Taras Verkhoglyad
Sales Development Representative, Arloid Automation

HVAC for Building Managers – A Guide to Maximising Building Energy Efficiency

Taking control of building energy efficiency is important – now more than ever. Across the globe, building managers are looking for ways to make proactive improvements to their energy consumption, and HVAC is garnering a lot of attention. Often accounting for the majority of an organisation’s energy spend, HVAC offers an opportunity to make substantial savings.

At Arloid, we specialise in helping building managers all over the world optimise their HVAC. Our pioneering AI technology is designed with the needs of modem buildings in mind, capable of achieving energy savings of up to 30%.

In this guide, we discuss HVAC for building managers and outline some methods of reducing building energy use.

Understanding Your HVAC System

HVAC systems vary widely in their composition depending on the building in question, but a typical layout includes heating equipment like boilers, heating coils, and hot water pipes, cooling equipment like chilled water coils and condensers, pumps and fans, and a control panel or thermostat.

When working at their optimum, these components create something akin to a negative feedback loop. The control panel identifies a rise or fall in temperature. This powers the relevant part of the system, which functions until the right equilibrium is reached.

With this in mind, programming your HVAC correctly depends on identifying the optimum temperature window for your building. It also depends upon occupancy rate, weather conditions, function, and many other variables. Though this might seem complicated, building managers all over the world have discovered new way to deal with such a broad quantity of live data: the implementation of cutting-edge AI.

How Much Energy Do HVAC Systems Use?

The energy used by HVAC systems varies according to several factors:

  • The layout and complexity of the building.
  • The required indoor temperature.
  • The heat generated by equipment and occupants.
  • The quality of the HVAC system.
  • The operating times.

Despite this, it’s important to understand that even the most extreme examples can be optimised. Complex buildings like warehouses, data centres, hospitals, and many more can all achieve 30% energy savings with the right technology. Though these factors affect energy consumption, they don’t mean improvements aren’t practicable or possible.

Related: Top 5 Energy Saving Tips for Your Building

Importance of HVAC Control for Building Managers

Taking control of your HVAC performance has numerous benefits – for your occupants, your environmental impact, and your organisation’s finances.

Comfort

Above all else, HVAC optimisation is about occupant comfort. By creating system capable of assessing live data and delivering the conditions that will meet your tenants’ needs, you are providing the most comfortable environment possible.

Energy

A HVAC system with more nuanced control can provide peak performance whilst consuming the same or less energy. Instead of overcooling or heating spaces, it will instead maintain an environment that satisfies occupants and reduces your carbon emissions too.

Money

With HVAC the largest energy drain in a building, it also offers the fastest way to achieve substantial savings. With numerous sources of wasted energy throughout the system, any steps you take to cut back on consumption can have a significant impact on your bottom line.

Property Value

By investing in your real estate, you can substantially increase its value – it’s a no-brainer. A building with better operational efficiency commands a higher value rating, particularly when this is achieved through the implementation of smart technology.

Challenges Facing Building Managers

Building and facilities managers often face a number of challenges when it comes to keeping HVAC operating at peak performance. First and foremost, it can be difficult to identify areas of energy wastage in a system because of a lack of access to data and reporting. More than that, limited resources and strict budgets mean repairs can only be made on a reactive basis – and equipment upgrades are virtually out of the question. But this is a short-sighted view. By taking a more proactive approach to HVAC upkeep, building managers can save money in the long run, and extend the lifespan of their system. And it doesn’t always require a substantial capital investment. Let’s explore some of the most cost-effective strategies for ringing the changes.

Improving HVAC Performance

Maintenance

HVAC maintenance is key to effective energy management. A rigorous maintenance plan protects the health and comfort of occupants, safeguards the value of your investment, and lowers your risk of breakdown and repair costs. What you might not realise is that without effective maintenance, energy consumption can increase by 30%. HVAC maintenance, then, is integral to any energy efficiency initiative in your building. Just cleaning the fans, filters, and air ducts can improve efficiency by up to 60%!

Equipment Efficiency

Though equipment upgrades do require some capital expenditure, taking the plunge will save your organisation money in the long run as reductions in day-to-day running costs soon cover the initial financial outlay. And that goes beyond the HVAC system itself! Any energy using equipment in your building like refrigerators, incandescent lighting, and other heat emitters can all combine to increase the temperature of the internal environment. If this equipment is inefficient and outdated, HVAC will need to work harder to keep conditions acceptable.

Zoning

For most buildings, a one-size-fits-all approach to HVAC doesn’t cut it. Many of them have distinct, sometimes problematic areas where different conditions are required. To ensure these areas achieve the right conditions, but avoid overcooling or heating the rest of the building, you should consider zoning. By segmenting your premises into individual areas with distinct thermal settings, your HVAC will be able to provide better comfort for occupants, more cost effective control, and better energy efficiency.

Passive Heat Control

A final point is to think of ways to control the temperature of your building passively; that is, without HVAC intervention. This might include putting up solar shades outside the building, or installing blinds, curtains, and draft excluders. It should also include improving insulation. It might sound simple, but limiting the variability of your building’s temperature will mean the system doesn’t have to work as hard – and use as much energy – to restore equilibrium. And, while you’re insulating the building itself, don’t forget to insulate your HVAC too.

More tips: 5 Ways to Improve Your Building’s HVAC Strategy

Smart HVAC Technology

Though the above steps can be highly effective at improving energy efficiency, many building managers are looking beyond the traditional to new technological innovations. Smart HVAC technology has the power to transform your approach to HVAC control, and radically improve energy efficiency.

Manual scheduling and monitoring has been proven to be inefficient, not to mention impractical. AI can do all this on your behalf, with a greater deal of accuracy. By upgrading to a smart energy management system, you’ll gain total visibility over your building’s energy consumption data, allowing you to control it more effectively, and identify areas where improvements are needed.

Our AI solution to HVAC optimisation is available with zero capex, allowing you to achieve better efficiency, enhanced performance, and lower utility costs within any budget. Within just 60 days, our solution has achieved savings of up to 30% for building managers across the world. Ready to harness the power of AI for your building? Discover our technology.

Your Next Steps

Energy is in crisis, and building managers are urgently looking for ways to cut down on consumption. To tackle this growing challenge, start by understanding your building’s energy use so you can identify energy saving opportunities. Then, look at prioritising your actions with regards to your budget. Low cost actions are likely to be more appealing, but certain improvements will require expenditure in order to achieve measurable change. Luckily, smart AI technology can be implemented with no initial upfront costs, but is the single most impactful change you can make to your building’s energy use.

A final thought? Don’t stop optimising. With regular maintenance, smart monitoring and control, and continual improvement, better building efficiency is within reach.

For more advice, talk to a member of our expert team.

Read next: Thermal Comfort in Buildings – The Importance of Occupant Comfort

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