The Ins and Outs of Variable Refrigerant Flow Systems
If you’re a commercial property owner looking to increase the efficiency of your building’s HVAC set up this year, a Variable Refrigerant Flow system may be the right option for you!
How Variable Refrigerant Flow Systems Work
Much like ductless air conditioning systems, which link individual room units to an outdoor compressor, VRF systems work like large-scale duct systems.
Essentially, when a building uses Variable Refrigerant Flow, multiple distinct indoor units (or zones) operate on the same system. The VRF system moves refrigerant from zone to zone, precisely delivering the amount each zone requires to achieve its optimum level of comfort through better climate control.
Mini-Splits vs. Multi-Zones
Under the umbrella of VRF systems, there are multiple equipment setup options, including mini-splits and multi-zones.
A mini-split system consists of a single outdoor unit for every indoor unit. So, if you’re heating or cooling 6 rooms inside a building, you’ll also need 6 outdoor units installed for each of those rooms.
A multi-zone system involves multiple indoor units which are all connected to a single outdoor unit. With this system in place, if you have 6 indoor rooms you’d like to heat or cool, these rooms will all be connected to a single compressor.
Benefits of Variable Refrigerant Flow Systems
The benefits of VRF systems are abundant; property owners benefit from increased energy efficiency, cost-savings, and a greater ROI. Variable Refrigerant Flow systems also provide:
- Easier installation than a full central system with ductwork
- The ability to heat or cool single rooms with individual temperature control, as opposed to running the entire commercial HVAC system
- Running at a low volume; because inverters ramp up and down, electricity usage varies and the system doesn’t need to run at full capacity 24/7
Make Your Commercial HVAC System More Customizable with VRF
Whether you’re looking to cut costs, increase energy efficiency, or simply make your building more comfortable from one room to the next for your tenants, a VRF system may be the right choice.
For help choosing the right commercial HVAC system, click here to send our team a message.
How Air Ventilation Strategies Improve Comfort
Throughout the past two years, the importance commercial HVAC systems play in mitigating viral transmission has come top of mind. The ventilation system in your building plays a critical role in minimizing the spread of illness and maintaining comfort for occupants.
What Do Commercial Ventilation Systems Do?
Your commercial HVAC system serves many functions, including bringing in heated or cooled air to the different rooms of your building to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature, while also preserving the indoor air quality and keeping the air from becoming “stuffy.”
As part of the multi-layered approach to COVID-19, it is recommended to improve indoor building ventilation to reduce the spread of disease. Because the viral particles spread more easily indoors, their concentration is higher inside, which is where ventilation control strategies come into play.
How We’re Using Air Ventilation Strategies for Our Clients
Ventilation control strategies are key in increasing clean air within a building and diluting potential contaminants, and can include any variety of these tools to improve ventilation, as outlined by the CDC and compliantly carried out by Air Stream AC for our commercial HVAC clients:
- Have your outdoor air dampers opened beyond their minimum settings to reduce or eliminate HVAC air recirculating
- Open windows and doors when the weather allows you to, which will increase the outdoor air flow coming inside the building
- Implement the use of fans to further increase the effectiveness of any open windows
- Have your HVAC system rebalanced or adjusted to increase total airflow occupied spaces when possible
- Ensure restroom exhaust fans are functional and operating at their full capacity
For the complete list of the CDC’s recommendations for improving ventilation, click here.
Project Highlight: Maintaining Safe Air in Theaters through Ventilation Strategies
To help ensure theater-goers can return safely back to their favorite spots, we have worked with theaters to ensure their air is properly ventilated for the return of guests, using a three-step ventilation strategy:
Before the audience arrives, we perform a pre-purge, where the building is flushed with fresh air, and the indoor air quality is brought back down to a normal level.
As more people arrive, it’s necessary to do a higher air purge throughout the event, which brings the air to a safer level.
After the event, an additional purge is performed, flushing the building with fresh air once again.
