A new guide for the commercial property sector that outlines strategies for reducing energy use through optimising heating, ventilation and airconditioning systems has been released by the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.

According to AIRAH chief executive Phil Wilkinson, HVAC systems can be responsible more than 40 per cent of the energy used in a commercial building.

The HVAC Optimisation Guide aims to reduce that massive number, while at the same time improving outcomes in terms of occupant comfort, reducing ongoing maintenance and delivering improvements to a building’s NABERS rating through increased energy efficiency.

The guide outlines 20 efficiency opportunities including systems supervisory control optimisations, plant control parameters such as resetting water delivery temperatures, adjustments to airflow and ventilation, introducing variable speed technologies and best practice HVAC operation and maintenance.

Further efficiency options are also outlined including boiler optimisation, free cooling, demand response and rectifying duct leakage.

The strategies are applicable to both new and ageing buildings, and Mr Wilkinson said these can save up to 50 per cent of total HVAC energy use, or up to 80 per cent of energy use in individual HVAC components.

“The guide discusses technical concepts involved in optimising HVAC systems,” Mr Wilkinson said.

“It is intended to assist all those involved in the running of these systems to plan and manage energy-saving opportunities.”

The guide aims to be useful for energy management consultants, building owners and managers, facility managers and sustainability managers, he said.

“Unlike other energy efficiency strategies, HVAC optimisation does not typically require much capital to implement, because it focuses on the best use of existing systems rather than large-scale equipment upgrades and replacements,” Mr Wilkinson said.

“In many instances, optimisation can provide immediate reductions in energy usage and costs.”

Download the guide.