Solution's infrared sensors detect body heat, activity to spur HVAC efficiency

You’ve experienced it before. You’re among a few dozen people cramming into a relatively small room for an event.

Before long, you start to feel warm – maybe even start to sweat a little – as the temperature rises from the collective body heat.

Ideally, you wish someone would lower the thermostat to make the air cooler and the environment more bearable.

With Panasonic’s latest ECONAVI series, on display at the recent AHR Expo 2018, you don’t have to sweat it out, as much-needed adjustments happen automatically. Infrared sensors inside the unit detect everything from heat fluctuations to movement throughout a given space and trigger heating and cooling based on preset desired temperatures and anticipated comfortability.

“If all of a sudden, there is a lot more heat in the room, it will sense that and provide more cooling capacity for you,” said Eric Griffin of Panasonic Heating and Air Conditioning. “You don’t want to sacrifice comfort, and this isn’t going to let things get out of hand from a set point.”

Use of ECONAVI, a product the company describes as almost having “a mind of its own,” can help save as much as 40 percent in energy expenses, Griffin said.

The system, incorporated into mini-splits that can be used in residential, multi-family and light commercial settings, saves energy by constantly searching a given space and sensing where energy is wasted. The sensors detect activity and even the absence of people. ECONAVI adjusts to an efficient setting when it detects human presence but low activity so that temperatures might be slightly higher or lower without sacrificing occupant comfort.

Focusing additionally on comfort, the sensors can detect when people are only in a certain part of a room. And rather than conditioning the entire space, it directs airflow to the occupied area.

“This way, you’re not wasting any energy,” Griffin said.

When connected to an HVAC unit, ECONAVI also is accessible and controllable through a computer or smartphone. That enables owners to easily view and set conditions when they’re away.

“Everything is focused around comfortability and energy savings,” Griffin said. “It detects, evaluates and distributes so that the maximum amount of energy is saved.”


Topics: Automation and Controls, Building Owners and Managers, Energy Saving Products, Great Commercial Buildings, Healthy & Comfortable Buildings, HVAC - Heating, Cooling, and Ventilation, Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), Interiors, Multifamily / Multiunit Residential, Office Buildings, Sustainable Communities, Technology, Urban Planning and Design, Ventilation


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