In the Heating Season are your windows left open or are you receiving too much heat? Hot ideas for efficient heat distribution !

Very often residents experience too much heat while other residents do not receive enough. But help is on the way. There are various systems and approaches that assist operating efficiency plus, they reduced energy related expenses in the process.

It is important to remember that costs associated with the generation, distribution and transfer of heat in multifamily buildings account for 2/3 of the total amount spent annually on utilities. This cost does not include expenses related to the operation and maintenance of outdated or poorly maintained equipment, inefficient or non-operable mechanisms of distribution. Dramatically reducing operating costs is possible with a comprehensive heat distribution program. This plan includes a prescriptive maintenance program that addresses common aspects of a buildings heating/domestic hot water plant and a custom plan that addresses issues and systems unique to a specific building.

Below is a brief description of steps that can be taken which will immediately impact both building efficiency and energy costs.

1) Energy Computerized Systems

Implementing an Energy Computerized System has consistently delivered energy savings of up to 20%. The ability to monitor and control the buildings distribution of heat offers both the Board and management company the ability to monitor and analyze data on a day-to-day basis. An internet based wireless system will store vital information enabling the user to review the preselected temperature settings, thus allowing real time adjustments to heat generation and distribution.

An Energy Computerized System’s primary function is to maximize efficiency and prevent wasteful overheating of a building.

Common features of an energy computerized system include:

Wireless space sensors, receivers and repeaters
An aqua-stat sensor, and stack temperature sensors
Outdoor sensors
Hot water/return sensors

Additional benefits of an Energy Computerized System include:

Remotely change set-points and turn boilers on/off
Track heating system parameters to locate patterns of inefficiency
Provides a view of building’s heating system malfunctions

2) Thermostatic Radiation Valves

Most Co-ops get their heat from a central heating plant, leaving residents with no control over the temperature of the units. Thermostatic Radiation Valves, also known at TRV’s, are self-regulating devices that control room temperature based on an individually set temperature and heat load. This simple device keeps the room at a desired temperature level, regardless of external temperature changes. It automatically controls the flow water through individual radiators, allowing residents to heat each area to their specific desires. When room temperatures vary, the valve automatically opens or closes to regulate the flow of hot water until the desired temperature is achieved. Only if the desired room temperature has to be changed (windows are opened or closed for ventilation) does the sensor setting need to be adjusted.

The advantages of installing a TRV include:

Adjust temperature settings depending on how each area is used to Improve temperature control over using one thermostat for the whole apartment or townhouse.

Increase comfort and energy savings.

Heating costs decrease an average 3% for every degree a home’s temperature is reduced—which can be accomplished without discomfort when a TRV is installed in each room to control heating.

There is ample research suggesting that when TRV’s are retrofitted to heating systems, that the overall energy consumption is reduced dramatically. But more importantly, there is no wasted heat and residents are heated more evenly, thus better heat distribution.

3) Recommendations for Poor Heat Distribution in Steam and Hot Water Systems

To increase heat delivery to an area served by a radiator, a larger air-venting valve should be installed. These valves can be adjusted to allow either rapid or slower venting. It is important to keep in mind that generally valves nearest to the boiler should vent the slowest, and valves furthest from the boiler should vent the fastest.

The most common problems with air-venting valves occur when they are painted over, crushed, or clogged with rust. Improperly trained service technicians often respond to complaints by increasing boiler steam pressure rather than replacing air-venting valves. This actually leads to high pressure steam leaks and wastes heating oil or natural gas. Investing in new air-venting valves for an old or troublesome single-pipe steam system, as well as taking the time to correctly size and adjust them, will reduce or eliminate heat complaints. In addition it will lower heating fuel use resulting in lower energy costs.

4) Perform Regular Steam Trap Surveys

Steam trap surveys should be conducted on a regular basis. A wide steam trap survey program is a proactive strategy that will provide the following:

Ensure the efficient distribution of steam throughout a facility
Enhance the efficiency of the steam generating system
Reduce operating and maintenance costs.

If you have not performed a steam trap survey in a few years and the repair or replacement of steam trap internal parts are needed, the cost of repairs will be recovered in less than a year. To keep costs even lower you may want to consider purchasing the internal parts from companies other than the recommended manufacturer.