One of the concerns we often hear from property teams when we’re discussing our Overtime HVAC building automation software is the idea of “losing the building.” Building engineers and property managers (especially in extreme climates) don’t want to go on-demand with their overtime HVAC requests because they’re concerned that if they turn off the building, they’ll lose it.
But, there are ways to reap the benefits of going on-demand without having to risk losing the building. Here’s a quick rundown of what it means to lose a building, and how to go on-demand without fear that you might.
What Does It Mean to “Lose Your Building?”
Property teams will often turn off their building automation software outside of standard lease business hours (overnight, on weekends, on holidays, etc). When there’s no HVAC system running to maintain a building’s internal temperature, the air inside of the building starts dropping or rising to match the outdoor temperature. If it’s hot outside, it’ll start to get hot inside; if it’s cold outside, it’ll start to get cold inside. When the building’s HVAC system is turned back on for business hours, it runs until the building air returns to a level of “comfort” (a temperature at which tenants can work comfortability)
At a certain point, however, the indoor temperature of a building that’s been turned off becomes so hot or so cold that the equipment can’t run enough to return the building to comfort. In those situations, you’ve “lost the building.”
How Do Property Teams Avoid Losing Their Buildings?
For fear of losing their building, many property teams in locations with exceptionally hot or cold climates choose to run the heat or air in their buildings around the clock, maintaining a constant level of comfort. While at face value this seems like a reasonable solution, it proves impractical and problematic. It’s not only a massive expense — thousands of dollars are drained into energy costs and equipment depreciation — but also an unnecessary one.
How Can You Avoid Losing Your Building in a Cost and Energy Efficient Way?
Buildings in extreme climates don’t need to be kept at comfort 24/7 to be spared from loss. Property teams can find a “happy medium” temperature range at which to default their building’s HVAC system when it’s not occupied with tenants. This allows them to save money, save energy, and preserve their equipment – without losing their building.
To do this, a building’s overtime set points need to be adjusted to temperatures that, while not “comfortable,” aren’t irreversibly hot or cold.
For example: during periods of excessive heat or cold, a building can adjust its high and low set points to 60 degrees for heating and 85 degrees for cooling (specific numbers vary based on mechanical and structural setup of individual buildings). If temperatures in the building rise above or drop below the set points, the HVAC equipment will automatically kick on. This is a far more cost and energy efficient solution than running the building to maintain comfort at all times.
What if a Tenant Needs to Come in Outside of Business Hours?
Should tenants need to be in the building outside of normal business hours (when your building is off or running at its “happy medium”), you can use an overtime HVAC service to manage and fulfill specific tenant requests. This software takes into account factors like minimum load and minimum run times, so you don’t have to worry about damaging your equipment when you go on-demand.
As we inch closer to summer, it’s important to consider how you can run your building effectively and efficiently while keeping your tenants comfortable and happy. Hopefully this advice with help you do both!