By Bill Gruen and Dave McDowell
With many schools, universities, and businesses closed due to COVID-19, you will likely have buildings that are essentially empty for the next several weeks or months. This means you do not need to heat and cool them the same way you normally would.
It may seem like a good idea to shut off your building systems altogether. However, this can cause elevated humidity levels and the potential negative effects that come with that. Instead, we recommend setting your control system to “unoccupied setback” mode. This will allow the system to continue properly heating, cooling, and ventilating the building while using less energy than when the building is in active use—preventing unnecessary costs.
When setting your system to unoccupied mode for an extended period, be sure to monitor humidity levels. You may need to run your system in “occupied” mode to keep humidity at an appropriate level. Depending on the level of sophistication of your controls system, it may be possible to automate the switch between occupied and unoccupied settings.
Below are examples of what your control system interface may look like. You can see these systems are set to “unoccupied setback” levels. Your controls provider can offer further guidance for your specific system.
If you have questions about your building systems or need additional support, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. Our optimization and controls engineers are ready to help.