A good HVAC system is very important when it comes to maintaining a comfortable, healthy interior environment. Throughout the years many property owners inquire about a technique to cut down on the cost of energy and HVAC. They don’t want to sacrifice the comfort of their working environment, but they do want a-point-by-point plan to follow. The interesting thing that often happens is that energy bills are reduced substantially and of course the HVAC capabilities is enhanced. This is a standard function of any specialist devoted to energy and HVAC.
Step one to achieve system optimization is to reduce the load. This step usually involves a long range plan which itemizes the actions to be taken based on best return on investment. Reducing the system load will allow it to function properly. If a new system or systems are now being considered, it is going to be more cost effective to design for a load reduction versus the existing load. A few common load reduction strategies include:
1. Tighten the building shell and add additional insulation. Adding insulation in existing buildings is probably not achievable for some, so more deliberation should be aimed at the outside shell, especially doors and windows.
2. Installing energy-efficient windows. This is a very expensive for some structures that still have single pane windows. The installation of double pane windows with a thermal break is a wonderful bang for your buck. Make sure they are ENERGY STAR qualified windows. Tinting or Low-E coatings will even be better.
3. Upgrading the lighting system. The typical industrial building has a lighting density of 2-3 watts per sq. ft. to maintain a comfortable lighting level. This is a big part of an HVAC system load and almost any efforts in this direction will lower the cooling requirement for the building. Vanity lights (sometimes called architectural lighting) are not always power efficient and should not be looked at if you want to reduce energy and HVAC expenditures. Energy-efficient lighting systems release less heat into a cooled evironment than older incandescent technology. When you have a return air plenum instead of return air ductwork, consider light troffers so that some of the heat from the bulbs is sent back to the HVAC system instead of going into the occupied area.
4. Choosing efficient equipment and electronic devices that have the power saver choice will decrease the heat gain in the space. Items to consider include copy machines, kitchen equipment, computers and fridges.
5. Control ventilation by having your outside air balanced. Many building owners have drawings of the system installation. Have those drawings analyzed by using an outside professional to confirm your air-flow rates conform to the most recent code requirements. If no drawings can be found, your contractor be capable of suggesting tips for improvement.
Addressing these things is your first step to decreasing energy and HVAC overheads.
Heating and Air Conditioning Systems
The second step to achieve energy and HVAC system optimization is knowing it. Your HVAC system is crucial for a comfortable setting, but it also represents a big component of your utility expenses. Even though it is beyond the information in this article to debate every system, a couple of recommendations can be covered. Every system component has increased in efficiency over the years. If your system is older than 13 years old, it is time to begin thinking of replacing the system. Regularly service residential HVAC systems have a life span of about fifteen years or so, but appear to shut down at the worse times. Have a replacement plan ready for the day your equipment fails.
Industrial systems vary, but when your building is using packaged equipment or split systems, equivalent lifetime should be expected. For larger commercial systems and industrial applications, the HVAC system may be more complex and require an individual analysis using a mechanical engineer. As I stated earlier, HVAC systems will vary and no one-size-fits-all analysis works for a custom system. What almost all these systems have in common is they are normally driven by electrical energy. Electricity costs money, so any effort in the direction of enhanced efficiency is a plus.
HVAC System Ideas:
Find a qualified contractor you trust. Assuming you are a property owner, find a good HVAC business or technician to evaluate and work on the system. Assuming you are a large commercial building owner, find a commercial HVAC company for regular upkeep and a trusted contractor for unbiased suggestions. We do advise against using a mechanical engineer employed by the HVAC Company; find a third party service for unbiased information.
Verify your HVAC system load. Industrial properties have more complex settings regarding conformint to code requirements, minimum ventilation rates, etc and are different to every place.
Select equipment sized for the load. DO NOT OVERSIZE! Going overboard does not work for HVAC systems. It will cost more to buy the apparatus as well as operate it. Consult with your contractor to figure out the proper capacity
Purchase top efficient or Energy Star equipment. Many of the new systems include variable speed drives for fans and compressors. Through your years of ownership this is repaid repeatedly. Contrast standard efficiency equipment to high efficiency equipment in terms of the installation cost and running costs. Any good HVAC company or mechanical engineer will know this.
Think about some kind of energy recovery for air exhausted from the place and re-use it somehow to enhance the inbound fresh air. This is the air you have paid to condition, so extracting a portion of the energy before exhausting it should be top priority.
For large commercial complexes, consider conditioning the outside air with a dedicated outside air unit. This can solve difficulties regarding humidity control in most cases. It may also increase comfort and allow for further equipment optimization.
Commercial complexes might want to think about economizers on their equipment. Many current codes want economizers on equipment in excess of 15 tons in size. Often available at a low incremental cost, these units use fresh air from outside when the temperatures (or humidity) outside is less than the inside temperature.
Both home owners and small commercial building owners should think about installing programmable thermostats. Large buildings should install a Direct Digital Control (DDC) system. This type of investment will pay back more than the price right away.
Different Types o Control Systems
The third step to achieve energy and HVAC system optimization is to control the system.
The Digital Thermostat: One of the best investments for the homeowner is a programmable thermostat. These are simple to use and incorporate strategies based upon a schedule. Most manufacturers provide seven day programs which will control the HVAC system timing and or climate settings. This is a wonderful way to make certain the system is used only when required.
DDC Systems: For the large commercial building, I think about this as an essential system. Installation costs are lower now and performance reliability has steadily increased. They are often integrated into any system and expanded as needed. A few of the more popular elements of these systems are enhanced start/stop, a variety of zone controls, temperature sensor and ventilation control. The best part of these solutions is their ability to be scaled up to the largest of commercial applications. This implies you can setup a somethng simple at first then add more controls later to include everything. Again, the payback is quick and well worth the outlay.
Coil Cleaning: This is usually a big item missed by almost everyone. Condenser coils tend to collect dust and debris because they’re outside. Diry coils make the compressor work overtime and leads to a higher refrigerant temperature in your refrigeration system. Dirty evaporation and heat coils circulate the dust and fibers inside the building. They must be cleaned at least once a year
Operation and General Maintenance
The fourth and last step to realize energy and HVAC system optimization is regular up keep. The most efficient systems are well maintained. You can ensure consistency, efficacy as well as long life for the HVAC system by following these ideas.
Find a professional consultant you trust. Find a good company or technician to analyze and maintain your system. Assuming you are a large building owner, find a commercial|an industrial} HVAC contractor for normal up-keep. Make sure you record and document servicing with when they vist and what they did each time.
Home owners should always get a regular tune up. The way your system works will vary depending on the time of year.
Change air filters on a schedule. Don’t use anything less than a MERV 5 filter to assure most of the dust is captured. Dirty filters negate your savings and allow dust to pass through.
Optimizing your HVAC system will help to lower energy costs. A little time finding out about your system and familiarizing yourself with improvement methods will save on energy costs and increase the life span of your equipment.