A too-cold or too-warm office is an all too familiar problem across the commercial and industrial worlds. Buildings constructed to be energy-efficient end up forcing everyone to endure the same temperature, which isn't necessarily a comfortable one. But there is a way to lessen the problem, and that's by dividing your commercial heating and air conditioning into zones that each have their own thermostat control.
Individual Control Can Save Money and Energy
Everyone in your building is going to be different and have different preferences for temperatures. When you try to set one temperature for an entire building, there will be people who say it's too hot or too cold. You may set that heater to the upper 60s, for example, only to have people demand you both decrease and increase the temperature. If you know of sections where you've heard a particular complaint, you can create zones for each of those sections, allowing the people there to set the temperature. That does mean that some will want it warmer in winter and cooler in summer, but you'll also find people setting their zone's thermostat to lower temperatures in winter and higher temperatures in summer. That nets you energy savings, thus lowering your bills (or at least countering increases from other zones).
Tailor HVAC Options in Low-Traffic Areas
Another good thing about zones is that, if you have areas where there is little to no foot traffic, you can tailor the zone to have only heating, for example, and not air conditioning. Or, you could have both but program the thermostat to switch the heating and cooling on at lower and higher temperatures. For example, a utility passageway and storage area that rarely see foot traffic could have a zone with a thermostat programmed to stay in the mid-80s in summer and the low-60s in winter. That will save more money and offset potential increases in energy usage in occupied zones.
Account for Sun Exposure More Easily
The western and southern sides of the building will receive warmer sunlight, especially in summer. These areas will need more air conditioning use than sections on the north or east. (Note: That doesn't mean the north and east won't need air conditioning; they just might need less.) Conversely, the north and east sides may need more heating in winter. By setting up different zones, you allow people in these sections to adjust the heat or air conditioning as needed, instead of forcing one section to be much warmer or colder than another.
Has your building's current heating and cooling system been causing high bills and hot tempers? Have a new system installed with zones. A heating contractor can help you divide the building up into the appropriate number of zones for maximum comfort. For more information, contact a company like Mercury Tec.
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