As we head into the summer months, many facility managers are looking for simple and effective ways to decrease the strain on their HVAC systems – and their utility bills – without sacrificing performance. Finding HVAC energy savings opportunities can reduce utility costs, increase the lifespan of your equipment, improve the quality of a facility or make the people in it more comfortable.
To help you get started, we’ve identified five HVAC energy savings tips and pointers to keep your summer energy consumption in check without sacrificing the comfort of occupants or the processes in your building:
If You’re Not Using It, Turn It Off. This one sounds simple, but it’s often the most overlooked. Figuring out when parts of your system can be turned off is the easiest way to save energy. This includes everything from mechanical systems to lighting.
Use a System That Matches Your Building. The largest mechanical cost of any building’s energy usage is usually conditioning outside air or tempering fluid for cooling. Finding an economical system for your building, whether it includes air or water side economizers, dry coolers or pumped refrigerants, can go a long way in getting the most out of your utilities without running up your energy consumption.
Install Building Controls and Use Them Properly. Running a system on manual settings reduces efficiency in day-to-day operation. Installing the proper building controls, and running them properly, is the key to reduced energy use. Everyone likes how their smart phones connect so many things in one device. Building controls for your HVAC system are no different – making it more convenient to control your mechanical systems and ensuring they are working together efficiently. Many building management systems, such as Alerton, also offer the ability to monitor and manage your HVAC systems remotely.
Stagger Your Startup to Reduce Peak Draw. Most energy companies charge based on your peak energy consumption, not the total amount of energy you use. For many buildings, your peak draw is during the initial daily startup, when fans, pumps and other HVAC systems activate all at once. Planning your startup in a way that staggers when your equipment activates will help avoid the sudden spikes that can lead to a higher peak draw and a higher utility bill.
Look for Energy Rebates. Energy efficiency is a national initiative supported by most gas and electricity providers. Many offer monetary discounts on energy bills for buildings that upgrade to energy-efficient units and products, and the technology is changing quickly.
In Minnesota, Xcel Energy offers audit programs to determine a building’s eligibility for various upgrades. Since every building is different, each will be eligible for different rebates, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a building that’s eligible for less than a 10 percent energy efficiency rebate. Depending on the size of your monthly bill, those savings can really add up.
Following these tried-and-true, common sense practices while incorporating the latest innovations will provide HVAC energy savings during the hot summer months ahead. To find out how your building can run more efficiently this summer, please contact me for more information.
Marlin Klabo helps oversee the design process at Yale Mechanical as the Lead Mechanical Engineer. He has expert knowledge of many market areas including medical, data centers, commercial and industrial. Marlin ensures that each project satisfies the client’s needs while meeting industry code and Yale’s standard of excellence. He regularly connects with customers to discuss options. Mr. Klabo helps them discover how Yale’s custom Mechanical Contracting Solutions (including HVAC, Piping, Plumbing, Controls, Service, and Millwright) can fulfill their unique needs.