Optimizing Your Commercial HVAC Operations
In a commercial setting, whether it’s new construction, or revamping an old system completely, it’s easy to get caught up in the initial costs of an HVAC system. After all, the expense can be large.
Yet HVAC equipment can have a long life cycle, fifteen years or more in some cases. And that means initial cost are only a portion of the overall costs over time. Studies show that over a thirty-year life cycle, maintenance and replacement of HVAC equipment can be as much as 30 percent of the total overall costs.
So how do you incorporate this significant, but often forget cost into the decision process when designing a new HVAC system? How do you incorporate all of this into your final plans?
First, it’s important to move beyond low-bid mentality where today’s cost controls the decision-making process. Today’s highly efficient building systems have many significant maintenance requirements. They aren’t plug-and-run pieces of equipment.
Much as with today’s most efficient cars, poor maintenance can significantly reduce the lifespan. When purchased, you know that it takes regular maintenance – oil changes, plug replacement, etc. – to keep it running at optimal level. HVAC equipment is no different.
At a minimum, poor maintenance will cause building personnel to be in reactive maintenance mode, which is far more expensive than proactive and predictive maintenance routines.
At worst, poor maintenance can cause HVAC equipment to fail suddenly, risking discomfort or downtime for everyone in the commercial location. Searching for replacement parts is often not a quick process, meaning in critical environments, you can have a lot on the line.
Maintenance increases longevity, and also brings what some consider being unexpected problems to the forefront before the problem begins, giving your team a chance to keep everything under control for the long term. If you consider these regular maintenance costs at the beginning of your design process, it can significantly affect how long your HVAC equipment will last.
Proper maintenance can save money. The question is how well you’ve incorporated it into your overall lifetime costs.