A good HVAC system is the key to maintaining a comfortable, healthy interior environment. Through the years many home owners ask about a strategy to cut down on the cost of energy and HVAC. They don’t want to sacrifice the interior environmental conditions, however they do want a-point-by-point plan to follow. The interesting thing that often happens may be that energy bills are decreased substantially and the HVAC capabilities is enhanced. That is a standard part of any specialist specializing in energy and HVAC.
Optimization of The System
The first step to acheiving energy and HVAC system optimization is load reduction. This step normally involves a long range plan which itemizes the actions to be taken based upon best return on your investment. Reducing the system load will allow it to function more efficiently. In case a new system or systems are now being considered, it will be more economical to design for a load reduction as opposed to the prevailing load. A few common load reduction strategies include:
1. Tighten the building shell and add supplemental insulation. Adding insulation in an existing building is probably not do-able for some, so more deliberation ought to be aimed at the outside shell, in particular windows and doors.
2. Fitting energy-efficient windows. This can be a very expensive for some properties that still have single pane windows. The installment of double pane glazed windows with a thermal break is a wonderful return on investment. Ensure they’re ENERGY STAR qualified windows. Tinting or Low-E coatings may even be the best.
3. Changing the lighting system. The average commercial structure has a lighting density of 2-3 watts per sq. ft. which maintains proper lighting levels. This is a big part of the HVAC load and nearly all efforts in this direction will reduce the cooling requirement of the structure. Vanity lights (ocassionally named architectural lighting) are not guaranteed to be energy efficient and should not be looked at if you want to reduce energy and HVAC costs. Energy-efficient lighting systems give off less heat into air conditioned space than older incandescent technology. When you have a return air plenum instead of return air ductwork, consider light troffers in order that some heat from the bulbs is returned to the HVAC system rather than going into the occupied areas.
4. Selecting equipment with better efficiency ratings that have the power saver selection will decrease the heat gain in the space. Items to consider include copy machines, kitchen equipment, personal computers and refrigerators.
5. Control ventilation by having your outside air balanced. Most building owners have drawings of the original HVAC system installation. Have the drawings examined by a mechanical engineer to verify your air-flow rates conform to the most recent code standards. If no sketches can be found, your engineer be able to make recommendations for improvement.
Handling these things is your first task to minimizing energy and HVAC costs.
The second step to achieve energy and HVAC system optimisation is knowing it. Your HVAC system is crucial for your interior setting, it also represents a large component of your utilities. While it is beyond the scope of this article to debate every system, a couple of suggestions can be discussed. Each system component has grown in effectiveness during recent years. If your system is more than 13 years old, it’s time to begin arranging for upgrading. Properly serviced residential systems have a life span of around fifteen years or so, but seem to fail at the most inconvenient times. You should have a plan in place for when your equipment fails.
Commercial systems vary, but if your building is using packaged equipment or split systems, a similar lifetime should be likely. For larger commercial systems and industrial applications, the HVAC system may be more advanced and require a closer look using a mechanical engineer. As I stated earlier, HVAC systems will vary and no one-size-fits-all assessment works for larger systems. What almost all these systems share is they are normally powered by electricity. Electricity is expensive, so any attempt toward better efficiency is a bonus.
Points To Consider:
Find a qualified contractor you trust. Assuming you are a home owner or small commercial building owner, find the best HVAC company or technician to evaluate and maintain your system. If you are a large commercial building owner, locate a commercial HVAC contractor for normal maintenance and a good contractor for third party suggestions. We do advise against using someone who works for the HVAC Company; find a 3rd party service for unbiased information.
Check your HVAC system load. Commercial buildings have more requirements related to code conformance, minimum ventilation rates, etc and are different to each building.
Select equipment sized for the load. DO NOT OVERSIZE! More-is-better does not apply for HVAC systems. It is going to cost more to purchase the apparatus as well as use it. Consult with your contractor to figure out the proper capacity
Buy top efficient or Energy Star equipment. Many of the new systems come with variable speed drives for moving parts. Over the years of ownership this is paid back repeatedly. Compare standard equipment to high efficiency equipment in terms of initial cost and life cycle expenditure. Any good HVAC company or mechanical engineer will know this.
Think about some form of energy recapture for air that is exhausted from the place and use it somehow to enhance the inbound fresh air. That is the air you have paid to condition, so extracting a little of the existing energy before blowing it out it should be key.
For larger properties, think about conditioning the outside air with a dedicated outside air unit. This will solve concerns with humidity control in most conditions. It may also increase comfort and enable further equipment optimization.
Large properties might want to think about equipment economizers. Most current codes want economizers on equipment in excess of 15 tons in size. Often offered at a low incremental cost during set-up, these units use fresh air from outside when the temperatures (or moisture) outdoors is lower than the temperature inside.
Both home owners and small business owners should think about installing thermostats you can program. Commercial buildings should setup a custom digital control system. The investment will pay back more than the price in a short amount of time.
Different Types o Control Systems
The third step to realize system optimization is to control your system.
Programmable Thermostats: A great investment for the homeowner is a programmable thermostat. These are simple to use and incorporate strategies based upon a schedule. Most companies offer seven day programs which will turn the HVAC system on and off to compliment and temperature. This is the best way to ensure the system is used only when needed.
DDC Systems: For the large commercial building, I consider this as an essential system. Installation costs have steadily decreased and performance reliability has steadily increased. They are often integrated into any system and enhanced as required. A few of the more accepted elements of these systems are enhanced start/stop, a variety of zone controls, temperature sensor and venting control. A key benefit of these solutions might be their ability to be integrated into any size system. This implies you can setup a somethng simple at first then add more controls later to incorporate everything. The payback is short and really worth the investment.
Coil Cleaning: This is always a big thing missed by residential and commercial building owners. Condenser coils collect dirt and debris on their surfaces because they’re outdoors. This makes the compressor work harder and results in a higher refrigerant temperatures in your refrigeration system. Dirty evaporation and heat coils circulate the dust and fibers inside the building. Clean them a minimum of once a year
Operation and Maintenance
The fourth and last step to realize energy and HVAC system optimization is consistent up keep. The most efficient systems are always looked after. Ensure consistency, efficacy as well as long life for your HVAC system by following these helpful tips.
Find a professional company you trust. Find a good company or technician to evaluate and work on your system. Assuming you are a large business owner, find a commercial|an industrial} HVAC business for routine up-keep. Ensure you keep track of servicing with when they vist and what they did each time.
Home owners must always get a seasonal check up. The operation of your system will fluctuate with the seasons of the year.
Change your air filters regularly. Always use quality filters to make sure dust and fibers are removed. Clean filters will save fan energy.
Energy and HVAC optimization will help to decrease energy costs. A little time getting to know your system and becoming familiar with money sving techniques will reduce your costs and increase the life span of your equipment.