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Retrofit Replacements

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It is estimated that there are over 5 million buildings available for HVAC retrofit upgrades and retrofitting. While 70% of commercial buildings built prior to 1980 have not had any HVAC improvements. With changes in building codes, government guidelines, technology, IAQ and environmental standards many building owners face an excess of challenges. For example, one of the issues that building owners have little control over is the cost of energy. Current rates range from 6.5 cents to over 12 cents dependent on area. All forecasts show tremendous growth over the next few decades.  HVAC related building power costs now account for 40% of consumption. This means efficiency advances and cost savings will be vital for owners.

Projected Energy Growth

Projected Energy Growth Chart for retrofitting

During new construction when HVAC systems were originally installed; size, weight, ease of installation and refrigerant were of no concern. Large chillers were lowered into basements before construction was finished, and rooftop units were installed using machinery already onsite. Now twenty to thirty years later things are more complex.  No longer is there open access or a crane onsite to simplify upgrading an HVAC system.

With an importance on green building, what is the best answer? Buy a replacement rooftop unit and spend thousands of dollars on installation. However, the installation could cost half of the cost of the replacement unit. For instance, how do you remove and retrofit large tonnage chillers from a basement in a dense urban area?

At the same time, there are products to solve these retrofitting problems.  Selecting an off the shelf or stock unit will not be a perfect fit like the initial installations. United CoolAir adapts units to make retrofit projects simple and easy to install.  Choosing a splittable system that can move through a standard 32-inch doorway into a standard elevator resolves to get the units inside an existing building. This will also diminish the total cost of installation by using less manpower; overcome other technical issues that would be necessary for the installation of standard commercial units. What can make these EZ-Fit units even more attractive is they can fit above the ceiling or in a mechanical room?

The Indoor Advantage

By bringing your units indoors you can gain valuable roof space for green projects such as solar panels or a living roof. Additionally, units are serviceable indoors at any time; support longer unit life; reduce damages from storms, vandalism or even theft of valuable copper destroying your units.

Owners can expect a shorter ROI, lower energy costs and an overall lower lifecycle cost. Concerns from building owners vary from too costly, tenant interruption, and no funding among others. In today’s climate, governments along with others are providing programs to lessen the financial worry. As a result, PACE bonds, leasing, and energy programs like Potomac Edison provide fantastic incentives to become more energy-efficient. Potomac ED’s program provides up to 50% rebate of the purchase price, excluding taxes for each VFD installed capped at a total of $250,000. These programs give building owners every reason to retrofit their outdated HVAC systems.

Repair or retrofitting is going to become more widespread than new construction in the upcoming years. Retrofitting your old high energy-consuming system with unique features split unit can make a retrofit project as simple as screwing in a light bulb.