LG’s system air conditioning solutions see significant growth in Central and South American markets.

May 02, 2012 | 14:24
The Carrier Corporation has dominated the conventional system air conditioning market for a century since Willis Carrier invented his air conditioner in 1902.

Recently in Central and South America, however, LG has emerged as a new, trusted partner for the region’s air conditioning needs. LG’s success certainly hasn’t happened overnight; rather, it’s the culmination of a decade of making headway in the region with a succession of energy efficient, eco-friendly solutions. Of late, LG’s variable refrigerant flow (VRF) technologies have drawn considerable attention.

It is little surprise then that when construction began on Chile’s (then) tallest skyscraper in 2010, the Titanium La Portada in Santiago, LG’s air conditioners were chosen for the job. Likewise, LG was also brought in to design and build a water-cooled heating and cooling system for Santiago’s Santa Rosa project. The USD 7 million contract called for snowmelt from the Andes to be used in an innovative new system.

LG is already the top VRF solutions provider in Brazil, Mexico, Panama, Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Peru. In 2009, LG landed a USD 5 million contract to supply 1,600 air conditioners for Chile’s Las Condes Building. In Buenos Aires, a USD 2 million contract had LG supply another 1,600 air conditioners for the luxury Tore Arch apartment complex. In São Paulo, the Cidade Jardim high-rise complex paid USD 5 million for LG’s systems.

Moreover, LG has recorded an impressive 100 percent annual growth rate for four consecutive years in Brazil. This is indicative of LG’s strong performance globally. Even in the United States, which is still experiencing financial difficulties stemming from the economic downturn, LG saw 50 percent growth in the past year.

The Titanium La Portada, Santiago

Centered in Santiago’s bustling business district, the Titanium La Portada broke records in Chile at the time of construction, soaring 629 feet above the ground. The Titanium La Portada stretches up over fifty-two floors, covering a total area of 72,000 m2. Its parking space accommodates up to 1,350 cars, and two helipads are situated on the roof.

The Titanium La Portada was also awarded its leadership in energy and environmental design (LEED) certification by the US Green Building Council. It is the first building of its type to receive this distinction in South America, and had to pass stringent criteria in terms of energy acceleration, environmental efficiency, overall design and pollution reductions. Clearly eco-friendly oriented, the designers of the Titanium La Portada opted for LG’s versatile, environment-minded HVAC system.

The Titanium La Portada story is not unique by any means. With the challenges facing businesses in today’s globalized world, there is a continually increasing demand for quality products that deliver outstanding performance while reducing costs and energy consumption. Compromise is no longer an option. If they are to be successful, business solutions must be practical, energy-efficient, technologically advanced and, most of all, affordable.

First and foremost, in terms of energy and usability, LG’s unprecedented VRF system, the Multi V III is much easier to install. This was key for the Titanium La Portada project.

“Our experience with LG had a refreshingly human element. This gave our people a greater sense of control over their work as the building went up,” says Andrés Weil, chief architect of the Titanium La Portada. “LG also gave us a lot of reassurance that we could move forward with what we wanted to do by using their technologies. Certainly, we may well work with them again on future projects.”

More and more, energy consumption and flexibility are becoming integral components of the decision making process for construction firms getting ready to start new projects. Weil understood that the occupants of the Titanium La Portada would feel empowered by taking greater control over the climate in their workplace or living space, while at the same time feel a sense of satisfaction knowing that they were part of an eco-friendly complex.

The scale of the Titanium La Portada is enormous. As of 2012, it is still Chile’s second tallest building, and thanks to LG’s advanced technologies incorporated into its HVAC system, employees can work comfortably in an optimally controlled climate.

“Comfort, a better use of interior space, better energy use – these are the qualities that we were looking for in our air conditioning system,” said Abraham Senerman, the Titanium La Portada’s CEO. “LG’s system delivered on all of these needs.”

Moreover, the construction process was simplified. LG’s HVAC systems are easier to set up, take up less space, are far less intrusive, and are easier to operate than conventional systems.

The Justice Center, Santiago

The Justice Center is arguably the region’s most important public building, housing roughly 180 courts under its roof. All eight of the premises’ buildings take up 10 floors and each are designed to give the impression that they are merely components of a singular, independent structure. Designed to accommodate 3,500 employees and a floating population of 7,500, this historically significant building was built to commemorate Chile’s 200 years of independence.

When the Justice Center’s original air conditioning system needed replacing, LG’s HVAC technology was chosen for the significant benefits it offered in creating a more efficient, more comfortable working environment. From a technical standpoint, this choice gave the Justice Center a longer system shelf life, smoother installation and higher performance limits. From an environmental standpoint, it allowed the building to reduce its energy use and subsequently lower its utility bills.

Occupants in the building also benefited. With the previous HVAC system, temperature adjustments required contact with the call center to request a change. With the new system, on the other hand, operating parameters could be customized on site.

