Commercial HVAC design eliminates costly mistakes
It’s both challenging and exciting to come up with a new design for your commercial space. When you’re renovating your business, there are many tasks to complete, and details to plan and decisions to make. If you’re like many business owners, you are looking forward to picking out new color schemes, layout, furniture and décor, and having a new space that functions as well as it looks. Yet there is an aspect of renovation planning that you may have overlooked, even though it’s critical to the comfort and function of your new space: commercial HVAC design.
Think about why you decided to undertake this renovation project to begin with. Chances are (especially if you own a restaurant, retail store or hotel where customer satisfaction is critical), the need for renovations came partly from complaints from employees and customers. You probably have certain expectations about the comfort and functionality of your new space. It’s also likely that you’re looking to reduce your energy expenses. Commercial HVAC design plays an important role in how well the outcome of the renovation project meets your requirements.
According to a FacilitesNet article, the results of a renovation project often fall short of expectations because mistakes are made in the planning process. Even worse, you may end up with new problems that you didn’t anticipate, such as indoor air quality complaints, comfort issues, or equipment that’s expensive to service because of how it has been installed.
These problems happen when builders and contractors install HVAC systems without the necessary commercial HVAC design steps and the expertise to choose the right system for the needs of the business. When you enlist the help of commercial HVAC design experts early in the renovation planning process, you can eliminate these mistakes.
Commercial HVAC design mistakes that sabotage your renovation
COMMERCIAL HVAC DESIGN MISTAKE #1: Failing to consider new HVAC technologies
Think of your renovation as an opportunity to reconsider the way your space is heated and cooled. There are lots of changes happening: new space layouts modify the areas where heating and cooling is needed, and new building materials can greatly alter heating and cooling needs. In many cases, the load is reduced due to more energy efficient windows, insulation and lighting. If the usage and occupancy of the space will change after the renovation, that means the heating and cooling requirements will also be different.
If you leave the commercial HVAC design to the builder, you may end of with just a newer model of your existing system, which is at best a missed opportunity or at worst a major mistake. Your old system may no longer be the best option for your space and your business. Instead of a split system, a heat pump or VRF system might be more efficient and effective. The commercial HVAC design process ensures you’re installing the right system to meet your specific requirements.
RELATED ARTICLE: 7 Reasons to Choose VRF Technology for Your New Air Conditioning.
COMMERCIAL HVAC DESIGN MISTAKE #2: Getting the load requirements wrong
If your builder or contractor automatically replaces your air conditioning unit with a new one of the same size, you’ll almost certainly end up with an oversized system. Part of the reason for that statement is that your old system is probably oversized to begin with.
In years past, “bigger is better” was the rule of thumb, since people assumed that the demands for air conditioning would increase over time. Today we know that 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? Oversized 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.
On the other hand, your load requirement could be larger if the occupancy or usage of the space will increase dramatically after the renovation. If you end up with a too-small system, comfort will not be adequate and the system will run constantly trying to reach the set temperature. That causes high energy bills and more breakdowns as well.
A commercial HVAC design expert can perform the necessary calculations to ensure that your new system is correctly sized to ensure efficient performance and maximum comfort.
COMMERCIAL HVAC DESIGN MISTAKE #3: Going with bargain brand equipment
Choosing the cheapest equipment you can find will often 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.
A commercial HVAC design 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.
COMMERCIAL HVAC DESIGN MISTAKE #4: Poorly designed distribution
Even the right type and brand of equipment with the right load capacity won’t do its job effectively without a well-designed distribution system. The commercial HVAC design process ensures that your space is uniformly comfortable with careful planning of the ventilation and control mechanisms for each area of your space. This planning process is critical for large buildings, where the perimeter (with windows and additional light and outside air) can have vastly different heating and cooling needs than the interior portions of the space.
Related article: Improve Air Conditioning: Avoid These Ductwork Design Mistakes.
When you need a new air conditioning system, it’s imperative to choose an installer with commercial 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 to Contract Confidence: Transitioning to a New HVAC Service Provider.