by Matthew Guarracino
Technology and innovation in energy and building management systems have opened up new pathways for creating innovative and necessary features of development, such as an updated heating, ventilation, automation, and cooling system (HVAC system). Throughout the building process, owners and developers collaborate to make an array of choices ranging from renewable energy initiatives to demand response and distributed generation.
As building systems get older, they need more maintenance and run less efficiently, which can become pricier for the owner over time. Rather than keeping with the status quo, a better investment would be to upgrade the energy management system for a better ROI. The good news is that with technology options exploding over the last few years, and increasingly sophisticated systems evolving, it seems as though an inescapable trend across construction and repair industries will be to upgrade energy and HVAC systems in building structures. HVAC systems allow a building to maintain a desired working and living environment, while ensuring reliable and efficient delivery of power. Demand control ventilation is an HVAC control used to supply the correct amount of heated or cooled air to certain areas, many with different requirements, occupancy levels, and environmental controls. This can be integrated into existing building control systems and negates the use for individualized manual controls, helping to keep energy usage levels stable while streamlining building management conditions. These controls, when integrated into the building management system, have also evolved to incorporate trending technology, and can be utilized to predict future use based on historical data of a certain facility, again negating wasteful spending and fluctuation.
Sophisticated automated HVAC controls are critical in living and working atmospheres, but even more so in the research and medical facilities sprouting up throughout Boston and Cambridge. As energy reliability is essential for ensuring smooth buildings operations without costly disruptions, they require innovative technology to handle their complicated energy, HVAC, and processing needs. Automation controls are increasingly necessary in maintaining an environment that meets clinical, research, and regulatory requirements that preserve the sensitive nature of the work in the buildings, which is why it is important that contractors select the most advanced systems for new projects.
In addition to the demand for energy efficiency, companies, residents, and building owners have made efforts to “go green” in recent years, and are making an increased effort to build more sustainable-friendly structures. Contractors fully anticipate this movement in the industry, and newer products are exhibiting the signs of change that accompany this movement. Many HVAC producers have started to supply greener models with newer technologies, and this trend will continue to evolve as the system’s efficiency does too. The newer the model, the better the end product will be for the consumer, so the demand will be present at least for the near future.
Energy audits and plans that identify potential improvements in energy efficiency and renewable energy building structures continue to be an effective way to discover these opportunities for both immediate and long-term cost savings for building owners. These investments include not only installing energy-efficient controls, but also upgrading equipment and replacing energy-consuming equipment. Diligent project management from contractors and subcontractors is crucial when completing these projects.
When working in these larger facilities that will support a variety of different functions, all construction parties must emphasize that each individual area requires unique and specific expertise.
Matthew Guarracino is business development manager at J.M. Electrical Company Inc.