Protect the Comfort Inside Your Building
To ensure your building’s occupants and tenants are as safe and comfortable as possible as we continue to navigate not only the COVID-19 pandemic, but also cold and flu season, ventilation control strategies are an effective way to minimize risk.
For help creating your custom strategy, call (516) 747-4700.
Should You Upgrade Your Building Management System in 2022?
As you look forward to the new year, now is the time to make considerations for your 2022 commercial HVAC plan. Could your HVAC system be more efficient? Could you be saving on monthly energy costs? Could you incorporate a new system design that flawlessly does everything your building needs…and more?!
To give you an idea of how your commercial HVAC system can be improved in the new year, we’re highlighting Building Management Systems, including one of our favorite projects of 2020.
What is a Building Management System?
A Building Management System (BMS), is a computer-based control system installed in commercial buildings. With a BMS in place, there is a centralized location in the building where all critical mechanical and electrical components are managed, including ventilation, lighting, power systems, fire systems, and security systems.
Benefits of Building Management Systems
With an effective BMS in place, you not only benefit from a centralized control center but also:
- Convenient monitoring and management of energy and indoor comfort levels
- Minimized landlord and tenant costs
- Extending equipment and systems’ life by reducing loads and operating hours
- Reduced maintenance costs
- Fewer equipment replacements and upgrades
See How We Transformed this Long Island Commercial HVAC System: Broadhollow Road Renovation
This year, the expertise of Air Stream AC’s Controls Department was enlisted for a full commercial HVAC renovation and refurbishment, as well as a Building Management System upgrade on all equipment at 534 Broadhollow Rd. in Melville, New York.
This project included full integrations of the main air handler, boiler and chiller plants, actuators, dampers for duct branches, and boiler and chiller water controls.
With this centralized system in place, our client reaps the benefits of smart building controls every day, with fully integrated and automated building management.
Smart building controls also offer:
- Simplified operations that make controlling building features as easy as clicking a mouse
- Increased energy efficiency and a reduced carbon footprint
- Customized dashboards that provide easy viewing of all building data, usage, reporting, and permissions…all from one screen!
- Satisfied, comfortable employees and tenants who’ll love their environment
Start 2022 with a Building Management System Upgrade
As a certified Honeywell Building Specialist, Air Stream AC has the knowledge and field expertise to help you create a centralized system to monitor and manage the mechanical and electrical elements of your building. Simplify the way you manage your building, reduce energy costs, and create a space your tenants will love.
For more information, call (516) 747-4700.
How to Heat and Cool Flex Space Without Breaking the Bank
Over the past few years, there has been an increased demand for companies to streamline their operations. Because of this, “flex space” has become a reality for many businesses, allowing for simplified operations and greater versatility.
What is Flex Space?
Simply put, flex space refers to a building, typically one-story, which has both office space and warehouse space. While the office space is usually more typical, with 9-foot ceilings and standard layouts, the warehouse varies; most often, there are ceilings around 14-16 feet tall, a warehouse door, and a loading dock.
Flex space is utilized by a variety of businesses; retailers, brewers, makers, and automotive shops are a few of the most common occupants.
Advantages of Flex Space
Particularly as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, companies are looking to shift from full commercial office spaces to an office/warehouse hybrid in order to cut costs and simplify.
Flex space allows for a centralized operating hub. Take a tire shop for example. One portion of the building can be dedicated to customer-facing operations, such as employee offices, a waiting area, or a checkout; the warehouse space, on the other hand, allows the shop to keep its inventory and services onsite under the same roof.
Commercial HVAC Challenges with Flex Space
Though flex space provides convenience and centralized logistics, it also comes with some major challenges, especially for organizations who are migrating from a large commercial space to this hybrid model. Flex Space requires different HVAC needs than your previous commercial space, and often you may find you’re overcompensating once you move to an industrial facility.
Here’s what you need to know about the HVAC needs of Flex Space.
As you can imagine, the HVAC needs for an office space versus a warehouse vary significantly. With any warehouse, extreme cold or extreme heat can drastically affect comfort and productivity for employees.
