Improving the efficiency of your commercial building’s HVAC system can save you money and help you do your part for the environment.
- Commercial energy use is a significant issue.
- Building owners can take several steps to improve sustainability.
- HVAC system upgrades and replacements could be your best bet.
Energy consumption is an ever-growing issue in commercial operations, and companies are feeling the pressure. They must run multiple systems at the same time if they want to stay in business, after all, and that means using electricity and other energy sources to do so. The hard news is that U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimations suggest 30% of the energy used in these buildings is wasted, though, indicating a clear need for greater sustainability and efficiency.
Fortunately, building owners can take a few easy steps to bolster their existing HVAC systems and make them more efficient. Retrofitting, replacing, improving, or repairing your unit and its accessories can work wonders, for example, reducing your consumption, lowering your bills, and providing the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re doing the right thing for the environment.
Here’s a look at six tips you can take to maximize your commercial HVAC system’s sustainability.
1. Change the filters
HVAC filters that are dirty and clogged become less efficient because the system has to work harder to function, which increases energy consumption. That might not be your only problem, however: You could also see significant maintenance or repair costs because your HVAC is more likely to experience issues if its parts are not functioning at their best.
The easiest solution to this problem is changing your furnace and air conditioning filters once every three months. Installing a new filter takes a few seconds at most, but it can save you considerable amounts of money on repairs and maintenance. An HVAC contractor who will put your commercial building on a maintenance schedule can ensure you keep your system functioning at optimal levels and never forget to change your filters.
2. Seal your ducts
If you’re noticing higher-than-average energy consumption but subpar HVAC output, there’s a chance your heating and cooling ducts aren’t properly sealed – and this issue could be costing you money. Unsealed ducts mean your ductwork leaks, and the warm and cool air your HVAC system produces is escaping before reaching its destination. Your system thus works harder to achieve your desired results because the air just isn’t getting to the intended rooms.
Fortunately, repairing your ducts is a relatively straightforward job for an experienced contractor. There are a couple of methods he or she might use, including sealing with mastic, foil tape, or a blow-in sealant. It’s also possible to wrap the ducts in insulation. In more extreme cases, you might have to replace sections of them.
It’s important to address this problem early to ensure you have a sustainable commercial building.
3. Upgrade the system
Generally, HVAC systems become less efficient as they near the end of their lifecycles. You’ll also have to pay for more maintenance as your system ages. You might eventually find yourself in a position where you have no choice but to replace your entire HVAC system.
While this sounds like a daunting task, the process will improve your commercial building’s overall efficiency and save you money in the long run. Replacing your existing HVAC units with Energy Star-certified products could save you up to 20% on your heating and cooling costs, which is sure to add up over your building’s life.
4. Invest in regular maintenance
Is your commercial building on a regular maintenance schedule? If not, there’s a good chance your HVAC system isn’t functioning to its full potential and could be wasting energy in the process. Think of your building like a vehicle. You wouldn’t drive your car for years on end without changing the oil or going for a tune-up, so you shouldn’t operate your HVAC system without having maintenance done on it at least once per year.
Taking a proactive approach can save you on repairs, too, because you can swap out parts as they malfunction and before they have the chance to damage other components in your system. The result is fewer long-term HVAC issues. There’s no drawback to putting your commercial building on an HVAC maintenance system, but the benefits of doing so are nearly endless.
5. Monitor consumption
If you have access to your building’s energy consumption records, it’s advisable to keep a close eye on them. Watching consumption allows you to identify when a problem could be occurring so you can take the steps necessary to repair it.
For example, if you have an air leak in one of your ducts, you might not notice it right away. The rooms throughout the property could remain comfortable temperatures, so you’d have no way of knowing that something’s wrong. If you’re watching your building’s energy consumption, though, you’ll see that you’re using more energy to heat and cool the property than in previous months. This insight allows you to find a proactive solution to the problem while maximizing the efficiency of your building.
6. Consider a building automation system
A building automation system (BAS) uses a control system to keep the climate in your building within a specific range at all times. The gist is that these systems centralize controls, ensuring the temperature is comfortable and that everything is operating efficiently. The end-user controls this automated system and can monitor energy savings, uptime, and issues within the HVAC, among other factors. These systems are similar to having a programmable thermostat, except they operate on a much grander level and provide additional features.
If you’re serious about creating a sustainable and energy-efficient commercial property, a building automation system should be near the top of your list of upgrades.
Hire a contractor to assist with your building’s energy efficiency
Hiring an HVAC contractor may seem daunting, and you could find yourself struggling to find the right one. There are countless options in South Florida, after all, so locating a trustworthy firm could require a fair amount of research. You’ll also need to identify a certified electrician if you’re installing a building automation system upgrade.
Universal Electrical Services works in the HVAC retrofit market, partnering with some of the region’s best HVAC contractors to install equipment like chillers, pumps, fans, variable frequency drives, and cooling towers. We also fit and connect building automation systems and motor controls.
Contact Universal Electrical Services today to learn more about our HVAC services.