Tag Archives: hvac

Guest Post: The Dos and Don’ts of Air Conditioning for Business

 

System of ventilating pipes at a modern factoryOne of the most crucial aspects of efficient management is providing an environment that is comforting to employees and customers. This can be achieved by redecorating, good organization, and of course, controlling the indoor climate. But there are certain practices commonly practiced that are not only ineffective, but costly and even damaging to your equipment.

 

Don’t: Leave cold air blasting through the front entrance.

 

As soothing as it is to come from a hot summer sidewalk into a building and feel that cool rushing breeze, the experience comes at an enormous cost to businesses. Grocery stores, for example, spend about an average of one percent on energy in their total costs – which is roughly the same as their usual profit margin. Although much of this energy is necessary on the cost of food refrigeration and lighting, a significant portion of this energy is wasted by directing it right outside the front doors.

 

Many businesses practice this, though usually large chains consider such expenditures insignificant. Not only is this wasteful, but running vents or fans directly outside the door forces out the cool air that the air conditioner generates. This causes it to run harder and longer than it needs to, and that kind of strain is damaging to cooling systems.

 

Do: Practice good habits for optimal insulation.

 

Rather than send that energy cost out the door, look for ways to insulate the coolness you already have. Seal all of your windows and doors with weatherstripping on movable parts and caulk on stationary areas. Make sure to seal any gaps on the walls or flooring with caulk, and make it a priority of your staff to leave outside exits closed whenever possible. By properly sealing in the cool air, you can help employees and customers stay comfortable without any unnecessary cost to your budget. You might even be able to forego air conditioning altogether now and then.

 

Don’t: Leave the AC running 24/7.

 

It’s a common superstition that leaving an air conditioning running at all times, even during closing hours, is beneficial to energy costs. This is hugely untrue, and based on incorrect assumptions about how air conditioners work. Some people believe that air conditioners spend most of their energy starting, since they have to cool faster to achieve the desired temperature. Their reasoning is that leaving an air conditioner on will leave the environment at a steadier temperature, which avoids the supposedly costly startup. But the truth is that air conditioners are most efficient just as they’re starting. An air conditioner running at full speed doesn’t have to constantly fluctuate to adjust to the environment, and it even humidifies the area.

 

Do: Regulate when it is best to turn off your air conditioner.

 

It’s the best option to turn off the thermostat when your business is closed. If your business has a consistent schedule, invest in a programmable thermostat and leave it to turn itself off when store hours are through. If your business runs 24/7, or if you have workers throughout the store at all times, try to leave the thermostat a little higher during low traffic times. You’ll save about two to three percent on your energy bill for every degree you notch up on your thermostat.

 

Don’t: Use energy inefficient and old equipment.

 

HVAC equipment can be incredible expensive, especially for large commercial purposes. It can be tempting to rely on old or outdated equipment to save the expense of maintenance or replacement. But HVAC equipment isn’t the kind that likes being pushed aside; it will take a vice grip on your energy bill if you don’t make sure it stays clean and intact. By not keeping tabs on the quality of your system, you might risk malfunction or complete system failure –  which might become a disaster during peak hours.

 

Do: Buy the right HVAC equipment, know when to replace it, and schedule regular preventative maintenance.

 

Depending on how old the area your business is based in, and what it is your business does, your building might be equipped with an HVAC system that doesn’t meet your needs at all. It’s also likely that your system is simply old and needs replacing, especially if you’re seeing inexplicable rises in your energy bill or your system is showing symptoms of wear (such as loud noises or excessive condensation). Know what to look for when replacing or upgrading your HVAC system. Get the opinion of several specialists to get a feel of what you’ll need for your business place. Take special care to note if your equipment is Energy Star approved; products with this distinction will save you a fortune in energy savings over the years of its use. And finally, remember to schedule regular maintenance inspections so that you can keep your equipment effective and energy efficient.

 

Following the dos and avoiding the don’ts listed here will help you save a substantial amount on your businesses’ energy output, meaning more savings for you and less pollution in the environment.

 

Jason Wall is a HVAC technician with more than 23 years of experience. When he isn’t working or writing tips and tutorials about HVAC systems for industry resources, Jason catches the occasional baseball game and spends time with his kids. He currently writes for Griffith Energy Services.  

Are Retrofits Better for Efficiency?

A recent study found that simple behavior changes can drastically lower energy use in commercial buildings. So does this mean the end of retrofits?

FirstFuel, a Massachusetts-based company that analyzes energy consumption in buildings, says that behavioral changes are a primary driver to efficiency problems in commercial buildings.

