Biocomposite is the Future of the HVAC Industry

Annexair has unveiled a brand-new eco-friendly ventilation system: a Biocomposite central air unit made of recycled plastic water bottles

With the rise of globalization, the desire to advance technology without harming future generations has become increasingly important. Being able to offer green energy solutions and eco-friendly materials at competitive prices will be key to achieving market penetration for North American companies considering global expansion in the coming years. With that purpose in mind, Annexair is convinced that this new business model is crucial and necessary in order to meet greenhouse gas emissions targets in Canada and in the US.

As a leader in the HVAC industry, Annexair takes the development of sustainable and greener technologies very seriously. Recognizing the need to move towards more environmentally sound materials and manufacturing techniques, they began to explore alternative materials as a means to help reduce our daily wastes. They looked closely at Biocomposite which is typically made up of natural resins and plant fibers but also assembled with recycled plastic bottles. This new solution is strong enough to be used in construction applications such as roofing, roads and walls.

Annexair spent 7 years in research and development perfecting an innovative solution that will launch the next era of ‘green ventilation’ in our HVAC industry. The Annexair team is proud to be the first manufacturer in the world to unveil an HVAC unit with a new casing made entirely from Biocomposite.

What does this mean for the future of our industry? Our new product:

  • Reduces the environmental impact of our industry which encourages climate change, and affects the health of millions of people.
  • Uses approximately 30 million recycled plastic bottles each year, keeping them out of our oceans.
  • Allows us to cease the manufacture of metal casings for our HVAC units by 2021, thus effectively reducing waste once the units reach end-of-life.
  • Contributes to our goal of passing product improvements benefits and cost savings to the end-user.

With the high demand for more sustainable HVAC units on the rise, we also recognize the need to ensure our manufacturing process is as ecologically sound as possible. In order to sustainably answer the high product demand, Annexair is also investing $40 million CAD on a new state-of-the-art 300,000 square foot factory in Quebec, where they can reach our maximum manufacturing potential within 3 to 5 years.

Annexair wishes to share our continuous focus on developing environmentally friendly solutions while staying committed to quality and innovation. Their engineers are constantly testing new materials and manufacturing methods that can be integrated into the manufacture of their units, making them the most advanced systems available in our industry today.

The age of steel is over, it is time to turn the page and care for our planet’s needs! Our industry has what it takes to do better and move forward

Read more about building with biocomposites

Please contact us to discuss designing your system using Biocomposite technology.

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Custom Air Handling Unit Design Critical Decisions

The design of an air handling unit is a major decision and is a complex and sophisticated activity but here are the critical design decisions when designing a custom AHU.
Enclosure Construction

  • Structural Capacity and Air Tightness
    1/200th of the span deflection and less then 1% casing leakage at 1.5 times the total of the unit static pressure profile
  • Corrosion Resistance/Unit Life Span
    Aluminum or ThermoComposite – 30+ year life
    Galvanized Steel – 10-15 year life before major repairs may be required
  • Rigid Foam vs Fibrous Batt Insulation
    Foam provides significant strength, rigidity and air leakage control vs batt insulation at minimal or no added cost

Component Velocities (minimum velocities apply in VAV systems)

  • Recommended Velocities For Optimum Performance and Energy Use
  • Cooling Coils 450 fpm max, 250 fpm min
  • Heating Coils 800 fpm max, 250 fpm min
  • Media Filters 350 fpm, 150 fpm min
  • Steam Humidifiers 800 fpm, 350 fpm

Use of Air to Air Energy Recovery

  • Air to Air energy recovery can be applied in 100% OA and partial OA AHU’s
  • Choose either hi efficiency run around glycol, sensible or enthalpy plate exchanger, rotary enthalpy wheel or heat pipe

Indoor Air Quaility

  • Level of Filtration
  • Odor Control

Sound Control

  • Does system require interior acoustical treatment or sound attenuators

Type of Fans

  • Fan Array vs individual fans
  • N+1 fan redundancy
  • AC motors w/ VFD’s vs ECM Fans


  • Component removal and service
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Annexair Unveils First Ever Biocomposite Ventilation Unit

Recycled plastic water bottles promotes sustainable air conditioning!

Annexair has unveiled a brand-new eco-friendly ventilation system: a Biocomposite central air unit made of recycled plastic water bottles!

The Biocomposite unit was unveiled during the Expo AHR in Orlando, Florida, and will be competitively priced on the HVAC market. This new product was thoughtfully designed in-house after seven years of R&D and provides many benefits to commercial building owners who care about the environment, for those who are planning on getting this system installed, then make sure you get some wire mesh to place as a filter on your new unit.

