6 ECO TECHNOLOGIES THAT HAVE REVOLUTIONISED ON-BOARD HVAC
Written by Yachting Pages
Last updated: 12/04/2019
For those on board a superyacht, comfort is a priority. At home on the blue seas of the Mediterranean or Caribbean, luxury yachts must have suitable air conditioning with climate control to provide guests and crew with a pleasant yachting experience.
Heating and cooling a living space on board a yacht with up to 50,000 square foot of floor area, however, is expensive. A large portion of the diesel burned on board – easily 500 litres per hour on a 71 metre yacht – goes towards the HVAC systems.
Besides the enormous cost of traditional air conditioning in such a large space, superyacht owners and crew are becoming increasingly aware of their environmental footprint on the planet – something that can be seen in the increasing trend towards hybrid yachts.
There is no doubt that use of renewable energy sources has rocketed in recent years, with the International Energy Agency suggesting that by 2020, 26% of the world will be powered by renewables, up from 13.2% in 2012.
This growing trend has resulted in manufacturers ensuring that heating and cooling systems are as efficient and green as possible, and below are our top six environmentally friendly HVAC technologies.
1. Variable speed drives
Instead of wasting energy and money producing more cooling than you need, a variable speed drive will vary the output of your on-board air conditioning system to ensure that you have a comfortable environment throughout the day.
Initially created to provide technicians greater control over the on-board HVAC system, variable-speed drives have become a mainstay on superyachts around the world, whose owners are looking to save on running costs.
2. Energy Analysis Software
Not strictly mechanical, this software is useful in projecting the most energy efficient and cost-saving HVAC systems for a space. Energy Analysis Software can also be helpful to architects and engineers who are looking for the appropriate equipment for use in their design.
This software can also be used to project a superyacht’s lifetime energy use, while considering the impact of other green techniques such as the use of reflective roofing. Green Building Studio and Energy Gauge are some of the analytical software products available.
3. Oil-free compressors
Oil-free operation ensures maximum heat exchange and significant reductions in operating cost and environmental emissions. Danfoss Turbocor compressors are the world’s first in this revolutionary technology, which was introduced to the maritime industry by Heinen & Hopman.
The oil free operation of the compressor ensures low maintenance costs, and the magnetic bearing system keeps the sound levels below those of traditional screw compressors.
4. Smart thermostats
A smart thermostat will respond to your cooling and heating habits, ensuring that your yacht is always at the perfect temperature for guests and crew, while being 10-15% more fuel efficient. Programmable from your phone via Wi-Fi, these thermostats will learn your schedule and adapt accordingly.
5. Free cooling coils
Free cooling coils use the outside air as a source of cooling for air conditioning systems (when it's cool enough). This saves money because you won't need to use as much energy to produce cooling for the air conditioning system.
This can be particularly efficient on board explorer yachts, which often travel far from the warm climate of the Mediterranean and the tropics, to more extreme environments.
6. Self-contained air conditioning
HVAC manufacturer, Dometic has produced a range of highly efficient self-contained air conditioning systems for marine installations of any size. The Dometic Turbo is an IBEX Innovation Award winner and is both powerful and quiet.
Created with a compact, space-saving design, these units have been engineered to be up to 27% more energy efficient than a traditional air conditioning unit, and provide up to a 21% increased cooling capacity.
This list of eco friendly air conditioning technologies is a small sample of currently available new superyacht HVAC systems. As scientific research and development advances, marine HVAC specialists will look to support new energy efficient technologies, to provide sustainable climate control and refrigeration on board luxury yachts.