Mechanical systems primarily relate to heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems providing human comfort and ventilation within facilities. These systems are significant contributors to building energy usage and carbon footprint.
As of 2022, 42 U.S. cities, counties, and states have adopted mandatory building energy benchmarking and transparency policies for existing buildings. Cities appear to be following a similar playbook in understanding the health and performance of their facilities and then implementing measures for improvement.
Along with benchmarking, numerous cities require energy audits every five to 10 years and retro-commissioning with evidence of MEP improvements. Such initiatives require modifications that reduce energy consumption and promote sustainable design. New York City’s Climate Mobilization Act (Local Law 97) has a greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal of 80% by 2050.
Incremental steps and local laws are implemented to meet these aggressive goals. For example, swapping out No. 4 or No. 6 grades of boiler oil for No. 2, natural gas, or electricity puts New York City buildings in compliance with Local Law 43 and helps building owners meet greenhouse gas emissions limits in cities across the country.
HVAC systems can be upgraded by:
- Installing building management systems to modify sequence of operations and improve economizer control.
- Replacing constant volume systems with variable volume systems linked to a central control station.
- Installing seven-day programmable thermostats with time-of-day/occupancy-based reset schedules.