LG’s technology is designed to be as minimally invasive as possible. Therefore, it poses much less of a security risk. The units are modular, allowing the replacement of small units doing a significant number of assigned tasks, in turn lowering operating costs. LG’s equipment was evaluated with other alternatives in mind; it is marginally more expensive than certain other products, but it was found that the additional investment was returned in savings within an 18-month period.

Manuel Gonzalez, General Manager of OHL, the constructor and administrator of the Justice Center, commented on LG’s HVAC, saying that “This choice served as an ideal solution to our air conditioning needs, and we are equally satisfied with the system’s guarantee.” Gonzalez plans to install additional LG equipment from the company’s dynamic range of products in the future.

The Justice Center aspires to achieve the best in terms balancing its sheer scale with its mission to stay true to its humanitarian spirit. It does so by striving to be a transparent and modern court that is open to everyone. It is understandable then that the decision made by officials of the Justice Center to install LG’s advanced HVAC system was largely based on the need for technology that was both revolutionary and emotionally appealing.

Consumers that demand the highest standards of quality will continue to choose LG HVAC systems as they are much easier to build, easier to operate, and less invasive.

“LG provided us with a tremendous advantage. From a purely functional standpoint, it’s light years better than what we previously had installed. The new units are more modular, which, in my opinion, is vastly improved technology,” said Manuel Gonzalez.

Cidade Jardim, São Paulo

In the sprawling city of São Paulo, Cidade Jardim is a truly goliath complex. Consisting of a luxury shopping center, nine residential apartment buildings and three office buildings, it is more than just eye-catching, it’s a landmark that symbolizes Brazil’s impressive economic growth.

In 2008, when plans were being drawn up for Cidade Jardim’s construction, LG suggested that the buildings would best be served by an advanced water-cooled air conditioning system. Though ambitious, LG argued that the specific clientele that would be serviced by the Cidade Jardim project would be detracted by the sub-standard performance – and even the appearance – of lower-priced air conditioning products. A premium system would not only appeal to sophisticated occupants, but would also help better manage energy use.

Project managers expressed concerns, noting that the technology, as advanced as it was, had been applied in only a small number of cases in Brazil, and it was thus hard to gauge whether or not the system would be successful in Cidade Jardim. To allay concerns, LG first installed the water-cooled system on a test-only basis in the residential buildings whereby LG would regularly monitor and report on operating conditions and benefits gained. When the results came in, it was agreed that LG’s system would be ideal for both the residential buildings and the shopping center. A year and a half later, 400hp water-cooled systems were also installed in the three office buildings.

Occupants of the entire Cidade Jardim complex are now enjoying the benefits of the system, benefits that they are well aware of thanks to real-time monitoring that can be accessed through the advanced control system.

For LG, the Cidade Jardim project has also served as a stepping stone to advance further into the Brazilian market, with new clients inquiring into how LG can help them achieve more efficient, more eco-friendly project designs.

LG’s System Air Conditioning Solutions

Commercial air conditioning solutions are by necessity more complex and more sophisticated than residential systems. Commercial air conditioners incorporate an outdoor heat exchanger with a number of indoor heat exchangers.

The key word is ‘system’. A commercial system is an integration of a whole range of IT technologies, including detailed automatic control, electron control, multi-structure and piping installation, ease of system expansion and contraction, multi-function heating and cooling, and remote management.

A system air conditioner must also be conceived of in terms of how that system can perform within the restrictions imposed by the building. For instance, ceiling heights, plumbing issues and drain locations all affect the potential for the air conditioning system to be installed in such a way as to maximize performance. LG excels in this regard, simply because its air conditioning solutions offer extremely flexible installation and operation options.

LG is a professional electronics and IT company possessing key advantages in both technologies and market experience. These advantages give LG the edge over other air conditioning companies. This is especially true when it comes to developing monitoring and control systems that oversee the air conditioner’s day-to-day operations. After all, LG is ideally suited to integrating TV, computer and mobile technologies into the total HVAC package.

All of this enables LG to offer solutions that are user-friendly, easy to install and energy efficient. At the same time, heating and cooling performance meets and exceeds expectations.

Most recently, LG has developed a LARS CAD program which helps potential clients determine which air conditioning system would serve as an optimal solution for their particular needs, taking into account the specific design of the building or buildings.

Among systems, the sophisticated VRF Multi V III is especially noteworthy. The Multi V III maximizes energy efficiency in commercial environments with a 4.58 coefficient of performance (COP) and a big, 20HP capacity per unit, which translates to space savings of up to 50 percent.

This technology is going a long way in helping LG capture market share in the air conditioning market. Currently, the market might best be described as an oligopoly, with four manufacturers claiming 70 percent of the entire business – the Carrier Corporation, Trane Inc. and Johnson Controls Inc. in the United States and Daikin Industries in Japan.

While late starters have traditionally had difficulty maintaining growth in the market, LG has made bold strides, including the acquisition of LS Mtron’s air conditioning unit, a move that strengthens LG’s overall position. With increased investment and innovative offerings, LG is now finding itself well poised to make even bolder strides in the future.


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