Further, with a constantly opening and closing warehouse door, without the proper commercial HVAC design, your warehouse temperature becomes subject to the weather. Windows, cracks, and other leak points can also impact your indoor warehouse temperature.
Air flow issues are a common culprit behind “sick building syndrome”, a real term used to describe a situation when a building’s occupants experience health and/or comfort-related side effects that appear to coincide with the time spent in the building. According to research by Sumedha M. Joshi, sick building syndrome leads to absences and “causes a decrease in productivity of the workers.”
So why does air flow matter? Even the most powerful commercial HVAC systems can’t combat settled air in a large warehouse space, making the air stale, and furthering the temperature control issues.
Higher Energy Costs
Heating and cooling a warehouse doesn’t come cheap. Tall ceilings, vast open space, opening and closing garage doors, ventilation quality, and drafts can all significantly impact your monthly energy bill.
How to Efficiently Heat and Cool Flex Space
Just because there are a number of HVAC challenges that can come along with heating and cooling flex space doesn’t mean it’s not possible to do it in an efficient, bottom-line-friendly way.
Here are a few ways we manage flex space for our clients:
Demand Control Ventilation
Demand control ventilation analyzes the demand for ventilation in a building through the use of sensors that are sensitive to CO2 levels. When it senses an increase in CO2 in the building, the system will increase the number of air changes until it lands at the correct rate for maximum building comfort.
Smart Building Controls
Smart thermostats are the future of commercial HVAC; with smart building controls, a simple automation simplifies the way you control multiple systems under the same roof. You can even control features like your lights and window shades to help keep consistent temperatures. Smart building controls not only increase your energy efficiency and help reduce your company’s carbon footprint, but your employees will be more comfortable and productive in their environment.
Regular HVAC Maintenance
Along with an expertly designed commercial HVAC system in your building, it’s equally as important to have a proactive maintenance plan in place to ensure your system is working efficiently around the clock.
When you choose Air Stream as your HVAC partner, you benefit from:
- Your own customized, cost-effective HVAC maintenance program
- Lowest cost-per-value
- More efficient operations
- Real-time communications
- 24/7 service year-round
- The latest HVAC technology
- A dedicated service team with expert knowledge of flex space HVAC design
Efficient HVAC Ventilation for Your Flex Space is Just a Phone Call Away!
Not all flex spaces are the same, meaning their commercial HVAC systems shouldn’t be, either. With an expert HVAC design, though, you can reap all the benefits of both flex space and an efficient heating and cooling system.
For more information, call (516) 747-4700.
Go Green to Save Your Green $$: 3 Ways You Can Cut Costs Now with Green Energy
Each year, Earth Day is a reminder to reflect on our own energy habits and how they impact our lives. Your commercial HVAC system is one of many ways you can not only reduce energy consumption, but costs as well.
How is the Energy Efficiency of Your HVAC System Affecting Your Bottom Line?
Did you know it’s estimated that heating and cooling can contribute to as much as 73% of the total energy costs in commercial buildings? When it comes to keeping energy use and operational costs down, the efficiency of your HVAC system is critical.
For commercial property owners, if you haven’t already, making the switch to green HVAC technology can reduce greenhouse gases and environmental footprint, while also increasing energy efficiency and cost-savings.
Green HVAC System Types
Here are three ways you can go green with your HVAC system to save some money!
1. Smart Thermostats & Building Controls
Smart thermostats are just one of the many smart building controls you can implement into your own energy strategy, leveraging the latest HVAC technologies to integrate and automate all aspects of your building.
When integrated with your HVAC system, smart building controls monitor and automate your HVAC system’s critical points like the temperature, fan status, indoor air quality conditions, and compressor status, and you can even maintain your building anytime, anywhere using a smart app on your phone. . Best of all, smart building controls also optimize your system to be as efficient as possible, saving energy and money.
2. Zoned HVAC Systems
When you’re looking to cut energy costs, zoned HVAC systems are an excellent choice. With zoned systems, you can easily divide your building into multiple heating and cooling zones, all of which can be controlled separately, creating maximum comfort throughout all areas of your building.
