You just received a preliminary notice that Corporate is preparing a “green initiative” and you are hoping to get in front of this. You are looking for answers and solutions that demonstrate fine attention to detail, but you are starting from scratch. Well, here are four suggestions to help you formulate a Commercial HVAC System plan.
First, understand that for multi-family housing, commercial retail, office space, or industrial facilities, “green energy” that helps the environment will help produce “green” for your bottom line. Unless your producing energy on a large scale, “going green” means saving energy and therefore saving money.
Saving energy leads to producing less energy and results in less greenhouse gas emissions. Steps toward environmental-friendly energy savings are a smart goal for business-wise property owners and managers.
Does that necessitate replacing the entire Commercial HVAC System with a costly new system? In many cases, no. Completing these four steps will help you determine how prepared your facilities are to capitalize on a green energy program. The time you invest in understanding building systems will be worth the effort.
Inspect your entire HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system. Perhaps you have a facility maintenance person that knows your systems well; his/her assistance will be invaluable. Identify every system component, determine its age and working order.
Is there a preventative maintenance plan already in place? Visually inspect components, including ductwork—as much as is visible. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), faulty or leaking ducts account for as much as 30% of energy loss in HVAC systems. Duct repair might be a manageable fix with immediate cost savings.
How will you know if you are saving energy if you do not know the energy use in the past? Connect with the EPA for a free, simple tool that will “benchmark” the energy and water usage in commercial buildings.
The process includes some data entry, as the tool measures the past performance of the HVAC system by looking at utility bills. With a benchmark in place, steps you take resulting in energy savings will be clear and measurable. https://www.energystar.gov/buildings/benchmark
After completing the EPA benchmark, install the EPA Energy Star Portfolio Manager. While the benchmark tool compiles past performance, The Portfolio Manager is an online tool that can measure and track ongoing energy and water consumption, as well as GHG emissions.
These tools can be used to monitor one building or a whole portfolio of buildings, all in a secure online environment. Forty percent of commercial building space in the U.S., including 35% of the Fortune 500® are already benchmarking in Portfolio Manager.
Schedule regular inspections and preventative maintenance call with a qualified HVAC specialist. The One Key to equipment longevity, great indoor air quality, and cost savings—both from maintaining expensive systems and lowering energy bills—is preventative maintenance.
Keeping filters and ducts clean, making timely repairs, and assessing equipment performance prevent unnecessary system failures that can interrupt building use. PM calls are usually quick and easy, but the impact on system performance will lengthen the service life of Commercial HVAC System components.
A qualified HVAC specialist can assist with a plan to replace system components as needed or a plan to upgrade the entire system.
These four tips can save a lot of time, expense, and inconvenience. Knowing the Commercial HVAC System is performing well and keeping a safe, comfortable work environment will bring peace of mind. Perhaps Corporate has further plans for a “green initiate”, but you will be a step ahead when you have covered the basics.