WR Ahern Award recognises pick of the papers

During the holiday period, HVAC&R News is featuring the winners of the AIRAH Awards 2022.

The AIRAH WR Ahern Award recognises the best technical paper by an AIRAH member published in Ecolibrium over the previous year.

This year’s winner was Stefan Jensen, F.AIRAH, for his paper “Best-practice energy performance benchmarked for refrigerated warehouses”, published in the August/September 2021 issue of Ecolibrium.

Jensen’s paper highlights the increasing importance of minimisation of direct and indirect emissions from all refrigeration and air conditioning plant. The triggers for this are the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol that has scheduled hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants for a global phase-down. The second global initiative is the Paris Climate Treaty targeting carbon neutrality by 2050.

The paper presents recorded specific energy consumption values for a range of refrigerated warehouses constructed in Australia from 1999 to 2019. These refrigerated warehouses vary widely in terms of volume, temperature mix, usage, refrigerant choice, and refrigeration plant concept. Specific energy consumption (SEC) is defined as the energy consumption per m³ refrigerated volume per year [kWh/m³*a].

Within the paper, Jensen demonstrates that despite the significant spread in SEC-values for a number of refrigeration plant concepts, a clear and predictable pattern emerges for one type of refrigeration plant in particular.

The paper explains the factors that influence the spread in recorded energy performance values. It does so based on practical energy consumption records pertaining to the various plant types discussed in the paper and it shows what SEC-values are practically achievable.

Finally, the paper proposes a best-practice energy performance benchmark for refrigerated warehouses in Australia. This proposal is based on actual recorded values for more than 20 installations completed since 2013 in various Australian locations. The purpose of the best-practice proposal is to provide refrigerated warehouse operators with a benchmark to measure actual energy performances against and initiate improvement actions that address inefficiencies.

Other finalists in the WR Ahern Award included:

  • Simon Witts, M.AIRAH, and Sam Coleman – “Propagation of droplets in an HVAC system” (Ecolibrium – April 2021)
  • Dr Paul Bannister, L.AIRAH; Hongsen Zhang, Affil.AIRAH; and Dr Stephen White, F.AIRAH – “Potential impact of evaporative cooling technologies on Australian office buildings” (Ecolibrium – May 2021)
  • Dr Craig Pregnalato, M.AIRAH – “Carpark mechanical ventilation – time to take performance seriously?” (Ecolibrium – June/July 2021)
  • Hao Huang and Craig Roussac, M.AIRAH – “Next-generation fault-detection for commercial building HVAC systems” (Ecolibrium – November 2021)
  • Grace Foo, M.AIRAH – “Planning for carbon neutral in existing buildings” (Ecolibrium – Summer 2021)

The WR Ahern Award is sponsored by by Ecolibrium.

More information on the AIRAH Awards is available here.

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