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August 29, 2008 -
I’m Ed Sullivan, editor of Building Operating Management magazine.
Today’s topic is the role of maintenance investments in extending the
life of HVAC systems.
Facility executives are well aware of the impact that new HVAC
equipment can have on the organization’s bottom line. From variable
frequency drives to variable air volume systems, from chillers to
boilers, investments in HVAC efficiency can produce significant energy
But achieving those savings over the life of HVAC systems requires that
the units be kept in good operating condition. And that takes money.
Whether it’s a pump or a control, performance falls off as equipment
ages. Preventive maintenance is the way to stay ahead of the curve.
Waiting until something goes wrong will often increase energy costs and
decrease occupant comfort and reliability. In the worst case, a
wait-and-see attitude can dramatically reduce equipment life.
It’s not only the operating budget that should include funds for
effective maintenance. The initial design should be based on
maintainability. For example, it’s important that there be sufficient
space around equipment to enable staff to perform needed maintenance.
That may cost a little extra, but saving money on maintenance is a
classic case of being penny-wise but pound-foolish.
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