The HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning) takes up approximately 30-40% of the electricity bill of the average commercial building owner or homeowner. However, one needs a good HVAC system to maintain a healthy and comfortable interior environment. Over the years, many HVAC owners have asked me for a solution to help reduce their HVAC energy bills. These individuals want a detailed plan that allows them to reduce their energy bills without sacrificing their interior environment conditions. Any technician who specializes in HVAC and energy will tell you that it is possible to improve HVAC system performance while substantially lowering energy bills. The data given below will help building operators, building owners, and homeowners make knowledgeable decisions about their current HVAC systems or future upgrades.
Load reduction is the primary step to achieve HVAC system and energy optimization. This procedure typically involves a long-range strategy that itemizes the actions to take found on the best ROI. Reducing the load of your building load permits the present HVAC system to function more efficiently. In case you are considering a new system or systems, you can save more money by designing for the decreased load as opposed to the present load. Some of the common strategies for load reduction include: Add additional insulation and tighten the building shell. In certain cases it might not be possible to add insulation in existing buildings; therefore, you should aim for more consideration at the exterior shell, especially doors and windows. Installation of energy-efficient windows. It is high on the list of buildings that have windows with a single pane. For a great ROI, install dual-pane windows with a thermal break. Ensure that these windows are ENERGY STAR qualified. It is better to opt for low E-coatings or tinting. Upgrading lighting systems. On average, the lighting density of commercial buildings is 2-3 watts per sq. ft. This maintains adequate lighting levels. Such lighting systems reduce the load on the HVAC system and decrease the building’s cooling requirement too. You should not consider architectural lighting (also known as accent lighting) if you want to reduce HVAC and energy costs as they are not always energy efficient. Lighting systems that are energy-efficient discharge less heat into conditioned space compared to incandescent lamps. Think about using light troffers if you have a return plenum box rather than return air ductwork. It ensures that a portion of the heat from the lights returns to the HVAC system rather than going into the occupied area. You can reduce the sensible gain of heat in the space by opting for efficient electronic equipment and devices having a power saver option. Consider items such as refrigerators, computers, kitchen equipment, and copying machines. Having your outside air balanced allows you to control ventilation. The majority of building owners possess blueprints of the installation of their original HVAC system. Get a mechanical engineer to review the blueprint to make sure that the outside airflow rates follow the latest code requirements. The mechanical engineer can make improvement recommendations if no blueprints are available, your technician should still be able to suggest rooms for improvement.
Having knowledge about your system is the second step to achieve HVAC system and energy optimization. Your HVAC system is responsible for inflating your power bills, but it is also critical to your interior environment. Modern generation HVAC systems are more energy-efficient. It is time to upgrade to new equipment in case your HVAN equipment is 13+ years old. Well-maintained domestic HVAC systems seem to fail when they are required the most even though they are expected to last for roughly 15 years or so. Therefore having a replacement plan ready is worth it in case your equipment fails. The lifetime is the same for commercial systems if your house uses split systems or packaged equipment. The HVAC system may be more complex for industrial applications and larger commercial systems and need the help of a mechanical engineer for individual analysis. As mentioned above, HVAC systems differ and one-size-fits-all analysis does not work for larger systems. The common factor is that all these systems are generally powered by electricity. Power costs money; therefore, any efforts towards increased efficiency is a bonus.
Tips on HVAC System:
Find a reputable HVAC mechanic or company to maintain and evaluate your system if you are the owner of a small commercial building or a homeowner. Owners of large commercial buildings should find a good mechanical engineer for specific guidance and a commercial HVAC company for normal maintenance. Find a third-party technician for honest information rather than depending on a technician employed by the HVAC company. Verify the load of your HVAC system. While owners of homes ought to depend on ACCA’s Manual J calculation method the rest ought to depend on a mechanical engineer to have a load conducted. As far as code conformance is concerned, commercial buildings have more requirements such as minimum ventilation rates, which are unique to each building. Read the information above for load reduction. Instead of oversizing, choose equipment sized for your load. Bigger-sized equipment does not apply to HVAC systems. Get the equipment selection and load properly the first time, as you will have to spend more to buy the gadget and operate it. Purchase Energy Star or high-efficiency equipment. Quite a few of the new HVAC systems have variable speed drives for compressors and fans. You can regain the cost paid for such systems many times over the ownership duration. Match equipment that has a high efficiency to standard efficiency equipment in terms of life cycle costs and initial cost. You can obtain this information through any mechanical engineer or a good HVAC company. Think about conditioning the external air with a devoted outside air unit for large commercial buildings. Apart from allowing for further downsizing of the gadget, it eliminates humidity control problems in most instances. Consider economizers on your equipment if you are the owner of a commercial building. According to existing codes equipment, over 15 tons in size require economizers. Small commercial building owners and homeowners should install programmable thermostats. Additionally, owners of the commercial buildings should install a DDC (Direct Digital Control) system. They can recover more than the cost of the DDC in a small amount of time.