How air handling units can be the source of significant carbon and cost savings
Articled first appeared on Pharma Manufacturing
By Ian Dempster Senior Director, Optimum Energy, CEM
If you could save well over 1,000 metric tons of CO2 and hundreds of thousands of dollars annually while improving your lab’s reliability, would you?
Surprisingly, the answer is often “No.” Because even in labs with optimized HVAC systems, the default mode is “hands off” the air handling units (AHUs). Given the importance of precise environmental controls to product quality and scientist safety, lab facility managers often feel uncomfortable with the idea of intervening in AHUs’ constant high-energy operation — whether that level of output is needed or not. But AHU optimization done right doesn’t degrade safety or reliability; it actually improves key performance measures.
Air quality, freshness and humidity are important in sensitive environments, and an optimization project should give facility operators better control of those factors. The implementation process may also reveal issues that have been masked. For example, a facility may find that its air filtration system also needs an upgrade, and that work can be folded into the AHU optimization project.
Optimization is about running AHUs efficiently, not operating outside lab limits. A comprehensive optimization solution will include system monitoring and alerts that warn facility managers when equipment performance is lagging or problems occur. Ultimately, it will not only save money but also help to prevent unanticipated equipment failures that increase downtime risks
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