REDUCING ENERGY CONSUMPTION
The reduction of energy consumption for
commercial buildings is a huge selling factor for today’s commercial HVAC contractors. It is without a doubt one
of the common themes found in a sales presentation to the customer today. Bottom line...once the customer
believes that the service contractor will save them significant energy savings, the finalizing of the sale is
practically guaranteed. Is the customer really getting what they have been sold?
The only way for the customer to ensure it was
not just a sales pitch but also a reality is to compare their utility bills taking into consideration rate
changes that may affect cost. Once they have compared the before and after utility costs it will be evident as
to what the customer is actually getting from their service contractor.
Fortunately, there are some simple truths
regarding saving costs that are very simple to accomplish. Preventative maintenance plans that are custom
designed specifically for the customer’s equipment type and environment is vitally important to immediate and
consistent energy savings. Once a plan has been formulated and agreed upon between both the customer and service
contractor the next step is to ensure that the service personnel are performing the maintenance as specified.
This can be accomplished with unexpected visits by the customer on the job location, and also having an
independent third party perform quality assurance checks after the service contractor performs a PM visit.
Having forms for the service contractor to fill out really isn’t going to accomplish much, if anything, because
if the service personnel is not performing the PM correctly...they more than likely will fill the forms out to
reflect that the PM was performed correctly.
In a building with multiple employees having
access to the thermostats it is always a good decision to install a thermostat with a lockable keypad. Do not
install lock boxes as they can be broken, resulting in an additional cost of the lock box and employees still
being able to adjust the thermostat.
In addition to installing thermostats with
lockable keypads, replacing any and all mechanical thermostats with digital thermostats is a guaranteed energy
saver that the customer will see immediately. A customer will typically see more savings in regards to
thermostat replacement on heat pump systems that are 2 or more stages. The reason for this is due to the way the
mechanical thermostats work for multiple stage operation. Mechanical thermostats can get "stuck" between stages
for long periods of time which cause the system to run longer. This is because the bi-metal “trip” can find a
balance point between stages causing the thermostat not to engage the 2nd stage. With a digital thermostat, stages
are timed and will come on when needed.
Finally, for a customer that may own several
locations, the use of building automation which allows the owner to remotely control the temperature and
equipment use is always going to save costs. Once a very expensive endeavor, building controls are much more
practical in relation to cost versus savings the customer will most certainly gain.
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