  • Operating this unit would reduce the greenhouse gas effect by about 85% compared to conventional steel units;
  • Not only is it 100% recyclable and good for the environment, this Biocomposite casing does not require any metal components;
  • The Biocomposite resin is fire-resistant, has no impact on the environment nor on the human health;
  • The Biocomposite casing consumes less energy, is sustainable and fully resistant to corrosion and rust;
  • As the casing is 50% to 60% lighter than conventional units, it means less weight on building structures and during transportation;
  • The unit should generally last 50 to 60 years, and even longer if well maintained;

“The year 2020 is pivotal for the Annexair team and also for our entire industry,” said François Lemieux, Annexair president. “We can no longer ignore the devastating effects of climate change. That’s why we believe in a renewed business model that can meet the requirements of the North American market.”

The experts at Annexair reckon that in one year they would recover approximately 30 million recycled plastic bottles for the assembly of their units. In order to meet their business objectives in terms of sustainability, Annexair will also halt production of their steel HVAC units in 2021. The new unit, produced in Drummondville, Canada, will be available starting August 2020.

Read more about building with biocomposites

Please contact us to discuss designing your system using Biocomposite technology.

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Project Snapshot: Alkermes

Project Name: Alkermes
 Architect: Elkus Manfredi Archtects
Mechanical Engineer: AHA Consulting Engineers
Mechanical Contractor: Hamel & McAlister
Equipment: (2) Custom Penthouse AHUs, (2) EAHUs, (1) Konvekta Heat Recovery Skid (6) MK Plastics High Plume Dilution Fans, (2) 450 ton Oil-Free Chillers, (21) Carel HeaterSteam Humidifiers
Manufacturer: Konvekta, Cambridgeport, MK Plastics, Smardt, Ingenia Carel
Size: 140,000 CFM Supply / 140,000 CFM Exhaust
DAC Sales Engineer: Matt Tefft

Project Overview

Alkermes, a global bio-pharmaceutical company, develops products that are designed to make a meaningful difference in the way patients manage disease.  Experiencing tremendous growth, Alkermes constructed a new 220,000 square foot, office-to-lab conversion core/shell building at 900 Winter Street as an expansion to their current facility within the Reservoir Woods at 852 Winter Street.


In order to house base building mechanical equipment to support laboratory space demands, the custom supply AHUs by Cambridgeport were provided with equipment vestibules to support base building mechanical needs.  The (2) large vestibules are housing the Konvekta energy recovery skid, main chilled water piping, energy recovery piping, expansion tanks, air separators, chilled water pumps and VFDs. By integrating the mechanical space into the rooftop custom AHU vestibules, the building is able to maximize the square footage for usable space.

Project Highlights


  • The Konvekta pumped glycol energy recovery system provides variable flow pumped glycol energy recovery between the 100% OA and 100% exhaust air-streams, treating 140,000 CFM of supply air and 140,000 CFM of exhaust air. The coils are manufactured specifically for efficiency and turn-down.  The system will be remotely monitored for performance and guarantees energy recovery performance to the owner.  When energy recovery alone is not enough to meet supply unit temp setpoint requirements, heat (one boiler installation is complete, via boiler hot water) is injected into the glycol ER loop via plate / frame heat exchangers enabling the energy recovery coil to provide both heating and energy recovery functionality. This means, no hot water coil required in the AHU or any branch HW piping to the AHUs.  Konvekta will provide reports to the owner on how the system performed for proof of performance.



Smardt: (2) 450-ton custom / oil free air-cooled chillers are on the roof.  These chillers include:

  • (4) Magnetic bearing (Turbocor) compressors
  • Integral free cooling and low ambient kit, down to -40°F ambient operation. When cold enough outside, the chillers provide cooling during winter months without the need to operate compressors.  This means no need for separate fluid coolers that require additional piping, controls and roof space.
  • Low noise condenser fans with inlet and outlet attenuation
  • Custom electrical layout: Dual points of power to provide flexibility in generator sizing during emergency scenarios. Free cooling and a portion of mechanical cooling will be available power outage to provide cooling needs to critical spaces at lower power consumption rates than single point of power would provide
  • Industry leading efficiency, especially at part loads
  • No oil!


