Take advantage of HVAC controls
Automated controls for HVAC systems (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) can provide energy savings and comfort in all kinds of facilities. While large office buildings often make use of HVAC controls, small businesses sometime overlook the value that controls can offer.
How you can take advantage of HVAC controls:
- Segment buildings that use some sort of central HVAC equipment into temperature-control zones. This allows occupants to cut back on space conditioning in rooms temporarily unoccupied, without sacrificing comfort in the rest of the building. Each zone should have its own programmable thermostat, which can be programmed to communicate via a network.
- The building's central HVAC equipment needs controls that can communicate with the thermostats. While the controls on the HVAC unit execute most of these strategies, the thermostats are the true "brains" of the system. It is important that these thermostats are programmed carefully to function well, and communicate well with the HVAC unit controls. Ideally, the HVAC unit will be equipped with a variable-speed drive so output can be matched to demand at the source.
Control strategies that often work well in small buildings include:
- Optimal start/stop. Programs desired times for the systems to automatically turn on and off.
- Demand limiting. Turns off the HVAC systems when energy demand reaches a pre-set threshold.
- Smart staging. Activates the compressors in air conditioning units as cooling demand increases over the course of the day.
- Free cooling. Makes use of outdoor air when ambient temperature is 15°C or lower.
- Night purge. Flushes out the building with cool outdoor air prior to occupancy in the morning. Owners sometimes are not aware of control opportunities already available to them through their existing equipment. Take the time to learn about what your thermostat and HVAC system can do.