Decarbonization & Electrification: The Way to a Greener Future

HVAC Experts Break Down What You Need To Know

By: Amir Goharpey, Application Engineer, Gil-Bar Solutions

Decarbonization, a term often heard in the context of sustainability and climate action, represents a critical step towards reducing our carbon footprint and mitigating climate change. In the realm of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), decarbonization entails a strategic shift towards cleaner, more efficient technologies and practices. Here, we’ll discuss what decarbonization is and three key strategies for achieving it, with a particular focus on electrification as a driving force for positive change.

Understanding Decarbonization

At its core, decarbonization is the process of reducing or eliminating carbon dioxide emissions from various processes. In the HVAC world, this is a concerted effort to minimize the carbon footprint of buildings and encompasses four fundamental components:

  1. Energy Efficiency: This involves making units and buildings as energy-efficient as possible, ensuring that minimal energy input yields the maximum heating or cooling output. Besides environmental benefits, increased energy efficiency also reduces buildings’ energy bills, making it a win-win strategy.
  2. Electrification: Electrification is the strategy to replace existing equipment that relies on fossil fuels with the latest electric technology. This transition not only reduces carbon emissions but also aligns with the broader movement towards cleaner energy sources.
  3. Renewable Energy: Building all-electric systems and utilizing renewable energy sources to generate electricity play a pivotal role in decarbonization. By reducing reliance on fossil fuels for electricity generation, we can significantly lower carbon emissions.
  4. Electricity Loads: While essential, electricity load management falls just beyond the scope of what we are discussing here, but remains a crucial element of the overall decarbonization strategy.

The Significance of Decarbonization

Why is decarbonization so important? Simply put, it is a linchpin in our efforts to combat climate change and achieve reduction goals. The Climate and Community Protection Act, for instance, commits New York State to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 and a staggering 85% by 2050. To achieve these ambitious targets, an aggressive plan has been set in motion. Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP), for example, have emerged as a viable solution, not only for meeting climate goals but also for surpassing the environmental performance of traditional DX and gas heating options.

Strategies for Combating Decarbonization

To effectively combat carbon emissions, HVAC professionals and policymakers must consider three main strategies:

  1. Energy Efficiency: Although energy efficiency has long been a priority in HVAC, its focus has often centered on cost savings rather than improving the carbon footprint. However, reduced energy consumption directly translates into fewer emissions from fuel use, making it a vital component.
  2. Refrigerant Management: Managing refrigerants is a critical aspect of reducing unwanted emissions from buildings. Employing low Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerants is essential to minimize environmental impact. Regular maintenance practices can also help prevent refrigerant leakage.
  3. Electrification: Electrification, especially in heating, is gaining prominence as we move away from gas heaters and inefficient electric heating methods. The shift towards cleaner electric grids, with an emphasis on renewable energy sources, is a cornerstone of electrification efforts.

Electrified Heating Solutions

One of the key drivers of electrification in the HVAC industry is the adoption of electric heating solutions, particularly heat pumps. These solutions include:

  • Air to Air Heat Pumps: These systems, includingsplit system heat pumps, rooftop unit (RTU) heat pumps, and variable refrigerant flow (VRF) heat pumps, efficiently provide both heating and cooling, reducing the need for fossil fuels.
  • Heat Recovery Solutions: Heat recovery systems, such as heat recovery chillersand multi-pipe systems maximize energy efficiency by capturing and repurposing waste heat, further contributing to the decarbonization movement.

So where does this leave us? We know decarbonization and electrification are intertwined as essential components of our journey towards a greener, more sustainable future. By embracing energy efficiency, responsible refrigerant management, and electrified heating solutions, we can not only meet reduction goals but also take significant strides in combatting climate change and preserving the environment for future generations.

Amir Goharpey is an application engineer with Gil-Bar Solutions, a division of the Ambient HVAC Collective.

HVAC Invests in Smart Building Controls

By Chris Plummer, Sales Manager, Gil-Bar Industries

Future Tech Pays Off?

Connected smart equipment and devices have changed the way we live our lives. If you’re in the engineering or construction space, it’s also changed the way we maintain our facilities. Big data and cloud analytics allowed us to create actionable intelligence by providing greater visibility on system performance and trends.