With Zoned HVAC systems, you don’t pay for energy you don’t use; rarely used spaces won’t take up energy just to reach a specific temperature needed in another area of your building.
3. HVAC Economizers
HVAC economizers are another excellent way to save energy and money while maintaining your commercial building. HVAC economizers are part of the outdoor system of an HVAC system, typically mounted on the roof of the building. Economizers evaluate the outside temperature and humidity, and when those exterior air levels are appropriate, will use the outside air to cool your building.
When implemented, HVAC economizers lower energy consumption and costs, while reducing the amount of work your commercial air conditioning system does (prolonging its life!) and improve indoor air quality through increased ventilation.
Reduce Your Energy Consumption with Green Heating and Cooling
To minimize your energy use and save on operational costs, contact Air Stream today at (516) 747-4700 and we’ll help you choose the best green energy options for your facility!
The 5 “Coolest” HVAC Trends of 2021
With each passing year, the HVAC industry sees exciting new developments which we love to leverage for our clients to perfect the environments they live, work, and play in. In 2021, there are several exciting commercial HVAC trends on the rise, and we’re sharing the top five that every building owner should know about.
One of the biggest trends for 2021 in the HVAC industry is green energy. While green energy services have been on the rise for years, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, many people saw drastic rises in their HVAC bills while spending more time at home. Because of this, it’s expected that green energy will be at the forefront of the HVAC industry across the board as business owners, too, look to keep operational costs down while benefiting the environment.
What Does Green Energy Look Like?
Green energy can refer to heating that’s fueled by electricity or hydrogen, or energy that utilizes smart tools to provide cleaner solutions overall.
Ductless mini-split systems are another big trend in the HVAC industry for 2021. These systems consist of an outdoor condenser, as well as an indoor air-handling unit. They’re easy to install, efficient, and distribute conditioned air more evenly than traditional HVAC systems.
Variable Refrigerant Flow
Variable refrigerant flow is another trend on the rise for 2021. This method allows you to install multiple zones in an office, which means you can have heat and cooling running simultaneously. When you use this system to have one area heating and one area cooling, for example, hot air will be taken from one area, and transformed into cool air in the other!
Zoned Heating and Air
Zoned heating and air has been at the forefront of the HVAC industry over the past year as office buildings have been less populated and business owners have become more interested in minimizing HVAC costs when people haven’t been inhabiting their buildings.
With zoned heating and air, rarely used rooms don’t take up precious energy just to reach a selected temperature. The use of zoned heating and air can be highly sophisticated, but it can also be installed in a traditional HVAC system to meet your specific needs and control the temperature as needed to create the perfect environment.
As with many other industries, HVAC manufacturers are beginning to use the Internet of Things to embed sensors and other technologies into heating and cooling equipment. This allows for the equipment to monitor and collect data regarding systems’ performance and condition, which ensures that equipment is always working optimally.
At Air Stream, we recommend Smart Building Controls to clients looking to leverage smart technologies to integrate and automate all aspects of building management. Smart Building Controls are the future of your building operation, but you can take advantage of this technology now in order to perfect your environment, improve energy efficiency, and reduce operational costs.
Benefits of Smart Building Controls
Control building features with like lights and window shades with the click of a mouse and maintain consistent indoor temperatures no matter the weather conditions.
Save on energy costs and reduce your carbon footprint to feel better about how your building affects the environment.
Satisfied Employees and Tenants
Ensure employees and tenants are comfortable in the environment they work in, allowing them to be more productive while reaping the benefits of smart customization.
Get a comprehensive view of all building data, monitor and control usage levels, review reports, and manage permissions…all from a single screen.
Let Air Stream Perfect Your Environment This Year
Whether you’re looking to make your system more energy-efficient, you’d like to cut costs, or you’re ready to take advantage of the smartest HVAC technology available for your heating and air system this year, Air Stream has the knowledge and experience with the latest HVAC technology to make it happen. For more information, please fill out our New Client Inquiry form, and a service manager will be in touch shortly!