Building interiors aren’t suitable enough for longer-term occupancy without HVAC. Space heating systems keep a comfy indoor temperature most especially in winter, and the air conditioning system accomplishes the same function amidst the summer season. Ventilations systems consistently replenish indoor air that prevents the accumulation of pollutants. This normally circulates the air through cooling and heating equipment in order to keep optimal temperatures for the whole building.
However, HVAC performance degrades over time that leads to inefficiency, poor temperature control, reduced air quality, and increasing vibration and noise. That is why there are four opportunity areas that HVAC professionals need to know to improve HVAC performance further. It’s necessary for HVAC experts to gain more information, get updated with all the latest industry trends and get engaged with the latest technologies like construction scheduling software.
Let’s take a look now on all 4 aspects that can also be a part of the building maintenance plan. See below:
1. Improving Temperature Control
All year long, cooling and heating systems must be consistent in keeping a comfortable indoor temperature. HVAC professionals and contractors must note how oversizing equipment is considered an incorrect practice despite how common it is. Oversized equipment tends to lead to excessive heating during winter and excessive cooling during summer. Overcooling, overheating, and wasting energy can ultimately lead to health issues because occupants are directly exposed to a big difference between outdoor and indoor temperature, which is quite abnormal.
Going for the simplest ways, in order to deliver or provide the right temperature – HVAC systems must be properly configured and sized. Modern cooling and heating equipment has allowed much greater control. However, options are usually limited to the older systems. There is the best approach and it commonly depends on the specific conditions of a certain project. It might be possible to optimize any existing equipment fully, but still upgrades are cost-effective in several cases particularly when the existing installations are too old and lack of maintenance. With all being stated, HVAC professionals make the work easier and plans are implemented properly because of construction management software. HVAC projects and services are best managed using this tool. It produces team productivity and real-time collaboration.
How HVAC Zoning System Can Help?
Speaking of the HVAC zoning system or most commonly known as “zoned HVAC”, it is a cooling or heating system that typically utilizes dampers towards the ductwork in order to redirect and regulate air to particular areas. It allows the formation of customized temperature zones throughout the entire place for increased efficiency and comfort. Below are the main advantages of Zoning:
· More comfy indoor environment
· Lower energy costs
· HVAC system maintenance is minimal
· Much quieter operation for the equipment
HVAC experts usually recommend installations of the zoning system. Contractors can easily manage installation projects using a subcontractor scheduling software wherein the entire team is appropriately monitored and tracked. Cloud-based scheduling software like this is ultimately a very impressive tool for scheduling purposes.
2. Improving Energy Efficiency
Since cooling and heating systems have more increasing or higher energy consumption in comparison with other building equipment, the efficiency improvements have offered more of a drastic reduction when it comes to the operating costs. Energy efficiency and temperature control are most likely related because both are obtained simultaneously when HVAC equipment has been appropriately configured and sized.
One way to further enhance HVAC efficiency is through speed control for compressors, fans, pumps and other motor-driven components. For HVAC contractors, one way to efficiently track and monitored this type of task is by the utilization of a builders schedule software. Going back, if the full capacity of this equipment isn’t required, reducing speed operation is definitely much more efficient compare with intermittent operation. The control of the speed is also capable of extending the service life of any equipment due to the recurrent starts and stops that are mechanically demanding; thus, it causes accelerated wear.
Below are the 6 practical and easy tips to improve energy efficiency:
· Focus on insulation
· Precise measurement of energy consumption
· Selecting the best ventilation system
· Only considered certified equipment
· Upgrading to LEED
· Return on Investment should be precisely calculated
3. Improving Indoor Air Quality
Comparing with energy efficiency, indoor air quality usually receives lesser attention and details. However, it is still important to note how fundamental and essential it is for a healthy indoor environment. In order to further achieve air quality, it is necessary to keep humidity at an optimal level, and while at the same time, prevent the accumulation of air pollutants. Everything stated is equally important to be noted and taken consideration by HVAC professionals, particularly the deployment of a crew schedule software best used for project management and scheduling purposes. HVAC projects, as well as the crew, are best supervised using this.
