System operators often take control of HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) maintenance projects. When faced with pressing operational needs, they sacrifice the system’s efficiency. This is why maintenance projects focused on increasing the efficiency of HVAC systems fail to deliver excellent results.
As a business owner, facility director, or manager, you should understand how your HVAC system can affect your company’s operations. The inclusion of a PICV valve can significantly increase the efficiency of your cooling and heating system, but you need to know and understand the process as a whole.
Fortunately, a step-by-step approach to optimizing your HVAC system can deliver maximum results. Here’s what you need to know about this approach:
HVAC systems found in air distribution systems, steam, and hot water plants consume large amounts of water. These systems, therefore, need optimization. Their energy and water consumption should be minimized to enable your company to reach sustainability goals and reduce operational costs.
A basic optimization process begins with calculating the current performance of your HVAC system. This is to determine the potential energy you can save if it is optimized.
Next, control upgrades should be identified using a scope-of-work document. This document will enable the engineering team to create a simulation model of the update. At the same time, it will be able to determine the new system’s energy and cost savings.
Finally, based on the result of the simulation, you and your team can create a life-cycle cost analysis. It will include the system’s cost of maintenance, utility incentives, and depreciation.
This analysis will be used to calculate the new system’s internal rate of return and net present value, which will help your business determine how the system affects your operational costs.
Guidelines to Optimising an HVAC System
If you want to have a successful optimization project, there are three guidelines to follow:
First, you can’t optimize your HVAC system if you can’t measure its operational cost. You should be able to accurately measure the energy consumed and released by each part of the equipment in the system. Otherwise, it is impossible to report and predict how varying conditions affect the system.
Second, optimize the entire system and not just the individual parts. Automated optimization of a whole HVAC system can effectively increase its energy consumption and output by an additional 10-25% even if you install a single new component.
However, that percentage can potentially rise if your optimization plan maximizes the performance of the whole system and not just by focusing on updating what you reckon are the essential pieces.
Finally, optimization is a regular maintenance project. You have to perform it continuously. It requires a real-time dynamic process to maximize a system’s efficiency because maintenance relies on real-time inputs.
In the end, remember that an optimization project can only become successful if companies can collaborate properly with the right technical training, equipment vendors, control contractors, and facility operators. If you want to embark in a new optimization effort, follow the steps above.