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Don't Be Spooked by HVAC Controls

It’s easy to get spooked by the complexity of HVAC systems, especially if you are not a professionally trained technician. However, you don’t have to be an expert to implement a controls solution. In fact, HVAC automation can be simple and affordable for commercial buildings.

For commercial building owners and operators looking to find ways to become more energy efficient, identifying your biggest energy offender is a great place to start. According to a study published by the Department of Energy, on average 40% of energy costs in commercial buildings go to HVAC. With this in mind, finding the right HVAC controls solution is crucial to helping commercial buildings manage energy spend.

It’s easy to get spooked by the complexity of HVAC systems, especially if you are not a professionally trained technician. However, you don’t have to be an expert to implement a controls solution. In fact, HVAC automation can be simple and affordable for commercial buildings. 

The most cost-effective manner of deploying HVAC controls in commercial settings is through smart thermostats. Smart thermostats are programmable thermostats that communicate with the Internet via a wired or wireless connection. The solution is simple - by installing smart thermostats throughout your buildings, you now have the ability to both locally and remotely adjust setpoints. In addition, smart thermostats interface with software platforms, like the Chariot platform by FSG Smart Buildings, and allow you to set operating schedules to automatically pre-cool or pre-heat your spaces based on their usage.

Smart thermostat solutions tend to work best in light to medium commercial spaces, generally in buildings with a few RTUs, where the main focus is energy savings, ease of use and occupant comfort. In addition, because of their lower price points, smart thermostats can serve as a great alternative to an advanced building management system at a fraction of the cost. According to ACEEE, they can also serve as the cornerstone to a modular energy management system (EMS), as their software connectivity can be tied in with other smart systems, such as lighting, metering, plug load control and more, to expand system capabilities in the future.

Example of HVAC controls inside the Chariot platform by FSG Smart Buildings


For those looking for a more in-depth approach to HVAC controls, a native integration solution is the preferred method. Native integration solutions allow users to directly integrate HVAC systems with their energy management system. By talking directly with the on-board computer at the HVAC unit, the EMS can tap into hundreds of points of data for expanded system visibility and troubleshooting. Using the EMS software, such as the Chariot platform, users can still set setpoints and schedules, but can now also view and trend additional data points, such as supply/return air, damper levels, fan status and more, to remotely identify unit issues before having to send a technician out on site. 

Native integrations work best in large commercial applications, where the HVAC design usually involves built-up systems with boilers and chillers, or in applications where facility managers are looking to run robust predictive maintenance programs for HVAC equipment. 

In summary, there are a multitude of benefits from installing an HVAC controls solution, including:

  • Remote setpoint and schedule adjustments
  • Energy savings
  • Occupant comfort
  • Advanced troubleshooting
  • Predictive maintenance
  • And more

At FSG Smart Buildings, we are here to help you design, deploy, commission, monitor and service an HVAC controls solution so you can remotely command, control and monitor your HVAC systems in real-time from an easy-to-use software dashboard. Contact us today to get started!

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