As a customized ultraviolet solution is trending as the foundation of workplace safety programs, we examined the energy-savings component of this solution.
Let us decode it for you.
Build-up of organic material on the coils of air handling units is a leading cause of increased energy costs and system inefficiency. Often that build-up starts a few years after installation and becomes worse with each passing year. As build-up continues, the system deviates further from its as-built specifications, which leads to reduced performance.
Once significant build-up occurs, it operates much like a layer of insulation and starts to negatively impact heat transfer and the performance of chillers by serving as a barrier between the air and the coils in the unit. This limits the efficiency in which the coil pulls or transfers heat out of the air.
This often results in a never-ending cycle of temporary solutions to compensate for reduced operational effectiveness from increasing fan speed to pumping more chilled water through the system to employing additional standby units. That leads to decreased energy efficiency and higher operating costs and more stress on the motors driving the air handling units.This was outlined at the 2019 Virginia Society of Healthcare Engineers fall conference.
Installing UV-C for Additional Energy Savings
UV-C also provides continuous cleaning and maintains air systems performance to ensure operating at as-built rates, which offer the most effectiveness and efficiency and typically extend the lifespan of the system itself.
Adding UV-C to your air handling system can reduce your HVAC energy use by up to 35%. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), HVAC equipment accounts for between 30 to 50 percent of a building’s total energy use, so the potential dollar savings can be significant.
In a study that examined a UV-C installation in the HVAC, the public building that housed the Public Service Company of Oklahoma, Tulsa, the results after adding the technology to the existing HVAC system showed too much airflow was now being generated, causing the maintenance staff to reduce the fan RPMs. In addition, the building’s standby chillers stopped running at full capacity, something that had not happened in more than 10 years. After shutting down the standby chiller and with the reduction of the fan RPMs, the utility was saving at least 20% in energy use by simply adding the UV-C. Imagine both the energy and maintenance savings extrapolated over that decade.