HVAC-R system to be introduced to S Africa in Q1 2020

20th September 2019 By: Cameron Mackay - Journalist

Diversified technology company Johnson Controls will introduce Verasys – the first plug-and-play control system that integrates heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC-R) equipment and controls – to the South African market in the first quarter of next year.

Johnson Controls operations manager Mark Redgard explains that a key area for this offering will be guesthouses, homes, convenience stores and supermarkets, clinics and smaller office blocks.

“Any site that is too small for a complex building management system, with the owner still wanting to manage their smart-connected infrastructure, would be appropriate for the solution.”

He highlights that the impact this technology could have on the sustainability and economic viability of buildings could be significant.

Verasys – developed in the US last year – is ideal for single- or multi-zone applications. It connects to a range of smart-enabled mechanical and electrical equipment, controls and sensors using wireless configurations, resulting in cost savings. The connection does not require special programming tools, further resulting in lower installation costs.

Redgard mentions that smart inventions, such as Verasys, enable owners and building managers to have visibility over daily operations and, subsequently, to play an active part in managing them. “The direct spin-off will be savings, and these savings will evolve as these skills are further developed.”

Moreover, Verasys will provide the required capabilities and secure data to deliver leading-edge, end-to-end control technology for building owners, with clients subsequently being able to take advantage of a new level of insight into building operations and provide facilities that better serve occupants, he explains.

The configurable controllers of Verasys will provide simple settings for implementation, but contractors will be able to change defaults for unique applications. The controllers also offer a complete bundled solution of smart equipment and controls that work with smart third-party, packaged equipment for greater application, flexibility and protection of existing investments.

As the system communicates using BACnet Master Token Passing (MSTP), Verasys integrates with Johnson Controls’ Metasys building automation system or any third-party BACnet system.

BACnet MSTP is a protocol which is used to connect field devices to controllers, routers and control applications.

Optional fault detection and diagnostics, which immediately deliver alarm notifications through email or text, will further enable contractors to service equipment.

Verasys offers remote access over a secure Internet connection through personal computers, smartphones and tablets. The system connects users to data streams from smart controls in rooftop units, fan coils, zone dampers, heat pumps, refrigeration systems and lighting panels, besides others.

Real-time data will also assist building operators in identifying and troubleshooting issues remotely, while simple graphics will allow for ease of managing spaces, enabling energy efficiency and lower operating costs during a building’s life cycle.

The ability to identify problems before they result in unplanned downtime will also extend equipment life. The level of control flexibility, which includes scheduling, alarming and setpoints, will also save time and increase productivity.

Meanwhile, Redgard points out that, in terms of introducing Verasys to the South African market, the only challenge is training and educating contractors to ensure that they are familiar with installation and configuration.

Amid the introduction of the Carbon Tax Bill in June, Redgard emphasises that this solution will also enable building owners to manage aspects of this and thereby reduce their carbon footprint.

“Johnson Controls is committed to bringing our customers world-class alternatives to manage their built environments. As such, we prefer partnering with them at the initial stages of their projects thereby ensuring that we include the best-in-class practices gained through our global presence and proven technologies. “We prefer forging technology partnerships, which has proven to be far more effective than simply delivering transaction-based solutions,” he concludes.