Roof top units are one of the most overlooked but most important elements of any enterprise. Facility Source reviews facilities management (FM) work regularly and notices time and again how these units are neglected. Considering they condition some 50% of this country’s commercial floor space, it becomes clear why they should be an essential part of any FM efforts. Specifically, managers need to know the life expectancy of these units and understand why they are important, when they need to be repaired and when they need to be replaced, and what they can do to make them more energy efficient.
Facility Source Reviews the Cost Center that Is Roof Top Efficiency
There is a lot of information out there about how inefficient roof top units can be. So much so, in fact, that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has gotten involved. They are now encouraging more businesses to switch to more energy efficient units, moving away from R22 refrigerants in particular.
However, there are other problems with these units as well. They are often not the right size for a building, sometimes run when a property is vacant, and can’t predict interior needs. Today’s buildings are smart buildings and environmental controls are an essential element of that. Sensors are placed in different parts of buildings to ensure the environment is always at a comfortable temperature, rather than forcing the same temperature throughout a building. Older roof top units simply cannot manage that.
Retiring Roof Top Units Can Turn into a Profit
A lot of businesses don’t want to change their roof top units because of the cost. However, a return of around $5,030 can be expected after just five years. This means that the payback period is just 3.3 years on average. That is because new units are so much more energy efficient. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that early retirement is the best option.
Obviously, buildings need to become more efficient and that often means replacing roof top units. However, that must be properly planned for so that it is done in a cost effective and efficient manner. Hence, facilities managers should ask a number of questions first, including:
- How much does it cost to buy a new unit, and what is the cost of installation?
- Will there be any need for constructional support or shoring to remove the old and install the new units?
- Will there by any downtime as a result of retiring the units?
- Will the facility have to close down completely when the unit is replaced?
- What is the expected payback period and return on investment?
Other important questions to ask about the process itself include:
- Can the existing facilities management team do the job?
- Do some of the activities have to be outsourced?
- Who will setup, monitor, and maintain the new equipment?
- Can the Internet of Things (IoT) be integrated with the new system?
These are all important considerations that a good facilities manager will have to think about.