As revealed by the Urban Green Council in its yearly energy and water use reports, NYC buildings use the largest share of their energy consumption for space heating and domestic hot water, where natural gas is the most common heat source. Building cooling also ranks among the largest loads, with lighting being the only electrical system with a higher consumption. Thus, HVAC engineering services can provide high value for property management companies, making heating and cooling systems more reliable and energy efficient. Consider that upgrading these systems does not only save energy, it also improves indoor conditions for occupants.
To get an idea of the benefits you can get from HVAC consulting services, consider all the positive attributes of a well-designed and well-maintained HVAC installation:
- It keeps indoor temperature and humidity within a range that is healthy for humans, making building interiors suitable for long-term occupancy.
- It provides indoor air quality (IAQ), ensuring a constant supply of fresh air and preventing the buildup of pollutants such as volatile organic compounds (VOC).
- It achieves the two benefits described above at an optimal energy cost. Although HVAC expenses can be expected to be high in a large building, there is no need for them to be excessively high.
Keep in mind that NYC also has a very demanding Energy Conservation Code, and compliance is mandatory for projects above certain size thresholds outlined in the code. Working with qualified HVAC engineers is the best way to ensure your property is code-compliant.
Improve your HVAC Performance with NY Engineers
If you are considering a major renovation, it represents a great chance to improve your HVAC installations. Under normal conditions, a deep HVAC retrofit can be highly disruptive for building operation. However, the building interior is taken apart anyway during a major renovation, so why not use the chance to improve key systems like HVAC?
HVAC Engineering Guarantees the Right Temperature and Humidity
We don’t think about temperature and humidity when they are adequate, but when they fall outside the range considered suitable for humans, we quickly feel discomfort. Poor temperature and humidity control can even lead to health issues, such as respiratory system diseases and skin irritation. Harmful organisms such as mold, dust mites and bacteria thrive in humid environments, adding to the health risk.
In many cases, especially older buildings, heating and cooling systems are sized based on “rules of thumb” instead of detailed HVAC engineering. There is a common misconception that oversizing equipment is good practice, but actually it leads to poor humidity control and fluctuating temperature. Oversized equipment also tends to run in shorter cycles, accelerating component wear and increasing maintenance expenses.
If HVAC equipment is properly installed, temperature and humidity stay within a range suitable for humans, and without drastic fluctuation. This improves health and comfort, and in business settings it also leads to increased productivity.
HVAC Engineering Improves Indoor Air Quality
Outdoor air is generally believed to be more polluted than indoor air, but research by the US Environmental Protection Agency indicates otherwise. On average, indoor air is 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air, and this applies for urban and rural settings alike.
HVAC engineering not only guarantees adequate temperature and humidity; it also ensures that the building is properly ventilated. Consider that the NYC Mechanical Code establishes minimum airflow requirements depending on the type of building and number of occupants, and the HVAC system must make sure that the specified airflow is delivered.
When dealing with HVAC, ventilation cannot be addressed separately from heating and cooling equipment, since system components are constantly interacting with each other. In HVAC engineering, a whole-system approach yields much better performance than addressing different building systems in isolation. It is also important to note that ventilation efficiency measures deliver significant heating and cooling savings: if there is less air to heat or cool, energy requirements are reduced.
HVAC Engineering Improves Energy Efficiency
NYC has some of the highest electricity rates in the USA, and many HVAC system components run with electricity, including fans and air-conditioning units. Therefore, it is in your best interest to ensure this equipment consumes as little energy as possible.
Space heating and domestic hot water systems normally rely on natural gas or heating oil, which are a less expensive heat source than electricity, but are also a source of emissions. Since NYC has an ambitious emissions reduction goal of 80% by 2050, buildings will eventually have to cut down their fossil fuel consumption.
HVAC consulting services can help you find trouble spots in your building systems, allowing you to detect and prioritize the most promising building upgrades. If you want to reduce the energy expenses of your building, a targeted approach normally yields a much higher return on each dollar spent, compared with prescriptive measures.
HVAC engineering services can help you detect opportunities to achieve significant savings, especially considering the high cost of energy in NYC. If your lighting installations have not been upgraded for a long time, also consider a lighting upgrade - you can achieve additional building cooling savings by reducing the heat output of lighting installations. In case you are considering a major renovation, it is also a good chance to improve the building envelope and achieve even higher HVAC savings.