  • Custom AHUs and large equipment vestibules
  • EC fan arrays






MK Plastics:

  • High plume dilution lab exhaust fans
  • Direct drive, arrangement #4
  • Motors are down low at roof level for ease of serviceability
  • High nozzle velocities to create a safe plume which allows for a large range of fan turndown before needing any bypass air as per ANSI Z9.5. (3,000 FPM min velocity required).


  • Custom recirculation AHU serving a clean room for the biologics suite
  • Custom feature included anti-microbial powder coat interior liner to provide the ultimate cleanliness, the unit served ceiling installed HEPA filtration


  • 21 HeaterSteam Titanium, atmospheric room by room humidifiers paired with UltimateSAM stainless steel dispersion tubes.  Served by RO water, these humidifiers are providing precision humidity control for critical applications with continuous modulation and high levels of reliability

Related Manufacturers

Konvekta, Smardt, Cambridgeport, MK Plastics, Ingenia, Carel

Related Blog Posts:




Designing Mega-AHUs

The advent of fan arrays along with the increased cost competitiveness in the custom air-handling unit (AHU) market has given rise to a new AHU design option: very large AHUs, or mega-AHUs, designed for over 100,000 cfm (50 000 L/s). Here are the advantages and disadvantages of mega-AHUs vs. multiple floor-by-floor AHUs for high-rise buildings and reviews design considerations and options.

Fan Arrays
One of the most significant innovations in air-handling unit design is the concept of using an array of small single-width, single inlet direct-drive plenum fans in lieu of the more conventional design that includes one or two large plenum or housed centrifugal fans. Fan arrays can be used for supply, return, and relief fan assemblies and they offer several significant advantages vs. conventional fan system designs:

• Reduced AHU length;
• Reduced sound power, especially on the discharge side;
• Improved redundancy;
• Reduced fan energy if sound attenuators or system effect are eliminated;
• Easier motor and fan replacement; and
• Easier to install in retrofit applications.

Disadvantages include higher (but ever falling) first costs and increased weight for the fan section. These are minor relative to the advantages.

Custom Air Handlers
Another significant change in the industry has been improved competitiveness of custom AHUs. Until recently, the cost premium for custom AHUs versus modular commercial AHUs was a factor of 5 or so. But improvements in manufacturing processes and lower labor rates in adjacent countries have caused the premium to be reduced to a factor of 1.5 or 2 from about 20,000 cfm (10 000 L/s) to 50,000 cfm (25 000 L/s). This premium can be offset by installation cost savings with the ability to make the AHU almost any desired dimension and aspect ratio and include any desired features. For AHUs above about 50,000 cfm (25 000 L/s), there is no cost premium for custom AHUs—this market sector is dominated by custom AHU manufacturers.

The combination of fan arrays and affordable custom AHUs has also made it practical to design very large mega-AHUs. Our firm has designed several projects with AHUs in the 100,000 cfm (50 000 L/s) to 200,000 cfm (100 000 L/s) range serving large variable air volume (VAV) distribution systems. We have two high-rise office building projects in the design phase that have partially field-built VAV AHUs designed for 240,000 cfm (120 000 L/s) and 585,000 cfm (275 000 L/s), respectively.

Continue reading entire article

(Article provided by ASHRAE Journal, 04/2018)

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Seresco: R3 Module Now Available for 2-16 Ton Units

Seresco R3 Module Now Available for 2-16 Ton Units

The innovative R3 Module from Seresco has been expanded and can now be selected for any Compact NE Series unit from 2–16 tons.

The R3 Module is an excellent choice for small applications such as many hotels and small rec facilities. You can get great, exclusive features like an evaporative condenser with no outdoor heat exchanger, an exhaust (or supply booster) fan, and a titanium full-flow pool water heater and even a gas water heater installation!

Here’s a look at how some of these features deliver great value.

  • Evaporative Condenser
    The R3 Module can reject heat via an evaporative condenser inside the exhaust airstream, by spraying cold condensate on the condenser coil to create an adiabatic cooling effect. This is a huge reduction in installation costs because there is now no need to locate a spot for an outdoor heat exchanger, neither is there a need to run lines to it.The evaporate condenser also offers improved cooling performance in even the most extreme conditions, as the air-on temperature will be the same as room conditions, even as a heatwave blazes on outdoors.
  • Titanium Pool Water Heater
    One of the biggest features of the R3 Module is its full-flow, titanium water heater. Impervious to corrosion, this new heater is a vast improvement over the old design. It’s never been easier to set up, as the heater can take 100% of the flow from the filter and return 100% of the flow into the pool. There is no need for complicated piping with booster pumps and extra valves. Just cut the water line and send it all into the R3 Module.Because it can take full flow, we now have the ability to reject 100% of heat into the pool water instead of wasting surplus heat by rejecting it to the outdoors. Not only that but we modulate the pool water heat as well!
  • Unit-Mounted Fan
    The R3 Module can add an exhaust fan for up to 2,200 CFM at one-inch external static pressure, using an EC motor and a motorized exhaust damper to prevent back draft. Alternatively, that fan can be repurposed as a booster fan for additional supply airflow of up to 2,000 CFM.

