The Impact of Commercial HVAC Best Practices
Did you know that heating and cooling accounts for approximately 2/5ths of all energy consumption for commercial buildings? In dollar figures, that’s over $175 billion in energy-related costs every year, and that’s just in the U.S. That level of energy is completely unnecessary according to a recent study by Quadrennial Technology Review. According to the study, utilizing your heating and cooling systems more efficiently can reduce HVAC-related energy spending by over 77%. These figures prove that heating and cooling is probably your building’s biggest energy user, but it doesn’t have to be if you implement these best practices.
Proper Installation is Key
Over a quarter of all rooftop units are oversized according to the Consortium Energy Efficiency. Additionally, choosing the incorrect ducts, vents, sensors and flow meters can all have a negative impact on your energy-efficiency when it comes to HVAC.
Mother Nature to the Rescue
Lean on Mother Nature to offer you a helping hand. Ask your contractor to review your building’s HVAC design. In some cases, wind-driven ventilation can be used to help the building breathe properly. And this comes at no additional cost. Trees can also be planted around the exterior to provide shade, reducing the need to flip on the A/C.
Whether you use your system to heat or cool your building(s), making it airtight will go a long way in improving your HVAC’s return on investment. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) found that almost half of HVAC energy is wasted due to poor seals in windows and doors. When owners made an effort to improve their airtight efforts, cost savings of 37% were reported.
Reduce the Load
The total amount of heating and cooling your system uses is called its load capacity. Load capacity can be reduced by improving insulation & air sealing, utilizing energy-efficient windows, applying window films, installing energy-efficient lighting and sealing the ducts properly.
Maintenance, Maintenance, Maintenance
Most people think they can let their HVAC go for years or even decades without giving it some TLC, but most people are wrong. Yearly or bi-yearly maintenance ensures your system is running at its best. Spending a few extra bucks here can save you major bucks in the long-run. The following checklist can be completed by a properly trained HVAC technician:
- Change filters monthly
- Clean dust and buildup on coils
- Replace refrigerant
- Inspect the system for leaks
- Clean out drain lines and pans
- Servicing its moving parts like motors and bearings
- Check the condition of the fan and blower motors
- Check chillers, valves, boilers, and steam traps for damage
- Inspect the heat exchanger
- Check the ignition
- Check the burner assembly
- Inspect all electrical connections within the system
- Calibrate flow meters and transmitters regularly
- Check that thermostats are operating correctly
Out with the Old, In with the New
Research suggests that most HVAC systems are only replaced when they’ve hit their end of life stage. The problem with that is by this time, your system is operating way below optimal efficiency. Know when to repair vs. when to replace without negatively impacting your return on investment.
Utilize Smart Technology
Using things like heating & cooling zones, programmable thermostats and demand sensors will enable your system to operate at its best and in turn benefits you by reducing the daily costs that come along with heating or cooling your commercial building(s).