Upcoming Webinars

Facility Management Topics

Most Read


Which illumination solution is right for your facility?


Healthcare facilities focus on recycling, safer chemicals.


Includes best practices for energy monitoring and reduction.

Featured Posts

Planning for Energy Efficiency in Cold Climates

Posted on 5/28/2015 9:21 AM by William A. Turner

As you read this, spring has sprung, the risk of frozen sprinkler pipes has subsided; your heating budget is likely used up, and at some point very soon if not already done, you need to ensure the air conditioning is in working condition.  Hopefully, you just completed a bunch of lighting upgrades and added some interior films on the southwest facing windows to reduce your AC load this season.

May is a perfect time of year to plan heating energy efficiency improvements to get completed before next winter. It is a bit late to have a contractor perform infrared imaging of your facilities to determine which buildings are the highest priority for air sealing obvious holes and adding insulation, however if you simply compile your fuel and energy bills from the past year or two and evaluate the amount of BTUs consumed per square foot within your buildings, you can often develop a good priority listing.

Whether or not you participate in a program sponsored by your state or local utility, it almost always makes economic sense to: 

  • Have the boiler or furnace serviced – even 1/32 inch of accumulated soot reduces efficiency.
  • Install a programmable thermostat to control the heat and AC, or a smart NEST thermostat.
  • Have a boiler temperature reset control installed on the boiler to control boiler temperatures based on outdoor temperatures allowing it to run much more efficiently.
  • If your propane or natural gas heating equipment has served its useful life, consider switching to a 93% plus efficiency condensing unit.
  • Change the air filters; install a pleated filter, and change it according to manufacturer guidelines.
  • If you have an older furnace or rooftop unit with just one firing rate, powered by propane or natural gas, it is likely that switching to a condensing unit would make sense.
  • Consider the use of a ductless (mini-split) heat pump or other high efficiency zone heating or cooling device. The newest models are now efficient and reliable at -10 degrees F.
  • If not done yet, eliminate all incandescent light bulbs in your facility – switch T12s to high efficiency T8s.
  • In high bays of any type, consider a switch to T5s and add automatic lighting controls or LEDs for even better energy performance.
  • If your building experienced a frozen pipe during the winter now is the time to find that cold air leak that caused it, completely air-seal the gap with expanding foam to stop the cold draft from causing future damage. If critters are found, put copper mesh or steel wool in first.
  • Consider replacing old single pane windows that are not airtight or adding interior storm windows if the windows do not need to be frequently opened for ventilation.
  • If a meeting space is not frequently occupied or is rarely occupied by the maximum number of occupants, install CO2 demand control ventilation. 
  • And do everyone a favor while you’re at it and put any high use photocopiers in their own room, while installing a high volume quiet bathroom exhaust fan on the light switch in that room.

Looking for more ways to boost efficiency in your facility? The Energy Star benchmarking tools, found at the Energy Star website are an ideal place to start, because they can help you develop a picture of how your facility performs compared to similar facilities.

Follow this link: http://theboc.info/blog/?p=2027 to complete the accompanying quiz and earn a maintenance point to renew your BOC credential. 

William A. Turner, MS, PE, is the CEO of Turner Building Science & Design, LLC and is a Senior Vice President in the H.L. Turner Group Inc. Reach him via email at bturner@turnerbuildingscience.com or by phone at 800-439-3446.

View(194) or Add Comments(0)

Ultraviolet Energy: The Dedicated Aid For Commercial HVAC

Posted on 5/26/2015 10:46 AM by

Commercial air handlers benefit significantly from the use of ultraviolet energy, which can reduce energy use, decrease system maintenance costs and provide building occupants, cleaner, healthier air. PHOTO CREDIT: UV Resources.

Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation or light in the UV-C wavelength (254nm) has been used extensively in commercial and institutional HVAC systems since the mid-1990s, initially to improve indoor air quality (IAQ), and later, to improve airflow, boost heat exchange efficiency, and reduce necessary maintenance.

This veritable HVAC hat trick is accomplished for an average of <$0.15 per cfm – a mere fraction of the 10-25 percent potential energy and maintenance savings yielded by the efficiency-enhancing technology.

Maintaining Efficiencies

UV-C light is an incredibly effective and affordable technology for keeping critical components of commercial HVAC systems clean and operating to ‘as-built’ specifications.  In fact, UV-C is about as close to a dedicated helper as one might get. Benefits range from improved energy efficiency, lower operating expenses and fewer occupant complaints, to better and healthier indoor air. All of these system-enhancing efficiencies can be found in ASHRAE’s 2011 Handbook of HVAC Applications, Chapter 60.8.

