The HVAC system is a major energy consumer especially for commercial buildings and over time it loses efficiency without proper care and maintenance. With the arrival of spring season, it is the perfect opportunity to pay attention to your commercial HVAC system and carry out some spring cleaning to get rid of accumulated dirt, dust, and germs in your HVAC system and upgrade your HVAC controls to improve efficiency and reduce utility bills.
There are several advantages for carrying out spring cleaning for your commercial HVAC system including improved ventilation, enhanced comfort, increased efficiency and reduced utility bills. In addition, it will also increase the lifespan of your HVAC system.
In this article, we take a look at some of the spring maintenance tips for your commercial HVAC system.
Replace the Air Filter
Over time, the air filter in your commercial HVAC system accumulates dust and dirt which not only contribute to indoor air pollution but also put extra load on the HVAC system. Cleaning air filter will improve indoor air quality in your space as well reduce energy costs of your building. Operating your commercial HVAC systems with clean air filters can reduce energy usage by up to 15%.
Clean HVAC system components
HVAC system indoor components including evaporating coils, blower fans accumulate layers of dust, dirt, germs, scaling and so on which greatly reduce system efficiency and lower indoor air quality. Make sure during spring cleaning, these parts are properly cleaned for the upcoming season. Also do not forget to clean and lubricate fan blades for smooth function.
With the prevalent of covid-19, it is possible that the virus can circulate in the air through the system and increase risk of transmission within a building due to poor ventilation. This is why it is now imperative more than ever that before reopening you carry out a deep cleaning of your commercial HVAC system. You should ensure you get the services of professionals who follow covid-19 disinfection protocol.
Ensure proper refrigerant level
Cooling systems need to have the right amount of refrigerant to capture and release heat properly. The refrigerant in cooling system is found in evaporating coils- these evaporate the refrigerant to absorb heat from the surrounding area and is transferred to condenser coil where it reverts back to liquid form and heat is released either into or outside the building, ensuring the heat pump or cooling system is functioning properly. It is imperative that the proper refrigerant level is maintained. Without it, commercial HVAC system will have lower efficiency and eventually lead to system breakdown, requiring major repairs.
Upgrade HVAC Controls
With commercial HVAC systems accounting for more than 50% to 60% of the total energy consumption, upgrading your HVAC controls can be the best investment for your HVAC system this season. Smart commercial HVAC controls such as DDC systems can increase your system efficiency up to 40%. Today’s smart commercial HVAC control also allows you to monitor and control multiple building systems in a unified platform and also provide a hassle-free energy management system, improving efficiency and reducing utility bills.
Inspect and clean drain lines
The cooling drain line can become clogged leading to the unit shutting down or worse, leaking and triggering serious water damage to the building. Inspect your drain lines and condensate pans and make sure that they are not clogged with debris, mold or mineral deposits and clean them properly. If you have a HVAC monitoring app or a newer HVAC system, it can notify you when the drain pan is filled with water so you know that the line is clogged and fix the problem before it causes any major damage.
Clean outdoor units
In addition to cleaning HVAC inner components, you should also ensure that the outdoor cabinet that holds the condenser unit and other components are clean. During winter season, there can be build-up of debris including leaves, branches or other materials that can obstruct the vents and reduce airflow, thereby reducing efficiency. Make sure these are removed and cleaned properly.
Inspect and repair electrical wiring
Another important thing to note during spring cleaning of your commercial HVAC system is to properly check and test control box, wiring and connections so that they are secure and without any damage. Examine all wiring for any signs of damage, including rodent nests, burnt wires, and loose connections and fix the issue before it leads to major problems.
HVAC system is an important building system component for any commercial building and with the arrival of spring season, it is important that you have it ready to prevent downtime and save on energy costs. With these tips, you can ensure your commercial HVAC system will be running smoothly and efficiently and you can enjoy both peace of mind as well as lower energy costs this spring. A-TECH Engineering Ltd.- a leading HVAC controls contractor based in Toronto provides efficient HVAC system cleaning and maintenance services as well as smart building automation system that not only increase efficiency and reduce energy bills but also improve indoor air quality and occupants’ comfort. Connect with us to get a FREE assessment of your commercial HVAC system today.
