The HVAC Factor: Maintaining Comfort In A Changing Environment
By Matt Stavis Originally published in the April 2010 issue of Today’s Facility ManagerEnergy efficiency retrofits in commercial buildings are booming, and heightened activity is expected to continue through at least 2013, according to a report released last fall by Pike Research. This report also asserted that these investments can really expand, with payback periods ranging from a few months to a few years, depending on the upgrades undertaken. While renovating might be a good step for a facility, it is crucial to plan ahead as a building renovation is a complex process with multiple evolving elements. From an HVAC standpoint, ensuring that temperature, humidity levels, and power are reliably maintained throughout the renovation schedule is critical. To avoid potential problems, facility managers (fms) should carefully consider the possibilities when planning a renovation project. These include:
- Changes in capacity;
- Certification/warranty issues;
- Employee/occupant comfort and productivity;
- Backup equipment;
- Dehumidification; and
- Door to door delivery.
- Components of chilled water systems, including air-cooled water chillers (10 to 500 ton) and water-cooled water chillers (225 to 1,000 ton)
- Cooling towers (250 to 750 ton)
- Air conditioning units (10 to 50 ton)
- Power generators (25 to 2,000 kW)
- Air handlers (5,000 to 25,000 cfm)
Creating The AgreementRenting equipment is usually a straightforward process. Fms can consult with their vendors’ local account representatives to determine what is needed; those reps should be able to provide a proposal to meet a facility’s needs for periods as short as one week to as long as several months. Once an fm signs off on the proposal, the vendor will mobilize needed equipment and deliver it to the site according to the fm’s desired schedule. Once on-site, the equipment can be connected by the facilities staff, a qualified contractor, or by the rental company; most rental companies will provide whatever level of support is needed. Should any challenges arise with the equipment during the rental period, an fm should expect his or her account representative to help resolve them. Additionally, if maintenance is needed for the equipment, the rental company should be able to provide a technician to execute any needed repairs. Renovation projects can put a facility’s HVAC infrastructure at significant risk. Fortunately, there are resources available to mitigate the risks and keep a renovation progressing smoothly. Planning ahead for rental equipment can play a critical role in the success of a project. Stavis is business development manager of Rental Services for Trane (www.trane.com). In this position, he collaborates with customers in a variety of industries to meet their rental needs. Stavis holds a Bachelor of Science degree in molecular biology from Vanderbilt University and a Master’s in Business Administration degree in finance from the University of Miami. To read a summary of the Pike Research report mentioned in this article, visit: www.pikeresearch.com/research/energy-efficiency-retrofits-for-commercial-and-public-buildings. Share your renovation experiences, or send your thoughts on this topic to [email protected].
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