Let’s face it, few people would consider a parking garage to be an environmentally-friendly addition to the landscape, but they are a necessary part of our lives in many areas of the country. However, there are steps that can be taken to ensure that the parking garages are, at very least, energy efficient.
We happened upon an article discussing just this recently, and we have to agree that there is a lot of room for improvement in many garages. Lighting and fan energy savings can be achieved in parking garages by using simple control solutions.
Variable frequency drives can be used to control fan speeds so they are not running at full speed when it is not necessary to be doing so. Furthermore, the same sort of controls could be used to establish lighting schedules or to operate occupancy sensors to control lighting.
The methods listed above are not uncommon, as the owners of parking garages recognize the savings potential that such controls offer. However, there are other methods of achieving savings. Preventative maintenance of the equipment serving the spaces should be standard practice. Temperatures across motors can be spot checked with the OptrisLasersight infrared thermometers, for instance. This inexpensive hand held tool should be included in any HVAC technician’s tool bag. With LED lit display, the HVAC technician can quickly assess a fan motor, belt, or sheave to conclude whether the fan is operating properly.
A fan that is allowed to operate with bad bearings, loose belts, or bad motor windings is going to cost the end user money, and ensure that the garage remains inefficient. In some cases, this can cost the owners a great deal of money, if the fan actually fails and someone in the space experiences carbon monoxide poisoning. Compared with the costs of looming law suits, expensive replacement cost of equipment, and possible loss of revenue, the price for preventative maintenance tools is very minor.