Making Your Commercial HVAC System Energy Efficient

Are you a commercial facilities  manager or maintenance engineer that’s looking down the barrel of an HVAC system upgrade?  And it’s not like you have nothing else to do, but the latest push from above is to creatively find new ways to be more energy efficient.

So the big question is…What are your options…and what gives the most bang per buck?

HVAC ductwork at local library

Flickr – @michaelcasey

The goal for managers is match up proven HVAC product advances that leverage energy efficiency…but are also compatible with their existing, yet unique HVAC system.  It boils down to balancing the perceived facilities efficiency needs…against spatial constraints relating to critical equipment, occupant comfort and even occupant life safety.  Interpreting the Risk vs. Reward tradeoff is a skill of facilities and HVAC professionals that becomes highly valued.

For example:

Increasing or decreasing outside air flow in order to raise or lower interior humidity.  A slight move in the wrong direction will easily affect occupant comfort…and consequently, their work performance.  Also, having sufficient redundancy with critical equipment is an important element of system design…because when subsequent system upgrades are needed and implemented…the upgrades will have greater leverage to benefit the entire system, instead of  a single piece of equipment…thus providing the highest system payback.

System complexity also needs careful design consideration. In the event of a rare and unlikely system failure…a hazardous scenario could easily evolve if the HVAC system is not allowed to fail in isolation, i.e. without jeopardizing occupant health or causing damage to serviced building areas.  System components that are located outside the building and exposed to weather and other possible hazards…need special protective consideration

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