As the seasons shift from the scorching heat of summer to the bone-chilling cold of winter, and vice versa, building managers need to prepare their properties for the transitional period known as shoulder season.

Parity has found that shoulder season is when buildings waste the most energy because their HVAC controls aren’t properly set.

Among all the seasons, shoulder season emerges as the crown jewel of energy savings when it comes to HVAC systems. With milder temperatures prevailing in fall and spring, there’s less of a need for energy-intensive heating or cooling efforts.

As a result, HVAC systems can and should be able to consume less energy since the outdoor temperature will oftentimes be closer to the desired indoor temperature. By seizing the opportunity to maximize the use of natural ventilation and judiciously adjusting your HVAC settings during shoulder season, energy bills dwindle while occupants still enjoy a cozy and comfortable living space.

While the allure of shoulder season lies in reduced reliance on HVAC systems, they can still be your allies during this time.

A heat pump on the roof of a building. Heat pumps are great for shoulder season as some models can be used for heating and cooling.

Photo by ready made on Pexels

It requires a lot of manual work to prepare your building’s HVAC systems for the heat or the cold. But by leaving your summer or winter HVAC controls on during the fall or spring, you’re leaving savings on the table.

An example is if you’re over-cooling your building with summer controls. You could be wasting energy if your condenser, water pump, or chiller is running too much because the demand in your building for cooling is much lower in the fall than in the summer.

Our HVAC optimization service can automatically and remotely reduce energy consumption by reducing equipment speeds and adjusting temperature setpoints to meet the building’s heating or cooling demand. Let’s take a look at 2 examples.

Shoulder Season Energy Savings Example 1

A 4-pipe Fan Coil building in Midtown runs cooling year-round. The building has a Free Cooling Loop, however, due to the glass construction of the building, there is still a significant load on the building during winter months. This forces the building to run the Chiller deep into the winter.

Parity can automatically switch between free cooling and mechanical cooling operation depending on the building load. We enable the building to reduce energy and costs significantly.

Shoulder Season Energy Savings Example 2

Another example is a building with a Water Source Heat Pump and Gas-Fired Steam Boilers for Heat Injection.

Parity installed VFDs on the primary condenser pump and cooling tower allowing our algorithm to ramp up and down speeds according to building demand. We also reset the secondary condenser water setpoint based on the outdoor wet bulb allowing for improved water source heat pump efficiency with minimal impact on overall central plant consumption. Lastly, we added automatic summer/winter operation to boilers allowing the boilers to operate on low fire mode for DHW production during off-season conditions.

 

Shoulder season empowers property and resident managers to harness the full potential of your HVAC system. Shoulder season isn’t just about comfortable temperatures; it’s about smart, sustainable living that benefits both your wallet and the planet. With the help of a company like Parity, you can navigate this transitional period with ease.

Maintaining a cool indoor environment in the sweltering summer heat is essential. Unfortunately, Heat waves are becoming more common. Manhattan saw 24 days at or above 90 degrees last summer alone!

Cooling towers and chillers play a pivotal role in providing cool comfort to residents in many large apartment buildings. However, optimizing these systems to minimize energy waste involves balancing various factors such as system capacity, overall system performance, weather conditions, and operability.

Local regulations like New York City’s Local Law 97 will also begin to impact the way that these systems are operated in the future.

Understanding Cooling Towers and Chillers:

Cooling towers and chillers form the backbone of a building’s cooling infrastructure. Cooling towers extract heat from a distribution loop and reject it to the atmosphere, while chillers remove heat from the chilled water circulated throughout the building. The two systems work together to ensure a comfortable indoor climate.

Efficiency and capacity are vital considerations when selecting cooling towers and chillers. Higher efficiency units not only reduce energy consumption but also lower operating costs. Additionally, properly sized equipment ensures optimal performance, preventing overworking and unnecessary energy waste.

However, the ability to properly control these systems will have the greatest impact on their ability to beat the summer heat without spiking your utility bill.

 

Top view of cooling towers on a building

Credit: leungchopan – stock.adobe.com

 

Common Issues:

We’ve noticed 5 common issues with cooling towers and chillers as spring turns to summer.

1. Not taking advantage of pre-cooling during the morning
2. Running pumps at higher speeds than necessary

3. Chilled water temperatures don’t adequately meet and anticipate demand

4. Preventative maintenance is not regularly carried out or targeted

5. Systems are not properly set up to maximize demand response revenue

 

How Parity Can Help:

What lies behind many of these issues is that most buildings with central cooling have antiquated control systems that rely too heavily on manual control adjustments. Parity’s technology automates the operation of central cooling systems, as well as other building systems, to ensure that demand is met without unnecessary energy consumption.

We accomplish this through Parity’s customized control algorithms that use weather data, weather forecasts, system performance indicators, historical operating data, and other inputs to develop optimized control adjustments that are streamed to the associated building systems in real-time.

At Parity, we combine this with alarms and alerts as well as proactive human support from HVAC experts who act as an extension of your building staff. This allows Parity to help building operators prepare for those extra hot days as well as efficiently pinpoint and resolve onsite maintenance issues that can’t be resolved through our remote control.

In addition to the utility cost savings, streamlined operations, and reduced maintenance costs generated, this approach can reduce a building’s exposure to building performance standards such as New York City’s Local Law 97.

Plus, Parity guarantees energy savings for multifamily residential buildings or we cut the building a check for the difference.

 

Contact us now to learn more about how we optimize cooling towers and chillers. You can reach us at contact@paritygo.com.