For Maximum HVAC Savings, Follow the 3 Laws of Optimization

For Maximum HVAC Savings, Follow the 3 Laws of Optimization

September 9, 2016
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Article first appeared Energy Manager Today

By Alaina Bookstein

Alaina Bookstein

Facility executives in charge of demanding environments—hospitals, pharmaceutical manufacturing and higher education campuses, for example—often are challenged to cut costs and help their organizations meet sustainability goals. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are the natural place to look: these systems typically account for 44 percent of commercial buildings’ energy consumption. Commercial buildings also consume 47 billion gallons of water every day. Optimizing HVAC systems to minimize energy and water use clearly has enormous financial and sustainability benefits.

We have found, though, that HVAC efficiency projects often fail to deliver on their promise. Even new, state-of-the-art HVAC systems lose operational efficiency after installation because system operators take charge, overriding set points and turning to manual control in order to ensure that the HVAC systems meet operational needs.

The HVAC efficiency upgrades that succeed aim for optimization (mechanical systems working at peak effectiveness, all the time) and they follow what we call the three laws of optimization:

1. You cannot optimize what you cannot measure

2. Optimize systems, not just individual components

3. Optimization must be automatic, dynamic and continuous for maximum efficiency

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