Do you have a high energy consuming building? Did you know with smart energy management solutions, you can increase operational efficiency, identify cost savings opportunities and at the same time reduce your company’s carbon footprint? In today’s energy conserving era, progressive business owners are increasingly becoming aware of the need for reducing energy costs and lowering their environmental impact. In this article we take a look at how energy management system can transform your building into an energy saving building and leverage your business. Before we begin, let’s take a look at what energy management means.
What is energy management?
Energy management refers to the planning and operation of energy consumption in a building or facility. The ultimate goal of an energy management system is to produce maximum operational efficiency while reducing energy costs and environmental impact. Energy management solutions can be implemented across the entire municipality, a particular facility or building, or even specific energy systems. Although the key focus of energy management is on buildings, it can also include equipment efficiency, electricity consumption, water management and so on. There are numerous benefits of energy management system which can help businesses achieve operational, financial and environmental goals. Some of these are:
Increase building efficiency
With an efficient energy management system, you can optimize the operational efficiency of your building system. You can easily monitor and control various building systems such as lighting, heating, ventilation and cooling, security, access control and so on to optimize the overall building performance. For example, with automated building systems, you can control and alter the temperature of the HVAC system to match outdoor temperature so that it is not overloaded. This will not only improve system efficiency but also reduce your utility bills. In addition, you will also prevent major repair and maintenance jobs.
Improve occupants’ comfort
Having an energy management system enables you to be a better building or facility manager as you have access to insightful data which you can use to better manage the building systems. This way investing in energy management system can also help in enhancing occupants’ comfort, minimize health and safety issues, increase workplace productivity and much more. For instance, there have been studies that show that an efficient workplace lighting system can lead to better employee productivity as well as reduced health issues.
In addition, temperature and humidity are also important components that contribute to occupants’ comfort level, health, and productivity. Energy management system can monitor and optimize all these factors to ensure operational efficiency and provide a comfortable environment to the building occupants.
Identify cost savings
If you own a building or set of buildings that are high energy consumers and do not know where to start, having an energy management system can help you save energy. You can have easy access to a huge amount of data that can help you identify patterns and energy cost savings opportunities in your building. For example, with available data, you can easily change and control building system settings such as changing temperature in areas not needed, turning off lighting systems in unoccupied areas and so on. Energy consumption can constitute a significant portion of operating costs and managing energy consumption helps reduce energy use and operating costs by up to 25%.
Cost savings can be achieved by:
- Advocating an energy-saving culture through implementing energy usage awareness initiatives such as holding workshops, seminars and so on.
- Having a building automation system to automate building systems such as HVAC, lighting during unoccupied periods.
- Regularly maintaining energy consuming equipment such as HVAC and also upgrading
- Using alternative and energy efficient systems such as smart thermostats, motion sensor lights, waterspouts and so on.
Reduce your environmental impact
Having energy management system demonstrates environmental leadership as well as fulfilling corporate social responsibility. You can avail government funded incentives by partaking in various energy programs for business. In addition, by reducing carbon emissions, it improves local air quality, creates healthy spaces, and offers a higher standard of living for the citizens.
Create positive branding
While energy management system can help you reduce your operating costs and improve efficiency, it can also create a positive image of your business or organization among the stakeholders, clients and local community. In addition, it will also help you attract the right kind of people to work as studies have shown that employees prefer working for organizations that are conscious about their environmental impact.
As the world today is geared towards adopting sustainable business practices, investing in energy management system is not just a consideration but a necessity. If you are ready to incorporate energy management strategy and goals for your organization, feel free to connect with A-TECH Engineering Ltd– an advanced energy company based in Toronto that can help you with smart energy management services that best fit your business model.
