Building mechanical systems are commonly the unseen and sometimes ignored components of each and every building structure, but provide the basic indoor conditions that enable human occupancy, and are the major building energy consumers.
In the current environment of high energy prices, rising atmospheric air pollution rates and the increased concern for global warming, energy conservation has become a top priority issue for building owners, property and facility managers. Most conventional mechanical systems that heat or cool buildings, pumps that circulate fluids or fans that ventilate air, are powered by non-renewable and expensive energy sources such as utility generated electric power, natural gas or heating oil. The use of any one of these energy sources can potentially contribute to high energy costs, air pollution or global warming.
A basic energy conservation principle can be very simply expressed as “use energy only when needed”. Most system optimization efforts utilize this principle. Through the proper design and programming of building automation controls, the energy consuming components can be turned on or off or modulated to meet the exact air conditioning needs of the building and operate at optimum efficiency.
Unfortunately many existing building systems are constant speed-constant flow systems. Although the individual room temperature set points are maintained, the central heating and cooling plants operate at full flow conditions regardless of the actual levels of building heating or cooling required.