Though the HVAC industry has always been on the forefront of providing top-of-the-line manufacturing and engineering services, a newer, larger focus on increased energy efficiency has taken its place as one of the leading drivers of HVAC innovation.
With advancements in HVAC coil performance, corrosion prevention and data collection, the industry is doing more to completely overhaul buildings’ economic and environmental viability. However, one of the larger struggles in the way of continued implementation of these strategies was the lack of universal standards and proper protocols.
Today, AHSRAE guidelines help push the industry farther along the energy efficiency spectrum by routinely updating its regulations and prompting businesses, contractors and manufacturers to build and create more efficient products and services. This can be seen in the recent change to Standard 100, Energy Efficiency in Existing Buildings.
ACHRNews reported a committee recently revised the standard to incorporate more stringent performance indicators. For instance, engineers have long found it difficult to come up with working benchmarks to accurately track progress toward energy efficiency, especially in large buildings. Standard 100-2015 now requires buildings that have been in use for at least 12 months to have an energy target set in place. This approach creates a quantitative starting point for which building managers can work from and track performance of HVAC equipment.
The update also included the need for ongoing maintenance and energy management plans as a key strategy moving forward.
Another standard, 90.4P, is currently up for review until Mar. 30. The standard concerns new guidelines for some of the largest energy-consuming buildings: data centers.
Public comments on the standard can be filed and viewed on the ASHRAE website, but industry insiders hope the standard is enacted, as it could go a long way to eliminating energy waste and improving construction of data centers from the start.
Because data centers are constantly changing and growing in size, the design of these buildings needs to more coordinated and optimized so as not to contribute to increased electricity consumption. Further, ACHRNews noted, data centers house technology that rapidly changes, which means new machines and HVAC equipment need to be installed to keep pace with innovation within the technology sector.
Without proper HVAC measures in place, data centers can quickly overheat, leading to fires and a massive loss of energy and money.
Starting with the basics
Part of the energy efficiency solution rests upon improved HVAC performance. While buildings need to be built in an environmentally conscious manner, once these buildings are up and running, serving as businesses, maintaining proper air controls becomes the greater focus. As a result, companies need to be sure their HVAC units are working at maximum efficiency so utility costs do not rise.
Routine HVAC maintenance needs to be conducted and units should be retrofitted with coated coils to prevent corrosion and poor energy performance.
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