How to make a building greener by reducing water and energy usage in HVAC systems0
HVAC: four little letters that can have a big impact on your home or business’s energy and water usage. An HVAC system, also known as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, normally makes up the largest portion of a building’s energy needs. Making simple adjustments to your HVAC, such as pumping less water in the hydronic system, can be the easiest ways to save money on electric bills.
Taking on such a task, is best left to experts like Flopac, because a professional designer can make adjustments to the flow rate by changing the heat transfer selection criteria for coils and radiators. The water flow rate is determined by the way the pipe and fittings are actually installed, and the pump’s ability to deliver water.
When too much water is flowing you spend more money – money to move the water, and money to heat or cool it. This difference in electricity adds up over time, and is rarely noticed.
Regulating the water flow rate is called “balancing” and can be done with automatic balancing valves, which direct water pressure to where it is need and away from where it is excessive. Sometimes the pumps are larger than they need to be, and head and flow rates are over estimated. The end result is that system flow will be greater than design. Options to reduce this flow include limiting the pump discharge flow, or limiting the heat transfer devices’ flow rates.
There are many of ways to save energy in hydronic systems. The key is to find good, respectable control valve suppliers that you can trust to take on the work. A highly skilled designer can revamp your house and make it more efficient by reducing water and energy usage in a variety of ways.
HVAC experts recommend building system around high differential temperatures and limiting hydronic system head losses in distribution systems to half the head losses of branch piping. Other common methods include using two-way modulating valves instead of three way – two position valves because in typical HVAC systems, the last 10 percent or 20 percent of the valve stroke is needed for a limited number of hours per year, yet the flow is greatly reduced, saving much pump horsepower.
It’s also advisable to use dual function balancing valves or circuit sentries to help adjust sub-system pressure losses and replace extra or unnecessary pressure. Experts say using variable speed pumping techniques can help limit pump horse power input to the system when properly combined with two-way valves because pumps operate nearly the whole year at less than 20 percent of their horsepower capabilities.
It’s best to ask a professional HVAC designer or control valve supplier on how to properly tune an HVAC system to use less energy. Regardless, if you’re a homeowner or business owner and want to save money on your monthly bills, look at your energy use and make it as efficient as possible. This will not only cut costs, but it will also help the planet.