How to Earn a Return on Your HVAC Maintenance Investment

BY Burns Mechanical IN Energy, Maintenance, Service

mechanical service Philadelphia

Matthew Rafferty

Since challenging ourselves to fund some clients’ HVAC maintenance costs through energy savings, we’re finding that operationally focused maintenance practices produce measurable outcomes. In one case, we reduced a client’s total facility energy use by 27% during the first six months of enhanced maintenance, raising their Energy Star score from 28 to 60 without the benefit of implementing any capital improvements.

Our High Performance Building Services maintenance agreements are designed to embrace the adage, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” By establishing a client’s energy baseline and equipping account managers and service technicians with the authority to suggest and execute operational improvements, we are recognizing, without exception, distinct reductions in energy bills. Once viewed as a necessary cost of facility management, these clients are now seeing enhanced HVAC maintenance practices as having a Return on Investment (ROI) — sometimes with less than a one-year simple payback period.

With outcomes exceeding our own expectations, we’re asking ourselves: “What’s the secret formula?” It seems that the only concrete answers are transparency and peer pressure. With more than 75% of a typical client’s energy bills spent on HVAC and lighting, there’s a lot of potential savings within a good service technician’s grasp. Under our High Performance contracts, the benchmarked and targeted energy use is exposed for all to see. Our employees are viewing their typical responsibilities through a different lens and holding themselves accountable for finding potential operational improvements. We’re generally discovering and resolving an array of energy waste — adjusting temperature setbacks, tweaking free cooling cycles, fixing leaks, uncovering deferred maintenance, turning unnecessary components off, etc.

If your HVAC maintenance contracts seem like a necessary evil, maybe it’s time to look at them in a new way. Our experience is proving that energy transparency and accountability are the key factors in earning a tangible ROI. The client described above realized more than $15,000 in energy savings during the first six months alone. At that pace the energy savings will exceed the annual cost of the contract. If HVAC and lighting represent 75% of your total energy expense then it is time to control those costs and operate the systems as efficiently as possible.

Typical Breakdown of Energy Use

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