Planning is Key to Smart Retrofit and Replacement Decisions
Comfortrol has been a leading Commercial HVAC Replacement and Retrofit expert since 1988
Your HVAC systems are critical to your ongoing business operations. They also represent a sizable business expense, both in up-front investment and in ongoing operating costs.
Whether you’re replacing existing systems, adding additional capacity to meet the changing needs of your operations – or simply looking for solutions to improve energy efficiency and occupant comfort – strategic planning is vital not only to minimizing your total costs, but also to ensuring that your new systems best meet the current and future needs of your building.
Once your master plan is in place, the actual work may be done in stages, as funding or time permits. As always our experienced team of estimators, project managers, and engineers are here to answer your questions and offer our guidance.
Michael Kimmet, President
Consider Changes in Your Building’s Layout, Heat Load, or Processes
The easiest and quickest way to replace an older HVAC system is to put in a new version of the old system. But “on the fly” replacement decisions can result in costly mistakes, and missed opportunities. When a system is originally installed, it is sized and designed to meet the needs of the building at that time; but buildings change, and so do the operations that take place within the buildings.
Considering the following factors will help to ensure optimization of your new HVAC systems by properly matching the most appropriate alternative to the intended space and application:
- Has the building’s layout or purpose changed, resulting in areas that are always too hot, or too cold?
- Has added equipment significantly increased the heat load of a space?
- Conversely, has converting a space to an alternate use significantly decreased the heat load, resulting in a unit that is now over sized for the existing space and application?
- Have changes in processes resulted in air quality, climate control, or ventilation issues?
The ideal result – from an energy efficiency and an occupant comfort standpoint – is to provide cooling only where you need it, and downsize capacity in other building spaces accordingly.
Planned Replacement: Consider Possible Cost Efficiencies
In addition to allowing you to control the timing of your capital expenditure, Planned Replacement of aging HVAC equipment – as opposed to continuously making emergency repair or replacement decisions – affords some significant cost saving benefits:
- Replacing multiple units at one time spreads out fixed costs, such as crane rental and permit fees, resulting in a lower replacement cost per unit.
- Avoids unplanned downtime, which can seriously disrupt your business.
- Allows you the time to select the best equipment for your current needs.
- Prevents “throwing good money after bad” through increasingly costly repairs made to aging equipment.
- You can explore options for defraying upfront costs, such as energy rebates, tax advantages, or equipment leasing. Combined with the lower operating costs of new, more energy efficient equipment, your actual cash outlay may actually be significantly lower than you might think.
Are you are considering between “repair vs. replacement” scenarios and would like a FREE ROI analysis? Contact us today!
Retrocommissioning and Retrofit Solutions for Optimizing Your Current Systems
For a variety of reasons, it may make more sense to upgrade your existing HVAC equipment, in order to make them less costly to operate and maintain, as well as better able to adequately control space temperature and humidity. Depending on the type of system, there are a variety of energy-efficient retrofit options available, including:
- Supply fan speed controls: Adjust the speed of your fans as your heating and cooling needs vary.
- Demand-controlled ventilation: Adjusts your intake of outside air based on the carbon dioxide levels in the space.
- Cooling capacity controls: For a system that can run the compressors at varying speeds, reduce the load when you don’t need the system running at full capacity.
In many cases, simple post-occupancy commissioning of the HVAC systems can yield significant savings. Installation problems are rampant, even in relatively new buildings. According to findings compiled by New Buildings Institute, common defects in rooftop HVAC equipment less than five years old included:
- Inoperative or missing economizers
- Refrigerant overcharged or undercharged
- Low air flow; and
- Fans running during occupied periods.
Consider New Developments in Building Automation
The technology for building automation is rapidly advancing, while at the same time becoming much more affordable for a variety of facilities and needs. From schools and churches who are looking for an affordable way to reduce energy costs, to restaurants and other controlled environment facilities who must maintain specific temperature and humidity ranges, there is a system available that can provide any, or all of the following features:
- Wireless technology: Makes the new systems easy and cost effective to install, and even easier to use – providing remotes access from a laptop or smartphone, and at a much friendlier price tag than the traditional Building Management System (BMS).
- Per zone HVAC and lighting control: Using occupancy sensors, scheduling, or a combination, to switch on your HVAC and lighting only when people are present.
- User friendly interfaces and web-based portals: Allowing building managers – even of multiple, scattered site facilities – to easily monitor and make changes to their system schedules based on occupancy schedules.
- Real time alerts: Notifies you immediately if a system is malfunctioning.
Tanger Outlet in Columbus Ohio – Commercial HVAC Replacement and Retrofit
Watch the video of out helicopter team dropping off a new HVAC unit at Tanger Outlet
“We recouped our investment in less than a year by reducing energy costs. At the same time, we significantly reduced the amount of time spent managing the facility, enabling us to focus on our core mission.” – Blair Nordvedt, Facilities Manager of Grace Community Church, who installed the Autani EnergyCenter. They are just one of the non-proprietary building automation systems that Comfortrol can provide Commercial HVAC Replacement and Retrofit services.