· Excessive humidity – can cause multiplying of molds, bacteria and dust mites. Dust mites and molds can cause severe allergies, while viruses and bacteria are considered as the direct cause of numerous diseases. If humidity is combined with excessive air conditioning, except for a very uncomfortable environment.
· Excessive dryness causes skin and eye irritation. Viruses, dust and other particles remain airborne for a long time if humidity is low.
But with air pollutant concentrations, the approach will be going to be different – the levels should be modestly kept as low as it can be yet not within the optimal range. Nevertheless, it is vital to take note and be reminded that not all pollutants are equal. A very well-designed ventilation system is able to help in controlling any kinds of pollutants. Additionally, here are four practical and easy ways to further improve air quality:
· Air filters must be maintained regularly
· Keep unblocking the air vents
· Be wise enough in investing in the right products
· Air quality tests should be conducted regularly
4. Reducing Vibration and Noise
Despite vibration and noise considered separate issues, these two were almost found together in HVAC equipment. However, some degree of these factors is inevitable when it comes to larger equipment; the effect is reduced with enough supports like damping pads or springs. During the designing process of the building’s layout, the usual recommendation for this is to place mechanical rooms far away from spots or areas that are susceptible to vibration and noise.
Extreme vibration and noise are considered as a clear warning sign that the equipment used needs regular maintenance. Noise causes difficulty in concentration as well as discomfort while the vibration can cause damage equipment. HVAC professionals are using project manager software to efficiently manage projects, monitor, track crew, resources, and other info. This software tool is very beneficial for every project’s aspect.
On the other side, here are different drawings with their respective specifications:
MEP Drawings and specifications
· Maximum NC ratings for registers and diffusers
· Schedules for vibration-isolator for HVAC, plumbing and electrical equipment
· Sound power requirements specifically for air handler equipment that includes outlets and inlets
· Performance requirements with duct-silencer locations
Structural drawings and specifications
· Slab configurations wherein the slab cuts might require for reduction of vibration
· Extent and type of acoustical roof decks
· Specifications and provisions of HVAC curbs, inertia bases and housekeeping pads
Architectural drawings and specifications
· Hardware and door type schedules where gasket specifications are included
· Identification for acoustical tile ceiling and paneling drawings alongside other specifications.
· Partition types having acoustical details must be noted like resilient support and caulking
Impact on Implementing Energy Performance Goals
Engaging high-performance HVAC equipment in combination with entire building design usually results in substantial energy savings. Usually, a 30% decrease for annual energy costs can be easily achieved with the simplest payback period of about 3-5 years. And if by any possibility, the payback threshold will be extended to 7 years, the savings can become 40% by that time. These stated figures usually apply to most buildings that offer conventional comfort.
Additionally, if comfort zones are extended by air movement and natural ventilation during summer, and by lower air temperatures during winter, even more, increased savings can be totally achieved. More than that, all HVAC disciplines have specific design requirements and each has its distinct opportunities for energy savings. However, it should be necessarily understood that energy savings in one particular area might diminish or augment savings in another. It directly applies towards the interactions between HVAC system’s components. For that reason, understanding how a particular system or perhaps a subsystem affects another is crucial in creating the most of any available opportunities for energy saving. In fact, whole building design is the term used for this particular approach.
It is also important to highly take note on how energy-efficient design that is utilizing high-performance HVAC equipment typically requires more collaboration and effort from the design team in comparison with the sequential, conventional approach.
Ideally, HVAC systems must keep comfortable indoor temperatures and, at the same time, preserve the quality of air while getting the lowest energy consumption possible. HVAC Equipment must also operate with minimal vibration and noise – both these effects can cause discomfort, and vibration itself causes premature equipment failures.