Undertaking an HVAC Audit: What and Why

System for Ventilation

Quick, don’t think, just answer: Do you know exactly how much energy the HVAC system in your building is using? Do you know when and where it receives the heaviest use, and when it receives the lightest? Do you know the potential trouble spots where the system might be losing energy? Do you know the age, type, and condition of all system components? If your answer to any of these questions is “no” — or even if it’s yes — then you really need to schedule a regular audit of your HVAC system in order to get the most out of it.

With summer soon approaching, now is the time to get your HVAC system checked before the dreadful Austin summer hits, with record highs expected once again.

What Is an HVAC audit?   

An informative article at FaciliesNet (“The Search for Savings“) provides an excellent, capsule-sized definition: “An HVAC audit is a component-by-component, system-by-system evaluation of all HVAC equipment. Whereas most maintenance activities focus on making things work, an HVAC audit focuses on making things work properly and efficiently.”

Why Perform an HVAC Audit? 

The answer to the “why” question probably seems obvious: HVAC audits are all about minimizing energy loss and maximizing efficiency, right? Yes, of course, that’s the main goal. But there’s more than one reason why audits are important, and some are less obvious than others.

FIVE REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD CONDUCT AN HVAC AUDIT OF YOUR BUILDING:

  1. To maximize energy efficiency and minimize loss. Okay, yes, this reason has to be first. HVAC systems use more energy than any other part of a building. Therefore, they have the greatest potential for loss and waste. An audit will determine if, where, and why the system is using too much energy, and will let you know what you need to do to fix it.
  2. To maximize and protect the health and productivity of the building’s occupants. The issue isn’t just energy and money, it’s people and their well being. The people are the reason the building is there at all, and they won’t be happy, healthy, or productive if they’re forced to spend their days in an environment that is consistently too cold, hot, or humid, or that’s plagued by some other form of bad IAQ. An HVAC audit will help to keep all of this in line by producing the best possible air quality for your particular type of business.
  3. To convince the controllers of the purse strings to pony up for improvements. Your building’s HVAC system may need serious attention. You may even have the best idea in the world for a brilliant green retrofit. But it can be very hard to convince the people who control the money that funds are truly needed for this purpose. An audit of the system will produce exactly the evidence they need to see: hard data.
  4. To determine the building’s overall value. There’s a lot of variables involved in determining a property’s purchase price. The overall status of the HVAC system — including age, complexity, condition, and how heavily the system is used — can be one of them.
  5. To keep up with rapidly changing government guidelines. You may have noticed that environmental rules and regulations at all levels of government — federal, state, county, and local — are doing nothing but getting stricter. Many of these regulations relate to IAQ, energy efficiency, and the like. And have you noticed that President-elect Obama has made energy efficiency a major component of his economic recovery plan? In an environment like this, HVAC audits will only become more necessary and central.

This article was modified from an article previously posted on http://www.goodway.com/.

 

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