Use Results from Low- and No-Cost HVAC Measures to Sell Capital Upgrades

  October 2, 2009

It’s not unusual for facility executives to get turned down when they request money to upgrade the HVAC system. In some cases, that’s because management simply doesn’t believe that upgrades will really pay off.

When that happens, facility executives can try a range of low- and no-cost measures to cut energy use — things like uncovering blocked air returns or insulating pipes, or ensuring that variable speed drives aren’t running on full speed all the time. Measures like those can bring noticeable savings. And the savings from those efforts can help facility executives win funding for measures that require more investment.

But simply making those improvements probably won’t be enough to persuade top management to invest in HVAC upgrades for further savings.

For one thing, facility executives will have to show that the low- and no-cost measures actually paid off. That means creating a baseline for the amount of energy used before those steps were taken, then showing that energy consumption did indeed fall, at least when adjusted for degree days.

Don’t wait until a project needs funding to spread the word about low- and no-cost success stories. Whether it’s memos, reports, a newsletter or a Web site, facility executives have many options for letting the rest of the company, especially top management, know about ongoing efforts to trim energy use. And when those messages can include verified savings, they are all the more powerful.

That approach can be especially effective when top management thinks that electricity costs are essentially fixed and doesn’t believe that investing in HVAC upgrades can pay for themselves by reducing energy expenditures. That impression isn’t easy to change, and a series of messages reinforcing the same idea will allow time for the change to take place.


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