Proactive Design Series: Advanced Controls for HVAC/R Equipment

HVAC generally accounts for single-digit percentages of the hard cost of constructing a commercial building. Of that investment, Controls for HVAC equipment typically account for a tenth of the equipment and installation cost. However, despite the relatively low initial costs, HVAC can account for up to half of the energy usage of that building and just as much of the maintenance budget. Improper or insufficient controls can easily double the energy usage of HVAC equipment or cut the service life in half. Nothing else has such a large and lasting impact on the profitability of a building for such a small initial outlay as advanced HVAC Controls.

First, what do we mean by “Advanced Controls”?

At JK Mechanical we use open protocol, fully programmable, network integrated controls to ensure the greatest flexibility, expandability, and longevity of our Controls projects. Rather than installing an off-the-shelf thermostat, each project is built from the hardware up to create a tailored solution bespoke to every client, equipment setup, and building.

What is included in a Controls project?

Every Controls project includes e-mail alarming and custom HTML5 graphics, provided that there is adequate network availability. Optional remote access capability is also available so that building comfort and equipment performance can be monitored and adjusted on-the-go. Systems can be configured with a convenient, easy-to-use touch-screen interface located in a mechanical or utility room so facilities and maintenance staff can keep comfort and safety under control at a touch of a finger.

In addition to the manufacturer’s hardware warranty, JK Mechanical will make any programming adjustment for a period of one year after commissioning at no cost. This “Test and Adjust” period allows for the system to be in operation through all 4 seasons to ensure that the controls system meets the needs of our customers and their facility. As time goes on, fully programmable and integrated direct digital control allows for sequence of operation changes to be made in the software, without needing any costly hardware changes down the line.

How do Advanced Controls save energy?

As a general rule in HVAC, better control means better savings. The more your facility can customize your comfort needs, the less likely you are to pay for energy use that isn’t actually needed or wanted, all while improving occupant comfort and satisfaction. In a residential, single-family home, this can often be achieved with a smart or programmable thermostat. However, when we’re dealing with large residential homes, small-to-large commercial facilities, or even multi-building campuses, utilizing custom Advanced Controls is a smarter, more efficient, and more centralized way to get the job done. 

According to Chris Broyles, Director of Commercial Services at JK and resident Controls programmer, the single greatest mistake made in HVAC controls is using “canned” or ” one size fits all” solutions such as standard wall thermostats or I/O modules with programming that can’t be altered: “These control solutions are typically configurable, but they are not truly programmable. In the commercial/Industrial market no two buildings are the same. You can certainly gain insight by comparing your current building project to similar projects in the past, but it pays to use an open, flexible, and fully programmable control solution.”

At JK Mechanical, our team of experienced and trained commercial technicians are ready to work with you. Call or contact us today to learn more.




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