Why You Should Zone Your Building
A commercial building needs heating and cooling just as much as a residential structure. However, the requirements for commercial heating are usually more complex and can’t be accommodated with the same techniques used in residential HVAC work. Building zoning is one of the more effective ways to deal with the variable needs of a commercial facility.
What is Building Zoning?
Building zoning is the process of dividing your commercial space into separate areas, or zones, that can each receive different levels of heating or cooling from your HVAC system. Zones can be as large as an entire floor of the building or as small as a single room. Zoning allows the occupants of a zone to control the comfort level of their area, increasing or decreasing temperatures to their taste without affecting surrounding zones.
How is Building Zoning Accomplished?
In each zone, individual thermostats are installed that control temperatures in that zone only. Motorized dampers are installed in the ductwork system. The dampers open or close based on temperature settings as the thermostats, controlling the amount of conditioned air entering the zone. The placement of the dampers is each zone is designed to ensure that temperature control is focused only in that zone. The ductwork itself is also properly sized to make sure it works effectively with the zoning system.
Why Should You Zone?
Zoning your commercial building usually requires some investment, so it is a decision that should be made with budgetary concerns in mind. It will require the purchase of additional thermostats and dampers and may require a resizing and redesign of existing ductwork. Some of the better reasons for zoning a commercial building include:
- Need to reduce costs: A zoning system allows you to take better control of the heating and cooling of your building. When properly used, zoning systems can reduce monthly energy costs for heating and cooling by several hundred dollars. This is possible because building zoning can reduce wasted energy. For example, if you have an unused area in your building, you can use the zoning system to shut off heating and cooling in that area.
- Conflicts among occupants: Occupants of your commercial building could have differing ideas about the proper temperature for their area. These conflicts can lead to aggravation and frustration and possibly conflicts among occupants. A zoning system allows you to separate heating and cooling functions so that each occupant can control the temperature in their spaces.
- Need for variable indoor temperatures: Some areas of your building may need more or less heating or cooling than others. Offices, meeting rooms, retail spaces, and administrative areas will usually need to be kept at a consistent and comfortable temperature. Workshops, warehouse spaces, and storage areas may not need the same level of heating or cooling.
Benefits of Building Zoning
- Improved occupant satisfaction: Occupants who are leasing or renting space in your commercial building will be able to better control the temperature in their areas. This can improve satisfaction among your occupants and increase the chances they will want to stay in your building.
- Reduced energy costs: With a zoning system, you can reduce the amount you pay each month for heating or cooling. Zoning systems allow more accurate application of heating or cooling. reducing the amount of wasted energy and money.
- Increased HVAC system life: A zoned commercial building can reduce the stress on your HVAC equipment by requiring heating or cooling only when needed. Furnaces, heat pumps, air conditioners, and boilers don’t have to work harder to meet temperature demands. This will increase HVAC system life and reduce the occurrence of malfunctions and breakdowns.