Reduce HVAC Energy with
TUNE YOUR SYSTEM WITH MULTIPLE DATA POINTS
AND ZONE-SPECIFIC INFORMATION
amount of incoming sunlight, can help
reduce cooling load by 10-20%.
When determining where and what is
using excess energy and where to save,
monthly utility bills only say so much. Kevin
Brown, Vice President of Engineering at
ABM, suggests looking at granular data, as
frequently as information for every 15 minutes. Instead of one data point a month –
your utility bill – you will have almost 3,000
“That will tell you things like if your sys-
tem is running the right amount at night or
if all your equipment is starting at the same
time,” he says.
When determining the right temperature
and humidity, it’s important to keep the com-
fort and productivity of people in the building
in mind. The key is to find a zone where peo-
ple are comfortable and energy is optimized.
Place wireless sensors in key locations:
n High-density areas
n Spaces that aren’t in use to make sure
they aren’t running excessively
n At workstations
n Interior walls
If there’s a known issue or complaint from
people, well-placed sensors can help determine the problem, Brown suggests. “It could
be airflow or sensing and tuning issues, or it
could be a problem where you need to put
new duct runs or diffusers into a space.”
Reducing Lighting Issues
for Energy Savings
HVAC sensors can work alongside sen-
sors tied to window treatments to help with
A properly placed sensor tied to motor-
ized window treatments can pick up on sun-
light and adjust window shading during the
course of a day.
“Working together, you won’t necessar-
ily have to have the air conditioning set at
a very low temperature, the room won’t
get so warm,” says Marvin Gramm, Product
Manager at Nice Group USA. “Roller shades
can compensate for this, resulting in lower
Motorized shades can cut down on heat
and glare, so building personnel are more
comfortable and productive.
To Manage It
To reduce energy for HVAC systems,
Brown suggests looking to make improvements to an HVAC system in this order:
1) Schedule: Optimize the system to deliver
the right temperature at the right time.
2) Maintenance: Older systems that still work
often get ignored. By knowing how they
are doing and tuning them, they can get
back to their original operation or beyond.
3) Testing and balancing: Make sure the air-
flow is going to the right place.
Brown also recommends submetering and
setting up trend logs. “You have to be able
to measure it to manage it,” he says.
Another consideration is the information
the sensors collect. The proper software and
a person who can control everything will
help make the most of the system.
“Control systems need somewhere to
put the information, and a programmer can
identify and map out proper sensor placement,” Brown says. “As a system gets more
complicated, you will need more experts.”
Valerie Dennis Craven
ings.com is Editor in Chief of BUILDINGS.
HVAC systems account for 39% of the energy used in commercial buildings in the U.S., according to the Whole Building Design
Group. With Internet of Things devices and
smart sensor technology becoming more
commonplace and available, now is the time
to think about using Io T sensors for energy
The ACEEE report Smart Buildings: A
Deeper Dive into Market Segments found
that the average office can save 18% on its
annual whole-building energy consumption
by installing smart sensor technology.
Smart HVAC options cited in the ACEEE
n Installing occupancy-based wireless
THE AVERAGE OFFICE BUILDING could
thermostats. This can save 5-10% of HVAC
energy costs if programmed to allow the
HVAC system to reduce its operation when
the building or zone is unoccupied.
n Advanced rooftop unit (RTU) controls.
RTUs have the potential to cut HVAC
energy use by 20-40%, depending on how
they are set up and what components are
n CO2 demand-controlled ventilation (DCV)
sensors, which can be coupled with sen-
sors that detect a building’s occupancy
and adjust ventilation accordingly. Though
costly to install, they can make the most
sense in a building retrofit.
n Smart solar film, which can be pro-
grammed to adjust according to the
save 18% on its energy consumption by
installing smart sensors thoughout the