Improve the Performance of Building Operations and Controls

 In All, HVAC
By Institute for Building Efficiency

Proper heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system maintenance can increase occupant comfort, extend equipment life, and reduce energy consumption and operational costs. However, even properly maintained systems may still waste energy and cause occupant comfort issues if they are not operating consistently with the current use of the facility. By following the practice of periodically making adjustments and simple improvements to operational practices and control strategies, facilities can save up to 20% of HVAC energy consumption.

Opportunity in Operations and Controls

The average simple payback operations and controls improvements is 0.49 years, representing a low-cost practice for enhancing building performance.1 Studies suggest that adjustments to HVAC operations and controls need to be scheduled regularly in order to maintain the energy savings and maximize occupant comfort.2 Even when more permanent improvements, such as equipment upgrades are made, regular operations and controls adjustments are critical to meet the changing demands on the building.

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) has developed a methodology, called “building re-tuning,” which details the process for reviewing and adjusting HVAC operations and controls. Re-tuning is implemented primarily through the building control system and may also include small, low-cost repairs, such as replacing faulty sensors. It leverages information from an existing building automation system (BAS) as a low cost approach to provide energy efficiency and improvements in occupant comfort.

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