I was talking with a property manager recently, and they asked: "why do rooftop units seem to last forever in Denver?" I asked what they meant, and they told me they recently moved to Denver from the east coast. They had HVAC equipment replacement, including their RTU's, as one of their big costs in their annual budget. As we talked, we discovered the main factor was humidity. The downside: humidity is very hard on equipment, rusting it away. The upside: replacing old equipment with new, upgraded equipment means it will be more dependable and energy-efficient. This creates a bit of a double-edge sword when it comes to commercial rooftop HVAC units in Denver; the equipment can last much longer thanks to low humidity levels, but it also means buildings could be running outdated equipment that costs them more in the long run.
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are among the most energy-intensive mechanisms of any business. In fact, space cooling alone accounts for 15% of the electricity used in commercial buildings on average. According to the US Department of Energy (DOE), much of the energy and cost that goes into powering HVAC is lost to waste - upwards of 30% in the average commercial building.
Sometimes the best ways to improve HVAC efficiency come through upgrading or replacing existing HVAC equipment and systems, which can improve efficiency by 5-20%. Running HVAC systems and equipment past their suggested lifespans leads to exorbitant energy and maintenance costs.
If a building’s air conditioner or heat pump is more than 10 years old, replace it with ENERGY STAR-certified products. ENERGY STAR-certified air conditioners and heat pumps can improve sustainability and reduce energy costs by up to 20%. Furnaces or boilers that are more than 15 years old will also likely be due for upgrades or replacement, and ENERGY STAR-certified furnaces and boilers also offer significant cost and energy savings.
Retrofitting existing packaged rooftop HVAC units with advanced digital economizer controls and/or sensors that bring in ventilation air only when needed – also known as demand controlled ventilation – is yet another important and successful way for businesses to significantly improve energy efficiency.
Denver property managers should be aware that the long lifespan of rooftop units may not be as cost-effective as it seems. Don't be fooled into keeping outdated equipment that actually costs more because of the energy waste. LONG offers a variety of HVAC maintenance services and can help you determine if your equipment could benefit from improvements or replacements. For questions or to inquire further, contact us today.