Commercial HVAC: Energy Saving Technologies
Innovation that Improves Your Bottom Line
Written by CW Suter
Automation Commercial Energy Efficiency Technology
For Best Results, Turn to Technology
Because they’re critical to tenant comfort and worker productivity, HVAC systems use a significant amount of energy. As a matter of fact, about 40% all energy consumed by commercial buildings comes from the HVAC system. With such a huge chunk of the utility bill being consumed by HVAC related costs, savvy business owners and building managers know it’s worth looking at some technologies that will reduce energy use and improve the bottom line.
Driving forces behind advances in HVAC and automation technology include:
- Reducing utility bills
- Increasing efficiency
- Lessening environmental impact
- Increasing comfort
#1 Variable Refrigerant Flow
A Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) system allows you to heat or cool different parts of your building simultaneously while increasing energy efficiency. Some of the biggest energy losses occur when an entire building is being warmed or cooled when only one room calls for the HVAC system to kick on. VRF systems have been common place in Europe, China, Japan and other parts of the world for quite some time. This HVAC technology has been gaining traction in the United States over the past 5-10 years and for good reason. Quiet operation, increased comfort, and lower energy bills are just a few of the reasons why more people are switching to VRF systems.
VRF systems are perfect for these types of spaces:
- Retail stores
- Office spaces
- Anywhere that requires customized heating and cooling over multiple zones.
Note: A VRF system may not be enough to heat your space during Siouxland’s frigid winter months. Supplemental heating could be needed. It’s best to talk to one of our HVAC specialists to help decide which supplemental system is right for you.
#2 Building Management Systems
As an industry pioneer, Alerton provides building management solutions for HVAC equipment for all sizes and types of buildings. Alerton systems are smart, intuitive, and use cutting edge automation technology to make sure you are always connected. With the simple touch of a button, you can monitor and control your facility from anywhere at any time. Alerton can also integrate fire/light safety, security, lighting, and more.
Building management systems from Alerton maximize energy savings and provide a quick return on your investment.
Automated Diagnostics / Advanced Detection the Alerton Way
Your furnace is on the fritz. Imagine an HVAC system that can tell you which component needs replacing. Sounds cool, right? It may seem a bit futurist, but the reality is that fault detection and automated diagnostics have been around for several years now. These systems and automation technologies are not new, but what is new is the increased interest and use of them.
Q. What is Building Automation Technology?
A.Building automation is the automatic centralized control of a building’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning, lighting and other systems through a building management system or building automation system (BAS).Wikipedia, BACnet, Ashrae
According to Kevin Callahan, product owner of Alerton, “A well-equipped building automation system provides the analysis, fault detection, and diagnostics that inform building owners or operators on where systems are underperforming, over-performing, or not performing. Pinpointing these faults early helps reduce energy costs and equipment wear-and-tear.”
For example, a school system in Arkansas uses a building automation system to monitor beverage/food coolers and freezers in all of its schools. The system will sound an alarm if temperatures dip too low or too high. This enables staff to take action and prevent costly, wasteful spoilage. Advanced systems such as this can put a price tag on fault detection.
#3 Demand Control Ventilation
In most commercial facilities, ventilation combats 2 main types of indoor air pollution:
- Odors from people (gross).
- Pollutants from building components and furniture.
Many high occupancy spaces have ventilation systems designed for a level of peak occupancy that never occurs. Movie theaters, classrooms, lobbies, and conference rooms all have peak occupancy times, but there are also lulls. Ventilation can be reduced whenever peak occupancy isn’t taking place. Reducing ventilation allows building owners to save energy because it’s not necessary to heating/cool as much outside air. Demand Control Ventilation (DCV) saves the most energy in colder weather which makes it a perfect fit for Soiuxland’s never ending, frigid winter months.
Some DCV systems detect occupancy using lighting or occupancy sensors (shocking!). If even one person is detected, full ventilation is provided.
Ticket sales, turnstiles, and video recognition are just a few examples of methods used to estimate how many people are in a given space. Ventilation rates vary based on the number of occupants.
Carbon Dioxide Sensing
CO2 sensing is the most common method used in DCV systems. A CO2 sensor is placed in each space and ventilation is adjusted based on the concentration of CO2. Ventilation rate varies based on the number of people in the space.
Check out our portfolio to see some of our recent commercial and industrial projects!
Learn more about what Alerton and Star Control can do to increase your business’s efficiency (and profits!)