With the end of summer rapidly approaching and the eminent onset of fall, you may be thinking about switching your HVAC system from cooling to heating, but is it ready? When it comes to ensuring that your commercial HVAC system in Chicago is ready for fall and winter, one of the best things you can do is schedule a fall inspection, which helps ensure there are no excessively worn parts and usually includes an interior and exterior cleaning of the system.
Have you noticed an increase in your HVAC costs? While HVAC energy usage isn’t itemized on utility bills, most buildings spend about 38 percent of their total energy usage on heating and cooling costs, according to the Department of Energy. The rest of the energy usage breaks down into lights, security, running mechanical equipment, like elevators and escalators and running computers and office equipment. Therefore, when you see a sudden increase in your energy usage and your bill, it’s reasonable to assume it’s due to your HVAC system not operating efficiently, and the number one reason HVAC systems fail to run efficiently is due to lack of maintenance. In other words, your lack of HVAC maintenance negatively impacts your energy savings and bottom line.
With increasingly strict energy efficient guidelines and a continuing push to make every building as energy efficient as possible, modern buildings are increasingly airtight. This means that indoor and outdoor air do not mingle aside from the occasional and briefly opened door. Because of this, modern buildings can trap air pollutants, moisture and other particulate matter, which decreases the indoor air quality and can lead to sick building syndrome. One of the ways to combat excess moisture and indoor air pollutants is to install a Dedicated Outdoor Air System (DOAS) that does nothing but filter outdoor air and bring it into the building.
How comfortable is your Chicago building? According to ASHRAE, a building has achieved optimal thermal comfort when a minimum of 80 percent of the occupants are satisfied with the indoor environmental conditions, but how do you determine if 80 percent of the individuals in your building are comfortable? This can be a tough question to answer. Thankfully, there are factors you can consider when it comes to improving the indoor comfort of your building.
Are the residents of your older Chicago apartment complex or condominium building still using window air conditioners to keep their units cool? If they are, you might be interested to know that mini split systems can provide affordable and reliable air conditioning without damaging common elements or installing air ducts, which may cause problems in older and historic buildings.
As both our internal and external environment changes, the HVAC industry also changes and develops new technologies in heating and cooling to meet new improved energy efficiency standards. For example, 30 years ago, HVAC systems consisted of single-stage motors and mercury thermostats that maintained a steady temperature 24 hours a day unless the dial was turned up or down. Today, we have programmable thermostats that allow multiple temperatures to be set, depending on the time and day of the week, and we have variable-speed motors that can decrease or increase, depending on cooling or heating needs. The 2019 HVAC trends are forecast to involve better HVAC connectivity and data as well as improvements in green HVAC technology.
Have you heard of the new extreme green hyper heating systems? It is entirely okay to answer 'no' - hyper heating has been around only for slightly more than a decade, so it is still a relatively new term in the HVAC field. The technology was initially developed by Mitsubishi in order to manufacture an extremely energy efficient, durable and reliable heat pump with the ability to operate in temperatures below freezing. These units use inverter technology in order to improve heating and cooling efficiency along with Mitsubishi’s H2I™ technology.
Is your Chicago building still relying on traditional building optimization? If it is, you could be spending more on your energy usage than you really need to spend. This is because modern building optimization provides real-time data and metrics so that you can make adjustments immediately rather than relying on separate inspections of your critical equipment so that you can implement energy-saving ideas.
When is the last time you evaluated the capacity of your HVAC system? If your facility has recently added new critical equipment or expanded your electronics, the added heat created by the equipment could be overtaxing your HVAC unit, resulting in higher energy bills and more frequent repairs.
If your multi-unit residential building in Chicago has a chiller, you might be surprised to know that operating it at full-capacity may not be the most efficient way to run your cooling system, and it could be costing your building money in the form of higher energy bills. In fact, AchrNews states that chillers can account for as much as 50 percent of the utility usage in your residential multi-unit building. Thankfully, there are things you can do to maximize your chiller’s energy efficiency.