Commercial HVAC Sustainable

 How can I make my HVAC sustainable?

Estes Services 

a dog with its tongue out


Your commercial HVAC equipment plays an important role in your sustainable building operations. In fact, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), HVAC is considered one of the largest energy uses in commercial buildings. As a building owner or facility manager, you may wonder: How can I make my HVAC sustainable?

That's why, in this article and in celebration of World Environment Day 2023, we are going to share with you five (5) tips to make your HVAC more sustainable. From maintenance best practices to more energy-efficient equipment, this article will give you a broad overview of solutions to consider for your facility this World Environment Day and beyond.

Sustainable Tip #1: Implement Better HVAC Management Practices

First and foremost, there are sustainable HVAC management practices that are important to implement in your operations in order to make your HVAC more sustainable. Such practices include partnering with the right commercial HVAC company; adhering to a proper maintenance schedule; and ensuring compliance with local, state, and federal regulations.

As such, you should start with finding the right Atlanta HVAC company to partner with, and the key factors to consider when hiring a commercial HVAC contractor, which include experience, proper credentials, and customer satisfaction. The right HVAC partner can help identify and make recommendations for the most sustainable practices for your business.

With that in mind, there are proper maintenance activities that should be performed for your HVAC equipment which include refrigerant requirements such as checking for and repairing refrigerant leaks. This is particularly important because of the national HFC phasedown.

In terms of refrigerant choices and sustainability, new commercial HVAC equipment installations may feature newer refrigerants which are more environmentally friendly and have a lower global warming potential (GWP), which we will discuss in more detail about later on in this article. This brings us to our next point: Consider new HVAC equipment for energy efficiency and environmentally friendly benefits.

Sustainable Tip #2: Replace with High-Efficiency HVAC Equipment

Choices related to commercial HVAC replacement can significantly impact sustainability. In fact, the switch to more advanced HVAC solutions and higher efficiency equipment can indeed make your HVAC more sustainable; improve your commercial building sustainability; and make a positive impact on your community and the environment.

According to the Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, each year in the U.S., three million heating and cooling systems are replaced. With the U.S. HVAC industry growing rapidly over the next few years, the choices on which equipment to replace with plays an important role at your facility.

You should consider commercial HVAC replacement with ENERGY STAR-certified heating and cooling equipment that is properly sized. It is estimated that at least 25% of all rooftop HVAC units are too big, which causes increased energy expenditure and equipment wear.

Replacing your HVAC equipment with higher efficiency equipment that is sized correctly can help improve your building's energy consumption and cost. With proper installation and the right size equipment, it's estimated that you can yield significant annual energy savings and increase equipment life.

Of course, you don't want to replace a unit unless the benefits outweigh the costs. So, if you're wondering whether it's time to repair or replace a unit, there are key considerations to take into account. In fact, typically, if your AC unit is older than 15 years, it is likely time for a replacement.

If the AC unit is between 10 to 15 years old, and the repair cost exceeds 50% of the unit's value, it's also likely time for a replacement. However, if your AC unit is between 10 to 15 years old, and the repair cost does not exceed 50% of the unit's value, then your best option could be to repair it, depending on the exact circumstances. Check out the below infographic to help you understand whether you should repair or replace:

Infographic. Repair or Replace your Commercial HVAC

A commercial HVAC technician at Estes Services can help you determine and select the best equipment for your needs when it comes time to replace.

Sustainable Tip #3: Consider Heat Pump or Ductless Mini-Split Technology

Commercial buildings may benefit from new HVAC equipment advanced in the latest technology, such as heat pumps or ductless mini-splits.

More specifically, heat pumps are more energy efficient and can reduce your building operation costs. They can be an excellent fit for mixed-use buildings, school buildings, and other types of commercial properties that have net zero goals. Learn more about heat pump installation in our guide and how it could fit into your sustainability goals.

Additionally, ductless mini-splits are increasing in demand and offer more sustainable benefits due to their zoned cooling capabilities. They can be an excellent choice for renovations and room additions. Because of their ductless design, installation can be flexible and easy. In fact, the line set between the indoor and outdoor units typically only requires a three-inch hole through a wall to accommodate the conduit.

Furthermore, you do not have to worry about the energy losses from ductwork. The Department of Energy estimates that duct losses can be attributed to more than 30% of energy consumption for air conditioning. Contact Estes Services today to learn more about heat pump or ductless mini-split installation options in the greater Atlanta area.

Sustainable Tip #4: Pay Attention to New Refrigerant Choices and Regulations

To make your HVAC more sustainable, you should also pay attention to the refrigerants in your commercial HVAC systems. Refrigerants can have a negative impact on the environment. For instance, one of the most common HCFC refrigerants, R-22, has been phased out, except to service existing equipment, due to its high ozone depletion potential.

There has been a transition away from HCFC refrigerants to more environmentally friendly refrigerants like HFCs. These new choices on the marketplace are driven in large part by refrigerant regulations such as the new HFC phasedown in the U.S. known as the AIM Act.

Sustainable Tip #5: Consider Smart Technology

Making upgrades with building automation control and services is another great way to make your HVAC more sustainable. A building automation system can connect your building's HVAC, lighting, and electrical systems through central control.

Smart building sensors can detect and monitor occupancy, lights, appliances, temperature, and humidity. For instance, a sensor can detect when a person enters a room and automatically turn the lights on and off once they leave. You can also more closely control the temperature of your building so that there are different settings for peak occupancy versus at night and on the weekends when occupancy is reduced.

This type of smart technology can significantly improve energy efficiency. Not to mention, a building automation system that enables you to make smarter data-driven decisions can extend the life of your HVAC equipment.

You should have an "always-on" approach to sustainability, but it doesn't have to be that way for your building systems with today's latest smart technology.

Schedule a Sustainable Commercial HVAC Consultation with Estes Services Today

As you can see, there are many different ways to make your HVAC more sustainable. Some options are more intensive such as upgrading your equipment, and other options are much easier such as adding smart technology enhancements.

Ultimately, your commercial HVAC equipment plays an important role in your sustainability building operations. When it comes to being more sustainable and environmentally friendly, every step in the right direction helps.

If you would like to learn more about how to make your HVAC more sustainable based on your unique building needs, schedule a consultation with our commercial HVAC experts today. Since 1949, we have been proudly serving the greater Atlanta area.

We can help you improve the sustainability and efficiency of your equipment. Schedule a consultation today. It's that Easy; It's Estes!