Before, people used to think that building automation systems are only for large commercial and industrial projects and not necessary for residential buildings. Even though smart home technology has been prevalent for many years owing to their convenience and comfort, it has been only recently that facility managers and multi-residential property managers are realizing the potential and benefits of building automation system for condo buildings. Condominiums range in size from mid to large but usually comprise a large number of units with varying number of occupants and energy needs so it makes sense that integrating building automation systems in condominiums will provide added benefits to both occupants and managers for better utilization of space, energy management, enhanced comfort and so on. In this article we take a look at how condo boards, condo managers and occupants can all benefit from having an efficient building automation system.
Building Automation System
Building automation system in condominiums refers to automatic and centralized control of the condo’s systems, including HVAC, lighting, security and so on. Usually building automation systems (or BAS) are driven by sensors, controls and a network infrastructure installed in the building and managed from a unified interface. Although previously building automation systems used to be expensive, the advancement of technology, Artificial Intelligence and IoT have made building automation systems highly affordable even for small building sizes. With easy upgradation, even older buildings that use BACnet protocol can be integrated with updated and newer software that are user-friendly and requires the least human intervention, thereby reducing the hassle of frequent technical support or maintenance issues. Some of the major benefits of having building automation system in condominiums are:
Reducing Utility Bills
Utilities usually account for 30-40% of a condominium’s operating costs covering lighting, heating, ventilation, and air cooling. Moreover, obsolete HVAC equipment that are rarely maintained in condominiums are highly inefficient and waste a ton of energy, thereby increasing utility bills redundantly. Furthermore, when you rely on human intervention, energy bills also increase in condo projects due to misuse of electricity, water and so on.
Having building automation system helps to identify wastage areas, minimize the need of human intervention in maintaining the building systems and reduces energy costs by 5%-30% in the long run. In addition, there are building automation systems that integrate submetering, which is extremely useful for condominiums. Submetering gives you a clear picture of how much energy each unit consumes, detects areas of cost improvement as well as offers occupants a fair-pay system for utilities.
Better Energy Management
As automated building systems reduce electricity bills, they also provide an improved energy management system for condominiums. With automated building system controls, as a condominium manager, you can utilize smart sensors that can trigger automated actions that optimize energy usage while ensuring occupants’ comfort. For example, when the gym experiences high traffic on a particularly hot and humid day, automation can activate the air conditioner and when the gym is unoccupied, it can turn off the lights and AC to prevent energy wastage. In this way building automation system is also able to provide better space utilization in condominiums which otherwise would eat up a lot of resources to look after the condo amenities and facilities.
Condominiums are storehouses for a large amount of data most of which are either not collected or utilized properly. With building automation system in condominiums, condo managers can access this data anytime, anywhere and make much better informed decisions such as managing building resources in an energy efficient way, taking preventive measures for maintenance issues and so on. For example, say there is a water leakage in one of the condo units. Realistically, it might not get inspected by anyone until some serious damage occurs. Having building automation system with water sensors, condo managers can easily note the spike in water usage and be able to take care of the issue before any real damage occurs.
With the vast pool of data, building managers can also know traffic or number of occupants in various areas during different times. This information will help to schedule any maintenance work easily without interfering with occupants timing, thus elevating their condo living experience.
Today’s IoT enabled building automation systems can be monitored and accessed from anywhere and anytime, giving you full control over your building systems. Moreover, with AI integration, the process works on its own with minimal human intervention so you have the peace of mind that if something goes wrong, it will be taken care of without any added stress.
Most traditional condos used to rely on concierge service for security. This involved a lot of hassles including having to recruit the right people, managing them, and also paying them. However, with building automation system in condominiums, security and access controls are much more efficient, intuitive, and able to send alerts instantly to any security anomaly. Smart security systems have evolved greatly from traditional and simple CCTV to IoT empowered digital access controls that use sensors, biometrics, camera and data analytics for ensuring effective and hassle-free security of the condominium. In addition, condo managers no longer need to install and maintain complex IT infrastructure as most of these systems are cloud-based.
Condo boards can significantly reduce energy consumption by embracing automated building systems which not only provide financial benefits through energy savings but also add to occupants’ comfort. In addition, instead of wasting resources for monitoring multiple building operations and units, building automation system provides an easy and better way to evaluate the energy profile of the building and helps you make better energy management decisions. A-TECH Engineering Ltd. – a Toronto based energy management company – provides innovative IoT enabled building automation system that gives you guaranteed energy savings, increased efficiency, and enhanced occupant comfort. Connect with us to reduce your condo management hassle and provide a better condo living experience with smart and efficient buildings.