Often one of the biggest costs of maintaining a building is climate control. Building owners and management professionals know that keeping BTUs in the space is a primary challenge. Luckily, smart controls and connected devices have allowed us to use data and insights to develop the right maintenance strategies, helping us reduce energy consumption, extend asset life, and increase uptime, making it a potentially smart investment.

Connecting your HVAC equipment, such as your chiller, enhances your data visibility and grants access to:

  • Expanded data beyond what’s visible in the BAS, up to 200 points, for advanced insight into chiller performance.
  • Sophisticated AI-infused, machine-learning insights.
  • Chiller expertise powered by cutting-edge digital capabilities.
  • Real-time, chiller health and performance diagnostics at your fingertips.
  • Historical data from first day of connection.
  • Diagnostic trends allow comparison to design intent and historical operation.
  • Predictive analytics designed to uncover potential issues early.

Recently, we’ve seen manufacturers placing safe bets on connected smart tools, some even offering free extended service to demonstrate their confidence in the future tech. For example, Johnson Controls, in conjunction with Gil-Bar Industries, now offers 1 year service included with all connected chiller orders.

Now is the best time for building owners and engineers to take advantage of these additional offers.  If you have additional questions please reach out to your respect Gil-Bar Sales representative.

Chris Plummer is a sales manager at Gil-Bar Industries. Part of the Ambient HVAC collectiveGil-Bar is New York City’s provider of Yorkconnected chillers and HVAC product expertise.

From Basement to HVAC Powerhouse: Interview with Joe Sbarra

By: Edwin Warfield, Publisher, CityBiz

After beginning his career as a degreed sales engineer for the Trane Company, Joe Sbarra founded Gil-Bar Industries with his partner John Gill in July of 1986. The company had a family feel from the start: working out of the basement of a residential home in Brooklyn, the city where Joe was born and raised. In fact, the company’s first employee was Joe’s mom, who did everything from answering the phone to cooking meals for clients and factory visitors.

As Gil-Bar grew, Joe built and preserved a company culture that extends the values of family to every individual within the firm, and to every client the firm serves. These values are reflected in the way Gil-Bar cares deeply about every single project and all of the people who come together to make it work. They’re reflected in the way Gil-Bar protects everyone associated with the firm by insisting on excellence and taking responsibility for finding solutions where everyone wins.

As Joe says: “In order to maintain a great working relationship with our clients, we have to be friends with them. We have to have their backs.”

This philosophy has allowed Joe and John to attract and retain the “cream of the crop” in the HVAC industry, now including 24 degreed sales engineers and 22 inside engineering support staff. Today, Gil-Bar offers the strongest solution-based HVAC engineering team in the tri state area and is widely regarded as the nation’s premier engineering rep force.

“We’re entering our 35th year of providing expert guidance to our clients and we’re proud of the projects we’ve built together. We’ve become the largest solution-based HVAC company in the industry, proving ourselves with over 2000 clients daily across multiple market segments. But as we’ve grown, our philosophy and focus have never changed: we build working relationships as a family. We work together to find the best solutions, always. There is no project or problem too big or too small for Gil-Bar. We will figure it out.”

Connect with Joseph on LinkedIn

Interview questions:

Founding | You founded Gil-Bar in a basement in Brooklyn in 1986. Please tell us about the launch of Gil-Bar.

Introduction | Can you provide a snapshot of Gil-Bar today? How many locations, employees…?

Timeline | What are some of the key milestones since 1986?

Partner | Tell me about the role of your other partners and their part in Gil-Bar’s growth”

Private Equity|When did you decide to pursue private equity? Tell us about the Intermediate Capital Group.

Merger | Last November, Gil-Bar Solutions merged with HC Nye. Tell us about the merger and the results to date.

Growth | What are the growth plans for Gil-Bar?

High Performance Heat Pumps Are Here

By Joe Kalina, Sales Engineer, Gil-Bar Industries

The Future of NYC HVAC Design

As an engineer and salesperson, I am always on the lookout for new solutions that work for both our customers and the environment. Recently, I’ve gotten excited about the new YMAE Air-to-Water Inverter Scroll Modular Heat Pump launched by York.

