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How Much Are Temperature Imbalances Costing Your Restaurants?

Jul 3, 2017 9:26:48 AM

Hot and cold temperature imbalance energy savings for restaurants

Temperature imbalances are a big piece to the puzzle of optimizing the energy efficiency and comfort of your restaurant. Saving energy, and thus utility costs, might not be your top priority, but temperature imbalances in your restaurant also impact worker productivity, guest comfort and employee turnover rates.

Think about:

  1. The heat generated in your kitchen and the suboptimal ventilation
  2. The hot and cold spots in your restaurant
  3. The unfortunate guests who must sit near the entrance during the winter
  4. The intense heat experienced by guests near windows facing the sun in the afternoon and evening

Some of these guests may never return due to the discomfort they experience, and word-of-mouth travels quickly.

Your Heating and Cooling System Is Working on Overdrive

As it tries to compensate for these temperature imbalances, your HVAC system is creating new issues in the process of working in circles to resolve an as of yet unsolvable problem. When your HVAC is inefficient, your guests and employees may be leaving unsatisfied. As results, sales revenues, cover rates and employee turnover rates are impacted.

How many thousands of dollars is this costing your restaurant annually?

An intelligent, "greened" restaurant HVAC system may improve the cognitive function of your staff between 60% and 100%, according to the conclusions of a 2014 Harvard School of Public Health study on indoor environment quality. The results were linked to the presence and concentration of CO2 and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air.

Improving Energy Efficiency and Temperature Balancing in Your Restaurant

Your restaurant's air flow is just as dynamic as the atmosphere created in your restaurant. The air flow and temperature balance continuously change throughout each day and night, which means that you should have an HVAC solution that adapts to the dynamism of your restaurant.

The HVAC systems used in the vast majority of light commercial buildings are constant air volume (CAV) systems, which means the supply air flow runs at a constant rate, but the supply air temperature varies to serve the thermal loads of your space.

Two other options try to fix the problems associated with CAV:

  1. Variable air volume (VAV) HVAC, which uses variable supply air flow, but constant supply air temperature.
  2. Traditional zoning HVAC that runs rooftop unit fans at full speed 100% of the time, which is not energy efficient.

Are You Losing Money with VAV or Traditional Zoning HVAC Systems?

VAV and VVT systems are upgrades from CAV, but each have disadvantages, including building controls tradeoffs:

  • VAV systems require reheating of the otherwise constant temperature supply air. You also sacrifice humidity and cooling controls.
  • Traditional zoning systems' fans constantly run at full speed, requiring a bypass damper to relieve pressure in the system when some dampers close, as certain zones require heating while others require cooling.

Improperly controlled bypass dampers have been shown to lose an estimated 26% in system cooling efficiency as zones in your restaurant fight for priority, according to a 2013 study conducted by the California Utilities Statewide Codes and Standards Team.

Traditional zone control systems do not solve the problems your restaurant faces with temperature imbalances. They don't develop an understanding of the dynamic thermal characteristics of your building throughout the seasons.

Instead, they are designed to allow only the amount of air into each space that is required according to a preset average condition that is really only precise a couple times each year.

Benefits of Dynamic, HVAC Continuous Commissioning

By contrast, a predictive and proactive HVAC solution can resolve the issues of temperature imbalance your restaurant suffers by developing a thorough understanding of how the thermal envelope of your building will respond to changing conditions. The power of cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT) design methods and machine learning enable the smart HVAC system to predict changing environment conditions and manage modulated airflow in a constant state of balance by making continuous, pre-emptive adjustments.

The smart HVAC solution can save your restaurant between 30% and 50% in energy costs by combining dynamic airflow balancing with the optimization of free outdoor air cooling, occupancy detection and scheduling, and remote monitoring.

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