Late last year, Environment + Energy Leader reported that Honeywell and Danfoss were developing new scroll compressors to reduce greenhouse gases using Honeywell’s Solstice® ze and Solstice refrigerant® N15 for chiller and heat pumps in commercial buildings. According to Honeywell’s quotes in news stories, the company’s Solstice refrigerants will support “a new range of ultra-low global warming potential (GWP) for scroll compressors designed” by Danfoss for heating and cooling. Articles report that Solstice ze, with a GWP of less than 1, is nearly 100 percent lower than traditional refrigerants like R-410A and other hydrofluorocarbons.
Reducing a facility’s carbon emissions and operating costs is an important strategy. But it’s equally important to consider safety and sound energy. Scroll compressors used for medium-pressure chillers in large buildings can emit noise up to 70 dBA and higher depending on where a component is located and the other equipment to which a compressor is linked. If facility managers are replacing older models with these new compressors to reduce GHG, they should ensure the new compressors have acoustic insulation that properly fits.
Design, standards, and testing are keys to reducing sound energy
Acoustic blankets and acoustic shields reduce sound emanating from heating, cooling and power-generating components found at schools and medical campuses, onboard marine vessels, inside manufacturing plants and near retail and residential locations.
A properly designed and tested acoustic shield gives engineers, specifiers, and facility managers a straightforward and durable way to insulate compressors, pumps, ducting, motors, and other industrial components. In some cases, a noise reduction of, say, 5 dBA at a distance of 1 meter from a component is enough to change a work area from unsafe to safe. Reducing sound energy by 5 dBA or more is possible with an acoustic shield, which is an economical alternative to a more robust acoustic blanket.
“The technology and design for an acoustic shield should mirror the features used for acoustic blanket insulation,” said Frank Kovacs, president and CEO of Shannon. “Top-quality acoustic blanket insulation can reduce noise by up to 15 dBA from chillers and compressors.”
When facility managers look for acoustic insulation to cover components like scroll compressors, it’s critical to look for an insulation maker that uses CAD and CNC technology to meet exact specifications and standards. Only with that type of technology and adherence to specifications can an insulation provider tailor each acoustic shield to truly fit the model of scroll compressor a facility manager is attempting to insulate. Among the keys to reducing sound energy is designing an acoustic shield or blanket that matches the contours and geometry of the component it’s covering. For reference, the specification for the type of acoustic shield pictured above is Shannon LT250AS.
Along with reducing noise, properly manufactured reusable acoustic insulation should allow operators and maintenance workers to easily install the product on any application and access, inspect, service, or repair these insulated components. An OSHA-compliant and ASTM-tested removable and reusable acoustic shield or blanket should last 15 years, which spells reduced sound energy and increased safety for years to come.