How to Get a 2-Year ROI When Retrofitting a More Efficient HVAC System in Your Florida Convention Center

Retrofitting Air Conditioning & Controls for Large Public Venues.

Florida sports, entertainment and convention facilities face unique air conditioning challenges due to their large spaces, high ceilings and high outdoor humidity levels. Indoor air quality is a primary concern for convention center administrators because outdated air conditioning systems can become a breeding ground for contaminants. Building operators also have to contend with the high energy cost associated with maintaining an antiquated and inefficient HVAC system.

In order to reduce expenses and improve indoor air quality, more and more Florida venue administrators are retrofitting greener, more efficient air conditioning systems in their buildings. Investing in a green air conditioning system can transform a Florida sporting or entertainment arena into an energy efficient building, and reduce long term operational costs.

According to Larry Clark, LEED AP, and sr. energy solutions consultant at Hill York, facility managers who implement an HVAC optimization solution can often expect a return on investment of less than 2 years. Clark explains this in an example of an institutional building considering the installation of a building oversight management system. The process uses a combination of a web-enabled advanced energy monitoring capability with to the real-time management of energy use.

To arrive at an ROI of less than 2 years, Clark used a Capital Recovery Factor-based cost-to-benefit ratio model. He broke down the project cost ($147,000), the building occupancy within the next 10 years, internal cost of money (6.5%), current cost of energy ($.11/kWh) and expected savings ($1,463,173 kWh/yr). He then analyzed the cost to save 1kWh to arrive at the total savings. From his findings, Clark concluded that the project investment of $.13 avoided $1.00 of energy costs. As illustrated by this model, the cost of not implementing the solution could be as much as $385/day for the next 10 years, or $1.4 million in avoidable energy costs.

As the manager of a large entertainment venue in Florida, these are savings you definitely want available to you for better purposes.

There are now wireless indoor air quality and energy monitoring technologies available that require no modifications to the building’s infrastructure.

Implementing this state-of-the-art technology may not only protect your investment but can also improve the indoor air quality of your Florida arenas and convention centers.

The Benefits of Green Air Conditioning Systems

As a manager of a large venue, not investing in a green air conditioning system can cost a significant amount. With energy prices rising, entertainment and sporting venue administrators must get smart with green initiatives.

However, building engineers and administrators know that proposing a new air conditioning system has several challenges and roadblocks—no matter the evidence of eventual cost savings. Initial, upfront costs are what typically deter most facility managers from implementing a more efficient green air conditioning system. Often, managers don’t want to replace or fix what isn’t clearly broken.

One solution to initial cost outlay is to present a shared energy savings financing plan. Shared energy savings financing is when financing is offered for green projects demonstrated through increased energy efficiencies. Financing options include commercial leases that can pay out from energy savings, third party ESCO financing and customized financial plans using several models.

Plus installing a green air conditioning system positions your venue to qualify for LEED credits, saving you even more money in the long run.

Choosing an Orlando, Florida LEED Certified Contractor

Having a LEED certified contractor is vital to ensuring that your project qualifies for certification. Whether you are implementing environmentally-friendly countertops in your restrooms or a green air conditioning system, any green driven project may qualify for Florida LEED certification. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification supports and encourages green building development practices which contributes towards increased environmental and health sustainability.

When a building becomes LEED certified, money saving credits are offered, adding significantly to your return on investment.

Before you pursue certification, select a LEED certified Orlando company to ensure you will earn credits. Because specific rules must be followed in order to ensure your retrofit or new construction project, only a LEED certified Orlando contractor can ensure the job is done to specifications.

When interviewing Florida contractors, look for a LEED certified Orlando company that has accredited professionals on staff, including a Charrette Facilitator. Inquire about partnerships with other Florida LEED contractors and consultants, that ultimately contributes toward a more efficient and complete job.

Another money saving consideration is to ask your contractor about energy services agreements and individual building energy assessments. Qualified Florida LEED contractors will utilize BuildingAdvice energy benchmarking and ENERGY STAR rating systems to design the most appropriate green air conditioning system for your entertainment or sporting venue.

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