The company examined utility data for 60 million square feet of commercial buildings across the U.S. It found that “half of energy efficiency opportunities could be realized with simple operational improvements.” This could save about $12 million across the facilities sampled.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean companies could rule out retrofits. In fact, implementing operational changes and retrofits are both great ways to reduce costs.

“Operational change is a crucial part that provides a high-volume and low-cost way to allow building owners to figure out how to spend their time. But it’s the first step in the process.”

Either way, it’s not surprising that businesses and owners are moving forward toward the intelligent monitors to help change behavior but often you need the controls and systems to execute it.

Source: Green Tech Media

 

By Gaylen Davenport

Strategies for Cooling Buildings

cool roof building envelop

Adopting a mixed mode approach is an effective cooling measure for commercial buildings that have high energy usage.

It may not feel like it here in Kansas City, but summer is right around the corner. For businesses looking to save on utility costs, that means implementing strategies for cooling commercial buildings.

It seems that commercial buildings are more susceptible to higher energy use. This is because offices and commercial buildings have high indoor waste heating from people, lighting, computers, and other electrical appliances.

Of course, reducing energy use isn’t the only reason for cooling buildings. Comfort for employees is also important. So how do you keep your business cool during the summer months without spending a fortune?

One solution is to adopt a mixed mode approach in which passive cooling measures are used including lighting controls and occupancy sensors.

Worldwide Energy also provides building envelope solutions that can even temperatures to improve occupant comfort such as cool roof reflect, insulation, and window tinting.

With careful design and system management, commercial buildings can provide high levels of indoor comfort while still operating in an energy efficient manner.

Contact one of our certified energy auditors to schedule a complimentary facility review.

 

By Gaylen Davenport

10 Tips to Save Energy Now

The more you know about your building and its energy efficiency potential, the more you will begin to recognize opportunities to control energy consumption and costs.

  • Have an energy professional perform an audit of your facility to determine your energy-efficiency priorities
  • Lighting retrofits are quick, easy and have short paybacks
  • Install occupancy sensors & task lighting to save energy
  • Clean windows & remove clutter to let day lighting in
  • Air infiltration – seal gaps in all windows and doors
  • Tinting windows can save on energy, fading of furniture, and increase occupant comfort
  • If your HVAC system is more than 14 years old, consider an upgrade
  • Install high ceiling destratification fans to significantly affect your heating & cooling consumption
  • Look at your natural gas options – up to 30% savings available
  • Take the next big step and consider renewable energy solutions including solar and wind energy

Managers Plan for Sustainability

80% of surveyed property managers have sustainability strategies in place, and dedicated resources to implement them.

A recent survey found that 80 percent of real estate investors and managers have sustainability strategies and dedicated resources to implement it. What’s more is that 60 percent have been collecting and reporting energy consumption data this year.

The 2012 Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) Report  included data from 450 property companies that provides information for 36,000 properties. A significant portion reported that their companies have dedicated resources for sustainability management, carry out comprehensive external reporting, and have developed plans to implement sustainability measures.

Other trends found in the report included the rising prevalence of green building certification. About 51 percent included green building certificates in their portfolio, including LEED certifications.

Many property managers are seeing the benefits of long-term sustainability including energy efficient lighting, HVAC, window film, and even renewable energy.

Source: Environmental Leader

KC Utility Companies Gone Wild

Empire District Electric Company and KCP&L are looking to increase utility rates for all customers by the end of the year.

Customers in Kansas and Missouri may soon see an increase in their utility bills soon.

The Empire District Electric Company recently filed a rate request with the Missouri Public Service Commission, which approves and regulates increases. Although the company reported $10.7 million in their second quarter earnings, the rate increase will make approximately $30.7 million per year.

President and CEO Brad Beecher was reported saying that the aftermath of the Joplin EF-5 tornado was one of the main reasons for the increase.

“We are seeking recovery of operation and maintenance expenses and capital costs associated with the May 22 tornado as well as increased costs of service post tornado due to the decrease in customers,” Beecher said. If approved, the rate increase would begin December 1.

Empire isn’t the only company seeking an increase. KCP&L proposed a rate hike of nearly 13 percent, which would raise the average power bill for a home by about $150 a year, and small businesses would see an increase of about 10 percent. Large commercial customers would pay 12.9 percent more each month.

KCP&L says the increase is needed to pay for environmental upgrades to their new coal-fired plant currently under construction.

On average, utility rates are rising 6-8 percent annually, which is not a small number to ignore. Businesses can reduce their utility bills by using less electricity with energy efficient lighting and HVAC. Renewable sources of energy including solar and wind are also great options for those looking to save on utilities, and make an environmental impact.

Source: Springfield News-Leader

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