Cooling and Heating Load Reduction
One of the first steps you should consider in your facility before upgrading your heating and cooling system is to reduce your load (i.e. how much heating and cooling you actually use). Reducing your facility’s load allows existing systems to operate less frequently and newer systems to be designed smaller, thereby lowering operating costs. Common load reduction strategies include:
- “Tightening” your building shell and adding additional insulation to reduce leakage.
- Installing energy-efficient windows such as ENERGY STAR qualified windows.
- Upgrading lighting systems. Energy-efficient lighting systems emit less heat into conditioned space than older inefficient technology.
- Reducing solar gain (e.g., cool roofing and window tints) in cooling dominated climates, and in cold climates taking steps to increase solar gain.
- Selecting efficient office equipment and consumer electronics to reduce heat output.
- Controlling ventilation to improve occupant comfort and save energy.
Once you have addressed these areas, you can then make the most of your commercial HVAC equipment dollars.
Just like your automobile, your facility’s heating and cooling systems need maintenance to operate efficiently. To improve efficiency and help ensure reliability and long life, consider the following tips.
- Engage a qualified HVAC firm in a maintenance contract with seasonal tune-ups. During these tune-ups, a technician should check combustion efficiency, refrigerant charge, and belt tension as applicable.
- Replace air filters regularly. Accumulated dirt and dust make your fans work harder. Clean or replace filters as recommended by your system’s manufacturer.
- Clean the evaporator and condenser coils on your heat pump, air-conditioner, or chiller. Dirty coils inhibit heat transfer; by keeping them clean, you save energy.
- Inspect ducts and piping for leakage or damaged insulation. Leaky ductwork is one of the biggest contributors to cooling loss in buildings. Apply duct sealer, tape, and insulation as needed.
- Repair old valves and steam traps. These can waste hundreds of dollars and are low cost parts.
Source: www.sba.gov.com; 2014.