ClimaCheck

Air conditioning and refrigeration systems and plants together consume 15 – 20% of the world’s electricity. As power generation is a major contributor to global carbon dioxide emissions causing global warming, it is imperative to improve the efficiency of refrigerators and air conditioners. Surveys show these systems often consume 10-40% more energy than intended due to shortcomings in installation, use, and maintenance. Simply put, lack of data on equipment performance results in a focus only on temperature – if a refrigerator keeps food chilled or air-conditioning cools rooms, we don’t check to make sure it is not consuming more energy than it needs to in the process.


ClimaCheck Sweden developed a practical tool, the ClimaCheck Performance Analyser, to connect to any compressor-driven refrigeration process and within 30 minutes, record and document the performance of the whole system as well as its individual components. This possibility - cost-effective documentation and un-biased performance data - changes the industry’s entire perspective. It offers contractors a tool to optimize systems after installation, while equipment owners can now request proof specified performance is being delivered.


However, changing behavior in the conservative air-conditioning and refrigeration industry is a challenge, since contractors get more pressure from customers to lower prices than they do to improve system quality. In addition, equipment owners generally don’t have detailed technical competence and tend to focus on low initial capital costs and take high performance for granted. since they lack knowledge of a way to validate performance.


Yet the potential impact from improved energy efficiency in existing and future refrigeration and air-conditioning systems is huge and worth pursuing. ClimaCheck, with its Analyzers will continue to demonstrate the CO2-zapping potential of changing industry focus from price to performance and efficiency. ClimaCheck Performance Analysers can be used for temporary field tests, while a fixed installation version will provide text/email early warning of any decrease in performance.

Reducing our energy consumption in absolute numbers is a vital prerequisite for the transition to a sustainable energy system built on 100% renewables. Buildings already account for almost half of global energy consumption. Given the global urbanization trend and rising living standards, the demand for energy to provide comfortable living for even greater numbers of people could increase even more.

The ClimaCheck Performance Analyzer offers a practical tool for documenting and improving the efficiency for air-conditioning and other cooling systems. The usability and the relatively low cost for the system makes it more or less mandatory for commercial as well as residential operators serious about reducing their energy bills and climate impact.

WWF estimates that tools like the ClimaCheck Performance Analyzer could reduce CO2 emissions with 72 million tonnes if used by half of its target market by 2021.

ClimaCheck is offering portable and fixed installation systems for performance analysis. Tested and accepted by contractors, manufacturers, universities, and testing facilities, the Performance Analyzer systems are making inroads in multiple European markets, though recognition is limited to a small portion of the market. Most contractors and equipment owners remain unaware of the potential to obtain unbiased and cost-effective performance validation. The next challenge is to move from acceptance by leading experts to global acceptance in a market consisting of millions of small- to medium-sized companies and equipment owners with limited knowledge of the technology. The process to introduce a new technology within a diversified and conservative industry is complex.

The barriers to a fast global introduction of the energy saving technology offered by ClimaCheck Performance Analysers are:
•     The  “business as usual” problem - equipment owners assume systems work well if they create the desired temperature – and focus on low initial costs. Equipment owners expect contractors to optimize systems without specifying any requirements for this within a contract.
•     The price-pressure problem - contractors have no time or responsibility to optimize energy efficiency and feel pressure to keep initial costs low. Often equipment owners would benefit economically from increased efficiency and decreased maintenance, however to achieve these they must request their service providers supply a higher-quality service and then invest in  the necessary equipment, training, and expertise.
 
ClimaCheck continues to focus on identifying distributors that have the right capabilities and convince them of the market potential of the ClimaCheck Performance Analyser, and give them proper training on the use of the product.
ClimaCheck’s sales grew 100% in 2010 and the growth in the next five years is expected to be well above 50% per year. Manufacturing of the company’s portable and permanent-mount hardware is executed by sub-contractors, to allow growth at the rate the market demands. To ensure successful introduction of the technology, ClimaCheck Sweden AB handles development, configuration, marketing, and initial training on the Performance Analyser. A strong focus on the recruitment of highly competent staff, both technically and commercially, supports this strategy.
 
Several distributors in Europe, North America and Australia, are already established, and the focus for the next few years is to begin to cover the many “white spots” that remain in those regions.  In addition, and in parallel with marketing the Performance Analyser, the company will enhance its product line to support additional languages, in order to expand to new countries and continents. ClimaCheck will also be working to gather case studies of economic and environmental impacts of using the Performance Analyser, as most equipment owners understand these parameters much better than the technical parameters.

Company founder Klas Berglöf developed a new method for performance analysis in 1986, triggered by a heat pump boom in Sweden. Heat pumps are installed to save money and replace more costly heat sources, thus performance automatically receives more attention than in the air-conditioning and refrigeration industries. Berglöf, graduate of Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Technology, had expertise with installation, service, and troubleshooting of heat pumps, and was well aware of the  lack of professional methods to validate performance and to identify problems. Berglöf held several management positions in wholesale and manufacturing companies while continuing to work on the Performance Analyser concept. By 2003, an increased focus on environmental issues and energy conservation, together with sharply increasing energy prices, made the need for methods to validate actual operating performance acute. Seeking to create a state-of-the-art measuring and analysis tool, Berglöf partnered with Peo Ohlsson, an experienced industrial programmer with in-depth programming competence and an understanding of complex applications. Together Berglöf and Ohlsson form ClimaCheck’s core management team.