It’s a common sight: large, commercial rooftop HVAC units sitting on top of a building with ducting and pipes snaking all over the roof to various points of entry into the interior. Not every business relies on these units, though; it is just as easy to spot split systems in use at many establishments, especially smaller operations such as restaurants. Does one system have an advantage over the other?
For building managers considering how to manage energy demands and control costs without sacrificing the ability to warm and cool a space effectively, this is an intriguing question. A close examination of the facts reveals that there are several scenarios in which rooftop units may be preferable. Consider these five situations in which this technology merits your attention.
- When You Need Flexibility for Future Growth
Perhaps one of the most significant advantages to commercial rooftop HVAC units is their modularity. In other words, it is easy to add to or modify a system as needs demand. Not only does this make it much simpler to establish different climate zones throughout the building, but it can decrease problems with one unit. When other units can pick up the slack or keep most of the space cool while repairs are underway, the occupants of the building will notice less of a disruption. If you believe you will need to add more cooling capabilities in the future, rooftop units give you the options to grow as needs demand.
- When Space is At a Severe Premium
The fact that rooftop units come in one neat package is a credit to their design and convenience. For some building operators, there may not be another option for placing a unit. A split system may not work, for example, because there is no room on the ground to place a slab for the outdoor compressor. In such scenarios, even a package unit would likely not fit on the ground. Transitioning the HVAC equipment to the roof not only frees up space on the ground, but it can often keep the units largely out of sight. In this way, you save space and improve the visual appeal of the structure.
- When Security and Noise Reduction Are Important
In some scenarios, putting the HVAC systems on the roof is indeed critical for protecting your unit from damage. Scavengers and thieves can often attempt to pilfer copper piping or aluminum from air conditioning units, and commercial units can sometimes pose a tempting target based on the assumption that there will be more material to steal. Moving the units to the roof, which can be difficult to reach and is typically access-restricted even from inside the building, mitigates this risk.
In other cases, the noise of the unit running at ground level may be undesirable. Units are harder to hear and less likely to disturb anyone by running on the roof. No one wants to try to have a conversation over the din of an exhaust fan, after all.
- When Split Systems Are Not the Wisest Choice
In commercial capacities, there is often a difference between what a split system and a package rooftop unit can achieve. For smaller spaces, a typical split system might work fine. Increase the interior volume, however, and you start to encounter the need to add supplemental units. At that point, why not transition to a package unit instead? Because they are so useful for creating climate zones, rooftop units can offer better energy efficiency for particular spaces.
- When Your Building Faces Complex Heating/Cooling Needs
With more space on the roof and a structure able to bear the load, it is easy to size HVAC units with a high enough power rating to produce the cool air necessary for even large and varied spaces. Ductless, mini-splits, and splits all struggle in the face of more complicated setups. These units deliver the required flexibility, though you must take care not to buy a unit too large for the space.
Rooftop units contribute to streamlined maintenance in these situations as well. With all the components easily accessible in one place, your chosen professionals can effortlessly inspect the units to determine what is necessary to bring them back into good working order. Given the importance of routine maintenance, that’s a definitive advantage.
Exploring Commercial Rooftop HVAC Units Further
For businesses facing one or a combination of these scenarios, commercial rooftop HVAC units can prove to be a cost-effective investment. The next step in exploring suitable equipment for your company is to get in touch with a team of HVAC professionals. Together, you can explore what type of rooftop units will provide the best performance. Ultimately, the right partner will make installation and commissioning of a new system much more straightforward and less stressful. With the advantages afforded to businesses who have the rooftop space to relocate their core HVAC infrastructure, you can save over the long-term and refocus your energy back into the business itself.