When designing a commercial building, it’s important for a commercial construction company to keep in mind how well the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system performs.
Statistics in the United States show that more than a third of a typical commercial building’s energy consumption goes to its HVAC system. By improving the HVAC’s efficiency, the building owner can realize significant savings.
By installing high-performance HVAC systems, savings of up to 40% can be attained. Combining whole building design with an “extended comfort zone” can double these savings. Such a zone in a commercial building can include providing warmer but drier air in summer, using desiccant dehumidifiers, or cooler air in winter, with warmer walls and windows.
Optimized Control Systems
When planning an HVAC system, a commercial construction company should always take into account the controls. These permit the system to use energy resources in an optimal fashion. While HVAC systems are designed to meet high heating and cooling loads that only occur a very small fraction of the time, the controls ensure that the system operates efficiently for the other 97-plus percent of the time.
Different Systems Work Together
Every kind of HVAC system has its own design requirements and can provide different kinds energy savings. However, a commercial construction company must realize that one saving may come at the cost of another.
This truth applies to different components of the HVAC, as well as the HVAC and the lighting and envelope systems. Knowing how the systems and subsystems affect one is necessary in trying to achieve optimal energy savings.
Basics of Efficient HVAC Design
In designing an HVAC system for a commercial building, here are a few of the things you should keep in mind:
- Set Your Design Goals Early: A system that meets the energy demands of code will be different than one designed to use 30% or more less than code requirements. Understand from the start what your energy goals are and this will help you decide what system to use.
- Take a Whole Building Perspective: To create a commercial building with maximum energy efficiency, you must consider many different aspects of construction at once. You need to integrate a variety of architectural and engineering aspects at the front end of the design process.
- Use the Right Size: When planning for your HVAC system, keep in mind that oversized or undersized equipment will work less efficiently than equipment that is the right size for a particular commercial building. Also, don’t use bigger-than-needed equipment by planning for future expansion. This causes energy waste now. With adequate space and equipment planning, you can scale up when needed.
- Don’t Only Consider Full Loads: Most HVAC systems will only work at peak load for heating or cooling a small percentage of the time (under 3%). So, how well the HVAC performs at part load is essential in deciding the size of system you need.
- Rely on HVAC Experts: Commercial building HVAC systems do not always perform as promised. Commission trusted HVAC professionals to ensure the system is properly installed, tested and maintained. By covering an HVAC with a good maintenance plan, you ensure that the system will operate at peak energy efficiency, with fewer repairs and less downtime.