IRHACE Journal Feb-Mar 2022

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The Industry Journal for the New Zealand Refrigeration, Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning Industries

Inside this issue ➤ Changes to the

New Zealand Building Code that will have Major Effects on the HVAC industry

➤ Fire in the Sky ➤ Who is IRHACE and what

do they do?

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EC Plug Fan and EC condenser fans for efficiency and precise fan speed control

Dual Electronic Expansion Valves

Contents Changes to the New Zealand Building Code that will have Major Effects on the HVAC industry

13 Official Journal of the Institute of Refrigeration, Heating and Air Conditioning Engineers of New Zealand Inc (IRHACE), Climate Control Companies Association New Zealand (CCCANZ), and Refrigerant Licence New Zealand (RLNZ).

The Industry Journal for the New Zealand Refrigeration, Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning Industries


20 9


12 The cold hard facts


19 Fire in the Sky


24 Who is IRHACE and what do


they do?


February/March 2022





EDITOR : HVAC&R Centre MEMBERSHIP: REFRIGERANT LICENSING & COURSES: ADVERTISING: DESIGN Element Design Ltd HVAC&R CENTRE P O Box 217184, Botany Junction 2164, Auckland, New Zealand E: E: E: No part of this journal may be printed in other publications without prior written permission of the Managing Editor. Disclaimer: Statements expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of the associations, and members of IRHACE or CCCANZ. The IRHACE Journal publishes both local and international articles. Standards and or practices may differ from current New Zealand standards and or practices used. No responsibility is accepted by the associations and editor for the accuracy of information or for errors or omissions. The IRHACE Journal is distributed to all IRHACE and CCCANZ financial members. ISSN 01148257


The planned Conference was postponed twice in 2021 and now with the uncertainty of omicron we are not proceeding with the event in May 2022. Our plan is to extend our channels to include webinars early in 2022; and hopefully face-to-face regional events will be able to recommence in the later part of 2022.

Looking ahead to 2023 IRHACE turns 90-years. We plan to hold a celebration of this achievement to coincide with a new look and structured conference for 2023. We are in preliminary discussions with other industry organisations and we are looking to combine our strengths to make one strong event. More on this during 2022. Branch Network Our branch network needs you! When face-to-face events recommence whether you are an existing member wondering what’s going on or an interested party wanting to know more, get involved now and register your interest. Annual General Meeting We have set the date for our 33rd Annual General Meeting for Wednesday 22nd June 2022. This will be a fully online meeting and more details will be provided via our website.

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New Building Code requirements bring biggest energy efficiency change in over a decade The latest changes to the Building Code will make new homes and buildings warmer, drier and healthier, with less impact on the climate. The changes focus on increases to insulation requirements and introduce 6 new climate zones to reflect the specific weather experienced in different parts of New Zealand. "These are the biggest energy efficiency changes to the Building Code in over a decade and will support the building and construction sector to help New Zealand reach its goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050," says Jenni Tipler, Manager of Building Performance and Engineering at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). "The new requirements will reduce the energy needed to heat homes by up to 40%, allowing people to heat their homes more easily and efficiently, which will lead to positive health impacts and increased energy savings for New Zealanders. "One of the simplest and most cost effective ways to boost thermal performance is to increase roof insulation. That's why we've decided to double the minimum amount of roof insulation required for new builds across the country. "Windows represent the largest source of heat loss in new homes, so we are increasing the minimum insulation level for windows across the country, with a focus on targeted higher upgrades in colder climate zones. "We recognise that regions across New Zealand have very different climates and the 6 new climate zones announced today mean buildings will need to be constructed to different insulatwion levels to reflect this. "The new window insulation requirements in the warmest climate zones will see a 2 step approach with an interim increase in the next year and an additional increase in the following year. By the end of 2023, all parts of the country will have a similar minimum level of window insulation requirements." The update to the Building Code is being made following a consultation that received more submissions than the last 5 years of updates combined, reflecting the high level of public interest in improving energy efficiency. "When we consulted on the proposed changes earlier this year, we received overwhelming support for the changes from all parts of the sector;' says Ms Tipler. "Over 98% of responses supported increases over the status quo in the shortest time possible. "We have engaged with industry stakeholders to ensure that the changes we are making are readily achievable across the country. There will be a 1 year transition period for the majority of the changes and a 2 step approach for the window insulation requirements which will allow the sector to prepare for the changes before they become mandatory for new builds:' Further changes in this year's update include introducing suitable daylight solutions and weather tightness testing for high density housing and the introduction of a verification method for the energy efficiency of Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems, making it easier to show compliance with the Building Code. In addition to the annual Building Code update, MBIE is also publishing the first in a series of operating protocols which are being developed to provide increased transparency and certainty about the activities MBIE undertakes as stewards of the Building Code. Each protocol will provide information about rules and/or principles that will help guide MBIE's work on the Building Code. The subject of these protocols is the role of MBIE, as the regulator, in the upkeep and referencing of building and construction standards, including a 'tier framework protocol' to identify the standards most critical for contributing to the Building Code. More information on the changes is available on the Building website. 2021 Building Code Update -

