HVAC Economizers Can Slash Energy Bills, Improve Indoor Air Quality

Published by Parisa Ostovari

Are you at your best in an environment that’s constantly hot, muggy and uncomfortable? Probably not. That’s why keeping your business properly cooled and ventilated all year, especially during the summer heat, is crucial.

If employees are uncomfortable throughout the workday, it could result in some bad moods and a drop in productivity. And, without proper ventilation, you run the risk of employees getting sick more often.

The challenge then becomes keeping your environment comfortable and improving indoor air quality, without running up the utility bill each month. One solution that you may not have considered is an economizer.

An economizer, which can either be built into or mounted onto your rooftop HVAC unit, analyzes the temperature and humidity outside. When the outside temperature allows, the system uses that air, instead of your air conditioner’s cooling elements, to cool the inside of your building. In the Midwest or other humid regions, the ideal outdoor temperature is usually around 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

What Are the Benefits of Using an Economizer?

Using an economizer can have several benefits to your building environment, your employees’ health and comfort and your business expenses.

1. Improve ventilation and air quality

Have you ever heard of “sick building syndrome?According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it occurs when spending time in a building seemingly causes people to experience physical ailments and discomfort, but no specific illness or cause can be identified.

Some of the symptoms include, but are not limited to, fever- or allergy-like symptoms, headaches, fatigue and dizziness.

Poor ventilation is one of the top causes of sick building syndrome. An economizer can improve indoor air quality (IAQ) by replacing the stale air inside with fresh air from outside. This can help eliminate the harmful impact of sick building syndrome and keep everyone feeling healthy. The annual financial benefit to reducing sick days by using an economizer could be up to $16,000, according to a 2004 study.

Read More: Tips on How To Improve Indoor Air Quality In Your Office

2. Reduce energy use and utility bill costs

An economizer uses the air outside to cool your building instead of only relying on the air conditioner to control the indoor temperature and humidity level. This strategy lowers your building’s energy consumption and the cost of your monthly utility bill. In fact, research from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory revealed a cost savings of around 38%.

3. Prolong the lifespan of your rooftop HVAC unit

Since your HVAC system runs less when using an economizer, the wear and tear on the unit will be reduced. This means less maintenance, fewer breakdowns and a longer lifespan.

Different Types of Economizers

The benefits of using an economizer are clear but, for the best results, you need to have the right one for your facility. To make that decision, you will want to contact a professional HVAC contractor.

There are three types of economizers to choose from:

1. Dry bulb

This type of economizer only senses outdoor temperature, not humidity. They are the simplest type, and are the easiest to maintain, but since they do not account for humidity, they may not provide optimal comfort.

2. Wet bulb (single enthalpy)

This type is the most commonly used. It senses outdoor temperature and humidity to provide maximum comfort inside.

3. Differential enthalpy

Of the three types, this one is the most advanced. This uses two or more sensors to measure outdoor air and humidity, as well as the return air. When the outdoor temperature is lower than the return air, the economizer will be used for cooling.

Boost Your Business With an Economizer

By using an economizer to cool your business and provide adequate ventilation, you can make your employees comfortable and cut costs on your monthly utility bill.