HVAC systems are the most energy-intensive loads in both residential and commercial buildings. As a result, energy efficiency solutions that target HVAC can save a lot of money. However, energy-saving HVAC changes should not degrade indoor air quality, or they may create discomfort and health problems. This harms productivity in the workplace.
Artificial intelligence has a lot of potential in the HVAC industry since it can increase energy efficiency and indoor air quality. AI can optimize airflow, temperature, and humidity variables, preserving air quality while using the least amount of energy.
Make Your HVAC System More Intelligent And Efficient
A Technical Challenge in HVAC Control
Because building conditions are constantly changing, successfully controlling an HVAC system is tough. Take into account the following factors:
- The outside temperature is always changing, affecting the heating or cooling required to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature.
- People constantly enter and exit buildings, which impacts ventilation and temperature regulation.
- Indoor activities have an impact on HVAC requirements. A commercial kitchen, for example, requires more ventilation and cooling than a similar-sized office.
A building’s ventilation, heating, and cooling requirements are always changing. Only a smart control system can evaluate this data in real-time and make necessary adjustments to the HVAC system. Due to the varying operating conditions, an HVAC system with manual controls cannot achieve peak performance.
Ventilation System Smart Controls
The energy consumption of air handlers is lower than that of air conditioners and space heaters. The amount of exterior airflow delivered to a building, on the other hand, has an impact on heating and cooling requirements.
- When a ventilation system increases airflow in the winter, more heat is required to heat a bigger volume of cold external air.
- When the ventilation system increases airflow during the summer, the same is true for air conditioning.
Many structures feature ventilation systems that run at full capacity all of the time. For the reasons stated earlier, this is a significant waste of energy. When ventilation controls are equipped with artificial intelligence, they can identify the best airflow for the building. The device can also keep track of the number of people in the facility and the concentrations of critical contaminants like VOCs and particulates.
Underventilation is harmful to indoor air quality, while overventilation is a waste of energy. Both of these problems can avoid with AI-assisted ventilation control. There is only one stipulation: the ventilation system must never reduce airflow below the bare minimum set by local building requirements.
Getting the Most Out of Your Space Heating and Air Conditioning
Artificial intelligence is now incorporate into furnaces, boilers, chillers, mini-splits, and other HVAC equipment. As a result, merely upgrading obsolete equipment can result in significant energy savings. However, when smart controls are applied across the HVAC system, performance can increase.
Heating and cooling controls must balance energy consumption and human comfort, just as ventilation controls balance energy consumption and air quality. Human productivity peaks at roughly 21°C – 22°C, according to research by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL).
- The temperature starts to cause discomfort as it rises or falls.
- When the temperature rises to dangerous levels, it is harmful to one’s health and can even be fatal.
Even with a faulty HVAC system, extreme temperatures are unusual in building interiors. However, as the temperature deviates from the optimal range, the indoor environmental quality (IEQ) deteriorates steadily.
How AI and Energy Efficiency Measures Can Work Together
When AI is introduce to the mix, energy efficiency methods can become more effective, resulting in larger savings. Airside economizers and energy recovery ventilators are two examples of HVAC modifications that operate better with AI.
In some regions, airside economizers can save a lot of energy. When the temperature and humidity of outdoor air are ideal for “free cooling,” the economizer raises ventilation rates while lowering air conditioning output. Electricity is saved because fans are less expensive to run than air conditioners. To maximize these savings, smart controls can optimize the airside economizer.
Smart ventilation and energy recovery ventilation work together. When the external airflow is optimized, the energy waste of heating or cooling additional air is minimized. The ERV system can then transfer heat between the supply and exhaust air, thus lowering the HVAC burden. Indoor air precools outdoor air in the summer and preheats outdoor air in the winter, and ERV works with air conditioning and space heating.
Building certifications such as LEED and WELL have stringent heating, cooling, and ventilation performance standards. Automatic controls with artificial intelligence (AI) can help address these needs by optimizing the performance of HVAC systems.