Proactive HVAC equipment maintenance drives energy savings and provides a faster return on investment, according to an article in the May 2015 issue of Siemens’ Spark: Insights on Energy Management for Retail.
Proper maintenance of HVAC systems requires careful planning and forward thinking. Retail organizations that have implemented comprehensive planned and predictive maintenance programs show dramatic decreases — as much as 35-45 percent — in overall maintenance costs. Implementing an enterprise energy management system (EMS) to help manage that program can help retailers reduce energy use by 15–30 percent.
Reactive maintenance, or repairing on an “as needed” basis, is the most costly way to maintain building HVAC systems, Siemens says. It can lead to interruption in or failure of services and lower customer satisfaction rates. If HVAC equipment fails during a time of extreme cold or heat, facility managers may be at the mercy of peak electricity rates and may be more likely to make a hasty or oversized equipment decision in an attempt to get a failed system back on line as quickly as possible.
Facility managers who have an EMS in place can use it to demonstrate the consequences of ignoring HVAC system maintenance while identifying the cost savings associated with a comprehensive maintenance program. The data collected can be used to identify energy-related anomalies and generate prioritized maintenance reports. The reports can help identify equipment or systems that have not been properly maintained due to lack of resources and help facility managers quantify what the lack of maintenance costs in terms of reactive maintenance and interruptions of service.
The costs of repairing versus replacing can also be compared by adding the costs of current and expected future repairs and the expected future operating costs and comparing that against the cost of installing the new unit and expected future operating costs. Utility company rebates for the installation of high-efficiency units should also be factored into the equation.
Insufficient budget and lack of resources are the most commonly cited reasons for reactive maintenance. Using EMS reports can help facility managers “sell” a proactive maintenance and replacement plan to budget managers and decision makers in terms they can understand.
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