the 10-story building was fully occupied, upgrades needed to be completed during the shoulder seasons to take advantage of milder weather and to minimize disruption to business operations.

A range of efficient solutions

To find the right solutions, Majestic Management consulted with longtime partner Trane, which has worked with the company for nearly 40 years on engineering design, equipment and building services.

With conceptual input from Hillhouse, who also holds a B.Math degree in computer science with electrical engineering electives, numerous options were discussed. A turnkey design/build solution was developed to help enable building systems to perform as intended to answer long-term efficiency and comfort goals. A design/build process offered several benefits for the project, including faster design and execution time, lower cost to the building owner, less disruption to tenants, and a single source of responsibility via one project partner.

“Energy efficiency was of key importance, but so was our payback. Given that the building equipment was 40 years old and in need of replacement, we could either choose to replace the equipment like-for-like as it failed or do something out of the box,” Hillhouse said. “Trane helped us think outside the box, and in the end, it wasn’t that much more of an investment to have a highly efficient system.”

The two-phased project included not only the replacement of aging air handling units, chillers, boilers and building controls, but also implementation of a system redesign and energy-saving strategies from the Trane Building Advantage™ portfolio of products and services. Each phase took about 18 months from design to completion.

To improve comfort, a dedicated heat recovery chiller and water-cooled screw chiller were installed to match the capacity of the existing centrifugal chiller. The two-chiller combination enables simultaneous heating and cooling to better control temperatures and create zones within the building to satisfy individual comfort preferences. This provides much tighter zone control over temperatures. The two new chillers also operate efficiently to help reduce energy consumption.

In addition, the building ventilation system was modernized with the installation of new air handlers with dynamic air filtration.

The redesigned HVAC system also included additional energy-saving strategies and equipment, such as:

  • The cooling towers were reworked to include a free cooling option.
  • Boiler piping was revised and boilers were replaced with low-temperature condensing boilers to reduce gas consumption.
  • Variable frequency drives were included on the new boilers and on other equipment to reduce fan, gas, and electrical energy use and operational costs.
  • Induction box operation was also modified to allow switching between warm water, cool air and cold water warm air. The improvements to the induction boxes allowed boiler temperatures to be lowered to 35 degrees Celsius versus the previous 60 to 70 degrees Celsius, allowing the heat recovery chiller to take care of most of the daily heating requirements. Boilers generally don’t start until source temperatures to the heat recovery chiller are no longer favorable.

Collectively, the new equipment and system upgrades provided energy consumption reductions by improving north, east and south zoning that allowed for much better temperature control in the building.

Heat recovery was one of the technologies that Majestic Management officials were excited to implement in the HSBC Tower. The building’s new heat recovery chiller system utilizes heat recovery, which provides additional efficiency. In this system, recovered energy is used in various ways inside the building, so the system only expels the remaining heat that is not needed.  

The dedicated heat recovery chiller recovers and reuses return air heat, eliminating the need to use boilers during shoulder seasons and when the building is occupied through the majority of the winter months. When outdoor temperatures rise, the water-cooled screw chiller works with the dedicated heat recovery chiller to satisfy the cooling load.

Water from the heat recovery chiller is used for all building perimeter heating. This transfer of energy helps to make the building even more efficient; the building is about 240 kilowatts away from being completely self-balanced, meaning it can reject as much energy as the building requires for operation. As a result, there is little to no need for heating and cooling requirements that use new energy.

Significant utility savings

With the improvements, every perimeter office is now a separate zone in the building, which helps maintain better temperature control and satisfy comfort needs and preferences.

In addition, energy costs have decreased by more than 50 percent since the solutions were implemented — with savings of more than $100,000 annually in electricity costs and about $50,000 annually in gas costs. The project was also awarded energy incentives of $100,000 and another $100,000 in tax incentives.

With Majestic Management, Trane, project engineers, contractors and suppliers working as an integrated team on the project, the implemented solutions at the HSBC Tower have helped significantly improve tenant comfort, drastically reduce energy costs and lower operational life- cycle costs.

Improvement efforts continue in the building — with performance, efficiency and comfort as ongoing priorities.

Condensing boilers
Another high-efficiency solution used in the HSBC Tower project is condensing boilers, which are water heaters fueled by natural gas.

Condensing boilers achieve high efficiency — typically up to 99 percent — by condensing the water vapor in exhaust gases and then recovering the latent heat of vaporization, which would otherwise be wasted. This condensed vapor leaves the system in liquid form.

Condensing boilers are ideal in an application such as this, where they utilize low fluid temperatures and work in conjunction with heat recovery chillers to provide space comfort.  

Aiming for Net zero

Majestic Management President Bob Hillhouse wants to turn the HSBC Tower into a net zero building with respect to heating and cooling with improvements and system upgrades. Some of the energy-saving strategies employed in the building include:

  • Maintaining building temperatures using low-temperature heat (90 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit) versus heat of 140 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • The building captures waste energy and lifts it with a Multistack dedicated heat recovery chiller to heat the building.
  • The building automation system (BAS) has been upgraded and optimized to effectively use the minimal amount of heat from the gas boilers.
  • Property managers are considering replacing the high-temperature (180 degrees Fahrenheit) fin-style radiation on the main floor with new low-temperature (125 degrees Fahrenheit) perimeter fan coils.

“We’ve been quite happy with the solutions Trane provided,” Hillhouse said. “We’ve had huge improvements in energy efficiency. In fact, we’ve been advised that this building ranks within the top 10 most energy-efficient buildings in Canada for this climatic region.”