The New York City market has been asking for a product like this for the past five years. With electrification and decarbonization changing the landscape of HVAC design, this product will help in accomplishing the aggressive carbon neutral goals of Local Law 97. A leap in development from the 2021 ACR Awards Heat Pump Product of the Year, the new YMAE-130 produces 140 °F hot water at the highest COP in the category. It also promises to deliver the broadest operating envelope in the market, and that means maximum flexibility across different applications. Combined with the use of ultra-low GWP refrigerant, R-454b, the YMAE is a sustainable, high-performance solution for building owners and engineers wanting to minimize their environmental impact.

So What Are The Specs?

  • Inverter vapor injection compressors on both circuits as standard (individually circuited compressors under 15HP) and ECM condenser fans. Part load turndown to 10% of design capacity.
  • 2-Pipe (heating or cooling mode) and 4-Pipe (simultaneous heating and cooling mode)
  • 4-Pipe operation is not solely reliant on energy recovery from internal loads – the condenser will aid in maintaining both chilled water and hot water LWT setpoints as needed with both setpoints individually controlled. This allows for a wide range of new construction and retrofit applications.
  • Modular flexibility with up to 4 modules factory packaged on a skid with single point power. Up to 32 modules can be controlled as a single chiller bank.
  • R454B next generation low GWP refrigerant allowing for shipment after the 2023/2024 chiller HFC refrigerant ban.
  • Condenser fan external static pressure capabilities up to 0.4” allowing for indoor installations behind louvers.
  • Capacity per 4-pipe module at AHRI conditions:
    • 35 tons cooling @ 44°F water
    • 546 MBH heating @ 105°F water
    • Combined COP of 7.9
    • Cooling operation IPLV greater than 20
    • Achieves 131°F @ 5°F
    • Maximum 140°F @ 14°F
  • Ideally suited to reduce the environmental impact of schools, hotels, offices, hospitals, and multi-unit residential applications by replacing fossil fuel boilers with high performance heat pump technology.

Gil-Bar is excited to add the YMAE to its extensive air source heat pump portfolio with its groundbreaking new technology. Delivering heating capacities and efficiencies at design conditions is something the NYC market has needed in a modular package, and now it’s here.

Joe Kalina is a sales engineer at Gil-Bar Industries. Part of the Ambient HVAC CollectiveGil-Bar has been the HVAC solutions company that offers greater expertise and commitment than any other firm, and is NYC Metro’s expert on York products and solutions.

The Gil-Bar & Mechanical Technologies Showcase

Join Gil-Bar Industries and Mechanical Technologies on Thursday, August 10th for the 2023 Gil-Bar and Mechanical Technologies Showcase featuring the Aaon Mobile Experience and ABB Rolling Roadshow. As we look toward the future of HVAC technology and sustainability, we are hosting some of the top names in the industry so you get the inside scoop on the most current solutions available:


Date: Thursday, 8/10/23
Time: 12:00PM – 7:00PM
Cost: Complimentary
Location: Javits Center Outdoor Event Space, 655 W 34th Street, New York, NY 10001


✓ On-Site Opportunities for PDH Credit
✓ Experience the Latest in HVAC Products & Features
✓ Enjoy a Bite to Eat


Featured Vendors






Click Here to Add to Calendar

Click Here to See Event Area

Click Here to Download the Event Map

Click Here to Download PDH Credit Information

* Please note that I.D.s will be checked at the point of entry.


More Info: 212.331.8272


Global Warming Potential: Is It Time for a Change?

What to expect with refrigerant phase-outs in HVAC


Chris Plummer, Product Manager, Gil-Bar Industries


If you’re a professional within the HVAC industry, you know that the EPA is constantly changing codes and regulations to be better to our planet. Sometimes, those changes can seem hard to understand or adapt to, but knowing the true impact of your equipment can help. Lately, the EPA has made changes to ensure equipment is not using “high global-warming-potential” (or GWP) refrigerants. Within the scientific community, there is a fear that the high GWP refrigerants can leak and in turn add to Ozone depletion.  As a result, we’ve seen certain refrigerants in the industry begin to “phase out.”

