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The Anatomy of a HVAC System

If you looked at the anatomy of a building, and located the heating, cooling, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, it would compare to that of human lungs. A network of channels wove throughout a building that delivers freshly ventilated air for you to breathe.

Understanding our bodies to make sure they are running well is important to us. We should take the same care when it comes to the health of our building operations.

Every residential and commercial building has an HVAC system and there are four main parts that make up the ‘body’ of HVAC: the furnace, duct work, air conditioner and thermostat.

A furnace uses oil or gas to heat the air. The air conditioner cools the air by expelling hot air outside, and keeping the cool air in. Duct work is the passageways that transport all of this air throughout the building. The thermostat is the brain of HVAC; it has sensors that can alert the system to stop, speed up, increase or decrease air flow.

When it comes to HVAC, not every system runs the same and efficiency can decrease as the system ages. Sometimes it needs new parts or added support to help it run more efficiently. Some buildings have what’s called a Building Automation System (BAS) applied to their existing HVAC equipment for that exact reason. A typical BAS is built to tie existing HVAC components together and implement basic scheduling and control logic.

Unfortunately, a basic BAS isn’t enough to improve efficiencies for contemporary buildings. Generally, they offer rudimentary reporting, limited alarms and do not generate a positive financial return through measurable energy savings.

To truly improve HVAC operation, there is smart technology available that can layer on top of an existing BAS and HVAC infrastructure which is easy to install and does not impede ongoing building operations. Cloud-based AI technology can attach to existing mechanical systems and start collecting data 24/7. Then, AI algorithms use this data to generate efficiencies across the entire system.

The power and reliability of cloud computing brings dated HVAC and BAS infrastructure into the 21 st century, marrying antiquated equipment with software that can save buildings a significant amount of energy waste and offer property managers measurable energy and CO2 savings without the financial cost of deep retrofits.

Similar to how our bodies will grow older and need extra support through that process, buildings need care and attention to ensure systems operate smoothly, supporting equipment longevity and efficiency.