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Heating

Space Heaters

Space heaters are designed to provide heat to specific areas or objects. There are many different types, ranging from small portable heaters that use varying methods of heat distribution to permanently installed heaters that are surface-mounted to a ceiling or wall. Depending on their design, space heaters can operate on electricity, natural gas, wood, or liquid fuel, though they most often use either electricity or natural gas. Space heaters won't be the right choice for every application, but they can save energy and money in some cases, such as: When using only part of a facility that has…

Small Gas Boilers

If you are considering the purchase of a gas boiler, add residential boilers (Figure 1) to your list of options. Even though they are designed for a different market, they can play an effective role in commercial buildings as well. Residential boilers are manufactured in larger quantities than commercial units, which makes them relatively inexpensive and readily available with a wide variety of options. Their small size enables them to be easily moved into and out of buildings, and the most efficient residential units exhibit efficiencies similar to those of their best commercial counterparts.…

Radiant Heating

Radiant in-space heaters address an aspect of thermal comfort that no other systems do: radiant heat transfer. Like the sun’s rays or a warm fireplace, radiant heat warms directly, and the occupant or object then reradiates heat to the surrounding air. The use of radiant heating can lead to energy savings because occupants usually feel comfortable at lower temperatures in spaces that are radiantly heated. In homes, occupants are often comfortable with air temperatures several degrees Fahrenheit (F) lower than would otherwise be possible. In large warehouses, occupants working in small ra…

Thermostats

Thermostats control HVAC operations to ensure occupant comfort, and they can cut energy costs when used correctly. In recent years a new type of thermostat we call “cloud” (also known as “smart” or “Internet-connected”) entered the market. We expect that cloud thermostats will become the new standard in HVAC controls for commercial buildings due to a combination of convenience and learning features, which make them an appealing replacement for nearly all existing thermostats. What Are the Options? There are three main types of thermostats: electromechanical, digital (also referr…

Gas Furnaces

If you are in the market for a natural gas or propane furnace, don't overlook residential furnaces. Even though these products are designed for a different market, they have a lot to offer commercial buildings. For example: Residential furnaces are manufactured in much larger quantities than commercial furnaces. That makes them relatively inexpensive and readily available with a wide variety of options. Because they are available in relatively small sizes, they can accommodate nearly any zoning scheme. The most efficient residential furnaces are far more efficient than their commercia…

Demand-Controlled Ventilation

Across the U.S., many stores keep long hours every day, and although they may be full of browsing shoppers during some hours of the week, relatively few customers will be milling about the floor space at other times. Occupancy fluctuations like these offer retail stores and other commercial facilities an opportunity for annual energy savings that can amount to as much as $1.00 per square foot (ft2). Instead of continuously ventilating the space at a constant rate designed to accommodate the maximum number of customers, building operators can implement demand-controlled ventilation (DCV) so tha…

Electric Heat Pumps

Electric heat pumps are year-round space-conditioning systems capable of providing heating, cooling, and domestic hot water. Their appeal lies both in that they offer heating and cooling in a single piece of equipment—which usually means a lower capital cost—and in that they provide heat at a lower cost than electric resistance heating (in some cases, lower than gas heating as well). There are two broad categories of electric heat pumps—air source and ground source (also called geothermal). Air-source heat pumps are the most common form found in commercial applications, so we ha…

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