But what is Global Warming Potential and what are the other determining factors for a “sustainable” refrigerant? Well, it turns out there are three main criteria:

Global Warming Potential (GWP): The metric used to compare the global warming impact of greenhouse gases compared to a reference gas, Carbon Dioxide (CO2), where its GWP is equal to 1. For example, R-134a refrigerant has a GWP rating of 1,430, indicating that it has 1,430 times the 100-year warming potential of the same volume of CO2. R-410a has a rating of 2,088, indicating that it has 2,088 times the 100-year warming potential of the same volume of CO2. In this case, R-134a would be considered a more sustainable refrigerant.

Toxicity: Relative toxicity to humans, broken into two classes:

  • Class A (Lower Toxicity): Refrigerants for which toxicity has been identified at concentrations less than or equal to 400 parts per million (PPM).
  • Class B (Higher Toxicity): Refrigerants for which toxicity has been identified at concentrations greater than 400 parts per million (PPM).

Flammability: There are four classes of flammability (From Figaro):

  • Class 1: When tested, the refrigerant saw no flame propagation at 140°F (60°C)and 14.7 psia (101.3 kPa).
  • Class 2: When tested, the refrigerant exhibited flame propagation at 140°F (60°C)and 14.7 psia (101.3 kPa), had a heat of combustion less than 19,000 kJ/kg (8,174 British thermal units BTU/lb), and had a lower flammability limit (LFL) greater than 0.10 kg/m3.
  • Class 2L: When tested, the refrigerant had a maximum burning velocity of 3.9 in./s (10 cm/s)or lower when tested at 73.4°F (23.0°C) and 14.7 psia (101.3 kPa). The purpose of the 2L subclass is to reflect the lower flammability properties of the new low-GWP refrigerant options on the rise, such as hydrofluorolefins (HFOs), like R-1234ze.
  • Class 3: When tested, the refrigerant exhibited flame propagation at 140°F (60°C)and 14.7 psia (101.3 kPa) and either had a heat of combustion of 19,000 kJ/kg (8,174 BTU/lb) or greater or a LFL of 0.10 kg/m3 or lower.

Standards (like ASHRAE 15 and EN 378) and guidelines use this number to determine what size charge is permitted in an occupied space such that if one were to leak, it would not exceed the concentration limit.

So What Does It All Mean?

Over the past 30 years, some of the phase outs brought on by the EPA we have included: Ammonia, R-22, and R-123. The next refrigerants to be retired will be R-134a and R-410a. R-134a is commonly used in large tonnage HVAC equipment including Air-Cooled and Water-Cooled Chillers. R-410a is used in smaller HVAC equipment like Roof Top Units (RTUs), Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) units and even window units.

There are 12 states, including New York and New Jersey, that are seeing the phase out of R-134a by the end of 2023. The challenge we face now is that there is no replacement. R-134a had the best heat transfer properties and flammability rating compared to known legal refrigerants. As a result, the only options now will be to utilize a less efficient refrigerant or one with a higher flammability rating. A less efficient refrigerant will lead to more energy usage in order to get the same amount of cooling. Considering that most of our energy comes from fossil fuels, we will be adding more carbon to the atmosphere to obtain the additional energy required, having the opposite of the intended effect. Similarly, moving to Class 2 refrigerants introduce whole new challenges, having to take life safety into consideration. Moreover, most localities do not allow flammable refrigerants to be present in buildings, so we are at a crossroads.

Even for R-410a (Freon), we see the same challenges, with it being replaced by R-454b and R-32. Both of which are A2L refrigerants. Luckily, the R-410a phase-out will not happen until the start of 2025.

Almost all major manufacturers have decided already to go with an A2L refrigerant, compounding the effects previously outlined. While the end goal is to stay compliant and reduce global warming potential, we will need to see some local code changes to account for new equipment in the coming years.

Chris Plummer is a product manager at Gil-Bar Industries. Since 1986, Gil-Bar has been the HVAC solutions company that offers greater engineering expertise, with deeper commitment to client success, than any other firm.

Chris Plummer
(646) 584-5031

Getting Ready for the Heat: Before Your HVAC Acts Up

Avoid headaches with these tips from the pros

By Mike Furey, General Manager, MIH Systems Group

There is a famous saying within the HVAC industry: Components don’t die, something kills them. Component failure can lead to costly repairs, and when it happens, service technicians turn into de-facto detectives looking for the killer. Most of the time though, failures come from one thing: lack of maintenance.