Please contact us to discuss your dehumidification applications.

Featured manufacturer:

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Chilled Water Coil – Circuiting Made Easy

Chilled Water Coil – Circuiting Made Easy
(Credit to Guest Blogger: Dan Jacobs, Capital Coil & Air)

Circuiting a chilled water coil is one of life’s great challenges in the coil business. You’re bound to run across folks with years of experience in the industry that can not effectively explain this concept. While not the most exciting of subjects, the necessity of circuiting chilled water coils can not be overstated. Capital Coil & Air has attempted to simplify the idea of circuiting as much as possible.

For starters, circuiting a chilled water coil is ultimately up to the performance of that coil. Circuiting is really a balancing act of tube velocity and pressure drop. In other words, think of a coil as a matrix. Each coil has a specific number of rows, and a specific number of tubes within each row. For example, a chilled water coil might be 36 inch fin height and 8 rows deep. The coil has 24 tubes in each row, and multiplied by 8 rows, there are a total of 192 tubes within the coil. While you can try to feed any number of tubes, there are only a few combinations that will work.

  • Feeding 1 tube – you will be making 192 passes through the coil, which will essentially require a pump the size of your car to make that process work.
  • Feeding 2 tubes – equates to 96 passes, and your pressure drop will still be enormous.
  • Feeding 3 tubes – 64 passes, which is still too many.
  • Feeding 4 tubes – See above.
  • Feeding 5 tubes – Impossible as 5 does not divide evenly into 192 (passes).

To learn more, read entire article by Dan Jacobs, Capital Coil & Air, 06/28/2019

Related Blogposts:
Coils – Repair or Replace 
Coils – Construction vs. Performance
Cooling Coils and Moisture Carryover

Featured Manufacturer:
Capital Coil and Air is the leading manufacturer of commercial OEM HVAC replacement and custom design/build booster coils, fan coils, condenser coils, and DX Coils.
For More Information - askRick



Project Snapshot: Beverly Middle School | Thermo-Composite DX Units

Project Name: Beverly Middle School
 Architect: Ai3 Architects
Mechanical Engineer: Griffith and Vary
Mechanical Contractor: PJ Kennedy & Sons
Equipment: 13 Rooftop Units with DX
Manufacturer: Annexair
Size: 5,700, 5,100, 6,800, 5,400, 4,500 5,600, 6000, 6,300, 5,750, 4825, 4,700, 6,600, 7,800 CFM
DAC Sales Engineer: Pat Will

Project Overview:

The City of Beverly embarked upon an exciting and much-needed effort to design and construct a new middle school to give students a learning environment enriched with the tools necessary to provide the highest quality educational experience.The project included construction of a new 231,509 SF, 1,395 student middle school serving grades 5 through 8. The project included a 4-story classroom core with each floor dedicated to one grade and a common outdoor learning area. The project included a 535 seat auditorium, a 352 seat cafeteria on the first floor for grades 5 & 6 and a 352 seat cafeteria on the third floor for grades 7 & 8, a gymnasium, classrooms, media center and administration spaces.

HVAC Highlights:

  • Hot Water Coils
  • DX Coils
  • Enthalpy Wheels
  • Thermo-composite panel system

The units at the Beverly Middle School were supplied by Annexair and incorporated their Thermo-composite panel system.  The design looked for replacement units that would weigh the same as original and provide 30% more capacity.  Weight was a key design factor.  The Annexair units are 30% lighter than traditional steel units, so we were able to satisfy the design criteria with a lighter unit.  Additionally, the units come with a lifetime warranty against corrosion.  Best of all they are the same cost as traditional steel units.

Outdoor units have a rain gutter above each access door and a watertight roof shall be provided with a

white TPO UV-reflective membrane. Units have the entire exterior finished with a PVDF coating designed for UV resistance. Panels needed to pass ASTM B117 3000-hour salt fog resistance test and ASTM D4585 3000-hour moisture condensation resistance test. In addition, the paint needed to meet AAMA 620-02 standard for color, chalking, gloss retention, and abrasion resistance. The air handler unit casing was provided with a lifetime warranty against corrosion resistance under normal use.