February/March 2022



Giving children the healthy classrooms they Deserve AIRAH is sharing a new resource to improve ventilation in schools and help prevent the spread ofCOVID-19. "All of us have the right to a good education," says AIRAH CEO Tony Gleeson, M.AIRAH. "And every child should have the opportunity to go to a school where they can thrive. "A key part of this is a school's physical environment. According to a recent study, from pre­school to the end of Year 12, children spend about a quarter of their waking lives in classrooms . It is vital that these learning spaces are healthy ones. "Unfortunately, the ventilation in some Australian classrooms is often substandard, leading to poor air quality. This not only affects students' ability to concentrate, but also leads to greater transmission of airborne diseases such as COVID-19." With community transmission still high in some parts of Australia, schools are emerging as a setting of concern. The Victorian Department of Health's latest data shows that about 75 per cent of COVID-19 clusters have occurred at schools and early-childhood education centres. "AIRAH wants schools to have information that will help ensure their learning spaces are well ventilated," says Gleeson, "which is why we are making these resources freely available. Following this guidance will help give children a safe and healthy environment where they can receive the education they deserve." Authored by Brad Prezant, Affil.AIRAH, and reviewed by experts in ventilation and indoor air quality, the guide offers readers a better understanding of airborne transmission and building ventilation systems found in Australian schools. It also provides advice about building a strategy for different facilities. It is intended as a resource both for schools, and for mechanical engineering designers and maintenance engineers. Prezant is a certified occupational hygienist, public health scientist and epidemiology expert who has 35 years' experience assessing indoor environments. Since the beginning of the pandemic, he has been working with schools to assess and improve their ventilation strategies - and has seen first-hand the challenges they face. "School administrators and teachers are concerned about the safety of children and staff," says Prezant. "At the same time, they are being bombarded by vendors selling a myriad of products, some of which may improve the health of occupants, and some of which may increase the risk of infection. Many of the solutions offered are expensive. ''This document, written from an evidence-based public-health perspective, is intended to address the many questions that school administrators have, and provide appropriate guidance for creating a school setting where the focus can be on education rather than the building itself." The new guide is available free from the AIRAH website -

Clima Solutions has launched the air cooled “WinPOWER ECO” product range of chillers, heat pumps, and EXP system, (4 pipe), with scroll compressors and R454B eco-friendly refrigerant gas. The WinPOWER ECO product range covers a cooling capacity from 350 up to 650 kW. • • • • • •

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February/March 2022


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Cold Hard Facts 2021

The refrigeration and air conditioning industry is the largest user of synthetic greenhouse gases and ozone depleting substances in Australia. The Cold Hard Facts series of reports (Cold Hard Facts 1 published in 2007, Cold Hard Facts 2, published in 2013, Cold Hard Facts 3, published in 2018, Cold Hard Facts 2019 and Cold Hard Facts 2020) provide economic and technological assessments of the Australian industry. These assessments assist industry and policy makers with management of ozone depleting substances as they are phased out, and management of synthetic greenhouse gases. Cold Hard Facts 2021 analyses data from 2020 to identify key developments and emerging trends in the refrigeration and air conditioning industry.

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Cold Hard Facts 2021 Key developments and emerging trends in the refrigeration and air conditioning industry in Australia


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Changes to the New Zealand Building Code that will have Major Effects on the HVAC industry Robert Mannes – MIRHACE, BE (Hons) Mechanical Jaime Groen – BE (Hons) Mechanical

In late November the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) issued the updates to the New Zealand Building Code.

February/March 2022



The H1 requirement have now been spread over 5 separate documents: • Acceptable Solution H1/AS1 • Acceptable Solution H1/AS2 • Verification Method H1/VM1 • Verification Method H1/VM2 • Verification Method H1/VM3 The documents that can be used to prove compliance are based on the building type and are summarised in the table below. The most significant change affecting the HVAC industry currently are related to the buildings with a Commercial classification.

29th 2021 you will need to meet the requirements of H1/VM3. For those unfamiliar with the workings of the New Zealand Building Code - it is broken down into sections and our industry jumps across many of the clauses, for example: Section C – fire – covering fire dampers, fire stopping, smoke control etc • Section G4 – ventilation requirements • Section G10 – Gas Supplies etc • Section H1 - Energy efficiency For the November release from MBIE for the new H1 requirements, the following items have been significantly altered in the current versions. • Significance of Building Classifications • Climate Zones • Insulation Values • Reduction in Window to wall ratios • Glazing Types • Floor Types • Existing Buildings • Commercial Buildings (New verification method, VM3)

Building Classifications

This included more prescriptive requirements for HVAC systems requirements and the reporting required when applying for a building consent. The intention for the changes is to reduce the energy use of buildings by 40% from the previous Building Code requirements. This will also require a rethink on how we build buildings. In this article we are attempting to provide an overview of the proposed changes. Some of the changes don’t directly affect an installer, but we’ve hopefully covered off the main changes to building construction for commercial buildings and touched upon both glazing and insulation requirements as well. As always, these changes will add significant cost to the construction of a building when they come into force. The main change which will affect the HVAC industry is MBIE have added a whole new section to the H1 stable of acceptable solutions and verification methods, namely NZBC/H1 VM3, which was issued and came in to force immediately – this specifically covers the installation of HVAC systems in buildings and is current now – so industry is required to meet the minimum requirements listed. So if you are submitting a building consent after November


Building classifications are taken from NZBC Clause A1 • Housing • Communal Residential • Communal Non-Residential • Commercial • Industrial • Outbuildings • Ancillary Size still matters, buildings with commercial classification smaller than 300m² have tougher requirements than buildings larger than 300m² due to increased insulation requirements. For Commercial buildings this article will concentrate on the new addition for the NZBC/H1 stable that being NZBC/H1 VM3 and changes to H1 with regards to commercial building insulation and glazing requirements. Both H1/AS2 and H1/VM3 have effective dates of 29 November 2021 but for H1/AS2 The previous Acceptable Solution H1/AS1 Fourth Edition Amendment 4, can be used till show compliance till 2 November 2022.

