Generally, HVAC systems account for the largest spend on energy for an organization. So, it’s probably obvious why it makes sense to enhance their efficiency. And good news; it’s not hard to do that, either. Even small adjustments can yield significant benefits in the form of better working environments and reduced costs. In this blog, we’ll give you an overview of the two fundamentals you need to consider if you want to improve HVAC energy efficiency.
How’s your HVAC system performing now?
Before you can upgrade HVAC system performance, as with anything you must understand it. That means grasping and understanding the five factors that influence how your system uses energy. These are:
- The design, layout, and operation of your facility, because all these variables affect the impact of the external environment on the temperature and humidity inside the building.
- What indoor temperature and air quality you want to maintain because the more extreme they are, the more energy is likely to be consumed.
- The degree of secondary heat, because heat is generated not just by HVAC but also by lighting, equipment, and your staff, thereby potentially reducing the load on your system.
- The design and efficiency of the HVAC unit
- The degree to which you understand and control your HVAC equipment meaning limiting its operation to exactly when needed.
What you can do to make your HVAC system more energy efficient
If you’ve reached an understanding of the considerations above (and if you haven’t, then you need to because that’s the first step in optimizing your HVAC’s performance), then you’re in position to start taking steps to increase its energy efficiency. Here are five that you should be able to act on immediately.
Step 1: Be passive!
Natural ventilation can often provide the best solution to meet your heating and ventilation requirements. Sometimes controlling heat from the sun is enough to keep a building comfortable and well ventilated, letting nature itself do the work. So, think about air flow through your building and whether rising hot air can be replaced with cooler air sucked in through windows or vents at lower levels. Understanding how to make nature work for your facility is a simple and cost-effective way of offloading some of the requirements placed on your HVAC.
Step 2: Behave!
Your staff’s behavior, how they use your building, and your HVAC system matters. So, when the system is in use, make sure they know how to act. You can save up to one third of heating or cooling costs by reducing the amount of outside air that enters a building when the HVAC is on. For instance, if the heating is on too high make sure staff don’t open a door or window to let heated or cooled air out so the space is more comfortable. Instead, turn down the thermostat. And take other, obvious steps. Don’t turn on equipment that is not being used. Use daylight for lighting when it’s sufficient to do so.
Step 3: Take control
Simple. HVAC systems are fitted with controls. Learn how to use them. Proper operation yields both significant savings and enhanced conditions for your staff. This means setting timers to match building usage; being aware of outside temperatures so you can optimally regulate internal heating requirements, not falling into the common trap of over-cooling server rooms (servers generally work fine up to 80 degrees Fahrenheit), and closely controlling ventilation systems to avoid excessive and unnecessary air flows.
Step 4: Maintain, to gain!
Regular maintenance really does matter if you want to maximize energy savings as well as avoid breakdowns. Sounds obvious, and it is. HVAC components must be kept free of dirt and obstructions to perform optimally. Routine maintenance is a prerequisite if potential problems are to be identified at an early stage.
Step 5: Keep Energy on your mind!
When the time comes to upgrade or refurbish your HVAC system, make sure energy savings are part of your decision matrix. If you’re replacing components, remember that condensing boilers are more efficient than conventional boilers and high-efficiency motors are better options than standard ones. Think about installing a Building Energy Management System to optimize overall performance. If you pay attention, there are lot of steps you can take before, or until, you opt for an entire system replacement. And even if it comes to that, don’t presume a like-for-like replacement is the best option to minimize short-term disruption if won’t deliver long-term benefits in the form of reduced energy costs.
Optimize HVAC system performance with NexRev
If you’re interested in learning more about how HVAC Energy Savings can be accrued to help your enterprise reduce energy costs, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org – we’d be happy to talk you through the advantages of our technology in greater detail.
At NexRev, we’ve been unlocking the power in facility and energy management data with over half a million connected devices across North America. Our team of experts are focused on helping you deliver more with your budgets, infrastructure, and assets to create sustainable savings in operations and energy, reducing your risk and increasing operational confidence.