Retail activities
Integral planning
CV - F.W.Lipphardt
Diagram 1: Evolution of requirements
Diagram 2: Integral planning with all those who are involved. An increasingly refinded evolutionary process.

The author:

Dipl.-Ing. Frank W. Lipphardt is the proprietor of the engineering office ECOBAU CONSULTING in Berlin, and an authorised expert for energetic building planning, approved by the building authorities of the federal states of Berlin and Brandenburg. He specialized in planning concepts for supermarkets and industrial buildings.  This article is partly based on an introduction lecture from the ZVKKW Supermarkt Symposium - Kälte- u. Wärmeerzeugung im Lebensmittelhandel, which took place from 5.-6. April 2011 in Messezentrum Nürnberg.

Integral planning is the only way

Only integral planning processes can guarantee successful implementation of future heat plans and cooling energy supply concepts for food product markets.

On an on-going basis, new laws create new technical challenges regarding the construction and restoration of buildings. Previous development strategies – usually concepts both badly optimized and coordinated by individual component manufacturers – cannot satisfy the increasing requirements any longer. Intelligent planning can be the answer to put things right.

The evolution of requirements

The oil-crisis of the 1970s started the development of more and more extensive statutory requirements regarding new buildings. At the beginning there were only vague requirements regarding building insulation and heating systems. Now this is a subject-matter for experts and includes primary energy requirements, the operating costs, carbon emissions, right through to efficiency ensurance for heat recuperation.

Forthcoming are the new Energy Conservation Regulation EnEV 2012 as well as the expanded Renewable Energy / Combined Heat-law. The latter includes the renewable share of cooling demands for room cooling. The next but one requirement level will be the „Green Building“-topic with its consideration of life-cycle costs, ecological construction material and reversibility. The process resembles an evolutionary advancement of the bureaucratic jungle, which can can only be followed by constant optimizing and coordination of building services engineering.

Cooling of saleroom will become a bigger issue – in Germany, too.

In addition to the stricter legal requirements, there are rising comfort demands for air-conditioned rooms by the occupants. At the same time, the problem is worsening due to the rising number of very hot days and bigger inner heat sources (because of more demanding lighting concepts). All new supermarkets, as well as older ones, are currently being equipped with baking ovens or Backshops. So far, a part of the summer warming has been compensated by the loss of cold due to open display refrigerators. The increasing sealing of the cooling furniture greatly diminishes this climatizing effect. While electricity can be saved in supermarket refrigeration, a new demand for electricity will be created for room cooling. The energetic equilibrium of new and old supermarkets shifts towards an increased demand of room cooling, while better insulation diminishes the heating input.

The development of beacon projects and prototypes

How does the industrial sector react to the new challenges? For years beacon projects  have been around, which implement sustainable technologies. Even though few operating data of these beacon projects ever became common currency, it is clear, that these were only pilot projects for subcomponents of a  necessarily holistic concept.  At a closer look often the question arose, if the investment costs for elaborate concepts as deep drilling for geothermal plants or gigantic reservoirs can be justified. After all they only cover peak loads, while up to 90% of the heating energy comes from the waste heat of cooling devices. In contrast to other buildings without these cooling systems (and accumulating waste heat), this is a big difference from a business point of view.

Realistic prototypes, as well as serial products have already been developed for several providers, as for example the retail store chain LIDL. They feature an economical concept of the installation, regardless of location, as well as a manufacturer-spanning, well planned series maturity, which has been obviously been the result of integrated design plans. Often, the technical options of further developments are clearly visible. A later presentation as an innovative, environment-friendly „Green Building“ is also possible.

Food retail store chains like REWE have already positioned themselves successfully with ecologically attuned market concepts, which play to their clientele with its long-term consumption requests. The real or apparent sustainability of the supermarkets is underpinned by boldly visible photovoltaics and suitable advertising concepts. The certification of the achieved efficiency via seals of sustainability and certificates makes it possible to communicate this complex subject matter to the end user. The future dominance of the certification system of the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) becomes clearer. In German-speaking countries this system can be communicated much easier than Anglo-Saxon systems.

Rules of the thumb and oversizing replace planning and coordination

These are the problems of the existing planning process. The uncoordinated approach, in which several - often competing - TGA-providers replace the planning process with  less optimally designed solutions, is still prevalent. The integration process of different components as the usage of waste heat, the generation of peak loads and assignment and distribution happens either in a simplistic way or not at all. Location based adaptions are left to the companies performing the building work and are ignored in the end.