H1/VM3 – The new verification method in the stable for Commercial buildings. Commercial buildings All buildings defined as ‘commercial’ require a new type of report (VM3) to prove compliance. This is concerned with the efficiency of systems, controls, and equipment and does this in each section by providing minimum performance requirements for equipment and components used in HVAC systems that have an impact on energy use. Most of these requirements are just good engineering, but there is now additional work required to generate a report to prove that the design meets the minimum requirements listed in the verification method (VM3). We have developed internally a template report covering this below and have altered our internal spreadsheets and schedules to cover off the reporting side. We have also covered off the minimum requirements of the


duct and pipe insulation values and items such as duct sealing in our project specifications. The verification method is assessed in multiple parts and covers the following systems. • Air conditioning system controls • Mechanical ventilation system controls • Fans • Ductwork insulation and sealing • Pumps • Pipework insulation • Space heating • Refrigerant chillers • Unitary air conditioning equipment • Heat rejection equipment • Facilities for energy monitoring • Commissioning requirements • Maintenance/replacement access • Maintenance access.

Fans Fans now need to demonstrate that the power input per unit of flow rate don’t exceed minimum performance standards. This differs for 4 different installation types, • Free inlet free outlet • Free inlet ducted outlet • Ducted inlet free outlet • Ducted inlet and outlet These requirements do not apply to Kitchen extract fans • Fans in unducted air conditioning units supplying less then 1000l/s e.g Hiwall air conditioning etc • Smoke spill fans • Process related fans e.g. dust extract systems • Fans in systems requiring explosion proof motors If the static pressure of the system is not more than 200 Pa then a formula is applied to calculate the full load operating point as follows

Air Conditioning systems Control Requirements This covers minimum and correct zoning requirements (areas with different heating or cooling needs), having individual thermostatic control, deactivation of air conditioning when the building is not being used, interlocking control operation of units serving the same space, minimum control system dead bands etc. Floor areas over 1000m² require individual time clock control to set operating times. These requirements of course don’t cover areas that require 24 hr operation such as server rooms and the like. Outdoor air economy cycles are required to be provided to a building if the air side supply volume of a single piece of air conditioning equipment (roof top package unit, air handling unit etc) exceeds 2500 l/s. Air conditioning fans supplying over 1000l/s need to be variable speed so the airflow rates can meet demand requirements.

For fans over 200 Pa then the following equation applies

The input requirement is from the following tables

Mechanical Ventilation Control Requirements Like air conditioning controls the control of the ventilation systems require • Deactivation; and • Operating times; and • Limiting outdoor air flow; and • Variable speed of fans. All Outdoor air systems require time clock control Exhausts systems over 250l/s require time clock control The time clock control shall be able to switch the systems on and off at variable pre-programed times and days. One of the more interesting additions is outdoor air systems supplying over 1000l/s shall have demand controlled ventilation to the requirements of AS1668:2. Outdoor air supply volumes are not to exceed more than 20% higher than the minimum NZBC requirements, unless its supplied for “free cooling” or is required to balance extract system(s) – i.e. a kitchen extract system and the toilet extract systems to a fast food outlet as an example. The other option for exceeding minimum outdoor air requirements is the provision of heat recovery.

Carpark extract systems All Carpark extract systems are now required to be variable speed, so now need a CO monitoring control system to AS1668:2

February/March 2022


★ FEATURE Ductwork requirements The list here is extensive and we’re not going to list all of the requirements specifically, but ducting is required to be designed to limit the maximum pressure drops to ducting and components. • The pressure drop in the index run across all straight sections of rigid ductwork and all sections of flexible ductwork must not exceed 1 Pa/m when averaged over the entire length of straight rigid duct and flexible duct. For the purpose of the calculations the flexible duct is considered to be run straight. • Coils have maximum pressure drops depending on how many rows they are required to be for instance a 4 row coil has a maximum pressure drop of 90 Pa. • Filters have maximum clean pressure drops depending on its MERV number • Intake Louvres now have maximum pressure drops dependant on louvre type – e.g a single stage louvre maximum pressure drop is 30 Pa • Total amount of flexible duct in a single run is limited to 6 meters • VAV boxes now have maximum pressure drops e.g a VAV box with electric reheat is maximum pressure drop of 100 Pa with the damper fully open • Duct elbows and bends have requirements for the provision of either radius bends or provided with turning vanes. Ductwork components also now have maximum pressure drops as noted below

It does this by specifying minimum pump motor efficiencies and averaged maximum pipe pressure drops depending on pipe size pump operating condition (fixed or variable flow) and operating hours. All these numbers are reasonable and from a design standpoint represent good practice. This also encourages the use of variable speed pumping on the distribution side by having higher allowable pipe pressure drops. When selecting a pump request from the supplier confirmation the pump will meet the energy efficiency index (EEI) to H1/VM3 which is dependent on rated hydraulic power and pump motor size.

Piping, vessels, heat exchangers and tanks insulation Minimum piping insulation R-values are now required complying with AS/NZS 4859.1 and is dependent on the nominal operating temperatures of the system and pipe nominal diameter. Don’t forget about vapour barriers in cooling systems. Again these are higher than current industry standards for instance a Ø100 nominal chilled water pipe with a temperature range of 6-12°C would require R2.0 insulation – using Armaflex FRV insulation as an example would require 50mm insulation. Increasing pipe insulation thickness can become a losing battle as the increase in surface area to the external surface can increase the heat loss so this should be looked at as part of the analysis.

