Hot Tips for Effective and Efficient Heating
With the summer holidays over and temperatures rapidly falling to their autumn norms, attention has turned from air conditioning to heating. With the challenge of maintaining comfortable temperatures for employees and customers alike bringing with it environmental and economical challenges, the question arises of how do we stay warm and green whilst protecting the bottom line?
At Carlton, we are specialists in commercial air conditioning and ventilation. Whilst you may think at first glance that these have nothing to do with heating, they do in fact form an integral part of what should be seen as a complete system. Not only that, but what many people do not realise is that air conditioning is, in fact, a more cost effective way of heating a building compared to traditional ‘wet’ systems.
Commercial premises face a much greater challenge than their domestic counterparts, due to the typically larger scale of their buildings in terms of both floor space and ceiling height. In addition, the demands of individual companies can vary greatly depending on the nature of their operations. Stores, offices, warehouses, kitchens… the list of premises is endless and each has its own heating challenges.
So how can air conditioning and ventilation systems play a part in maintaining temperatures in an ecological and economical way?
Good ventilation is essential – it gives you fresh air and also helps protect a building against damp and condensation. Whilst in many situations a legal requirement under building regulations and health and safety laws, unnecessary or ineffective ventilation can waste energy and cost you a lot of money.
For example, ventilation accounts for around 30% of heat loss in most commercial buildings (an estimated 25% in industrial buildings). So what can you look at?
1. Motors / Fans
When buying new motors, always specify higher efficiency motors as they will save you up to 5% on energy costs, for little or no extra capital cost. Variable speed fans can slow down when ventilation demands decrease. This will save money on electricity as well as reducing heating/cooling costs. See Motors and Drives for more
2. Time settings
Make sure fans aren’t running when they’re not required. This not only wastes energy, but also removes heat from the building.
Above all else, the key to keeping your ventilation system effective and efficient is to ensure that it is regularly serviced by qualified and compliant engineers such as those at Carlton Services. Investing in the right maintenance will pay dividends in the longer term.
Air conditioning can use a huge amount of energy. In fact, air conditioning can increase a building’s energy consumption and associated carbon emissions by up to 100%. When used effectively, however, it can also offer significant energy benefits.
Even though air conditioning can use lots of energy, lots of organisations choose to use it for cooling year round – not least because of the extra heat generated by increasing use of IT equipment.
To put things into perspective, for an energy input of 1Kw the return is as follows for various heating solutions:
- Electric heaters – 1Kw
- Boilers – 2-3Kw
- Air Conditioning – 4-5Kw
Despite its clear advantages, there are still some simple, low-cost ways to save energy and make your air conditioning system even more efficient.
1. Temperature control
Make sure your air conditioning doesn’t operate at excessive temperature ranges, whether for heating or for cooling.This way, you’ll avoid making the unit have to work harder to maintain the desired temperature. A single degree can make a huge impact on overall energy consumption
Also, make sure that you don’t have the heating and cooling systems competing with each other – it’s a waste of money. The best way to do this is to keep a temperature gap (known as a ‘deadband’) between your heating and air conditioning control temperatures. It is also worth bearing in mind that heat spots can also affect the overall efficiency.
2. Variable speed drives
Don’t produce more cooling than you need – this wastes money and energy. Variable speed drives can vary the output of your air conditioning system to meet your needs throughout the day. This will help you save money on energy costs.
3. Free cooling coils
Free cooling coils use the outside air as a source of cooling for air conditioning systems (when it’s cool enough). This saves money because you won’t need to use as much energy to produce cooling for the air conditioning system.
With the UK’s temperate climate, free cooling coils can produce big savings.
Just as with ventilation, the importance of regular service should not be overlooked. Loss of refrigerant, blocked filters, faulty motors, incorrect settings, etc will all make the system work harder for longer and will add to your energy consumption.
With regular service by accredited engineers, you can be sure that your equipment is not only compliant with the latest legislation, but is also working at its most effective, saving you considerably.
At Carlton Services, we have over 35 years of experience in industrial and commercial air conditioning and ventilation service. To talk to an expert now, contact your local office or use our online form here.