Knowledge is essential
Providing good engineering solutions, to give the client what can be reasonably expected, requires know-how and competency. We must, therefore, remember that:
- The client must first specify his requirements in such a way that they can be fulfilled.
- The building services consultant must understand the interplay between the different requirements and, based on these, suggest solutions that give the client value for money and the functions stipulated in the requirements specification – while taking into account both official regulations and environmental impact. The consultant must also be able to foresee the practical and economical consequences of the requirements and report relevant issues to the client.
- The installation engineer must have the necessary skills to complete the installation to full satisfaction, which assumes ongoing training to keep up to date with new technologies and products.
- The end user and the client must be aware of the fact that even the best solution will still require competent operating staff, as well as strict inspection and maintenance routines, if the plant is to function as planned.
The need for coooling
The need for cooling is growing rapidly and we must ask ourselves how this can be combined with our efforts to manage energy resources more efficiently and with our concerns for the environment. Modern architecture is often synonymous with ostentatious glass facades. Intensive solar radiation increases the need for cooling and this question must be carefully dealt with. The need for light, in which our need for more daylight (larger windows) is addressed. Better windows and new types of solar shading can, of course, help reduce solar radiation and cooling needs. But, if this then affects our physical functions, via vital biological receptors and, consequently, affects our degree of alertness, whose competence should be relied on to produce an optimal solution?
A large proportion of the energy now supplied to buildings is used for lighting, which, in many instances, significantly affects the need for cooling. It is therefore extremely important to respect new findings in this field and to use the most efficient solutions from an energy point of view.
Practical solutions are needed
We can hardly maintain that we in the western world have the right to comfortable and cool indoor climates, while people on the other side of the world in China and India do not. This is most probably one of the greatest challenges faced by the industry and a vast and important area for research and development. We need to create realistic, commercial and practical solutions that can contribute towards efficient cooling using a minimum of energy- preferably without using artificial coolants. Promising trials are under way in different parts of the world and there are strong indications that different solutions, when applied jointly, will be of great importance in the future.