Ductwork insulation and sealing NZBC H1/VM3 now has requirements for the provision of insulation to ducting systems and an extensive list of where these do not apply. These are significantly above current industry standards. Duct insulation is not required where the ducting is run exposed in the space and surfaces wont drop below dew point. But recommend the exclusions are read so the reader is clear on requirements. Flexible ducting now requires a minimum insulation R value of 1.0 m²K/W so the industry typical 25mm insulated flexible duct will no longer cut the mustard. Ductwork and fittings require to have the minimum insulation R values as per table

Space heating Again, efficient use of depletable resources are encouraged when proving space heating either directly or indirectly to a space – At this stage H1/VM3 basically encourages the efficient use of gas, electricity or biomass or combination of the energy source and also the provision of renewable sources such as solar. Gas boilers are required to have a minimum gross thermal efficiency of 90% under normal operating conditions.

Refrigerant Chillers

Ducts are also required to be sealed to the requirements of AS4254.1 and part 2 as per the system pressure class.

Pumps and piping VM3 encourages the input power to pumps to be minimised when installed as part of HVAC system.


All chillers supplied in New Zealand are required to meet the minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) and this is reflected in H1/VM3. The additional requirement under H1/VM3 is the prevision of additional energy efficiency ratio requirements. These requirements only apply to refrigerant chillers that form part of an air conditioning system. The ratios are based on the type of chiller and two options are


provided for providing for chillers with lower full load COP’s but higher integrated part load efficiency verses high full load COP but lower integrated part load efficiency - Wr/W input power ratios and the integrated part load Wr/W input power

Unitary Air Conditioning Equipment All heat pumps, like chillers supplied in New Zealand are required to meet the minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) and this is again reflected in H1/VM3 but for plant and equipment over 65 kW (kW of refrigeration) the equipment has to comply with additional energy efficiency ratio of – input power includes both the compressor and fan input power. • 4.0 Wr/W input power water cooled • 2.9 Wr/W input power Air cooled

Heat rejection equipment Cooling towers, air cooled condensers, dry coolers and evaporative condensers have requirements to ensure equipment does not exceed maximum allowable fan motor input power. This does not apply to chillers which are noted elsewhere in H1/VM3. Air cooled condensers are limited to 42W of fan motor power for each kWR of heat rejection (kW of Refrigeration) Cooling towers, evaporative coolers and closed-circuit coolers must meet the following fan motor input power ratios

Energy Monitoring VM3 requires energy to be monitored so that excessive energy use is detected The requirements are in two stages depending on building size. For building 500m² to 2500m² there is a requirement to monitor HVAC energy use with time of use consumption of gas and electricity. For larger buildings over 2500m² the requirements are more complex where energy use is monitored on air conditioning plant items including the individual time of use consumption of • Cooling plant • Heating plant • Air handling fans The energy use is required to be recorded in an integrated single location (say included in a BMS system) to allow analysis and review – its required that a minimum period of 12 months of data is retained at any one time for this purpose.

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February/March 2022


★ FEATURE Maintenance Access VM3 requires sufficient access to all plant and equipment is provided for commissioning, maintenance and replacement of equipment provided.

Increase requirements to Commercial building insulation value to building elements and Glazing Like their domestic cousins Commercial building construction R values have also had a significant makeover with the addition of H1/ AS2 covering building over 300m². These requirements are current now, but the previous version H1/AS1 version 4 can be used up to 3 November 2022 for compliance.

Increased number of Climate Zones There are now 6 climate zones increasing from three in the previous versions reflecting the differing areas of the country from the tropical north to the cooler south - Each climate zone has different building and glass insulation requirements

• • • •

Thicker walls/roof cavity Less steel frame wall constructions Less cavity space for services Affected AC System design Note these only cover the building insulation values – solar control on glazing is one of the biggest contributors to air conditioning system sizing and is not covered in the new documentation. Glass shading coefficients are addressed in the calculation method for solar aperture, but the glazing shading coefficients have a major impact on the air conditioning loads and building energy use. This is a weakness in the current edition of the documentation.

Required minimum building R Values for commercial buildings over 300m²


Insulation Values This is where the major changes to the construction of a building have changed. The minimum required insulation values have drastically increased. Glazing R values have increased in domestic buildings from nothing to a minimum of R0.33 to a maximum of R0.42 depending on climate zone. This will have the largest cost effect on commercial buildings. Expected knock on effects for us in the HVAC industries will include


The new requirements will have an impact on building energy use but as engineers we need to strive further and remember that these requirements are the minimum standards and consolidate what we would consider to be good practice. We can always do better. As HVAC engineers we design systems and its just as important to meet these requirements and have the whole system working correctly and each component interacting as part of that system. Systems also need to be maintained to a good standard and able to be replaced when needed and everyone from the designers to the original HVAC contractor to the maintenance contractor has a hand in ensuring this can done safely and easily. See – annual-building-code-updates/2021-building-code-update/?utm_ campaign=MBIE&utm_medium=search&utm_source=gdn&utm_ content=&utm_term=building%20regulations%20nz


Fire in the sky By Philippa Stevensoni

Tamahere Model Country School's Pumpkin Night last weekend was a delight. Families turned out at the Waikato school's yearly fundraiser to be awed by giant pumpkins and the kids' creativity (and no doubt parents) who had fashioned quirky artworks from a range of vegetables. Children rode horses and small, four-wheel motorbikes, jumped on bouncy castles and everyone ate their way through pumpkin soup, pumpkin cookies, burgers and sausages - all paid for with pumpkin money. Good, family fun. But on Pumpkin Night in 2008, New Zealand etched another name - "the Tamahere fire" - on its roll of tragedy. Another son, husband, father and friend, firefighter Derek Lovell, was added to the list of those who went out to work one day and never came home. Another community was scarred as a gas-fuelled explosion ripped through a rural coolstore and burned for seven days. It would be comforting to think something had come from the Tamahere fire to prevent such a tragedy from happening again; that it would be safer for people to go about their lives. Possibly it has. Possibly the slack regulatory system that effectively allowed a bomb to be primed in an industrial plant, metres from a school and homes, has been lightened. Possibly the court-ordered fines and the recommendations of the Fire Service, a Labour Department investigation, the Institution of Professional Engineers, the refrigeration industry and the coroner have been heeded and actioned. I fear not. I fear the raft of people eager to make change, and the reluctant who were being pressured to do so, have faltered or been overwhelmed. I live across from the Icepak company's site. I felt the blast, watched the horror unfold, met and wept for some of those most deeply affected and did my best to work for change, with many others, to have something good come from the awfulness.