Given the many levels of preventive maintenance required to keep equipment from dying, being proactive with all systems connected to your mechanical equipment is key. “Unnecessary breakdown” is a word no one likes to hear, but it’s caused when preventive action isn’t performed. During a formal maintenance visit, a trained technician inspects equipment looking for any possible defects in devices that could cause a failure, and when a dirty device or failed component is discovered, the technician can address the problem in real time, avoiding a breakdown.

So, what is the number one preventable cause of major damage and repair costs? Water Leaks. An unchecked leak can lead to a host of other issues, including clogged drain lines, slimy overflow in condensate drain pans, and more. While inspecting for leaks, it’s also a good idea to check for dirty air filters, worn fan belts, and dirty blower wheels.

Being proactive with your equipment doesn’t just prevent breakdowns either. It can improve normal operation as well, affecting:

  • Energy Efficiency: When equipment is maintained properly, it reduces stress on the internal machinery, allowing it to operate as designed.
  • Air Quality: Poor air quality is a direct result of an unclean air filter, but maintaining and replacing UV lighting and other devices that regulate the amount of air transfers performed throughout day are also just as critical.


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Just like for us, reduced stress extends life. This is especially important when talking about equipment that operates off electricity. When equipment consistently operates un-maintained, it uses more electricity, which causes overheating, additional stress, and equipment failure.

MIH Systems Group, of the Gil-Bar and Ambient HVAC collective, has advocated for peak efficiency, maintenance, and safety for each of its clients since its inception in 2009. MIH recommends regular maintenance checks every three months for commercial properties.


HVAC Critical Systems Checklist:

[ ] Inspect for Leaks

[ ] Check for Dirty Air Filters

[ ] How is your Fan Belt Looking?

[ ] Are your Blower Wheels Clean?


MIH Systems Group

20 West 36th Street, Suite 700

New York, NY 10018

(212) 714-0178

Geothermal Heat Pump Technology Approved As A Renewable Energy

Earth Month is a great time for commercial properties to take advantage of new and considerable tax benefits, while helping to reduce emissions from HVAC

By Chris Plummer, Product Manager, Gil-Bar 

For building owners, consulting engineers, and general contractors searching for new ways to enhance the efficiency and sustainability of cooling units while seeking to preserve the atmosphere and global ecosystem, the big news is geothermal heat pump technology.

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 introduced some exciting new opportunities for Owners and Developers in building sustainability. Under the new Act, geothermal heat pump technology is now classified as a “renewable energy,” offering considerable tax benefits and allowing you to keep BTUs in the building. The Federal Income Tax breaks offer:

  • 30% of Geothermal Heat Pump System costs
  • Direct rebates equal to the credit for non-taxable entities
  • No limit to the maximum credit or rebate
  • Exemption from AMT
  • Recognition for up to three years prior
  • Rights to sell and transfer
  • Use for more than one year

The Act also introduces the ability for commercial properties to take advantage of accelerated depreciation within their taxes, such as:

  • 5-Year MACR depreciation for Geothermal Heat Pump System costs
  • Bonus depreciation eligibility

In order to qualify for these enhanced benefits, you simply need to meet the following criteria:

  • The building is located within in the United States
  • Original use of the property begins with the taxpayer
  • Your construction commenced before 12/31/2034

In many cases, these benefits can result in a Return on Investment (ROI) in less than one year.

As industry leaders, Gil-Bar Industries has a variety of geothermal heat pump products that you can take advantage of today. From Geothermal Water Source Heat Pumps to Water Cooled Chillers, Gil-Bar has the solutions and expertise to help you take advantage of this recent change in legislation.

During the first week of March, Senior Account Executive at Gil-Bar, Nick Denson, organized a full week of presentations to customers in New York City with Dan Ellis, former President of ClimateMaster. These presentations went on to explain why the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 is important to Building Owners, Developers and Consulting Engineers. “The excitement around this new law creates a win-win for everyone. Geothermal helps the environment and pays for itself in just a year.” says Denson. “The reactions to this news have been incredibly positive.” To schedule a presentation or talk to a Gil-Bar representative, call (212) 331-8272.