No matter what your business is, you need to keep the bottom line in mind. Whether in the service industry, manufacturing, research, or academia, your costs can compound quickly and affect your institution’s lifespan. Thus, many managers consistently seek ways to save money on staffing, infrastructure, and utilities. Fortunately, in the latter category, you can effectively and efficiently measure what you need from commercial heating systems. When you complete this measurement, you’re better prepared to renovate, reinstall, or upgrade your system to ultimately save your institution money.
As a professional within your industry, however, it’s unreasonable to expect that you’d know offhand how to measure your energy use effectively. Generally, most administrators or managers get as far as reviewing the bill and comparing it to prior years. Unfortunately, this approach doesn’t tell the full story, so you need to undertake a more in-depth analysis to reveal the truth about your system’s energy efficiency and where you can improve. Below, we review the standard ways to determine energy efficiency, then explore several options for commercial heating systems, and finally review some techniques you can use to keep your system running at peak condition.
The Basics of Energy Efficiency: Determining Your Usage
As mentioned above, one of the most basic ways to get a rough idea of how much energy your system uses is to look at your bills over time. Over the year, your business will transition from using air conditioning heavily in the summer to much more heating in the winter. In between, there are a few weeks or months that you may keep the temperature steady without much involvement from your system. While it’s not perfect, you can look at those “ideal” spring and autumn months as your baseline. Much of the expenditure increase during the summer and winter is due to your HVAC system’s operation.
Additionally, over time, you can see how these upticks compare. Naturally, you must factor in environmental factors such as temperature and humidity, as both will affect your HVAC system’s performance. Beyond this, you can also contact a professional HVAC contractor to review your commercial heating systems regarding energy use. As with all things, when you trust the experts, you’ll receive high-quality information.
Various Commercial Heating Systems and How They Compare
Aside from the actual weather, two primary factors stand out regarding how much energy that commercial heating systems use. First, the size of your building will impact the building load, which determines how much space your system needs to heat or cool. Second, the type of the system itself can be innately more or less efficient than others. Most people are familiar with forced-air HVAC systems for heating, as they recognize the ventilation systems and ductwork that are commonly seen. Two alternatives we’d like to review here are radiant heat and heat pumps.
Radiant heat systems function by heating panels or tubes beneath the floor or behind the walls and letting the heat radiate into the rest of the room. The first thing to notice about this is the elimination of visible ductwork, as the heat transitions directly into the room and flows naturally throughout the room. Generally, such systems rely either on electric panels or water-bearing tubes to transfer heat into the room. Between the two, the water-based hydronic system is more efficient.
Heat pumps, on the other hand, are especially suited for those businesses without wild fluctuations between temperature extremes. While these systems are extremely efficient commercial heating systems, think of them as a car that has a lot of horsepower but without much torque. When you’re already on the highway, they function perfectly. However, it may take a while to get up to speed from a complete stop. Bear that in mind when considering the switch to a heat pump system.
System Maintenance and Efficiency
Once you’ve investigated your system and determined how it stacks up in terms of efficiency, then you’re better-informed to make decisions in the future. Nevertheless, no matter what commercial heating systems you use, there are ways to ensure it operates at peak efficiency. Most of these involve proper maintenance, as keeping your system in good working order is essential to preserve its efficiency.
If you have a forced-air heating system, regular duct cleaning every year or two ensures that you have a clean, efficient system. Further, if you notice any irregular functions, unusual scents, or tepid air when it should be working properly, immediately contact an HVAC professional. Other systems may be harder to tell at a glance that they require maintenance, so it’s especially important to schedule routine maintenance and checkups for your radiant or heat pump systems. Spending the money for an inspection and preventive maintenance can save your business thousands on costly urgent repairs if a problem has gone unnoticed. Ultimately, efficiency is a combination of diligence and technology, but every business can manage to make it happen with the right help.