A fire crane (bottom right) is dwarfed by a cool store fire at Tamahere, south of Hamilton. Photo / James Madelin

Over five years I have watched and, in some cases, attended court hearings, investigations, and inquiries. The coroner's findings were delivered last March. In the mean time, bigger tragedies struck in quick succession. The first Christchurch earthquake in September 2010, the Pike River mining disaster taking 29 men in November that year, and the second Christchurch earthquake in February 2011 that cost 185 lives. Even in fatal tragedies, there is a hierarchy. The Tamahere fire got bumped: lost or forgotten in the places where changes happen; in the mayhem that overwhelmed a small country and an even smaller bureaucracy's ability to respond, to remedy, to right. So how are the wounded, the bereaved, their families and the medical people who were on the scene in seconds? What's happened to the company, Icepak, and its engineer Warren Cook; to the blasted piece of landscape, once a series of coolstores that became an inferno, and later a pile of twisted metal and smouldering, stinking lumps of cheese and venison? What happened to all those wellmeaning recommendations? Barbara Thorburn is a quietly spoken, frail 86-year-old who has known far too much tragedy. She has borne the deaths of her first husband, her youngest son and, five years ago this week, her attentive middle son, Senior Station Officer Derek Lovell. Her Whangamata home, which Derek helped build and where she lives with second husband Lionel, was designed with grandchildren in mind. But visits are rare. Her eldest son's family lives in France. Derek's widow, Milli, is building a new life in Tauranga with foster daughter, Tiffany, 7, but just three weeks old when first brought to see her grandmother by a dotting father. "That was when I really knew what a fine man he was," she says. "He was so gentle, so good with her."

February/March 2022


★ FEATURE Behind her gentle exterior Thorburn is fighting mad. She wishes for the means to personally hold people to account for her son's death. "I would have taken a civil case against them if I could." Failing that, she sought justice from Hamilton Coroner Peter Ryan. "I wrote and asked him to please not let my son's death be in vain," she says. "He ignored me." The coroner's careful findings and seven recommendations could not fill the void in amother's heart. Derek's firefighter mates are disenchanted, too, with the penalties meted out by District Court Judge Robert Spear to Icepak and Warren Cook under the Health and Safety in Employment Act. Icepak and its director Wayne Grattan were fined a total of $67,200; Cook was fined $56,200. Between them they were ordered to pay $270,000 compensation, to be shared between Milli Lovell and the seven injured firemen. "Those guys got off lightly," says Denis Wells. Merv Neil agrees. I meet the two men again at Wells' home, west of Hamilton. All seven injured firefighters are back at work full time. Six - Neil, Wells, Cameron Grylls, Adrian Brown, Alvan Walker and David Beanland - are "on the trucks"; Brian Halford is a volunteer support officer. The worst injured, big Merv, had burns to 73 per cent of his body and nearly lost his sight. Everyone describes him as remarkable. Five years ago, while Wells and Brown waited inside an Icepak plant room listening to the hissing of leaking gas, Beanland went to get a spanner to tighten the leaking pipe. There were no signs to warn them of the hazards of the highly flammable gas. Few outside the coolstore company knew it had been installed into a leaky, unsuitable system in unprecedented quantities. According to Labour Department investigators, the fresh air that came in with the firefighters and their movements stirred up the gas that had been pooling in the room for hours. It rose, met an unprotected switchboard and ignited into a blast that felled the men inside and outside the room and was felt for miles around. Neil returned to work on Christmas Day 2010. In his matter-of-fact approach to his long, painful recovery, he describes turning up to his first house fire since the tragedy. "I saw flames coming out of the door and thought 'This will be interesting'. Everyone was saying 'Will you be all right?' and I said, 'Just give me the reel'." Neil seems more scarred on the outside than the inside. He was a reluctant participant in the counselling provided by the Fire Service. He and Wells reflect more on the $600 hourly fee they believe was paid to their psychoanalyst than on their innermost thoughts. They've been asked how they could return to work after such horror. "It's our job," they say as one. Wells, who lost significant hearing from the blast, adds: "I've been 40 years in the job. It's the first time I was hurt." Wells fought to return just six months after the disaster, firmly rejecting the dreaded "light duties" and undertaking lengthy psychological testing to prove he was mentally fit to go back on the fire trucks. Will they mark this year's anniversary? "It's just like a birthday," says Neil. "We'll probably have to shout morning tea." Milli Lovell has also moved, to Tauranga "for a whole new life". She has been studying for a Bachelor of Education, but is taking off the current university semester to think about changing to a degree in psychology. Before the fire she was "just a mum", she says. "Derek and I had planned for me to never work again. That all changed." Rob Frengley attended this year's Pumpkin Night just as he


