How To Pick The Best HVAC System For Your Commercial Property
It probably isn't a surprise to our readers that HVAC systems vary depending on whether they are for commercial, industrial, or residential purposes. Your 10-storey condo in Burlington, for example, is going to require a much different ventilation solution compared to say, Yorkdale Mall in Toronto. The effectiveness of your ventilation system also plays an important role in the success of your business - just people don't want to live in a poorly heated or air conditioned home, they also don't want to spend too much time inside a poorly ventilated commercial space. Luckily, your friends at EAMA have a wealth of experience working with properties across all of these areas, and we've compiled a little guide to help you decide the perfect HVAC system for your commercial property.
First and foremost, it's important to pick an HVAC system that is certified; keep an eye out for the Energy Star certification symbol when browsing through your options. This symbol guarantees that your system meets the minimum requirements of the US Environmental Protection Agency, ensuring that not only is your system able to create a more comfortable commercial environment, it can also save you a ton on your energy bills.
Other things to consider:
One of the most important aspects of choosing an HVAC system for your property is sizing. Obviously, you don't want to choose a system that is too small for your space, as this won't allow enough cool or hot air to circulate. But choosing a system that is too large can also be a problem - when a system is too large for a space, it circulates air much quicker, leading to more cycling between on and off phases. In the long-term, this can quickly eat away at your energy usage, costing you more when the bills come in. It also wears down the lifespan of your HVAC system, meaning that you'll be paying not only higher energy costs, but potentially replacement or repair costs sooner than you expected. That's why it's important to consult with a professional HVAC technician, who can conduct a load calculation on your property and help you narrow down the perfect size for your HVAC system.
HVAC systems come in three main types:
Single-Split Systems are split into two main components, the condensing unit and the air handling unit. These systems are smaller and more cost-effective than centralized systems, allowing them to be more flexible in installation location. If you're looking to heat a small office space, shop, cafe, or restaurant, these will probably be your best bet.
Multi-Split Systems differ from single-split systems in that, instead of a divided system, they use a large outdoor unit to power multiple indoor units. This means that one multi-split system can cool up to four rooms at a time, making it the perfect choice for commercial spaces like retail stores, large office spaces, doctor's offices, and any other property with multiple floors or walls.
Variable Refrigerant Flow Systems are the most energy-efficient of the bunch, as unlike traditional HVAC systems, they use refrigerant lines instead of ducts to cool or heat rooms within a property. Their efficiency means that they can produce up to 40% in energy savings.
There's also the layout of your property to consider. While most residential spaces are cooled with underfloor air distribution, commercial spaces largely use overhead air distribution due to the variances in airflow. If you're taking care of a sprawling mall with high ceilings and wide open walkways, underfloor air distribution might be the better option for you, since overhead systems will require more power to reach your patrons and tenants. More power, of course, means more energy usage and more spending.
Geographical Location and Climate Zone
One of the main things that differentiate residential and commercial HVAC systems is climate zones. In a residential property, even a multi-residential one, traffic is fairly consistent across most of the space, and this consistency extends to the cooling and heating needs of its tenants. Commercial spaces, however, vary much more in traffic, with some areas requiring much more heating or cooling than others.
If you own a more expansive space with fluctuating HVAC needs, opting for a multi-split or VRF system will give you more liberty to customize how and where the air is being circulated.
The environment outside of your property is also something important to consider. Depending on the location and orientation of your building, as well as factors like the number of windows, you may need less or more air conditioning and heating compared to buildings that may even be in the same area. Before looking into upgrading or overhauling your HVAC system, you should first look into ways of improving the temperature and airflow in your property by looking at where windows are installed and how much fresh air flows through your property via various channels. If your property isn't properly sealed or considerate of external elements, then even the most top-of-the-line HVAC system is still going to operate inefficiently throughout its lifespan.
These are just a few of the factors that should come into consideration when choosing an HVAC system for your commercial property. With help from one of our team's HVAC experts, you can rest easy knowing that all of your property's characteristics are being considered, and that our techs will pick the most optimal HVAC solution for you. Give us a call today and find out why EAMA is a contractor that you can count on.