Michael Berning is Director of
Sustainable Design for Heapy Engineering. He said HVAC systems are one of the
first things you want to look at when trying to conserve energy because of the
process of heating and cooling buildings.
“You can do that sometimes with
inefficient equipment which is sometimes the least expensive and therefore the
efficiencies aren’t built into it and so if you spend a little bit of dollars
up front, you can get better efficiencies that then pay for itself over time
and that’s the differential in HVAC systems,” Berning said.
HVAC systems account for approximately
40% of the electricity used in commercial buildings. Evaluating the facility’s
load will help figure out if the system is operating too highly or if things
can be changed to lower operating costs. Newer systems might also need to be
purchased. Berning said the only thing stopping most from changing or
installing a new system is the myth about price.
“Take a look at it, get a qualified
engineer to come in and take a look at it and do an analysis for you and really
show you where the low hanging fruit is, I mean there is a lot of things in
todays, either at home or in the place where you work or your church that you
can save for minimal investment,” Berning said.
Berning oversees 170 employees and over
250 LEED projects at Heapy, in Dayton, Ohio. Berning said you can be more
energy efficient, without changing the entire system.
“You can control a boiler like on, off
or you can put modulating controls on them that will then vary to the load and
that’s the same in a heating and cooling system, if your furnace is running
non-stop or if it’s got some kind of step load control on it and those are the
ways in a simple way to be more efficient,” Berning said.
Doug Phillips is from Wesco, a company
that operates in electrical work. Phillips says it’s possible for companies and
even residential areas to have an energy audit. An energy audit can look at
everything from HVAC systems to the lighting in the building which Doug
“Typically a commercial building has
their power bill built into three segments, 40% of their power bill is consumed
with lighting, 40% is with HVAC and then the balance is just miscellaneous
stuff that’s in the building so lighting represents about 40% of the bill,”
Doug Phillips said.
Doug Phillips said they are seeing more
and more people wanting to know how to retro fit their current lighting
“What we’re seeing today, are not
necessarily people that are building new buildings, but we have people in
existing applications and offices and they’re looking at their power bill and
they’re trying to find a way to cut corners and be cost effective and they’re
asking us for solutions to lower their energy costs,” Doug Phillips said.
Margie Phillips is the Sustainability
Manager at Marshall and said in the last five years the university has
undergone audits to improve its HVAC systems and lighting.
“In the last five years we’ve been more
aware of making the buildings more energy efficient because utility costs
continue to increase each year, so that’s one of our number one reasons we look
at the building to see how we can save energy, if it’s lighting, retrofitting
or of it’s a piece of mechanical equipment that’s being replaced, we look at
all that,” Margie Phillips said.
The lecture was sponsored by the
Sustainability Department and Aetna Building Maintenance.