did five years ago. The Waikato Hospital clinical director of critical care was one of the Tamahere school parents with ideal medical credentials to be on the scene. He attended to Derek Lovell a few minutes after the blast and remains saddened by his death. It's doubtful others would have survived if not for the immediate, expert care of doctors and nurses who make their homes in Tamahere, close to Waikato Hospital. It brought the community together, Frengley says. One thing is outstanding: "We're now waiting to see what gets built on the Icepak site. I don't think anything will." One coolstore escaped the inferno and remains on the blasted, weedy land near State Highway 1. Rumours circulate that the remaining coolstore will be shifted to one of Icepak's other sites. It stays stubbornly put. It's a blight on the landscape but it's harmless. And Icepak managing director Wayne Grattan vowed never to use the moneysaving, environmentally friendly but highly dangerous propane refrigerant (also known as hydrocarbon, natural refrigerant, LPG and HyChill -50) in any coolstore again. So, can we rest easy in our beds again, in a country where coolstores dot town and country, from supermarkets and shopping malls to meat, dairy and fruit warehouse complexes? "No," says Robert Mannes, president of the Institute of Refrigeration, Heating & Air Conditioning Engineers (IRHACE). "My biggest fear isn't that we could have another rogue [operator] like Warren Cook," he says. "I don't think that will happen in that format again." "I think what's going to happen is hydrocarbons will become more prevalent in industry simply because of climate change and the move to natural refrigerants. And you are going to get a refrigeration engineer going to a site and he's going to blow himself up." Ignorance, the growing complexity of gases and plant design, lack of training, regulation and respect for safety - all plague the refrigeration industry, by its own admission. Eighteen months ago, the institute's former president Brian Jackson described to the coroner an unregulated industry dogged by cowboys who could stick the title refrigeration engineer on a van and go into the installation business. It was"disgraceful" there were no standards similar to the Building Act for people installing refrigeration systems and it was worrying that there had been no co-ordinated push for safety, he said. Five of the coroner's seven recommendations were directed at IRHACE and its sister organisation, the Climate Control Companies Association. Both organisations agreed with the coroner that an industry-led registration scheme was required but, says Mannes, "unfortunately, without the backing of government and a regulatory frame work we will not be able to do this." He's met twice with Labour Department officials but progress is slow. "They've really dropped the ball with us at the moment because they're all focused on Pike River. We've gone back to being poor cousins again." That hierarchy again. Without doubt many people worked very hard in the wake of this shocking tragedy. New measures have been introduced ranging from how new coolstores are designed, to the way the Fire Service equips its staff, to how it and councils monitor hazardous industry in rural areas. But not enough has changed. A firefighter may not die next time. Inevitably, someone else will. Five years on that's our only certainty.


Remember Tamahere To the Editor, IRHACE Journal I was deeply concerned to read the article of non-compliant flammable refrigerant systems in the December/January issue of the IRHACE Journal. It is simply not good enough that this is happening. We must remember the disaster at the Icepak Cool-store at Tamahere on 5 April 2008 and ensure that it doesn’t happen again. One Fireman, Senior Station Officer Derek Lovell, lost his life and seven others received serious injuries. A cool-store of about 4,000m2 was lost, along with all its contents. I represented IRHACE at the inquest into the death of Mr Lovell, and still have all the documentation which makes for very sobering reading. According to those documents the Fire Service were responding to a signal from a smoke detector when an explosion occurred. Evidence from the investigation suggests that the explosion originated within the plantroom, and it seems almost certain that the origin of the flammable atmosphere in the plantroom was refrigerant that leaked from a loose connection on a small diameter pipe from the compressor discharge line to a pressure switch. The ignition source seems likely to have been electrical, as there were many items of electrical equipment in the plantroom that were not designed to be flameproof. As noted in the coroner’s report there was wide acceptance of leakage from commercial refrigeration systems at the time, with an industry average of 30% charge per annum. This must fundamentally change. Everyone involved in the design, installation, commissioning or maintenance of a system containing a flammable refrigerant must

do everything they can to minimize the risk of leakage and of ignition if a leak does occur. I don’t want to create undue anxiety over this issue, or to dissuade people from becoming involved, as it is here to stay. Rather I want to show that it is a major change from established technology and urge everyone to take the necessary steps to upskill accordingly. In concept it has created the need for a gas-fitter’s knowledge and skills to be added to those of a refrigeration engineer, with the added demand of designing for high, fluctuating pressures and temperatures, and vibration. In practice, those involved need to read and become familiar with all the relevant Standards, guides and rules, and diligently apply them. Comprehensive documentation needs to be prepared for all stages of the work, showing how the requirements have been met. If doubt arises about a particular issue the guidelines in the Journal article should be followed. Throughout the project the customer should be kept fully informed, from design concept right through to maintenance, as it will have a major impact on their health and safety management. Do not be persuaded to cut corners and expect to be well paid for your time and expertise. After all, you are looking after the customer’s best interests as well as your own. If you want more background information on the Tamahere fire and its aftermath read the article by Philippa Stevenson in the April/May 2013 issue of the IRHACE Journal. A major issue at the time was industry regulation, and hopefully at long last we are close to that happening. Brian Jackson, IRHACE President 2001 – 2003, Life Member

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February/March 2022



AIRAH TRAINING COURSES FOR 2022 Essential training for the HVAC&R industry IRHACE members are entitled to an associate membership discount on AIRAH training courses. Check out the upcoming courses for 2022 here,

Essential Safety Measures (see more) An overview of the codes and standards related to the control of fire and smoke within buildings.

Friday, February 18 - online REGISTER

NCC Volume 1 Section J (see more) Get updated on significant changes to Section J of the National Construction Code 2019.

Monday, February 21 Perth - WA REGISTER

Smoke Control and Fire Dampers (see more) How AS/NZS 1668.1 applies the principles of smoke control in multi-compartment buildings.

Friday, March 4 - online REGISTER


y your IRHACE membership fees March 2022 and receive FREE acc Pay your IRHACE membership fees by to an n3 Trade Card App. Pay your IRHACE membership fees 31 March 2022 and receive FREEbyaccess 31 March 2022 and receive FREE access totoan n3 Trade Card App. an n3 Trade Card App.


