Installing a zoning system in your business can be one of the smartest business decisions you make. Just consider what it takes to have a successful business – not only do you need paying customers and happy employees, but you have to spend money to make money. Overhead can be a business killer, but if you are constantly looking for ways to cut overhead costs, then saving energy and maximizing your utility production efforts is a great start.
Basically, a zoning system can give you more control over what you are paying in heating and cooling costs. If you are running your daily business with one thermostat, then you are going to get fluctuating temperatures throughout your building – and the only place that is going to be truly comfortable is your hallway where the thermostat is located. Your employees might try to solve this issue by adjusting the thermostat higher or lower to reach a more comfortable working space for themselves.
A zoning system eliminates those needs and maximizes the efficiency of your HVAC unit. As a matter of fact, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that 40 percent of all utility costs come from your HVAC energy consumption. They also estimate that a zoning system saves a business up to 30 percent on their heating and cooling costs. If you take a moment to run those numbers, you will quickly see how your overhead costs can drastically drop – and your profits will increase.
So the next question is, “How does a zoning system work and how much will it cost me?” Taking out your old HVAC system and replacing it with seven or eight smaller systems while also ripping out your drywall and existing forced air vents and then running new vents, all of which working independently of each other, would place the estimate for cost to be in the tens of thousands – you might have to consider taking out a small business loan from the bank.
Fortunately for you, this is not at all necessary. As a matter of fact, installing a zoning system is quite simple and inexpensive since it works with the current central HVAC unit you have in place. This unit is the mastermind behind the conditioned air that is circulating throughout your business, and it is likely located on your roof or on the side of your building in a gated or sheltered area. The unit forces the conditioned air out into your vents that “web” apart and feed different parts of your building. Each room has a supply and return air duct in it and they receive conditioned air, just not enough of it.
A zoning system is basically a series of thermostats that are installed in processes each room. They can be either hard wired or controlled remotely, depending on what you choose. These independent thermostats feed into a central thermostat, which tells it whether the room is at the desired temperature. That thermostat then feeds to a series of dampers in each room that tells them to either stay open or close off. If they are open, then the room still needs conditioned air. If they are closed, then room air is at the right temperature and does not need any more conditioning.
So, the real work with implementing a zoning system is the installation of the thermostats in each room and the establishment of a communication link to the main thermostat. The dampers will also be installed into each room to control air flow, but the system does not require new ducts or any cuts into walls. And remember, the zoning system is also using the unit you already have in place, so the cost of installing and maintaining additional units is negated.
The grand finale to the upgrade concludes with a better way to use the air in your HVAC system. Now, the conditioned air goes into the rooms that need it and does not go into the rooms that do not, and you do not have to re-route any air ducts to accomplish this.
As a matter of fact, you have probably used the basic premise of these zoning systems in your home when trying to heat or cool multiple levels. You may have stuck blankets in front of an air duct that is closest to your hallway thermostat so that the heat could travel to the downstairs rooms, knowing that heat rises and the upper levels stay warmer. The principle is the same here, it’s just an automatic service provided to you by the zoning system via the dampers. Now you can just sit back, enjoy your more comfortable, more efficient business and let the HVAC system work likes it’s supposed to – by itself!
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