With traditional energy sources becoming increasingly costlier, the scope of alternative energy is rapidly becoming the object of attention for several progressive business owners looking for sustainable, cleaner, and reliable energy solutions. Using renewable energy not only provides businesses and organizations with monetary benefits but also provides long lasting positive impact on the environment. In this article we take a look at what renewable energy entails and how businesses can leverage it.
WHAT IS RENEWABLE ENERGY?
Renewable energy refers to energy that is harvested from natural resources, which are inexhaustible in nature and can be easily replenished. This comprises carbon neutral sources like solar, wind, water, tides, geothermal heat as well as photovoltaic and biomass resources.
On the other hand, non-renewable energy resources which include fossil fuels such as oil, coal, natural gas, and others are consumed at a much faster rate than they are replenished. Because of the finite nature of non-renewable resources, renewable or alternative energy has been gaining a lot of momentum in many industries in order to fill in the energy gap created as these non-renewable resources get exhausted.
Renewable energy is used to provide energy in four important areas including electricity generation, air and water heating or cooling, off-grid energy generation and transportation. It offers comparatively safer, cleaner, cheaper, and efficient energy than non-renewable energy as well as plays a critical role in replenishing non-renewable energy sources as well as mitigates the risks of climate change resulting from use of fossil fuels.
With the demand for efficient and reliable energy as well reduced environmental impact, alternative or renewable energy promises to be part of any sustainable energy management system for a business.
Here are some of the ways your business can leverage renewable energy.
- Environmental benefits: Renewable energy provides a clean source of energy compared to conventional energy generation sources. For example, a recent study revealed 29 percent of global warming emissions in the US results from the electricity sector from burning fossil fuels like oil, coal, and natural gas. However, most renewable energy sources generate little to no global warming emissions at all. In addition, by reducing carbon footprint, it also helps to improve overall air quality and public health. Due to air pollution and poor air quality, people all over the world suffer from serious health issues including respiratory diseases, neurological disorder, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, premature death, and a host of other health risks.
- Reliable energy: Most of the time non-renewable energy generated has to be distributed from source to usage area. During this process, a majority of the energy is wasted and there are also power disturbances. On the other hand, renewable energy is produced locally. As a result, it saves energy, prevents wastage, and mitigates the risk of power outage or fluctuation problems, thus benefiting your business.
- Cost-effective – Many traditional business owners tend to think renewable energy is costly and not at all financially feasible for their business model. However, in reality this form of energy is economically viable as it provides a safety net against increasing cost of electricity which is a major overhead cost for many businesses. For example, a study reveals that commercial property owners can reduce their electricity bill by 75 percent by simply installing solar panels.
- Get incentivized – Many governments all over the world including Canada, in order to mitigate climate change, have introduced several energy programs that provide significant incentives, tax rebates and grants for participating in clean energy programs and helping the world to be a safer and cleaner place. Your organization can benefit financially from this too. For Canadian organizations, you can find more resources here.
- Goodwill and brand recognition – Not only organizations and people working in the environment sector, but common people as well are becoming aware of the effects of climate change and the need to participate in cleaner, environment-friendly energy generation and consumption. As a business that employs sustainable business practices including using alternative energy sources, you can benefit from the goodwill of mass people and reinforcement of a positive brand image, which will reflect in increased sales and ROI.
- Employee loyalty– Studies have also shown that 64 percent people will not take up a job in a company that does not participate in corporate social responsibilities. As a result, by investing in alternative energy solutions, you will also be able to recruit and retain a team of talented employees that are loyal to your organization.
- Employment opportunities – The renewable energy sector is labor intensive and by investing in it, your organization will be creating more job opportunities in the market and contributing to overall socio-economic development.