For More Information - askRick




Green Material for Cooling Identified

Researchers from the UK and Spain have identified an eco-friendly solid that could replace the inefficient and polluting fluids used in most refrigerators and air conditioners 

When put under pressure, plastic crystals of neopentylglycol (NPG) yield huge cooling effects—sufficient to make them competitive with conventional liquid coolants. In addition, the material is inexpensive, widely available and functions at close to room temperature. Details are published in the journal Nature Communications.

According to companies like, the fluids currently used in the vast majority of refrigerators and air conditioners—hydrofluorocarbons and hydrocarbons (HFCs and HCs)—are toxic and flammable. When they leak into the air, they also contribute to global warming.

Refrigerators and air conditioners based on HFCs and HCs are also relatively inefficient,” said Dr Xavier Moya, from the University of Cambridge, who led the research together with Professor Josep Lluís Tamarit from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. “That’s important because refrigeration and air conditioning currently devour a fifth of the energy produced worldwide, and demand for cooling is only going up. While you’re at it, then consider getting an air conditioner tune up

To solve these problems, materials scientists around the world have sought alternative refrigerants that are solids. Moya, a Royal Society Research Fellow in Cambridge’s Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy, is one of the leaders in this field.

In their newly-published research, Moya and collaborators from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and the Universitat de Barcelona describe the enormous thermal changes they achieved by putting plastic crystals under pressure.

Conventional cooling technologies rely on the thermal changes that occur when a compressed fluid expands. Most cooling devices use fluids such as HFCs and HCs. As the fluid re-expands, its temperature drops, cooling its surroundings.

With solids, cooling is achieved by changing the material’s microscopic structure. This change can be achieved by applying a magnetic field, an electric field or a mechanical force. Despite decades of work, the caloric effects achievable with a variety of solids have fallen far short of the thermal changes available in fluids. The discovery of colossal barocaloric effects using a plastic crystal of neopentylglycol, and other related organic compounds, has leveled the playing field.

Due to the nature of their chemical bonds, organic materials are easier to compress. In addition, NPG is widely used in the synthesis of paints, polyesters, plasticisers and lubricants. It’s not only widely available, but also is inexpensive.

NPG’s molecules, composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, are nearly spherical and interact with each other only weakly. These loose bonds in its microscopic structure permit the molecules to rotate relatively freely.

The word “plastic” in “plastic crystals” refers not to its chemical composition but rather to its malleability. Plastic crystals lie at the boundary between solids and liquids.

Compressing NPG yields unprecedentedly large thermal changes due to molecular reconfiguration. The temperature change achieved is comparable with those exploited commercially in HFCs and HCs.

The discovery of colossal barocaloric effects (CBCE) in a plastic crystal should bring barocaloric materials to the forefront of research and development to achieve safe environmentally friendly cooling without compromising performance.

Moya is now working with Cambridge Enterprise, the commercialization arm of the University of Cambridge, to bring this technology to market.

(Article provided by the University of Cambridge – Enterprise, 04/18/2019)

For More Information - askRick


Konvekta Reduces Energy Consumption up to 80%!


High-Efficiency Run Around Energy Recovery Systems Reducing Energy Consumption up to 80%!

FIRST there were glycol run around loops
40% efficiency
THEN came plate and frame heat exchangers
60% efficiency
NEXT came heat recovery wheels
70% efficiency

NOW, high-efficiency energy recovery coils

Konvketa guarantees the amount of energy recovered!







Revolutionary Benefits

  • No Cross-Contamination of Intake and Exhaust Air
  • Unrestricted Location of Intake and Exhaust
  • Reduced Heating and Cooling Load by first getting a proper furnace repair.
  • Existing HVAC-Systems Can be Retrofitted

Recent Success Story

A client could not meet energy code requirements with their current design. Konvekta worked with this client to not only meet the energy code, but the new design will also save them over $800,000 per year on a 600,000 CFM outside air system! It does everything a regular HVAC system would do, except that it does it with less energy. If you unfortunately cannot get this system or a similar one and you notice that your heating system has started to malfunction, then make sure that you contact a professional heating contractor.

Without Heat Recovery Konvekta Savings
Heating $640,000 $40,000 $600,000
Cooling $960,000 $725,000 $235,000

Annual Savings = $835,000

Contact Us to help design your next energy recovery project with Konvekta.