Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) consume approximately 40% of a building’s electricity. In fact, it’s one of the most significant factors in the operating expenses of a business. That’s why it pays to pinpoint HVAC energy waste and reduce it. Here are three common HVAC waste areas and proven ways to help your business become more energy-efficient and control costs.
1. Blocked vents require up to 25% more energy to distribute air. Take a close look around your business. Are vents blocked by furniture, paper, tools or equipment? Those blocked vents prevent vital airflow and make your system work harder to heat or cool your business. That’s unnecessary waste and it costs your business every month.
Solution: Clear air distribution is essential to energy efficiency. It’s also important for maintaining a good comfort level for your employees and customers. Carefully assess the area around each vent for proper ventilation. Is air flowing from the vent, circulating freely throughout the room? If there are obstructions that prevent adequate airflow, such as cabinetry or drapes, move them to allow for clear circulation. Don't keep vents closed to save energy; doing this can change how air is distributed and causes an imbalance in the HVAC system's operation. Remember to also check any vents on the floor. It can be more difficult to keep these areas clear of obstructions.
2. Up to 80% of energy can be recovered from exhaust air. Exhaust air from inefficient HVAC systems wastes a major opportunity for more efficient heating and cooling. That’s because more energy is required to heat or cool incoming outside air. But there are smart ways to prevent that waste.
Solution: Heat-recovery technology transfers energy from exhaust air to incoming outside air. This greatly reduces the energy that’s required to heat or cool incoming air. As a result, businesses can recover 50% to 80% of energy waste. It’s important to note the percentage of outside air that can be used for efficient ventilation is based on a few factors, including project scope, technology selection and design. A qualified contractor can educate customers on available recovery technologies. For example, an energy recovery ventilator (ERV) can be a suitable solution for maintaining a comfortable temperature, depending on area location and climate. Businesses can turn to their HVAC contractor to decide if an ERV is appropriate. Heat-recovery technologies can include heat exchangers, recuperators, regenerators, passive air pre-heaters and waste heat boilers.
3. Advanced controls can reduce energy use by 40%. Ever feel cold when you’re in a big conference room or eating in the cafeteria with just a few other people? That may be because the ventilation system runs at maximum operating power, as if the room was filled. It’s a huge waste of energy.
Solution: Installing advanced control sensors can improve a ventilation system’s operating power for energy efficiency. These controls can count the number of people in a room and then adjust the heat and air conditioning accordingly. When the sensors are integrated into a building’s HVAC system, the advanced controls can reduce energy use by almost 40%.
For more ideas on how to save energy in your business, visit sdge.com/business.