Remember when the term “smart” only applied to people? Today it seems like every inanimate object has the capacity to be smart: first it was your phone, then your TV. Now the Internet of Things (IoT) has made it possible for just about everything in your home or business to be “smart” as well.
That “smart” revolution is happening in the world of HVAC controls as well. You have probably heard about “learning” thermostats for your home, and maybe you even have installed one of these handy devices that lets you control your home’s temperature from your phone or computer. Yet there are even more benefits when small businesses upgrade to smarter commercial HVAC controls.
Related article: What’s New With Smart Home Thermostat Technology
6 Reasons Your Business Needs Smarter Commercial HVAC Controls
For your small-to-medium sized business, commercial HVAC controls offer not only convenience, but significant financial benefits as well.
1. Reduce energy bills
Most people want smart thermostats, ultimately, so they can drive down their energy expenses. Otherwise, you wouldn’t need all these smart home or commercial HVAC controls; you could just set the thermostat at your preferred temperature and leave it that way all the time. But that would be wasteful and expensive, especially for a business.
With smarter commercial HVAC controls, you can do more to save energy than just turn the set temperature down when nobody is in the office. New smarter commercial HVAC controls have more precise sensors that provide more consistent climate control. Old thermostats can only turn the system on and off, which can lead to systems churning on an off all day, which uses much more energy. Electronic sensors in smart commercial HVAC controls (such as DDC systems) can send signals to valves and dampers and even regulate outside air, which can increase your system’s energy efficiency by 10 to 40 percent.
Here’s another way smart commercial HVAC controls reduce your energy bills. Many utility companies impose extra demand charges that are based on your peak usage within a certain time period, which can quickly add up to a significant portion of your bill. Smart controls can make many adjustments to limit that peak load and reduce your bills, such as soft starting, which brings a large piece of equipment up slowly to reduce the surge of electrical current.
Related article: 4 Energy Saving Tips for Business Owners That Save Real Money
You can also take advantage of complex scheduling capabilities, allowing you to preheat the office before employees arrive, or turn down the heat shortly before people leave to save energy. The commercial HVAC controls can accommodate different schedules for each day of the week, holidays, and automatically adjust for daylight savings time.
3. Central monitoring and control
Climate control for a business location is a complex problem. Unlike a home that may have a couple of zones, you may have many zones with differing heating and cooling requirements. Depending on the type of business, you might also have varying occupancy in each zone of your space that can change by the time of day, by day of the week, or randomly. Smart commercial HVAC controls can provide you with one centralized system that can control every zone in your work space.
4. Integration with other systems
Once you join the “smart” technology revolution, you’ll find that these technologies can be integrated so that you can control many of your building’s systems from one interface. That means your commercial HVAC controls can work with your lighting and even your building access (badge swipe) systems.
Imagine if you could automate control of your HVAC set points and your lighting based on when people come and go? For example, automatically turn up the a/c or heat and turn on the lights when the first person enters your office (via badge wipe), then turn down climate control and lights after the last person swipes out. These customizable commercial HVAC controls work well for businesses that don’t keep regular, predictable hours.
5. Prevent downtime
Many businesses, especially retail stores, restaurants and even office locations, can quickly come to a halt due to an HVAC breakdown. Smart commercial HVAC controls can monitor the operation of your equipment and alert you when it needs attention, so the problem can be resolved before it leads to an emergency breakdown situation. Commercial HVAC controls can send an alarm to let you know when a monitored value is outside the set parameters. The system can also automatically alert your building manager or your HVAC service provider. Depending on the problem, your service tech may be able to remotely access the system and fix some issues.
If you have a larger system that has more than one piece of the same equipment (such as pumps or compressors), your commercial HVAC controls can also prevent downtime by controlling a second piece of equipment as a backup. For example, if a primary pump fails, the system starts the second pump.
6. Better data and analytics
As a business owner or manager, you know that data helps you make smarter decisions. Analyzing the trends in your HVAC usage over time, energy consumption, and operation of your equipment, helps you streamline your systems to get more reliable and efficient operation. Commercial HVAC controls provide the data you need to create useful analytics for making the right choices for your business.
It’s not only commercial HVAC equipment that’s getting smarter. If you’ve been living with older air conditioning and/or heating equipment for a while, it may be time to think about making a smart investment in smarter new technology. The payoff in reduced energy expenses, reduced repair expenses, and improved comfort can pay for the investment in a surprisingly short period of time.
Yet with all the options out there, it may seem like a daunting task to wade through all the information and figure out which type of system is best for you. Luckily, we’ve put together this handy guide that makes it easy to find out which types of systems are best suited for your business and building location. Get your free copy now: The Ultimate Guide to NYC Light Commercial Air Conditioning.