Lessons for maximizing energy consumption and savings in your business
Businesses are willing to spend a large portion of their annual operating expenses on heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) because it helps to create comfortable work environments which are conducive to higher employee productivity. In fact, HVAC can account for over 40% of energy consumption in your building*. But through improved control and management of ventilation, temperatures, and system usage, facilities managers and data center operators can optimize HVAC energy consumption and greatly reduce costs. Learning how to achieve cooling efficiency
While most facilities managers and data center operators understand how the high expense of cooling impacts the business’ bottom line, they lack the proper resources and knowledge to build an optimally energy efficient cooling system and operate it at a lower cost. But our free online Energy University course, “HVAC Efficiency and Equipment Optimization,” can help you get the knowledge you need to maximize the efficiency of your HVAC equipment.In her recent blog post, "Learn What Makes for an Energy Efficient HVAC System at Energy University”, Michelle Souza, the Global Program Manager for Energy University, discusses the topics covered in the course. Specifically, the course clarifies what’s needed to promote efficiency, including:
- Right-sizing: Large, central plants may be typical in facilities, but oftentimes are oversized. The course explains how expected peak loads can be properly managed with smaller, distributed units. Therefore, correctly choosing and sizing equipment is a key to successfully improving cooling efficiency.
- Variable load management: Considerations for better variable loads includes taking into account night-time vs. day time temperature and humidity and the occupancy levels of buildings throughout the day.
Running the numbers
There are many factors to consider before moving forward with any plans to maximize the efficiency of your HVAC equipment. First, it’s important to note that efficient HVAC equipment is an important consideration in optimizing cooling efficiency, but set up of the equipment is equally important. As Souza explains, “a system designed with efficient equipment that is used inefficiently makes for an inefficient system.”
Measurements such as energy efficiency ratio (EER) can help to determine your HVAC system’s efficiency. Understanding this ratio is easy enough: the higher the number the more energy efficient the air conditioner. But how do you calculate EER? Knowing how to calculate your EER can help you make better HVAC decisions. Therefore, the course provides guidance on how to come up with your EER, as well as other ratios such as SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio), which are relevant to your cooling efficiency aims. Other numbers to consider include:
- Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) – rates the average performance of a heat pump (brings heat from outdoors to inside the building) over a period of time
- Coefficient of performance (COP) – rates the compression power of an HVAC unit (in kW and horsepower) and its cooling capacity in tons; the higher the COP, the more efficient the HVAC
The efficiency of other HVAC components such as heat transfer equipment and cooling towers, and air-side economizers, are explained during the course as well.