Emerson Climate Technologies has set up a new innovation centre that aims to advance research and education for the global heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) industry.
The Emerson Innovation Centre, also referred to as The Helix, has been built on the University of Dayton campus in Ohio, US, as part of a 30-year global partnership.
The facility aims to be a proving ground for building controls and HVACR research and will foster an ambitious, collaborative approach to conducting research to create new technologies that address HVAC industry challenges. It will feature multiple HVACR systems to monitor and enhance comfort in the building and for testing and evaluation of building controls and efficiency.
The 40,000-sq-ft innovation centre will focus on five HVACR industry markets, namely, supermarket refrigeration, food service operations, residential connected homes, data centre cooling and light commercial buildings. To make this facility a real-world proving ground for solving HVACR challenges, Emerson will offer five specialised research areas under one roof to simulate real-world environments.
In addition to supporting industry research across residential HVACR, supermarkets, commercial kitchens and data centres, the centre will itself be a lab for commercial building controls and HVACR technology.
“There are a number of new regulations on the horizon that affect commercial HVACR systems. This facility will give us a way to evaluate how modulating systems and controls can work to maximise efficiency and comfort while testing in a real-world environment,” says Shane Angle, vice-president and general manager, commercial at Emerson Climate Technologies air-conditioning business.
Initially, the Helix will feature a 50-ton rooftop unit, a separate 20-ton rooftop unit and a VRF (variable refrigerant flow) system, along with Emerson building controls. For easy testing and evaluation, the facility will have visible ductwork and a station where building metrics from electronic monitors and building controls can be easily accessed.
“This is a unique opportunity for us to collaborate with our industry partners to evaluate comfort and efficiency in a commercial building,” says Rajan Rajendran, vice-president, system innovation centre and sustainability for Emerson Climate Technologies.
“One of the exciting things about working in The Helix is that we can look at settings like an office, a supermarket and a restaurant all in the same facility and share what we learn across those environments.”
An investment of $35 million is expected to be made over five years in the centre, which will employ 35 people. Its learning labs will be able to host 600 visitors and trainees per year.