In some instances, cooling within the building is so vital, it can be considered life critical. For example, in the healthcare industry, hospitals and medical centres have to rely on efficient cooling systems to ensure a constant temperature is maintained for its patients and medical equipment. It’s important that we maintain a balanced perspective between the impact and benefits of cooling environments and recognise that often, there is a fundamentally critical need for it.
We have established that air conditioning plays a key role in commercial buildings and those involved in the decisions of which systems to install have a responsibility to ensure their choice represents the most energy efficient one possible. However, manufacturers also have a duty to ensure that the solutions on offer, are as sustainable and efficiently produced as possible. This could be represented by a hybrid system where traditional refrigeration-based systems work with water as a delivery medium, to lower the overall environmental impact of the system or selecting R32 as a refrigerant which has a lower global warming potential to many of its alternatives.
Once installed, understanding the wide range of controls available with your system can also help reduce wasted energy. Many controls give companies the opportunity to monitor and control their air conditioning across a room, building or an entire network from a single PC or device. Many are simply using these controls as a timer, which is fine for some, particularly in smaller buildings with a constant number of employees. However, the range of functions goes far beyond this.
For example, if a meeting room is empty, the device has the ability to automatically recognise this and lower/switch off the air conditioning to conserve energy. They can also be used to monitor energy usage, spotting trends and anomalies to make changes to help further reduce energy costs.
We can’t control the weather, but these are all factors we can control, and we need to recognise this opportunity to do so. The topic of energy efficiency isn’t going away and if anything, it will move closer to the top of the agenda as pressure, quite rightly, mounts to find ways to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Great strides have already been made in the industry. However, there’s always the opportunity for new innovations to help us make smarter decisions and find that balance creating the perfect conditions for a productive workforce and reducing energy requirements and environmental impact.