Who is IRHACE and what do they do?

The last two years have been disruptive and unstable for all New Zealanders and our industry like others have been affected with supply issues, staffing and shutdowns. Our mission is to lead the advancement of NZ HVAC&R through industry collaboration, member networking, and technical education. During 2021, we undertook a restructure so that we moved to a sustainable financial model to allow us to move forward and pursue our four main goals of communications, education, our people and industry. Our information channels have been reviewed and we now have quality information via our digital platform for the IRHACE Journal, a private Facebook group, social media channels and regular member only communications.

Why become or continue to be an IRHACE member? •

When you support IRHACE you support the industry as a whole, along with maintaining good practices, keeping up to date with standards and regulations along with education and training.

IRHACE is a voluntary organisation and relies on your membership to provide operational support and good governance across all its entities.

IRHACE continues to work closely with other industry associations like CCCANZ,RLNZ, Refrigeration Guild, HPSA and with other like-minded organisations.

24 24



MBIE. Transitioning to a low emissions and climate resilient future. A submission was submitted by an industry group including IRHACE, CCCANZ, Refrigeration Guild, Heat Pumps Association and Refrigerants Australia. Meeting with MBIE to discuss PSO.


SAG. As of 2 August 2021, Competenz transferred to Te Pukenga Work Based Learning Ltd (WBL). The SAG group has continued to work as a committee during the latter part of 2021 whilst awaiting the advent of WDC.


WorkSafe. Ongoing discussions regarding licensing for our trade.


NZNC IIR (International Institute of Refrigeration, NZ Committee). Support and discussion on legislation / regulation for A2L refrigerants (including ammonia) being disproportionately prohibitive and other matters


WDC. Meeting with WDC to assist in the setup of a committee for our industry. Six Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) were established on 4 October 2021 through the Reform of Vocational Education (Rove).

Entities. Reviewing and improving the governance and operations of the entities that IRHACE is corporate trustee and shareholder.


Adver tise in the IRHACE Industry Journal Monthly publication dedicated to the HVAC&R Sector

The Industry Journal for the New Zealand Refrigeration, Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning Industries



The Industry Journal for the New Zealand Refrigeration, Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning Industries

The Industry Journal for the New Zealand Refrigeration, Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning Industries AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019


The Industry Journal for the New Zealand Refrigeration, Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning Industries

The Industry Journal for the New Zealand Refrigeration, Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning Industries

Inside this issue: Inside this issue:

➤ Calculating Combustion Air for Fuel-Burning Appliances

➤ Refrigerant options now and in the future

➤ Breaking News: ‘Watching Brief’ On Airborne Covid-19

➤ REHVA COVID-19 guidance document

➤ Coronavirus, SARS-COV-2, COVID-19 and HVAC Systems

➤ Strategies to reduce the transmission of airborne infectious diseases in the Healthcare Sector

➤ Update from Competenz ➤ Is the refrigeration industry underselling itself?

➤ Water cooled condensers and cooling towers

➤ Post... ‘World Refrigeration Day’! 26 June 2019 an annual event #WREFD19

Inside this issue:

➤ Integration of renewable technologies in historical and heritage buildings: A review


➤ Bringing Attention to Indoor Air Pollution ➤ The Kiwi behind the US$50,000 a night Hotel

➤ Silent Treatment: acoustic design in an open plan school

➤ Electrical cable tunnel cooling combined with heat recovery, in cities

➤ A review study on Cooling Towers; Types, Performance and Application ➤ A big shout out to all our trade exhibitors that participated in the 2019 HVAC&R Trade Exhibition and Industry Conference

Inside this issue: ➤ A battle for supremacy: CO2 versus ammonia

➤ Refrigerant industry best placed to take climate change action

➤ Improving geothermal HVAC systems with mathematics

➤ Minimising the deviation between Predicted and Actual Building Performance via use of Neural Networks and BIM

➤ Rising Gas Costs

➤ Possibilities and limitations for flammable refrigerants: make the most of the opportunity – safely


Contact: HVAC&R Centre - February/March 2022



2021 Wallie Askew Apprentice of the Year Competition Congratulations to our apprentices and to our very loyal and generous sponsors for providing prizes.

Joseph Allen, White Refrigeration

Laurence Goodman, ATR Refrigeration


Dylan Codlin, AirZone

Sean Martin, Judd Refrigeration



Hayden Pullan Auckland/Northla nd Raymong Dunn Canterbury/Westl and Lisamarie Stone ham - Wellington Andrew Hanson - Auckland/Nort hland Patrick Meisel Auckland/Northla nd Wayne Som - Ca nterbury/Westlan d

10 YEARS Cameron Dick Raymond Landon David Bright Jason Roberts




Robert Mannes

40 50 YEARS

Charles Lawrence


Richard Clark Chris Farmer


February/March 2022



Smooth Air leads the way with their Roadshow and range

On the 7th of December 2021, Smooth-Air Products proudly and proactively launched their first Roadshow in Christchurch. Smooth-Air plans to roll their Roadshow out across the country in 2022. The goal of the roadshows is to showcase the ever-increasing range of Smooth-Air Products to both the consultants and contractors and to introduce their team. “The Smooth-Air team’s goal is to partner with consultants and contractors to give outstanding results to their clients and customers.” said Richard Jack – Commercial Sales Manager As part of the Elta Group, which are the largest HVAC supplier in Australasia, Smooth-Air’s range is one of the biggest in New Zealand. The Roadshow demonstrated that they are the full one-stop-shop solution for the HVAC industry. They showed a complete range of Grilles which are offered to give a modern, user-friendly alternative to the market. They also have the New Zealand distribution of the Halton fire damper range, which created plenty of interest, as well as the quality ARMCOR range of Air Handling Units. ARMCOR units are designed for low maintenance, ease of installation and high efficiency, ARMCOR is quickly becoming the trusted brand for specifiers and contractors. The Roadshow’s DuctSox display was a major talking point, and it is no wonder that it is the market leader in New Zealand for fabric ducting. “We were delighted with the turn out and feedback from the consultants, it is very pleasing that we are finding opportunities for value engineering and being a key partner across the industry”, said Richard. The Smooth-Air Roadshow will be coming to a major centre near you over the next few months. Visit:



