The traditional HVAC system in an office building is designed to maintain a comfortable temperature in all areas of the building. However, this isn’t always necessary or even desirable. In many cases, it would be more efficient — and less expensive — to heat and cool only the areas that are being used. When employees are working at a comfortable temperature, productivity increases. The battle between people in your office about which is the right temperature can be put to rest with AC zoning.
What Is Multizone AC?
A multizone AC system is a heating and cooling system that uses multiple temperature zones to improve comfort and efficiency in an office building. By only heating or cooling the areas that are being used, a multizone AC system can save money on energy costs. The system consists of multiple thermostats that control the temperature in different areas, zones, of the building.
Zoning creates customized comfort in your office building. Each zone has its thermostat so that you only heat or cool the areas that are being used, which saves energy and money. For instance, computer room servers generate a lot of heat, so that area can be kept cooler than the rest of the office.
How Does Multizone AC Work?
The initial stage of creating a multizone AC system is to divide your office building. The zones created depend on the number of people using the space, the type of activity conducted, and other factors. Once the building is divided into zones, each is outfitted with a thermostat.
The thermostats are connected to a central controller, which turns the heating and cooling units on and off in each zone as needed. The controller is the brain of the operation, adjusting the various thermostats throughout the building. The controller is also connected to the building’s existing HVAC system. When a zone calls for heating or cooling, the controller turns on the appropriate unit in that zone and directs the airflow there.
The dampers that regulate airflow are installed in the ductwork leading to each zone. When a zone calls for heating or cooling, the damper opens to allow airflow to that zone. The damper then closes when the zone is satisfied, sealing off that area from the rest of the system.
The control panel is typically located conveniently in a utility closet or mechanical room. From here, the temperature in each zone can be monitored and controlled. The system can also operate on a schedule so that the temperature in each zone is only changed when necessary. Such a setup reduces wear and tear on the HVAC system and saves energy by only heating or cooling the areas that are being used.
The multizone AC system can be used with any HVAC system, including forced-air, hydronic (hot water), and radiant systems. If your office building already has a central HVAC system, a multizone AC system can be retrofitted to work with it.
Benefits of Multizone AC System
1. Increased Comfort
People are comfortable working in different temperature ranges. The ability to control the temperature in each zone allows for customized comfort throughout the office building. Each department can set the temperature to their liking without affecting the rest of the building. Additionally, those who work near windows that get a lot of or minimal sunlight will not have to experience wide fluctuations in temperature throughout the day.
2. Improved Efficiency
A multizone AC system draws air from zones that do not need cooling or heating and redirect it to zones that do. By only heating or cooling the areas that are being used, the system is more efficient than a traditional HVAC system. In addition, the system can be set to operate on a schedule so that the temperature in each zone is only changed when necessary. This further increases efficiency by reducing the wear and tear on the HVAC system.
3. Cost Savings
The increased efficiency of a multizone AC system results in lower energy bills. In addition, the system can be used to distribute the airflow throughout the office building evenly. This can help prevent hot and cold spots that can occur when the HVAC system is unbalanced.
4. Increased Flexibility
A multizone AC system allows you to control the temperature in each zone independently. This means that you can set the temperature in each zone to match the needs of the people using that space. For example, if you have a conference room that is only used occasionally, you can set the temperature in that room to be higher than the rest of the office building. This will save energy when the conference room is not in use and allow you to cool the room down when needed quickly.
5. Improved Air Quality
A multizone AC system can improve the air quality in your office building by evenly distributing the airflow throughout the space. Sometimes dust, pollen, or lint particles escape through the filters of the normal HVAC system back into your office. However, the dampers used in a multizone AC system can prevent this from happening by only drawing air from zones that do not need cooling or heating. This means that the air circulated throughout your office building will be cleaner and healthier to breathe.
Is Multizone AC Right for My Office Building?
Even though multizone AC systems have great benefits, not all office buildings can take advantage of them. Only office buildings with the following features can benefit from zoned systems:
- Centrally located and does not have any exterior walls
- Single HVAC system
- Large space to be cooled or heated
- Different rooms with varied temperature needs
If your office building has all the features listed above, then a multizone AC system would be a great option for you. Not only will you be able to improve the comfort of your employees, but you will also see a decrease in your energy bills.
Alternatives to Multizone AC
A few alternatives to multizone AC systems can be used in office buildings. These alternatives include:
- Traditional HVAC systems
- Ductless HVAC systems
- Variable air volume systems
- Programmable thermostats
Each of these alternatives has its own set of pros and cons. It is important to research before deciding which system is right for your office building. For instance, ductless HVAC systems use numerous air handlers to control temperatures. The outdoor unit connects to different indoor units with small refrigerant lines. Each indoor unit is independent and can be used to heat and cool different areas of the office.
Our technicians at White Mechanical, Inc. in Orange County, CA can help you decide if a multizone AC system is right for your office building. We offer a full range of HVAC repair, installation and maintenance services for both commercial and residential properties. Our other commercial services include remodeling and energy optimization. [Company_name] is a Lennox Premier Dealer and our team of professionals is NATE certified. Call White Mechanical, Inc. today for a free consultation on the best way to improve your HVAC system.