Commercial HVAC manufacturers are continually getting better at their jobs, which means that today’s commercial HVAC systems are more effective, more efficient, and more intuitive than ever before. For building owners, these improvements are big news, because they mean both lower spending on monthly energy usage and more comfortable building temperatures. Businesses can also use the gains of efficient HVAC systems to reduce their carbon footprint and help their overall sustainability initiatives. But how does that efficiency take form, and how can an HVAC manufacturer—or an HVAC technician—help you make your whole building more sustainable? Read on to find out.
Commercial HVAC Manufacturers and the Push for Energy Efficiency
Air conditioning alone accounts for roughly 15 percent of the energy that your commercial building uses every year. Commercial HVAC manufacturers are striving to reduce this usage by working with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to achieve ENERGY STAR standards. As you shop for an appropriate HVAC system for your commercial building, look for equipment that is ENERGY STAR certified. These systems use considerably less energy than their non-certified counterparts, thereby helping you to reduce your building’s electricity usage and spending.
The Importance of Proper System Sizing
Buying an ENERGY STAR certified HVAC system is an excellent first step toward better building efficiency. However, certification alone doesn’t mean a piece of HVAC equipment is “right” for your building. On the contrary, it is imperative to match the HVAC unit to the building—and vice versa. Here, building size plays a huge role in deciding what you need out of an HVAC system. Heating and cooling equipment comes in all different sizes and power levels. The unit you need for a small commercial building is very different from what you would need to maintain a consistent temperature in an office high-rise.
Not only will you feel the difference in a building with an improperly-sized HVAC system, but you will also pay for it in terms of energy usage, spending, and overall efficiency. According to the Consortium of Energy Efficiency, a full 25 percent of all rooftop-mounted commercial HVAC systems are too big. These oversized systems lead to inconsistent temperatures and humidity levels throughout the building. They switch on and off dozens or even hundreds of times a day, leading to increased energy usage and rapid equipment wear. Working with an HVAC technician to find an optimally-sized system will drop your energy usage and costs dramatically, while also improving performance, temperature consistency, building comfort, and system lifespan.
Using Technology to Your Benefit
HVAC manufacturers aren’t the only ones who are steadily improving the technology behind their projects. Tech is rapidly evolving everywhere, and some of those evolutions have made it easier to maximize energy efficiency in your building. From smart thermostats to the Internet of Things, you can use modern technologies to gain more thorough and nuanced control over your building’s HVAC system—even from afar.
So, what can you do? Use zoning to establish different levels of heating and cooling throughout your building. In less-used parts of the facility, for instance, you can save money by leaving temperatures a few degrees above (or below) what you have in high-traffic areas. Similarly, programming your thermostats to demand less of your HVAC systems at night will reduce costs and energy usage without impeding anyone’s comfort levels. You might even install occupancy sensors, to monitor which parts of your building are in-use (and to adjust temperatures accordingly). These tech-driven strategies are effective ways to allocate heating, cooling, and energy usage more strategically throughout your building.
Building Design Tweaks or Hacks to Reduce Energy Usage
HVAC systems work best if your building itself has an efficient, smart design. There is a reason for why most architects and builders now design and construction buildings with energy efficiency in mind. They know the benefits of windows that don’t transfer heat, or the perks of insulating air ducts thoroughly. In the summer, having vestibules and air curtains in lobbies or on external doors is effective for keeping hot air outside and cold air inside. In the winter, these structures or installations serve the opposite purpose, preserving warmth indoors. Even just using blinds, screens, or shades to control the amount of daylight streaming through the windows can help you harness or block the effects of natural heat, depending on the time of year.
Put simply, building design matters when it comes to HVAC efficiency. In the summertime, sunlight alone can elevate the temperature of your building significantly—especially parts of the building that are bearing the full blast of the sun as it starts to set in the late afternoon or early evening. Similarly, heat transfer that occurs because of drafty, inefficient windows or poor insulation is going to put more of a strain on your HVAC system. Work with your HVAC technician to find areas where improving or replacing parts of your building design could improve HVAC efficiency.
Call the Right HVAC Technician
Commercial HVAC manufacturers play their role in the HVAC efficiency game by designing state-of-the-art, ENERGY STAR certified equipment. Working with the right HVAC technician, you can achieve the full benefits of these environmentally-friendly technologies. Call your local HVAC company today to get started.