Is Air Conditioning or Heating More Expensive?
A typical modern commercial HVAC unit is capable of delivering comprehensive coverage throughout the year, as it will be able to provide both air conditioning and heating. However, your power expenditures may not be equally distributed between the two. There are a couple of factors that will determine which option costs more:
- Location: Most of Michigan is typically colder than the rest of the U.S., so it’s no surprise that for most, they will spend more on heating than they do on air conditioning. However, it is important to note that running your heating equipment is generally more expensive than running the air conditioner.
- Energy efficiency: Your building may simply not be set up well enough to perform either air conditioning or heating. A poorly insulated building will lose heat energy to the outside environment, making it more difficult to keep warm. The U.S., as a whole, uses about four times more energy for heating than for cooling.
How does temperature impact productivity?
On average, your workers are going to be at the office around 9 hours a day, 5 days a week—our employees in the U.S. actually spend more time in the office than anyone else in the western world. 80% of office workers have complaints about office temperatures. A full third of employees spend up to half an hour each day not working due to discomfort over either too high or too low temperatures. Up to 6% of workers spend more than an hour not working for the same reason.
Working in an environment that is too hot can make workers lethargic and unfocused. Heat stress can cause the body to lose electrolytes and water faster, causing low mental performance and decreased motor skills. Your body will be trying to preserve energy, which will undoubtedly slow your minds, making completing tasks and avoiding errors a difficult feat.
A study by Cornell University conducted at the Insurance Office of America’s headquarters found that workers who found their environment cold were more prone to make errors. They concluded that the average monetary penalty associated with these errors was estimated to be a 10% increase in each workers’ hourly labor cost. The takeaway is simple: cold workers make mistakes, and mistakes are expensive. Even simple tasks that should be no problem such as typing and writing became more difficult.
Does a Building Automation Service save you money?
Yes, it absolutely can. Studies have found that, on average, 40% of the energy costs in commercial buildings go to HVAC. Cutting that figure in half would reduce the energy costs of the average commercial building by up to 20%. An integrative BAS may also provide these types of efficiency gains in lighting, refrigeration, boilers, water chillers and major energy consuming appliances. Increased efficiency means fewer service calls and fewer truck rolls because you have greater ability to monitor equipment functionality and verify service actions first. Better command over zone temperatures and airflow balance means fewer complaints.
Building automation is about more than improving energy and equipment efficiency. In collaborative studies by Harvard, Syracuse and SUNY medical centers, researchers found that doubling ASHRAE minimum ventilation rates with energy efficient HVAC systems can add 8% in productivity gains per person per year. Not accounting for other potential health benefits, that equates to about $6,500 per person in the average U.S. office building.
How often should I service my HVAC system?
The best time to schedule maintenance service is before you actually need your system the most. So if we’re talking about your heating system, then you’ll want to schedule service in the fall. For your air conditioning, spring is typically the best time. It’s during these times that HVAC professionals will be less likely to be out and busy with emergency calls, so you can schedule maintenance at your leisure.
However, what’s more important than when you schedule your maintenance session is how often you schedule it. Your HVAC systems should be checked by a professional at the very least once a year—twice a year is even better. Waiting until problems actually arise is a no-go, as suspending operations while you wait for a repairman will lose you both time and money. Setting up a regular maintenance schedule with a trusted HVAC specialist is important in preventing issues.
Preventing issues is another thing that Building Automation Services can do. Building Automation Services can tell you when anything in your HVAC system isn’t performing as expected, which can predict issues down the line. Knowing when problems will arise before they even do is knowledge that will save you money.
We at Level One HVAC are ready to respond to all your HVAC and Building Automation needs. Give us a call at (248) 486-6500 if you’d like to know more. If you don’t have time to call, you can fill in our online contact form and someone from our staff will be in touch with you shortly.