Five Ways To Get Your Building Green For Earth Day

By Rod Bachman

M.all companies join the sustainability movement en masse by going ‘green’. Whatever the green goals of these companies, their HVAC system is a great place to start. With Earth Day approaching, now is a great time to think about ways businesses can cut costs and consume energy by making some smart changes to their HVAC systems.

Earth Day HVAC
(Credit: Getty Images / RossHelen)

Here at Bachman’s Inc. our team has a deep understanding of green practices and familiarity with green requirements and processes. Below are five steps you can take to green your building, not just for Earth Day, but every day.

1. Plan and maintain equipment properly

Optimal HVAC efficiency is achieved with scheduled maintenance. With clean, well-functioning systems you ensure reliable, efficient service during extreme weather conditions. According to the NADCA HVAC Inspection Manual, it is important to develop an HVAC maintenance checklist that includes replacing filters clogged with carbon particles and debris, cleaning coils to minimize overheating, thermostat ratings that detect poor set points, checking for refrigerant leaks, and checking drainage and collection trays.

2. Check your HVAC system

Installing an HVAC system that is the right size for your business will save energy, save costs and maintain a long life. According to Energy.gov, an undersized system will not cool sufficiently and will work overtime to compensate, causing early wear. An oversized system will cycle on and off regularly, causing temperature fluctuations and hot and cold spots, leaving excess humidity and wasting energy. Industry accepted audit procedures include looking at building floor space, window size and type, ventilation, physical orientation of the building, and many other aspects of the building.

3. Install programmable thermostats

Programmable thermostats give facility managers more control over the temperature, ultimately saving money and energy. According to PG&E, by lowering the heating by 10 degrees during hours when the building is unoccupied, you use 10% less energy. Savings are greater if there is a greater difference between indoor and outdoor temperature. In addition to saving energy, it can help your business cut costs by limiting the amount of energy consumed when the business is closed.

4. Control the speed of your HVAC electric motors

Electric motors are used in all HVAC systems, which make up a large part of the total HVAC energy consumption in commercial buildings. By making those engines work more efficiently, significant savings can be made. This can be done using frequency converters (VFDs). According to Iota Communications, a sustainable energy and energy-saving company, is a motor running at partial speed, more energy efficient than a motor running at full speed. VFDs can be used to control the speed of HVAC fans, pumps or compressors. This results in increased efficiency and energy savings.

5. Isolate

According to the Ministry of EnergyIf you have a poorly insulating building, this can lead to a loss of conditioned air. It is possible to get better HVAC energy efficiency by trapping all produced air. By adding insulation to walls, windows, pipes, ducts and outlets, you save energy.

Rod Bachman is chairman of Bachman’s Inc., a commercial HVAC company based in Cincinnati, OH. Bachman’s Inc. offers customized service programs, engineering, manufacturing and installation of energy efficient heating, ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration and automated control systems.

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