Institutions such as hospitals, schools and universities, and government buildings consume significant amounts of energy in heating and cooling. With Chicagoland’s unique annual temperature extremes and changeability, the real cost of warming or cooling the interior of the buildings to comfortable levels can be astronomical. In many cases, the buildings are older with poor insulation as well as windows and doors that permit excessive loss of energy.
The first solution to reducing energy costs in institutions is to evaluate the existing HVAC system.
Energy Evaluation Only By a Trusted Provider
When a facilities manager recognizes that the cost of heating and cooling may have gotten out of hand, their solution is to contact a heating and air conditioning company. The problem could be that much needed maintenance has been skipped. Or, it may be time to invest in new and more efficient HVAC systems that will reduce operating costs significantly over time. But how do you know?
HVAC Maintenance Program
If your system is generally in good working order but some maintenance or replacement issues are causing problems, it is a good idea to establish an ongoing maintenance contract with a reputable HVAC service company. The contract would set a specified number of maintenance visits designed to keep the equipment in the best possible working condition. This agreement should include inspection of all parts and timely replacement of those elements that are hindering efficient operation. Clean, well-filtered systems are much less likely to break down.
The key objectives of a maintenance service contract are to:
- Extend the life of the existing equipment
- Avoid downtime
- Eliminate costly mechanical repairs and service calls.
Efficient, well-maintained HVAC systems consume less energy and save money.
Most institutions already have an HVAC service provider. Some may even have a maintenance contract in hand. But if the costs have continued to increase unexpectedly or sudden breakdowns have occurred, perhaps interviewing another HVAC service company can provide new insight.
Sometimes “low-ball” competitors will shortcut routine maintenance steps in an effort to save money.
The best plan is to seek a reputable, long-standing and certified service provider that has been in business for many years, a clear sign of reliability and integrity.
Institution HVAC System Evaluation: Fix or Replace?
A thorough energy assessment will evaluate and identify elements of the structure that may be cause of energy loss such as:
- Poor insulation
- Broken window and doors seals
- Thermostat problems
- Faulty water heaters or other components
To achieve an accurate assessment of the condition of the system, a certified technician will run a series of tests to determine whether the units should be repaired or possibly replaced. Age, pending parts replacements and overall efficiency, will be scored to determine the near-term projected cost of continuing with the older equipment.
If a replacement system is an option, General Mechanical will provide a total cost analysis that includes initial investment, depreciation, energy rebates, and a projected cost of operation and maintenance. New ENERGY STAR® qualified HVAC systems are surprisingly affordable when long-term operating costs are calculated.
Reducing the Carbon Footprint
Many institutions, including hospitals and universities, are receiving wide recognition for energy efficiency, sustainability, and efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. It may be time to rethink old equipment and move toward a more efficient and cleaner HVAC system.
Is it time for HVAC replacement or an assessment? Contact General Mechanical today!