If you’re in the process of renovating a commercial space in New York City, you know how much planning goes into the project. Architects, engineers, builders and contractors all do their parts to ensure that the space looks and functions according to the client’s requirements and can be completed within the allotted budget and time line. In spite of that, one of the most important aspects of planning a renovation is sometimes overlooked: HVAC design.
In many cases, complaints from customers and building tenants drive the need for renovations. This is particularly true for hotels, restaurants, retail establishments and other businesses where customer satisfaction can make or break the business. As a result, owners and managers of these spaces have certain requirements when they undertake a renovation project. Increased comfort and air quality are often among these expectations, as are reduced energy expenses. HVAC design plays an important role in whether or not these requirements are met.
According to FacilitiesNet, the results of a renovation project often fall short of those expectations because of mistakes made during the renovation process. One of the most common complaints is that HVAC and other mechanical systems are difficult to maintain due to inaccessibility of components. What’s more, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that indoor air quality complaints are associated with poor design of mechanical systems as well as upkeep of these systems.
Enlisting the expertise of an experienced air conditioning install company during the renovation design process can eliminate these problems. HVAC experts can suggest ways of improving access to equipment, and help select systems that better control comfort and air quality. Here’s how:
1. Choosing the right type of system for the space
When an existing space is renovated, it’s an opportunity to rethink the way the space is heated and cooled. New materials and structural changes will impact the need for heating and cooling, in many cases reducing the load requirements because of greater energy efficiency. If the usage of the space is changing, such as a new tenant with a different type of business, the heating and cooling requirements change as well. It’s easy to just purchase a newer model of an existing system, but this may no longer be the right choice for the new space. Instead of a split system, a heat pump or VRF system might make more sense. The HVAC design process ensures you’re installing the right system to meet the needs of the space.
2. Calculating the correct system size
Many older air conditioners are oversized for the requirements of the space. In years past, the thinking was “bigger is better” and the assumption was that the demands for air conditioning would increase over time. In fact, the opposite is true. Due to increases in the energy efficiency of buildings and the efficiency of new technology, many times an existing space will need a smaller load unit than was used previously. If you just go with the same sized unit, it will often be too large after the renovations are complete.
What’s wrong with a system that’s too big? Over-sized air conditioners not only waste energy, but run inefficiently. This leads to inconsistent temperatures and humidity in the space, as well as more breakdowns and shorter equipment life. An HVAC expert can perform the necessary calculations to ensure that the new HVAC system is correctly sized to ensure efficient performance and maximum comfort.
Related Article: New York HVAC Systems: 8 Reasons Why Bigger Isn’t Always Better.
3. Selecting the best equipment brand
Going with the cheapest equipment for the air conditioning install can backfire. That system that seemed like such a bargain could have known reliability and performance issues that make it cost more in the long run.
An HVAC expert that installs all brands of air conditioning equipment can make an impartial recommendation based on the type of system and size required. Many factors contribute to the choice of brand, including performance, energy efficiency, long-term reliability and serviceability.
4. Designing an effective and efficient distribution system
Even when you’ve chosen the right type, size, and brand of equipment, it won’t do its job well without a properly designed distribution system. To make the space uniformly comfortable, the ventilation and control mechanisms need to be carefully planned so that each area of the space gets the correct amount of cooling and heat. In some cases, parts of the space will need heat while others require cooling. This if often the case in large buildings, where the perimeter that gets outside air and light has very different requirements from the interior portion of the space. The right HVAC design ensures that the entire space remains consistently comfortable.
When you need a new air conditioning system, it’s imperative to choose an installer with HVAC design expertise to be sure you get the most from your investment. If you’re not sure your current air conditioning company is qualified to handle this, but unsure about how to proceed, grab a copy of our free guide: Contract Confidence: Transitioning to a New HVAC Service Provider.