Reinventing HVAC Systems for Extreme Low Pressure Drop Energy Efficiency

Gary Shamshoian, BEST Technology
Victor Neuman, HVAC Manufacturing, Inc.

This presentation will describe how the HVAC industry is moving rapidly towards extreme efficiency through the elimination of common energy losses. The HVAC industry is a very mature field that tends to favor products that maximize supply chain profits rather than optimized facility performance, which makes it challenging for new innovations to compete. With energy efficiency rising to heightened importance, we need a revolution to improve energy efficiency by orders of magnitude to address global climate challenges.

The way most HVAC system components are designed leaves a lot of opportunities to save energy, and there are better technologies available to accomplish the same functions.

Dr. Bert Willke, PhD, is a retired MIT professor of acoustical physics who created and patented advanced air handler and fans that need less than half the horsepower of any other centrifugal fan product available. The main advantage is the use of axial fans with gradually accelerating and decelerating airflow pathways to eliminate system effects, minimize turbulence and noise while maximizing energy efficiency. The result is better fan energy efficiency, smaller equipment footprint, improved environmental quality with less sound, reduced fan heat for chiller energy savings. Additional capital cost savings come from design integration for reductions in electrical infrastructure, emergency generator sizing, sound attenuators, and roof ductwork.

Since the early 1980s, Dr. Willke has been selling advanced HVAC equipment to niche markets where minimum sound and vibration levels were important. Back then the energy savings was not as important as it is now which limited market adoption. Other competitors copied them and sold many units, but they have all discontinued operations a long time ago. Dr. Willke continued to design and build these revolutionary fans in small quantities, and is now expanding the marketing of these field proven products to change the industry by redirecting the energy commonly lost in traditional HVAC equipment. This axial fan technology is field proven and is older than VFDs, and saves more energy. Applying acoustical physics to other HVAC system components combined with responsive and adaptive building controls will revolutionize building designs with the largest impacts for datacenters, critical facilities, tall buildings, and showcase projects. The physics behind the energy savings will be discussed. Future product developments include the perfecting the design of an advanced VAV box and air outlets that combines significant static pressure savings with advanced responsiveness to make HVAC systems nimble enough to respond to occupancy and other demand based signals.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify where energy wastes are common in current HVAC system equipment and designs.
  • Demonstrate the physics behind axial fans and low pressure drop HVAC system designs.
  • Document how these common energy losses are mitigated with advanced equipment and system designs.
  • Describe how the HVAC industry is being driven to extreme efficiencies through applications of biomimetic physics, and how this will provide societal benefits through more affordable net zero and generative buildings.


Gary Shamshoian is a Mechanical Engineer focused on energy efficient technical applications contributing as engineering owner's representative, project manager, design engineer. Gary has saved 7 megawatts so far in his career, and his goal is to save 1 gigawatt with BEST Technology.

Victor Neuman is a professional engineer specializing in laboratory designs. Has designed over 150 laboratories since 1983, he continues to promote energy efficiency as the National Sales Manager for HVAC Manufacturing.


Note: I2SL did not edit or revise abstract or biography text. Abstracts and biographies are displayed as submitted by the author(s).