While HVAC systems are sometimes perceived as being large, complex, and expensive, the good news is that there are plenty of ways to optimize their performance and reduce their costs. In this blog, we’ll look at ten steps you can quickly take to achieve that outcome.
As we know, HVAC systems integrate a variety of climate control technologies into a single packaged solution. However, despite this “universal” approach to controlling the heating and ventilation of a facility, they’re not in themselves a standalone answer to achieving the best possible outcomes and they’re certainly not “plug and play”.
Additional actions ranging from the traditional (proper maintenance) to the innovative (supplementing your HVAC with connected technologies) and many others besides can both improve system performance and reduce HVAC costs. Here are ten options the facility manager seeking to reduce HVAC costs should consider.
There’s more to be gained than many think from an energy-efficient HVAC system. For instance, using lower water temperatures lets an HVAC react faster to indoor temperature fluctuations. When that happens, the overall energy consumption required for the system to perform optimally is reduced and costs go down.
Good space planning lowers HVAC costs. Not all HVAC systems are bulky and smaller, space-saving alternative units can free up areas in a building which can be used for other purposes – perhaps creating a new income source - while not sacrificing system performance.
Older HVAC systems that require more maintenance and repair are, obviously, more expensive. Adding new and updated components to them such as heat pumps, radiators and high efficiency condensing boilers with longer operational lifespans reduce their costs both through lower maintenance requirements and by extending the life of the underlying system.
Installing an HVAC is the first step, not the last. Once installed, pay attention to setting it up properly. There’s more to effective heating and ventilation than hitting the “on” button; you need to understand how the building is used (occupancy levels, space, time-of-year, etc.) and then create an HVAC plan that manages system use and optimizes performance accordingly.
New, renewable energy sources like geothermal or solar sources are becoming more attractive in the market today. Used in tandem with HVAC systems these can reduce or eliminate reliance on expensive and increasingly less stable fossil fuel prices. Yes, transferring to renewable energy sources can be mean an upfront investment, but it can be recouped by the ongoing cost-savings that follow over the long lifespan of the HVAC system.
A VAV box situated in the ducts near the outlet for the various zones in HVAC systems can increase user comfort while simultaneously decreasing energy usage. Older HVAC systems pump a fixed volume of air into a specific space, but VAV boxes use dampers to enable much greater control over the quantity of air supplied, thereby enabling it to be targeted by demand/need - decreasing wastefulness and its associated (and unnecessary) costs
Though it’s only an option for new buildings, under floor air distribution is worth considering if you’re in that position. Here, conditioned air runs under a raised floor instead of overhead ducts and reaches its target zones via diffusers sited in the floor. This is more energy efficient, not least because the source of conditioned air is closer to the user instead of some distance overhead meaning you have the potential to use higher thermostat setpoints because of increased efficiency.
Electronic sensors detect the presence of people in a room and thus enable the automation of systems required to deliver the required support, be it lighting, ventilation, or other systems. By meeting need rather than over-supplying functions that aren’t required (for example, lighting or heating an empty room), costs are reduced. With the advent of wireless sensors that are less expensive to install and don’t need hard wiring, this step is now open for consideration by all.
Sounds obvious, doesn’t it, yet so many fail to take this step and thereby see costs increase. Keep Up with routine maintenance because even if you take the other nine steps listed in this blog the benefits will be compromised if your underlying HVAC isn’t running properly. And keep in mind that all systems, even new ones, need to be properly maintained. We’d suggest setting up a twice-yearly maintenance schedule to verify your system Is in proper working order. At worst, you’ll spend money to save money by doing so.
Lastly, of course, there’s step 10. Replacing your HVAC system entirely. If it’s roughly over fifteen years old, then this might be worth thinking about. An outdated HVAC system generally deteriorates quickly in terms of performance and uses a lot more energy while doing so. Upgrading to a modern unit can be expected to save up to 20% on your heating and cooling bills.
At NexRev, we’ve been unlocking the power in facility and energy management data with over a million connected devices across North America. Our team of experts are focused on helping you deliver more with your budgets, infrastructure, and assets to create sustainable savings in operations and energy, reducing your risk and increasing operational confidence.
If you’re interested in learning more about our solutions can help your enterprise reduce energy costs, please send an email to:
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