Temperzone Econex OPA, low environmental impact, high seasonal efficiency rooftop packaged units. In a world where global warming is driving ever increasing demands on air-conditioning, long-term sustainability and efficiency have become key elements of new equipment design. In response, Temperzone has designed Econex OPA, an innovative range of variable capacity R32 inverter rooftop packaged systems. These systems are designed to have exceptional seasonal energy efficiency through the implementation of leading system software and componentry. Temperzone’s innovative Econex inverter R32 rooftop package units have been designed to assist organisations in their carbon reduction efforts. The combination of R32 refrigerant and lower refrigerant charge enables this range to achieve reductions in refrigerant related GWP (Global Warming Potential) of between 71-79% per kW of cooling or heating, when compared to current R410A models. Increased energy efficiency and effective load matching are key design aspects of the Econex OPA range. As standard, all unit’s feature EC plug fans and EC condenser fans, dual electronic expansion valves and inverter compressors. Temperzone’s UC8 intelligent control logic enables the synergistic control of these components for significantly improved seasonal energy efficiency when compared to fixed speed solutions, achieving total cooling seasonal performance factors as high as 6.414 (OPA 250). Temperzone’s Inverter compressor control enables exceptional comfort conditions with precise load variation response and an impressive frequency range of 16 -100%. High response levels to current load conditions are further guaranteed using electronic expansion valves and variable speed control of the indoor and outdoor fans. OPA Econex units also feature wide heating and cooling capacity ranges, enabling the delivery of increased capacity in periods of peak load. For example, the OPA 350 will deliver a heating capacity 27% above rated, and a cooling capacity 30% above its nominal rating. Econex OPA incorporates new features to ensure simple cost-effective installation and servicing, and improved product longevity. For cost-effective installation, unit footprints have been reduced by up to 22% when compared to current R410A models. These units are now easier to install with a new bank of terminal blocks dedicated to customer wiring, whether you are using

a thermostat, high-level BMS or low-level BMS. There is now convenient internal access with hinged access doors for the compressor and electrical areas as well as the supply and return air chambers. To further minimise weathering the compressor compartment has been isolated from the fan chamber and a new sloping base tray has been incorporated into the outdoor section. With the axial fans rated to provide at least 125Pa of static, Econex OPA can be installed in areas where exhaust air is required to be ducted away. The first release of the Econex OPA range consists of four models with

nominal cooling capacities ranging from 25kW to 56kW - the OPA 250, 350, 450 and 560. Multiple handing configurations will be available, these include standard and opposite handing in both horizontal and downward discharge options. Both economiser and fresh air will be available as standard options. These products join our wider Econex product series which currently features 14kW to 35kW Econex ducted split units. Available from April 2022. Contact Temperzone today to enquire about using Econex OPA for your next project.

February/March 2022



Live Events 30

February/March 2022



IRHACE TECHNICAL EDUCATION 2022 Brought to by IRHACE our Webinar series for the HVAC&R industry. IRHACE members* receive access to webinar library as part of their membership. *exclusions apply.

Designing with Ventilation Louvres 24TH MARCH, 12.30PM

Designing with Ventilation Louvres Finding the sweet spot between minimizing pressure loss, maximizing weather protection and interfacing with other building elements. Presenter: Ventuer REGISTER

Expansion Work Recovery (EWR) 7TH APRIL, 12.30PM

Expansion Work Recovery (EWR) Introduction to expansion work recovery technology for refrigeration systems Presented by: Dr Alison Subiantoro, Senor Lecturer, Auckland University, M.IRHACE REGISTER

Air Quality ventilation and Covid 19 14TH APRIL, 12.30PM

Air Quality ventilation and Covid 19 Presenter: Fantech REGISTER

February/March 2022



IRHACE TECHNICAL EDUCATION 2022 Brought to by IRHACE our Webinar series for the HVAC&R industry. IRHACE members* receive access to webinar library as part of their membership. *exclusions apply.

Compliance with NZS 5149 28TH APRIL, 12.30PM

Compliance with NZS 5149 Presenter: Dave Nicholls, RealCold, M.IRHACE REGISTER

The application of Reinforcement for Vapour Compression Cycle Control 5TH MAY, 12.30PM

The application of Reinforcement for Vapour Compression Cycle Control Overview of basic VCC control, machine learning (ML) and reinforcement learning controllers, Summary of findings in the literature and discussion on benefits and changes. Presenter: Ph.D. Student Tech Logg Ding, Dept of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering, University of Auckland REGISTER

MORE COMING SOON... Keep checking our Webinar Channel


Institute of Refrigeration, Heating and Air Conditioning Engineers of New Zealand Inc

33rd Annual General Meeting Join us online

Wednesday June 22, 12.00 noon Check the website for full details Any queries may be sent to


Annual General Meeting

11th Annual General Meeting 1 January - 31 December 2021

Wednesday 29th June 2022 Due to last year's conference cancellation the 11th CCCANZ AGM will be held online Check the website for full details Any queries may be sent to

Climate Control Companies Association of New Zealand Inc PO Box 217184 Botany, Auckland 2013


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