Commercial HVAC Services posts

How to Save Energy in Big, Old Commercial Buildings

Did you know that 20% of all the energy we use in the U.S. powers commercial buildings? This can be anything from office buildings to schools to government offices. With this much of our energy use going to commercial buildings, it’s important that we work to keep these buildings as energy efficient as possible.

However, according to EnergyStar.gov, the average commercial building wastes 30% of the energy it consumes. With this in mind, there are a variety of ways that commercial building owners can work to improve energy efficiency measures to save more energy and money over time.

5 Commercial Building Energy-Saving Tips

Unfortunately, the same energy-saving tips for homeowners are not necessarily effective for older commercial buildings. That’s why we’ve put together a list of simple tips that you can use to improve energy efficiency in your commercial building.

  1. Turn off lights when not in use.

When you are not using lights or daytime light is sufficient, be sure to turn off the lights within the building. This includes during the night time when no one is working in the office. Turning off lights when not in use can reduce lighting expenses by up to 40%.

  1. Monitor computer power usage.

Computers use a lot of energy over time, so it’s important to be smart about how you manage computer use. Use power management functions to ensure that computers and computer monitors go to sleep when not in use. You should also activate sleep settings on other office equipment such as printers, copiers, and scanners.

  1. Use smart power strips.

Plug any electronics into smart power strips that allow you to designate which electronics are always on and which are switched off when not in use. Using a device like this can help you save energy by turning off the power supply to the devices that do not need to be on continuously.

  1. Use programmable thermostat to adjust temperatures at night.

To save energy when the building is not in use, you can use a programmable thermostat to adjust the temperatures at night. This will ensure that you are using less energy when the building is unoccupied, while still maintaining comfortable temperatures during the day when the building gets the most traffic. Also, remember to adjust thermostats during seasonal temperature changes to save energy.

  1. Repair damaged and missing insulation.

Just as insulation plays an important role in home energy efficiency, it’s also a vital part of maintaining efficiency in commercial buildings. Repair any damaged insulation and replace missing insulation with the proper insulation for your commercial building. Proper insulation helps ensure that hot and cool air are not escaping the building.

Save Energy with Routine Commercial HVAC Maintenance

In addition to the tips above, it’s important that you get ongoing commercial HVAC maintenance for your building’s heating and cooling systems. This goes beyond just changing the air filter regularly. You also need to get annual tune-ups and maintenance services to ensure that your system is working properly. Wear and tear on your HVAC system’s parts can make your commercial heating and cooling equipment work harder than it needs to. This not only results in increased energy usage, but can also cause lasting damage to your system.

Sheldon’s Heating & Air Conditioning provides commercial HVAC services to businesses in Riverside, CA and beyond. Our commercial HVAC maintenance plans are ideal for Southern California business owners that want to improve their building’s energy efficiency to save more money over time.

Call us to learn more about our commercial HVAC maintenance services: (877) 411-9888.

Choosing an HVAC System for Your Multifamily Housing Complex: A Guide

Managing a multifamily housing complex can be a challenging balance of constantly justifying your qualitative and quantitative initiatives. From ensuring the financial security that keeps your building running to maintaining your tenants comfort, it can be a constant back and forth.

Perhaps the most evident example of this is in the building’s HVAC system. Your tenants will want as much control of their individual comfort as possible. However, achieving the heating and cooling needs of dozens of families can be expensive and energy inefficient. In order to achieve the right balance of fiscal responsibility and comfort, you’ll want to pay close attention to the details within this guide and work closely with your dedicated HVAC services provider.

Peak load flexibility

Choosing a system that is rigid in its capacity is a major risk for multi-family property owners. Estimating how much energy will be required for the system to function throughout the year is extremely challenging. Owning a system that can withstand a variety of peak energy loads will ensure that no matter what the weather brings or your tenants do, your system can handle it.

Individual comfort controls

This is the key differentiator between centralized and decentralized HVAC systems for apartment complexes. A centralized system, while being more efficient, will not provide temperature controls in each housing unit. This can be a major negative towards tenant retention.

Decentralized HVAC systems offer each family or individual their own unit for heating and/or cooling. While this may lead to certain tenants choosing less efficient comfort settings, it can go a long ways towards accomodating a variety of occupants long-term. Consider the long-term benefits of your building’s reputation for treating tenants vs. the long-term costs of a more expensive HVAC system. We recommend securing tenants to sustain your building and saving on HVAC expenses through other means.

Ease of maintenance

On larger systems, routine maintenance is an absolute necessity and even still, repairs will be needed. Choosing a system that is relatively easy to maintain, will ensure that HVAC contractors don’t have to charge double the time to perform their work. You will also save money over the span of your system’s life if parts are cheaper and easier to obtain for your contractor. Consider these ongoing expenses when choosing your new multifamily HVAC system.

Centralized vs. Decentralized

For a multi-family complex, owners have two options for HVAC systems – Centralized and decentralized. Centralized systems are more expensive upfront, but are much more energy efficient. Centralized systems work to heat the entire building from a centralized location (typically the basement or a penthouse). This makes it challenging to achieve comfort control for all tenants, but allows the owner to control energy costs. Centralized systems are often preferred in larger complexes due to their energy savings and upfront cost (once the complex reaches a certain number of units, it is no longer cheaper to install individual systems for each tenant).