Investing in renewable energy solutions can help your businesses beyond just significantly reducing energy bills and improving efficiency. Conventional energy solutions are increasingly becoming more costlier and disruptive day by day and the trend is likely to continue. Switching to alternative energy solutions will not only help your business alone but also have a positive impact for the future generation. A-TECH Engineering – a leading energy company based in Toronto provides innovative energy solutions including CHP, solar energy and more to help your business become sustainable while saving energy and reducing carbon footprint. Connect with us to learn more today.
Technology has advanced by leaps and bounds over the years and has surely revolutionized many industries. The building system is also not so far behind that is set to see an all-new transformation. Whether it is residential or commercial or facility, modern buildings have undergone massive transformation in more than just appearance. They are no longer simply boxes with roofs and walls. Today’s buildings are intuitive, reactive, and preemptive in nature not only to external stimuli but also to internal stimuli, thanks to building innovation technologies. According to a study, smart building technology had been expected to reach 36 billion USD by 2020. In this article, we take a look at what AI or Artificial Intelligence is and how it is reshaping building automation and HVAC systems and creating smarter buildings for tomorrow.
AI and smart buildings
“Intelligence is not skill itself, it’s not what you can do, it’s how well and how efficiently you can learn new things.”- Francois Chollet, AI researcher at Google.
AI or Artificial Intelligence refers to creating intelligent machines, computers or programs that are capable of self-learning, adapting, and improvising in a new environment while applying that knowledge for various tasks and functions in an unfamiliar scenario without human intervention.
AI and buildings are a match made in heaven that has enabled streamlining, optimizing, and revolutionizing the functionality of buildings, thus resulting in smarter buildings for the future.
Before, we already had a prevalence of technologies that added to building functionality and provided better experience to occupants such as CCTV system, fire alarms, smoke detectors and so on. However, today, the building technology industry has grown exponentially and includes a plethora of systems and sensors such as temperature, humidity, co2 monitoring and so on. These are able to store a wide range of data, perform a myriad of tasks that not only add to the occupant experience and comfort but also benefit various stakeholders such as facility managers, property managers. These results in ensuring that the buildings are running efficiently without any hiccup and provides maximum energy savings.
With the triple power of AI, IoT and building systems, the future buildings are set to be smarter and a lot more intelligent than ever.
AI in Building Automation
With the aid of incredibly advanced IoT solutions, massive volumes of insightful data are continuously collected from every system of a building. This data gathered provides a great resource and has the potential to help facility managers or building owners with meaningful, actionable insights in making better informed decisions to improve efficiency, reduce carbon emission, improve occupant comfort as well maximize energy savings by 25-35%. As such, AI plays a significant role in transforming the raw data into actionable insights without any human intervention at all. Without this powerful AI technology, the data gathered is rendered meaningless or at least will require a host of other resources, making the entire process costly and cumbersome.
However, with AI, building managers can make sure operational efficiency is much higher, utilize resources reliably, and improve the overall comfort level of occupants.
AI in HVAC system
The HVAC system is without any doubt an important component of any building system and also known to be one of the major energy consumers, sometimes accounting for about more than 50% of the building’s energy use. As a result, it makes sense to integrate AI into HVAC systems making them more efficient, intuitive as well as environment friendly. Although AI technology has been largely employed in smart buildings as well as other industries, its involvement in the HVAC system has been fairly less. In addition, HVAC system use depends largely on external environment factors like temperature, weather and season. However, it is generally built for a stable or static environment which not only disrupts the performance of HVAC systems but also overtime reduces their efficiency and increases energy bills despite having regular service and maintenance.
Now with the addition of AI in HVAC system, such as Brainbox AI, makes the HVAC system from reactive to preemptive in nature, relying on a combination of deep learning, cloud-based computing, and a process that enable a continuously self-operating system without any human involvement and provides maximum system efficiency as well as significant energy savings. With the power of AI, facility managers, property owners can also leverage data from various point sources and utilize those data to make better informed decisions seamlessly.
The world is changing exponentially nowadays with the advancement of technology and modern facilities and building managers are increasingly becoming aware of not only providing exceptional value to occupant experience but also using resources in a smart and reliable way, and this is only possible with the integration of AI and IoT into building automation and control systems.
