Improving the Energy Efficiency of D.C. Commercial HVAC Systems

June 17, 2015 Written by  Comments Print
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Commercial HVAC systems account for about 40% of the electricity used in commercial buildings, according to the Small Business Association. It's no wonder then that facility managers are focusing more on how to improve the energy efficiency of these energy-hungry systems.

In many cases, investing in a new system may be the best bet. Even a 10-year-old system uses about 20% more energy than the most energy efficient modern systems. But if replacement isn't in the budget, there are still plenty of measures you can take to improve the energy efficiency of an existing commercial HVAC system in D.C. Keep on reading to learn about these measures, as well as how a commercial energy audit can improve the energy efficiency of your HVAC system and of your entire facility!


Improving the Energy Efficiency of D.C. Commercial HVAC Systems


Reduce Cooling and Heating Load

The load is how much cooling/heating you need to use in order to bring the facility to a comfortable level. Reducing the load basically means making it so there's less excess heat/cool in the building to begin with, so the commercial HVAC system doesn't have to do as much work. What are some measures that can be used to reduce cooling and heating load?

  • Adding insulation and tightening the building shell to reduce air leakage.

  • Upgrading to new lighting systems that emit less heat.

  • Choosing efficient IT equipment that emits less heat.

  • Reducing solar gain, which is heat energy that enters a space through the roof and windows.

  • Improving ventilation to increase the comfort of occupants without additional heating/cooling.

Control Systems

Control systems are designed to make commercial HVAC systems in D.C. run more energy efficiently. Here are a few examples:

  • Zoning. Instead of heating and cooling the whole facility as one unit, the facility is divided into different zones that can be heated/cooled independently of each other. This prevents wasting conditioned air on unoccupied spaces, and accounts for the natural variations in temperature that will occur in different parts of a facility.

  • Programmable thermostats. These allow for cooling and heating schedules to be set automatically.

  • Demand/CO2 Sensors. Typically, ventilation systems are used based on assumed occupancy of a facility. Demand/CO2 sensors measure how much CO2 is present in the air in a facility, allowing them to more accurately gauge the occupancy of a facility (CO2 being a byproduct of human respiration), thus improving the regulation of ventilation.


It's not just upgrades that will make a D.C. commercial HVAC system more energy efficient. Regular maintenance ensures the system is operating at peak efficiency, reduces the likelihood of a breakdown, and increases the lifespan of the system.

  • Consider investing in an annual maintenance contract with a professional HVAC contractor, who will conduct a seasonal tune up to improve the system's operation.

  • Replace air filters as recommended by the manufacturer.

  • Repair leaky ducts, which dump conditioned air into unconditioned spaces.

Commercial Energy Audits from greeNEWit

Commercial HVAC systems are just one component of a building's energy usage. How can you improve energy efficiency in other areas of a facility? Consider a commercial energy audit from greeNEWit. Our audit includes a comprehensive analysis of your facility's energy usage, and recommendations for upgrades based on the best potential for ROI. To learn more, contact us today at 866.994.7639.

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