The heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is critical in any building, and is responsible for up to 40 percent of the total energy consumed by a typical commercial building. Correct operation of the system is essential both to energy efficiency and comfort for tenants and or customers. Incorrect operation can lead to unnecessary energy consumption, tenant complaints, poor indoor air quality, and even environmental damage. Insulpak can design and construct HVAC systems for new buildings, or retrofit systems to existing buildings.
As equipment ages, it has a tendency to break down more frequently. The age at which breakdowns occur will vary with the type of equipment in the building, but increased maintenance costs and or frequency of breakdowns are major clues that the equipment may need to be modernised. Direct replacement of the equipment is the simplest approach, but it may not be the best choice in every case.
Alternatively managers can consider re-fitting parts of an older or inefficient system. For example, pneumatic temperature control systems are widely used because of their simplicity but require continual maintenance and calibration. New, computerised, direct digital control (DDC) systems provide more precise control and greater reliability, along with better energy efficiency. In addition, the information capability of these systems can assist the maintenance staff greatly, a side benefit of a retrofit that was designed to save energy.
Insulpak has the experienced staff to be able to assess and review the performance and any preventative maintenance required.
Breakdowns and energy efficiency are the most common reasons for retrofitting a HVAC system. One option for the air distribution system is to convert dual duct, multi-zone, or constant volume systems to a variable volume system. This may require damper installation, duct work modifications, and fan changes. The older variable volume systems can have outlet dampers or inlet guide vanes replaced with variable speed drives for improved savings.
The chilled water system can be converted to a primary or secondary system that uses variable water flow for the secondary system, which feeds the chilled water coils that allow the system to provide cooling without utilizing the chiller.
These systems are useful when cooling is required during low ambient temperature conditions. This can include using a heat exchanger between the chilled-water loop and the condenser system, a “strainer cycle” that uses a cross-connection (with filtering and treatment) between the chilled-water system and the condenser system, or a refrigerant migration (or “free cooling”) cycle within the chiller.
As noted earlier, control system changes are among the most popular retrofits. The improved technology of current DDC systems provides improved control of the system, which can increase tenant comfort as well as save energy. Most of these systems also can provide the information required to bill tenants for after hours energy consumption. Many of the manufacturers provide this type of equipment, which will provide similar savings in individual or multi-unit application.
In addition, the DDC system can provide information about the building and the system, a service that will allow the maintenance staff to check on conditions without going all over the building. If there is a complaint, the temperature in the area and the operation of the equipment can be checked immediately. However, consistent monitoring of the remains important to identify potential problems before they arise.
Talk to us at Insulpak to provide you with further information on how we can improve the energy efficiency of your building.