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Today's tip comes from James Piper, contributing editor for Building Operating Management.
One of the goals of any HVAC retrofit is to improve the level of service. While FMs might understand the technical problems with existing HVAC systems, they will not fully comprehend the needs of building occupants unless they get them involved in the retrofit process. Occupants are the ones that understand their operations best. FMs will not know what system will best meet their needs - indeed, they might not even have a good understanding of what their HVAC needs are - but occupants will give FMs a clearer understanding of what the HVAC system will be expected to do.
Building occupants are also good sources of information on the performance of existing systems. Frequently, they are aware of problems that go unreported to building staff. That information is often crucial in setting priorities for HVAC system retrofits.
There's one other reason to get occupants involved: HVAC retrofits can be disruptive. They can require temporary relocation of occupants. Heating or cooling service may be disrupted for days or weeks. A schedule of moves and outages will have to be developed. Without the cooperation of occupants, retrofits can turn into scheduling nightmares.