Air conditioning accounts for as much as 15 percent of the total annual electricity used in the average commercial building. If your system is over 15 years old, you may want to consider upgrading it to a newer and more efficient system that can sufficiently cool your facility. For instance, it may be bigger than what you need. Installing a reliable high-quality air conditioning and cooling system will help lower energy expenses and increase your facility’s comfort level.
Types of Cooling Systems to Consider
If you’re considering upgrading your cooling system, it’s beneficial to know which systems are available, along with how they function and the applications for which they’re used.
A unitary system will contain all of the equipment needed to cool, heat, and dehumidify the air in a central unit, with equipment such as a chiller cooling tower included in either split systems or packaged units.
Heat pumps provide control over cooling, heating, and humidity in many different types of climates and buildings. Because they move, or pump, heat rather than generate it, heat pumps are potentially 100% energy-efficient. Heat pumps are typically more expensive than traditional cooling systems, but they pay off over time with reduced lowered expenses pertaining to maintenance and energy use. Heat pumps can provide effective and efficient heating at any time of the year, but they are typically used in areas with moderate climates.
Other Types of Systems
Some newer technologies to consider for cooling systems include mini-split systems along with variable refrigerant flow, or VRF.
VRF cooling systems can provide additional advantages over traditional cooling technology by improving energy savings and increasing overall control. They are ideal for applications with varying occupancy zones and loads, which could include office buildings and facilities used for lodging.
Mini-split systems, on the other hand, can provide facilities with ductless cooling and heating, and are typically used for lodging, multifamily units, and other types of institutional or commercial facilities. The benefits of a mini-split system include flexibility of zoning, elimination of energy losses via ductwork, and ease of installation.
Evaluating the Cooling System’s Performance
Efficiency ratings will measure the overall performance of your cooling systems, which is why it’s important to understand them in the evaluation and selection of the right cooling equipment.
The energy-efficiency ratio (EER) measures the efficiency of your cooling system when the external temperature is at a certain level.
The seasonal energy-efficiency ratio (SEER) measures efficiency over the course of an entire cooling season, rather than a set temperature.
Coefficient of performance ratings are ordinarily used for heat pumps, as a measurement of how efficiently cooling systems will function at a specific external temperature.
Keeping all of this in mind can help you select the right cooling system and also assist with future optimization to get the most from your cooling systems in the long run.