Boiler, chiller, cooling tower, geothermal, furnace, heat pump and VRF units are tested to different standards, with various efficiency ratios (EER, IEER, SEER, COP), and it can be confusing to compare them all.
To answer questions that FMs may have on the subject, Taco Comfort Solutions, a U.S.-based manufacturer of hydronic-based heating and cooling equipment used around the world, created a free, interactive Building Efficiency System Tool (BEST). The total commercial building heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system efficiency comparison tool solves the industry challenge of accurately comparing different styles of HVAC systems early in the design process.
BEST uses Building Energy Efficiency Rating (BEER) system curves, which take certified AHRI data, including certified unit efficiency ratios, certified manufacturers’ published performance data, component performance curves, and pipe or duct required in typical systems with “as applied” correction factors — combining them to bridge the gap between laboratory test data and real-world HVAC system performance to include installed and utility cost against load and weather.
All that is needed is to input the square footage of the building, the number of stories, and the nearest city for local weather data, and you can choose up to four types of HVAC systems to compare — from more than 30 pre-loaded systems. The BEST features more than 100 default input settings, including system cost per square foot (provided by more than 50 contractors), that are all adjustable to model any building in any location.
BEST quickly outputs estimated installation cost, replacement cost, maintenance cost, monthly energy cost, electrical and fossil fuel consumption costs, total life cycle cost, cumulative life cycle cost by year, system payback time, pump and fan HP, system coefficient of performance (COP), and more.
The Taco Comfort Solutions Building Efficiency System Tool (BEST) will be available for free download soon from the Taco Comfort webpage here.