Thermostat Wars: What’s Best For Your Business?

The lowest hanging fruit for potential energy and dollar savings in a home or office is your thermostat. On average, 10% in energy savings can be saved by dialing back an AC system’s temperatures by around 7-10 degrees for 8 hours a day. Doing this setback manually can be a hassle so there are different styles of thermostats to make it as easy as possible to realize savings; we look at programmable, connected, and smart thermostat’s below.

Programmable Thermostats

The most common thermostats are programmable. These have the ability to set a simple temperature schedule for a home or business based upon the day and time. This allows for a set temperature during business hours and a temperature setback during vacant hours. One of the issues of a programmable thermostat is their complexity. Knowing this, reading the manual and completing a proper set up are required to ensure energy and dollar savings.

Connected Thermostats

Newer to the scene are connected thermostats. These thermostats have all the features of a programmable thermostat with the ability to connect to the internet. Connected thermostats usually come with smartphone applications or a web portals to adjust temperatures and set schedules in real time, essentially solving any usability issues. The positioning of connected thermostats in the marketplace is as a bridge from programmable to smart thermostat’s.  This can benefit them as they offer ease of use but lack many of the new features consumers want such as learning algorithms, alerting, and enterprise solutions.

Smart Thermostats

In addition to having all the abilities of connected thermostats, smart thermostats feature additional sensors and built-in algorithms to manage runtime, energy use, and personal comfort. Common sensors on smart thermostats include: ambient temperature from multiple spaces, humidity, sunlight, outside weather, and occupancy. True value of the sensors is realized through the algorithms embedded in the thermostat firmware that learns habits, comfort levels, and schedules to keep a space comfortable while minimizing the HVAC runtime. Smart thermostats have higher upfront costs and are designed for residential applications.

HYStat

If you are a business owner looking for the best thermostat, turn to the connected thermostat from Hill York; HYStat. We monitor your systems 24/7 and apply our own algorithms to the data from the multitude of sensors installed to prevent condensate overflows and system downtime. In addition, we have a proven track record of energy savings after installation. Whether you want to have a thermostat that brings peace of mind or a thermostat that puts you in charge of saving money on maintenance and energy, HYStat is the best thermostat for your business.

Buildings ‘get smart’ to improve comfort, save money, and reduce energy use

Today’s economy is one run by consumers and participants having unlimited information at their fingertips at all times.  This on-demand economy has brought smart technology and data analytics into all facets of business today.  The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) just released a report discussing how smart buildings upgrades are catching up to this new trend.  Among many other findings, they spoke to the energy saving potential that the South region of the United States has when it comes to smart heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) for commercial buildings.

Making much more data and information available to a building operator is driving efficiency in large and small buildings all over the country.  Whereas a smart building with integrated systems can realize 30-50% savings, individual components can be added to small and medium businesses and save 5-15% with little money upfront.  HVAC technologies like smart thermostats, sensors, variable frequency drives, and cloud based energy information systems have huge potential for savings in Florida where HVAC use in commercial buildings accounts for over 50% of electricity consumption, which is significantly above the national average. A study referenced in the ACEEE report proved that rooftop package units installed with smart thermostat controls, multi-fan speeds, and demand control ventilation can save approximately 50% in electricity savings.

With the addition of the aforementioned smart controllers and sensors, real time data analytics can give visibility to a unit’s operating efficiency by the minute.  This advanced assessment of a building gives the operator an unprecedented look into run-time and efficiency so that nothing is wasted.  Hill York has been working with these new smart building solutions for more than 8 years with our Alerton and HYStat controls for large and small commercial buildings, respectively.  Seeing reports from the country’s leading energy efficiency minds further validates what Hill York has been advocating for years; smarter buildings make efficient buildings, which fuel smart businesses.

