HVAC systems are among the biggest energy consumers in commercial establishments. Therefore, it’s no surprise that most green initiatives and policies aim to make air conditioning systems more efficient. An article posted at the World Economic Forum paints a more ominous picture -- commercial air conditioning is a big hindrance to efforts aimed at tackling climate change.
Studies have shown that HVAC systems contribute to over 20% of carbon emissions. To contribute to environmental sustainability, it is important to invest in efficient HVAC systems. While manufacturers push the boundaries to improve future air conditioning systems, there are ways you can make your commercial HVAC unit more energy-efficient and lower your operational costs.
Read on for five ways of making your commercial HVAC energy efficient:
1. Carry Out Preventive Rather than Reactive Maintenance
Many commercial HVAC systems tend to lose their efficiency over time due to wear and tear. Electrical faults, dust accumulation, worn-out components, lack of lubrication, and faulty compressors are the common problems that affect energy efficiency. Many companies only take corrective action when the HVAC system is not working. This is the wrong approach. What these companies need to do instead is to carry out regular checks of the units.
Most components in a commercial HVAC need to be checked, serviced, and even replaced after a certain period. Remanufactured spare parts and components such as compressors are often as good as new ones and should be used for preventive maintenance when possible.
Carrying out preventive maintenance can save you up to 40% in energy costs as well as future repair costs.
2. Adding and Upgrading Supporting Components
Some base HVAC installs lack additional energy-saving components such as advanced condenser fan controls, demand-controlled ventilation, and air-side economizers. Investing in additional power-saving components and even replacing key components for newer ones can cut energy costs significantly. For instance, replacing an older scroll compressor with a modern scroll compressor that has a better seasonal energy efficiency ratio can reduce your plant’s overall energy consumption.
3. Install Modern Programmable Control Units
A significant percentage of operational costs in commercial spaces, such as offices, can be attributed to HVAC controls. Things like leaving the AC running when no one is around or when temperatures are ideal, wrong settings, and others waste energy. You can invest in a modern control unit, which will allow you to set when the HVAC system should turn off to save energy.
Some modern programmable units use data from environmental sensors and occupancy sensors to regulate temperatures and ensure your HVAC system is performing optimally. These modern control units can be installed as part of the primary system or retrofitted later.
4. Fan Speed Regulation Using VSDs
VSDs or variable speed regulators give you granular control over fan speeds instead of having them on full blast at all times. VSDs can be retrofitted on some commercial HVAC systems.
With the help of an energy management system, fan speeds can be set at variable levels, depending on cooling demands to save energy. Some modern HVAC systems also come with VSDs installed out of the box.
5. Better Insulation and Practices
There is no use of having an AC on full blast when most of the energy is lost through open windows or poorly insulated walls. Investing in better insulation to maintain ideal temperatures can provide significant energy savings. Some practices, such as closing windows in freezing temperatures, also help in preserving heated air, thus reducing the workload on a commercial HVAC.
Bonus Tips for Increasing HVAC Efficiency
Here are some other tips you can follow to increase the efficiency of your HVAC unit:
Upgrade Your HVAC Components to Newer Models
Critical components in your HVAC system that have been in operation for a long time may need to be replaced with newer, more efficient models. For instance, some modern compressors use Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology, which helps to save on energy and refrigerant consumption.
Manufacturers are always releasing new HVAC components with better SEER ratings. It is important to update your system to take advantage of newer technologies. If possible, change the ducts, vents, and other HVAC components with their newer models to save energy.
Ensure Smooth Air Flow
Accumulated dust on vents and filters can lead to increased power consumption by the HVAC unit. This is why it is important to do regular maintenance that might involve cleaning or replacing filters and replacement of parts. Any moving parts within the HVAC system should be cleaned from time to time to remove dust and ensure they operate optimally.
Taking care of your commercial HVAC system through regular preventive maintenance is a sure way of ensuring peak performance and efficiency. Apart from this, investing in new technologies, such as programmable controls, will help you get more value from your system and ensuring that parts for your commercial HVAC like that of your compressor are using the best remanufactured compressor that Compressors Unlimited can provide.