The adherence to the simple addition of singular maintenance group solutions (how optimized these might be) in turn leads to increased investment and maintenance costs. Clinging to the concept of singular maintenance groups, hinders therefore the energetic optimization of buildings in the long term. Therefore it has to be supplemented by integral solutions and comprehensive functionality. This process has to be seperated from the ever more important measuring / control and regulation technology (MSR). However, according to our experience, MSR-planners usually necessary do not translate the controlling and directing authority into action or do not play a leading role in the planning process. This is due to a lack of overall competence beyond the MSR-technology.

Options of integral planning

Complex, optimized solutions usually require a similar optimized planning process. There is unfortunately no way round it. This causes an expenditure of time and planning costs which has previously been avoided by the operators of food markets. This is understandable, as it is not their core business. Here a neutrally moderated planning process becomes a necessity. All experiences, concerns, and anticipated problems have to be brought together. For this an integrated planning approach is unavoidable. We would describe the word „integrated“ as an increasingly refinded evolutionary process which includes all those involved in the project. The quality of the process results from continued coordination. The unpopular conflicts with all sorts of „worriers“ are an essential part of the process which generates a result suitable for everyday use.

Often the central problem of the process is lack of motivation and the willingness to cooperate among all those involved in the project. According to the policy of the respective operators, there are „TGA-court suppliers“, which are easy to motivate during the process, but also competing manufacturers of TGA-components, with whom an integral working relationship is difficult or even impossible. The necessary expenditure of time for this may not be underestimated! There are many intelligent ideas for concepts: Only by further development and adjustments, a convincing, building concept which is suitable for everyday use can be created. Unfortunately on the part of the operators, performance-related remuneration of necessary performed planning and coordination work is often not fulfilled. This results in shortsighted and inconsistent solutions which soon cannot satisfy the ever-increasing demands anymore.

The best example of successful Integral planning is our coordination work for a  food discounter in Northern Germany. Thanks to a continuous consultation process which lasted  18 months, a perfectly fitted pilot project could be realized with the help of all involved. Just in time before the EnEV 2012, a production model suitable to any territory could be completed. This May, two slightly different prototypes will be built under realistic conditions and metrologically inspected during the winter of 2011/12.  In time for the the next stage of increasing requiremets, a coordinated, tested project is ready for nationwide allocation to building companies. This was also based on a regular bimonthly process of coordination of planning, in which concepts and solutions gradually evolved.  

Two technology concepts are going to dominate the development of future retail trade buildings

Air heating and radiant heating differ due to the temperature levels of the heating systems: The thus far, mainly used air heating at a temperature of about 55 to 70 degrees Celsius, and the industrial floor heating at a temperature of about 30 to 35 degrees Celsius. Both systems also have cooling capacities, whereas the low-temperature solution seems to be technologically more efficient für the majority of the future possibilities of use. In the field of restoration work however, low-temperature solutions are hardly ever realizable due to the lack of large heating surfaces. Very promising are - suited to high demands – complex air heatings with heat pump technology, for example the VRF-technology by DAIKIN. We must not overlook the following: A great potential is hidden in the thoughtful retrofitting of older supermarkets. newly gained knowledge from new buildings must influence the retrofitting of the older buildings. However, in almost all cases, individual planning and coordination is necessary. There are no „nostrums“ in building renovation. 

In May 2011, this article will be published in the following two trade journals:

KK Die Kälte & Klimatechnik

Monthly German-language technical magazine for professionals in the area of commercial refrigeration and air conditioning systems. Readers are engineers, technicians and installers of such systems in large commercial environments such as supermarkets, breweries, and other industries where refrigeration and cooling are basic to their business. Subjects covered include handling technology, research, applications, controls and systems maintenance, energy savings and environmental considerations.


Energy 2.0

A periodic specialist magazine covering technology for the energy of the future. The purpose of Energy 2.0 is to supply up-to-date information about technologies that will guarantee our energy supply in future. The readership comprises decision-makers on general management level as well as energy-relevant areas: general management, technical management, energy management, energy and environment representatives, facility management, production management, engineers, technicians and fitters.

Most innovative trade journal of the year 2010.  http://www.energy20.net/pi/index.php?StoryID=917

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