A-TECH Engineering Ltd.- a leading building automation and HVAC controls provider based in Toronto – offers IoT-enabled building automation as well Brainbox AI reselling services to ensure not only optimum efficiency but also a seamless and hassle-free user experience that requires the least human intervention. Connect with an A-TECH team member today and find out how we can take your building automation to the next level of efficiency, energy savings and occupant comfort.
HVAC system is a major component of your commercial space as they provide a number of benefits in regular operation of the building or facility, hence it is imperative that you have your HVAC system periodically maintained and serviced to avoid system failure and unnecessary repair costs. However, just regular maintenance and servicing is not enough in today’s fast paced era where even a short downtime can cost you thousands of dollars. Having an efficient HVAC monitoring system for your commercial space can help you constantly track the performance and energy use of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning units in your building, send direct alerts and notifications in case of any discrepancy and prevent major repairs and downtime. In this article, we take a look at what entails a HVAC monitoring system and how it can be beneficial for your facility or building.
Why Is it important?
HVAC system is no doubt an integral part of a facility or building as it is necessary not only for ensuring comfort of building occupants but also for maintaining optimum condition for equipment and/or manufacturing.
In addition, HVAC system also helps to regulate dust, microbes in the air, and thus during this pandemic, it is important more than ever to ensure that your HVAC system is working properly to minimize the risk of spread and transmission of COVID-19. This is where the HVAC monitoring system steps in as it provides constant and accurate data of your HVAC system performance and efficiency. Without HVAC analytics, problems with equipment may remain undetected for a long time where you lose efficiency, as well as incur high energy costs or major repair costs. In addition to exorbitantly increasing operating expenses, HVAC system problems can also cause health problems in workers, result in sickness and absenteeism as well as reduce your overall workforce productivity by 6%-10%.
One of the major steps you can take to improve your system efficiency and make your building into an energy saving one is to install a monitoring system that covers the entire HVAC system, including chillers, exhaust fans, and so on. The HVAC monitoring app can help you identify issues and get corrected in real time, thus preventing any lag time. Furthermore, consumption profiles can be easily evaluated by machine learning algorithms to provide accurate forecasts of future problems. This enables you to take preventive measures and fix the problem proactively and thereby reduce major servicing and repair costs as well as save time.
In addition, today’s advanced IoT solutions lets you manage the entire system remotely from anywhere with cellular connectivity. You can do multiple tasks through your HVAC monitoring app such as:
- Monitor and energy consumption- Find out exactly how much energy you are using for heating and ventilation.
- Perform energy audits- Get real time statistics and reports on historical energy profile.
- Detect energy wastages instantly – Set up alerts whenever certain levels are reached.
- Operate equipment remotely- Control and better manage your equipment from anywhere, anytime.
How does the HVAC monitoring system work?
In today’s fast paced technological era, HVAC monitoring system offers cost effective solutions to provide 24/7 tracking and regulating your HVAC units. With this, as a facility manager or building operating you can get useful data, observe trends, and optimize usage that helps in lowering energy costs and carbon footprint. It uses sensors for collecting building data and displays this data in a single interface for actions to be taken promptly. This provides today’s progressive building operators with a high-level knowledge and understanding of their HVAC units without relying on technicians all the time and helps them detect any anomaly that can prevent costly damage and repairs.
In addition, the data provides a holistic view of the HVAC system, so it accurately predicts usage demand of HVAC system, thus optimizing its use. If at any point real-time demand does not match the predicted demand, the system can trigger an alert sent directly to the building operator whenever there is an anomaly. This enables the building manager to resolve any impending issues speedily as well as improves HVAC system efficiency.
A-TECH Engineering, a leading building automation and HVAC controls provider in Toronto, provides you with state-of-the-art HVAC monitoring system that helps you reduce energy bills and increase efficiency. In addition, you can also avail innovative HVAC cleaning technology that helps not only increase efficiency but also improve indoor air quality by killing germs and microbes and reducing risk and transmission of diseases like COVID-19. To learn more, connect with an A-TECH Engineering specialist today and take control of your building system.