A behind-the-scenes look at the production of Eurovent Middle East's first comprehensive Guidebook on Evaporative Cooling scheduled for release in November 2021. The contributors discuss market gaps that initiated the document's creation, the process to ensure its unbiased approach, and the stakeholders that can benefit from the document's comprehensive overview of the technology.
Back to basics
Scheduled for release in November, the Eurovent Middle East Guidebook on Evaporative Cooling was created with the express mission of addressing an issue particularly problematic in the region: insufficient information related to products and equipment, in this case especially cooling towers.
Reasons behind this range from a simple lack of available, comprehensive material to misleading data pushed according to marketing agendas - all of which can lead to inefficient designs, installations, maintenance protocols, and operations. In a region where cooling is considered critical, these inefficiencies can be detrimental to broader sustainability policies and increase energy consumption and long-term operating costs.
Rafael Van Eijcken, General Manager, Middle East, Turkey & India, Baltimore Aircoil Middle East LLC and Vice-President of Eurovent Middle East, explains that the current patchwork of information in the market is because the Middle East receives design influences from different parts of the world. "The influences come from local markets, as well as Europe, the United States, and Asia," he says. "This results in system specifications from a melting pot of different best practices for different applications and customer requirements. These do not always align or fit the purpose of regional projects, especially in terms of environmental requirements or customer budget." Van Eijcken adds that the Guidebook aims to address this issue by offering basic guidance on the critical aspects of evaporative cooling equipment for this region.
"It was about reigning in the different types of information that stem from various manufacturer messages that fly around on what makes a good cooling tower design or what people should consider," says Chris Willis, General Manager, Evapco Middle East. Willis adds that going back to the foundation and providing people with an understanding of basic terminologies and characteristics that need to be considered when designing a system would go a long way in improving regional design practices.
Darek Sikorski, Manager, Sales Support EMEA, SPX Cooling Technologies, echoes this. "The idea of the Guidebook was to provide a comprehensive but easily understandable A-to-Z type overview of cooling towers. This includes answering basics questions such as 'What is a cooling tower? How does it work?' and 'What are the different configurations available?' It also means providing more in-depth information on installation, operation and maintenance."
Striving for an unbiased narrative
This considerable task was taken on by Eurovent Middle East's Cooling Tower Working Group, comprising several active manufacturers. Van Eijcken says the group has long underscored the importance of consistent market education on the relevant standards and features of evaporative cooling equipment for regional projects.
Sikorski adds, "All the main manufacturers involved had their own cooling tower guidebooks; however, we all agreed on the benefit of having a publication that was jointly authored by the manufacturers and endorsed by Eurovent. This would provide unbiased information that will increase the understanding of the technology and products available in the market."
"All the members of the working group were allocated an equal amount of content for the subject they were responsible for," says Van Eijcken. "All the input was then reviewed and commented on multiple times by Eurovent Middle East and all parties to make sure it was as relevant and unbiased as possible and for the best interest of the end-users in the market." Willis echoes this, saying, "We were careful to make sure it was generic advice that did not favour one manufacturer over another and that it was for the good of the industry. The document slowly started to take shape through regular meetings, which identified the scope and type of information that should be included as well as how to address certain issues."
Writing for the readers
Now in its completed form, the Guidebook offers a practical and easy-to-read reference on essential aspects related to selection and design to ensure the most optimal and efficient evaporative cooling systems for projects in the region. "The Guidebook will be distributed and referenced towards the markets by Eurovent Middle East and its cooling tower members as a neutral basis of understanding on the crucial aspects related to Evaporative Cooling equipment," says Van Eijcken. "Decision makers are routed from the principles of operation, through the different types of equipment, important regional design parameters, towards the importance of implementing proper maintenance and operation practices to maintain highest system efficiencies over a maximised equipment lifetime."
Willis says such knowledge is especially critical given the specialised nature of the topic. "A cooling tower is an important piece of a project, but it is often only a small part of what most stakeholders have to take into consideration in the context of their respective roles," he says. "Whether it's the end-user tasked with running a building, or a consultant designing an entire MEP system which contains different types of equipment, it is often the case that the people involved do not have particularly deep and detailed knowledge about a cooling tower. They might know marketing stories they have been told about the product. However, they are experts in the larger field they are involved in, not this specific product. The Guidebook gives them the information they need in the way they need it. At the very least, it can serve as a basis for more practical designs and more sensible decisions."
Van Eijcken points out that the document serves as a common basis of understanding for stakeholders before moving towards the project's specific needs. "This will benefit many stakeholders ranging from design engineers, such as consultants, contractors, system integrators, complementary HVAC component manufacturers, and overseas cooling tower manufacturers with limited regional exposure in terms of experience," he says.
Aside from the engineering teams, Willis says the document would also be helpful for people working in or related to the purchasing department. "It is often the case at the purchasing stages that the person responsible for buying the product does not have a clear understanding about the product," he says. "This guidebook at least helps to give them an unbiased understanding without relying on marketing messages." Willis says the document would also help facility managers ensure optimal performance of the unit by providing better context on water quality, maintenance intervals and servicing.
Willis adds the Guidebook is also useful for end-users, such as industrial companies, that require process cooling of their manufacturing facilities. "For such types of facilities, the owners are focused on their main manufacturing process, such as plastic moulding, etc. They don't know about cooling towers or what to do with them. But it's still part of their system, and the Guidebook helps inform them on ways to get the best out of their equipment for process cooling."
Essentially, Sikorski says the document is helpful for any stakeholder that has a water-cooling requirement, whether an HVAC or industrial application. "We are really pleased with the content provided in this finished Guidebook. We hope it will provide key information to allow decision-makers to make educated decisions on the viability of using this most efficient cooling technology."
Eurovent Middle East will release the Guidebook on 23 November 2021 with a dedicated workshop on cooling towers as a live event hosted at the Le Meridien Dubai Hotel and Conference Centre.