Below are the options for centralized (left) and decentralized (right) HVAC systems for multi-family complexes. The systems are in order from cheapest to most expensive to install as well as from least to most energy efficient.

CentralizedDecentralized
Hot water baseboard – These units work to provide tenants with hot water from a central location. The water will flow through the radiator as the radiator pulls in cool air and heats it. Electric baseboard heat – These are simple baseboard units that are only capable of providing heat.
Two pipe systems – The two pipes are for sending hot OR cold water and returning the water back to the system. Because of its design, only hot OR cold water can be sent at once, meaning all units receive either hot or cold air at a given time. Wall unit A/C – Simple units that are mounted on the wall. Typically these systems only provide cooling.
Four pipe systems – Just like the two pipe system, this system operates with a central water boiler and a central cooling plant. Unlike the two pipe system, the four pipe system has double the capacity and so can provide both hot or cold water different apartments or condos. Packaged thermal air condition – Commonly used in hospitality buildings, these are forced air systems that are mounted on the wall. They are capable of providing both heating and cooling.

*These systems are not very efficient

Geothermal – Geothermal gets its name because it utilizes a water loop in the ground to heat and cool water. These systems can utilize either a two or four pipe delivery method. Self-contained systems – These are forced air systems capable of heating/cooling that are installed in individual units (wall mounted or closets). They offer the best efficiency of individual comfort control systems.

To ensure that your building’s heating and cooling needs are being executed effectively and efficiently, work with an HVAC company with the knowledge, capacity and honesty to provide quality work. Whether you just need routine maintenance, general guidance or emergency servicing, Sheldon’s has the team you can trust to get the job done right the first time. Give us a call @ (877) 411-9888.

If Your HVAC System Works Better, Your Employees Can Too!

Whether your employees are in an office environment, retail establishment, warehouse, or any kind of business, their comfort impacts their performance. Ergonomic chairs and standing desks help office employees feel more at ease – which leads to a greater focus on work and a higher morale to power through the day. There are tools and systems in place to keep retail, service, and industrial employees safe from harm. Often overlooked, however, is the threat of harm and discomfort from a mismanaged or under-maintained commercial HVAC system. That’s where we come in.

 

The Cost of Waiting to Repair Your Commercial HVAC System

Most facility managers or commercial property owners don’t think about their HVAC system until there’s an obvious issue – the system stops working entirely to the point where the environment is unbearable or the energy bills rise so much that repairs are unavoidable. While it might feel economical to wait until your system needs an obvious repair, it’s likely that you will save money overall by investing in routine maintenance to prevent big issues in the first place. By being preventative, you can not only save on energy costs and the cost of big repairs, but you won’t lose productivity to employee distraction and dissatisfaction.

A more well-tuned and maintained HVAC system won’t just afford you better energy efficiency and less need for surprise repairs, but it also helps impact your employees’ comfort and wellness at work in four key ways:

How Does HVAC Maintenance Impact Employees?

Temperature consistency and control

Don’t ignore the data. According to a Consumer Report presented by SoftwareAdvice, 50% of surveyed employees report feeling dissatisfied with temperatures at work several times every month – 10% are dissatisfied every day. 60% of the same group report that having greater control over the temperature in their office – or being satisfied in general – would increase their productivity during the work-week. The fact is, women and men and employees older vs. younger did have different opinions about what the ideal temperature would be – while it’s your role to mitigate those differences and find a balance, it’s our job to make sure your thermostat, your vents, and your system are up to the challenge. Further, routine maintenance can prevent hot spots, cold spots, or complete system failure which would leave everybody uncomfortable.

Healthier, cleaner air to breathe

If your system isn’t routinely maintained, your air filter may have a greater chance to become dirty and contaminated, you may have allergens or dust flowing through your unclean ducts, and your employees may be unfairly subjected to allergy issues, asthma flares, or a generally uncomfortable environment in which to work. Dusty desks, sneezy coworkers, and general discomfort would impede anyone’s energy, productivity, and satisfaction at work. By having your system maintained, we can ensure clean ducts, fresh filters, and prevention of system issues that could negatively impact your air quality.

Humidity control for comfort and safety

Optimal indoor humidity levels are essential to comfort, productivity, and even safety. Luckily in California, outdoor humidity is largely kept at bay compared to balmier areas of the country. However, depending on the nature of your business, increases in humidity can and do happen, even here in the beautiful Inland Empire. The trouble with excess humidity is that it creates a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and other airborne contaminants that could put your employees and your entire building at risk. Routine commercial HVAC maintenance can also ensure that your humidity levels don’t drop too low, as dryness can cause coughing, dry eyes, and other discomforts as well.

Avoidance of disruptive noise

Something unique about the way we install and maintain systems here at Sheldon’s is how much we care about the neatness, quietness, and aesthetic of our work. We’re cognizant that our residential customers have nights of sleep to lose if we leave their systems running noisily and we take the same consideration for our commercial customers. Your employees deserve to work in an atmosphere free of distractions like loud air conditioners and furnaces, and routine maintenance can help de-escalate or prevent those issues.

Start Your Service Plan Today

Your employees will rave about the increase in temperature comfort, air quality, quietness, and ability to focus when you partner with us. Your company will benefit from their productivity, satisfaction and retention. Bonus: If you have business partners, vendors, or customers who visit your building, they’ll be happier too! Choose a commercial service plan that will keep your employees happy, your company productive, and your air clean and cool. Call Sheldon’s Today to get started. (877)-411-9888