Keys to Sustainable HVAC

All facilities managers face this universal challenge:

Commercial buildings consume roughly half of all energy used in the United States ~ American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy

If you translate that to carbon load…about 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions are due to operations — including heating and cooling — and about 8 percent from manufacturing, transport and construction, says the Environmental and Energy Study Institute. Embodied carbon adds to the total.

commercial building roof level view of HVAC components

HVAC systems are an ideal place to start reducing carbon emissions and moving toward net-zero-energy operations. Writing in the Whole Building Design Guide, engineer Carl Ian Graham notes that, “The use of high performance HVAC equipment can result in considerable energy, emissions, and cost savings,” of up to 40 percent or more. Yet Graham ups the ante: “Whole building design,” he says, “can produce much greater savings” — up to 70 percent.

So what is the “whole-building design” idea that can unlock such superior performance? With that question in mind, here’s an approach that facility managers can follow to assure truly sustainable HVAC decisions.

Develop a case for smarter HVAC investment

Step one in achieving sustainable HVAC design is organizational buy-in. While facility managers can easily sell lower first costs and operating costs to upper management, sustainable HVAC design requires an integrated approach and a new look at many assumptions held by an organization’s leaders. For example, the building’s orientation and window locations have a powerful influence on HVAC needs. Will it be possible to diverge from a long-held aesthetic to make new buildings more sustainable?

Read More – Facilitiesnet