Is Your Factory Spending Too Much Money on Powering HVAC Systems?

January 3, 2020

Manufacturing facilities leverage HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) systems to remove contaminated air from the facility. For the most part, these HVAC systems either run continuously, on a timer, or are triggered by sensors within the facility.

In this article, we are going to explore the benefit of moving to VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) sensors to determine when an HVAC system should be running.

What are the most common Volatile Organic Compounds?

  • 1,3 Butadiene
  • Xylene
  • Tetrachloroethylene
  • Methylene Chloride
  • Formaldehyde
  • Ethylene Glycol
  • Benzene
  • Acetone
  • Ethanol
  • Carbon Disulfide
  • Butanol
  • Acetic Acid

Why Trade CO2 Sensors in HVAC Systems for VOC Sensors?

Studies indicate that VOCs and CO2 concentrations run in a correlated trajectory. In other words, when VOCs are present that need to be expelled from the building through the HVAC system, the CO2, that a CO2 sensor would pick up, is present as well. VOC sensors provide more sensitive monitoring within the facility while covering the function that CO2 sensors served for HVAC.

How Does Switching to VOC Sensors for HVAC Systems Save Money?

Running Time – If a company is running its HVAC systems 24/7, the introduction of VOC sensors allows for accurate on/off switching to save money on power consumption.

Lifespan and Maintenance – By monitoring the air quality within the facility and only utilizing the HVAC system only when required, a manufacturing facility lowers the run time hours on their HVAC system, extending the system’s lifespan and many times making it possible to do HVAC maintenance without production shutdown.

Dual Capacity – VOC sensors save money when connected with HVAC systems because they can serve the dual purpose of turning on/off the HVAC system for harmful VOCs concentrations.

Carbon Footprint – As legislation and related carbon taxation become more of a factor in decision making, corporate leaders increasingly turn to sensors and automation to ensure that their equipment isn’t wasting energy by running needlessly.

Employee Health – Running VOC sensors for HVAC systems as opposed to CO2 sensors or 24/7 HVAC operation, provides definitive data regarding the presence of VOCs in the facility that could harm employee health and cost the company money. The operation of VOC sensors in conjunction with HVAC operation also lowers a company’s liability risk in relation to employees making claims based on VOC-related illnesses.

VOCs and HVAC Filters

There is a concern in the marketplace over some HVAC filters that may actually introduce VOCs from their manufacturing into the environment in which they are utilized. This is a legitimate concern that cannot be identified or adequately addressed in a manufacturing facility without either VOC sensors controlling the HVAC systems or running the HVAC systems 24/7 just in case. The trouble with continuous HVAC operation, as noted earlier, is the expense of running the system as well as the money spent in heating or cooling the air that is exchanged with the outside to match the ambient temperature within the facility.

In conclusion, organizations can realize significant financial and facility/employee health benefits by leveraging VOC sensors in conjunction with their HVAC systems operation.