 

8 Ways to Leverage Your FPL Account

Some of the best resources to help businesses save money and energy are through the utility companies; and Florida has a shining example with Florida Power & Light (FPL).  Two reasons to take advantage of such programs are the energy savings and the fact that, as a ratepayer, you are helping fund the programs through fees on your utility bills. Since you are already paying for rebates, why not make sure that you reap the energy savings benefits? Below are the top 8 programs and rebates that you can implement in your business through Florida Power & Light.

Business Heating Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC) Program

Replace your existing A/C unit or chiller with a qualifying, high-efficiency system and receive a rebate check from FPL. In addition to your rebate savings, the new systems will be more energy efficient and save you money; it literally pays for itself.

Demand Control Ventilation (DCV)

Control your building’s ventilation based off of occupancy to save your business energy and improve indoor air quality at the same time. Installation of a DCV sensor allows your building to adjust the amount of fresh air you are letting in depending on the occupancy, making sure your building is as efficient and cost saving as possible.

Business Custom Incentives (BCI)

An organization or business can upgrade their business equipment to be more energy efficient and receive a check from FPL. Upgrades that save over 25 kWh and meets other requirements detailed here, will qualify for the check and save money.

Thermal Energy Storage (TES)

Storing energy at night relieves energy demand during the day and helps FPL maintain the grid so they incentivise this. Using a TES system also reduces the runtime of your systems, which increases their lifespan and efficiency. Hill York successfully implemented one of the largest ice storage facilities in the United States at Nova Southeastern University central energy plant.

Commercial Demand Reduction Program

By adding a load management device to HVAC systems, businesses can receive a monthly rebate. This device will, in the event of high demand times for the utility, turn your system off and on to help reduce the overall load on the energy grid.

On Call® Program

Similar to the Commercial Demand Reduction Program, the On Call program will occasionally shut off your HVAC system during peak months to reduce the load on the grid. You can save $2 per ton on systems that are enrolled.

Power Monitoring Service

When the power goes out, it can be costly for your business.  FPL helps you minimize that costly down-time by continually monitoring your business for any power interruptions through a small device that immediately notifies the utility. Check out the FPL’s website for several case studies.

Business Energy Evaluation Plan

An FPL “Energy Expert” can help customize an energy savings plan for your business’ specific needs. This energy evaluation will look at everything from your lighting systems to your HVAC to your building envelope in order to find a plan that will best fit your needs.

These are just some of the savings opportunities through FPL that enable you to invest in what’s really important to your business. Hill York has a dedicated personnel team that can facilitate these rebates and better help you save money, energy, and time.  In order to learn more about these programs or find out specifics about qualifications, please visit this brochure page or contact one of our knowledgeable Hill York Team members.

Largest Energy Efficiency Standards in History – Part 1

Big Moves For Efficiency

As I have said in previous posts, energy efficiency manifests itself commercially in two ways: market advantage or federal standards. December ended up being a big month for the forwarding of energy efficiency standards under the Obama Administration. The two, newly implemented standards will save consumers approximately $168.1 billion dollars on utility bills over the next 30 years. This three-part blog will explore the implications of each of these monumental standards as well as the political and industrial ramifications.

Just days after the Paris agreement, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced the end result of negotiations between industry leaders and the federal government for commercial efficiency. The effort exerted by this diverse group of stakeholders resulted in new commercial air conditioning and furnace standards that supported current market momentum and future innovation. The energy efficiency standards, which will occur in two stages, are aimed at low-rise commercial buildings such as small offices, restaurants, big-box stores, and schools. Commercial air conditioners cool about half the commercial space in the nation according to the Department of Energy.

The Standard

The standard was finalised by 17 stakeholders, including utilities, efficiency organisations, and major HVAC contractors and manufacturers. The first phase of the standard commences in 2018 with a 13% improvement on efficiency. Then, in 2023, an additional 15% increase is required for commercial units. Over the next 30 years of sales, the result will be more than twice the kWh savings than any previous Department of Energy efficiency standard.