This article examines how businesses can optimise energy consumption, reduce costs and improve environmental performance by focussing on the efficiency of their heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.
The article examines the benefits of energy audits and usage strategies, and highlights a number of practical things businesses can do to improve performance such as carrying out regular maintenance, the adoption of smart technologies, using more efficient building design, and staff training and education.
Benefits of energy efficient HVAC systems
Being smart about use of HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) can save substantial sums of money for business, facilities managers, and those letting commercial properties. The clear benefit to ensuring HVAC systems are operating efficiently is a reduction in your energy consumption and bills. But there are other benefits too; for example, if you get your plant and machinery running more efficiently, prolonging its life can save significant sums in the long term. Having green credentials and a reputation for energy efficiency can also help win you customers too, especially among those who will want to trade with environmentally conscious partners.
HVAC energy efficiency and improvement strategies
In order to reduce your energy bills and develop plans for using less energy in the future, you’re going to need a plan. Each business will vary is terms of its approach, but there are some core strategies which can apply whatever the size of your business. Use them as a starting point to develop a bespoke energy efficiency plan to fit your circumstances.
Implement energy audits to start saving
In order to work out how best to save energy and money on bills, the first step is working out exactly where you’re spending money currently. An energy audit means gathering together all of your energy bills for the last two years, three if you have them. Collate the information into a spreadsheet or graphs and look for usage patterns that may give you clues to where you can start saving. Apart from seasonal patterns, are there other fluctuations in energy usage? Do the figures show that as a heating or cooling system ages, it’s using more energy? If you fully understand your company’s energy patterns, then spotting problems is a lot easier.
Schedule maintenance to keep HVAC plant operating efficiently
Keeping both your cooling and heating systems working at peak efficiency will help you ensure energy costs under control. The best way to do this is to develop a programme of maintenance which aims to prevent problems from developing in the first place. If you postpone cleaning machinery, replacing parts which are becoming worn or other asks, this can result in anything from a temporary loss in plant efficiency through to a complete plant breakdown, costing you thousands.
Ensure equipment repairs are completed promptly
When you are working with tight maintenance budgets, it can be tempting to push repairs into the next month, quarter or year. That’s frequently a false economy however, as the repairs may cost even more if you delay, and you have the additional cost of inefficient equipment in the interim.
Consider smart technology to optimise energy usage
There’s no point keeping your office or factory at room temperature 24/7 when everyone goes home at night, or at weekends. Installing thermostats, motion sensors, timers and other smart technology can give you flexible control over the heating or cooling of a business remotely. The most advanced systems can even detect for themselves whether buildings are occupied so you don’t end up heating or cooling unoccupied buildings.
Consider Variable Refrigerant Flow systems (VRF)
Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) systems automatically move refrigerants around a building to those areas which need it most. Installing VRF systems can drastically reduce your energy costs.
Consider energy efficient building design
Depending on the size of your business and the potential energy savings to be had, it might be worth the expense of redesigning a part of the building entirely. For example, a loading bay which is continually open to the outdoors could be redesigned to be separated from the rest of the building with insulated walls, hot air curtains and self-closing doors to keep the cold or warm air out of the rest of the building. Weigh up the costs of construction against the potential energy savings for many years into the future.
Ongoing HVAC energy audits
Managers and workers can fall into “bad habits” when it comes to energy use, such as using heaters as the air conditioning makes an office unbearably cold, or leaving doors and windows open when the heating is running because it’s too hot. Give someone the job of walking through the business on a regular basis to detect these issues quickly. When managers receive feedback from the energy efficiency audit, ensure it is acted on, and promptly.
Staff education and training to improve energy efficiency
Most people are happy to get on board with saving energy and acting in a more environmentally-conscious way if they are told what you’re trying to achieve or how. Don’t be afraid to share energy consumption figures about how much a simple action will save the business. Most people don’t need huge incentives to change their attitudes and behaviour. Remember also to keep staff or building tenants updated with the savings you are making with your changes as they are introduced. This can be a great way of encouraging people to save even more energy.
Specialist HVAC solutions for business
Water Treatment Services offer a comprehensive range of innovative HVAC solutions that can improve energy efficiency, and reduces costs for business.
Our experts can provide advice and support to help you identify the most appropriate strategies for the identification, investigation and implementation water and energy efficiency programmes.
With offices in London serving the South and South East England, Manchester (North West), Birmingham (Midlands), Bristol (South East England and Wales), Leeds (North and North East) and Glasgow (Scotland), supported by regional teams of specially trained engineers we offer cost effective environmental support solutions across the whole of the UK and internationally.
Contact us today to learn how our HVAC solutions can help optimise your energy consumption to reduce costs and improve environmental performance.