There are two distinctly different methods of applying ultraviolet-C energy (UV-C) in HVAC/R equipment. The first is the popular surface irradiation of drain pans, cooling coils, and other interior surfaces of plenums to maintain heat transfer and other performance efficiencies. The other is airstream disinfection, which kills airborne infectious microorganisms in HVAC air.  Discussion of airborne treatment is best left for a future article; however, it is worth noting that a surface irradiation application can provide a fair amount of airstream disinfection while maintaining heat transfer and other performance efficiencies. A single-pass airborne kill ratio of up to 25% can be achieved in typical applications, meaning that each time the air passes the UV-C lamps, 25% of the airborne microbes are destroyed. Let's investigate one of the most common uses for UV-C technology: HVAC surface irradiation, which represents well over 95% of North American installations. 

UV-C for Surface Irradiation

As air conditioner units and equipment get older, their ability to maintain adequate space temperatures and humidity levels declines. Most often, the culprit is reduced coil heat-transfer efficiency, or the ability of air-handling-unit coil to remove heat from the air. Evidence shows this drop in performance can occur within five years of startup due to the accumulation of contaminants on coil surfaces, leading to coil fouling.

Of course, there are other cost penalties with coil fouling, such as the lowering of chilled water temperatures and the pumping of more water, consuming more energy to compensate for lost coil capacity. There are also a higher number of hot/cold calls and associated maintenance actions.

These performance losses have led many building operators to successfully retrofit their air-conditioning systems with UV-C systems. According to Chapter 60.8 in the ASHRAE 2011 Handbook, UV-C technology can reduce mold and biofilm, coil pressure drop, and coil-cleaning procedures. Further, it states that the use of UV-C can increase airflow and heat-transfer coefficient and reduce both fan and refrigeration-system energy use, and thousands of installations show this to be true. 

Costs and Payback

Most users report that their cost for a high output lamp system was less than $0.15 per cfm. For a 10,000 cfm system, that’s <$1,500 and a 24 x7 operating cost of <$188/year at $0.10/kW. That is less than 1% of the average 18% power saved to operate the air conditioning system.  Also, field reports indicate that the first-cost of a UV-C system is less than a properly performed coil-cleaning procedure, especially when considering the cost of system shutdowns, off-hours work, overtime wages, and/or contractor labor costs.

The benefits of UV-C surface irradiation systems include maintaining indoor air quality and comfort levels commensurate with the owner’s performance requirements of the HVAC system, and doing so with minimal wasted energy. For new construction (an OEM feature), UV-C systems maintain as-built conditions from start-up. For retrofit applications, UV-C systems remove organic growth on all coil surfaces, clean drain pans and similarly, all other interior surfaces.  A few months following the UV-C application, the surfaces stay clean and remain clean thereafter, requiring less maintenance and overhead expense.

Benefits include greater energy efficiency, minimized occupant complaints, reduced operating expenses, and better IAQ. UV-C is easy to install and begin using in your facility – it’s simply installing lamps in an air handler, or rooftop system, and then replacing them once per year.

Forrest Fencl is the CEO of UV Resources and can be reached at: forrest.fencl@uvresources.com.

View(570) or Add Comments(0)

4 IP Video Surveillance Benefits for Retailers

Take a look at some of the benefits offered by IP video surveillance. 

Read the rest of entry »

Water Source Heat Pumps Address HVAC Upgrade Challenges

Are water source heat pumps right for your building?

Read the rest of entry »

3 Reasons Why Commercial Building Upgrades Aren't Approved

Take a look at these 3 common obstacles to getting the right energy efficiency projects approved, and how to overcome them!

Read the rest of entry »

3 Benefits of Specifying Established Branded Nylon for Carpet

Know what you're getting when you choose branded nylon for your facility's carpet. 

Read the rest of entry »

The Challenges of Security in Office Environments

Office security is crucial to proper operations – take a look at this industry advice that can help you beef up your facility protection. 

Read the rest of entry »

LED Controls – System Compatibility, Performance, and Dimming Range

Learn more about the right practices for LED controls in your facility. 

Read the rest of entry »

5 Ways Glass Rainscreens Can Benefit Your Building

Learn how glass rainscreens could benefit your building's operations. 

Read the rest of entry »

Switching Gears: Situational Awareness to Situational Assessment

As camera technology continues to improve, take a look at these tips to improve security coverage at your facility. 

Read the rest of entry »

3 Tips to Make Better LED Lighting Decisions

Take a look at these helpful tips that can ensure you make the right lighting decision for your facility. 

Read the rest of entry »

4 Things You Need To Know About the NFPA 720 Code for Sleeping Rooms

Do you know what the updated NFPA 720 code requires for sleeping rooms?

Read the rest of entry »