With businesses shifting toward a greener future, the concept of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) practices has never been more prevalent. Regarding HVAC, good ESG practices can help maintain good indoor air quality (IAQ) and a healthy work environment. In fact, there are a number of good ESG practices businesses can partake in, including using smart equipment and educating their employees. Being educated on the importance of ESG can ultimately be of great benefit to your business and the environment..
Why Improved ESG Scores Matter
There are many ESG rating agencies out there, all of which have different criteria for earning high ESG scores. Some rating boards to look out for include MSCI ESG Ratings and Sustainalytics’ ESG Risk Ratings. With the different metrics and methodologies utilized by each rating board, however, it can be hard to gauge an objective point-of-view on your company’s ESG performance — but that doesn’t mean to write it off just yet.
Investors are constantly looking for companies to remain vigilant and on top of their ESG practices, especially when it comes to environmental purposes. This, in turn, can have a number of financial ramifications for your company.
Commercial buildings are the nation’s single biggest consumer of energy, with most of that going toward heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC). HVAC can consume at least 40 percent of a building’s energy, which means optimizing your heating, ventilation, and cooling system is a key part of good ESG practices. Here are some examples.
Utilizing Energy-Efficient Equipment
Stockholders today are looking at companies to champion the way in proactive environmentally-friendly efforts. One of the biggest ESG practices businesses can partake in is utilizing energy-efficient equipment, as it not only can save a business a lot of money in the long run, but it also has less of a negative impact on the environment. Not to mention, there’s the added benefit of improved IAQ.
With this, consider installing equipment such as Combined Heat and Power (CHP) systems, smart thermostats, and energy-efficient lights. According to energy.gov, CHP systems see “concurrent production of electricity or mechanical power and useful thermal energy (heating and/or cooling) from a single source of energy.” In essence, they combine the power of boilers and power plants and provide 25% more efficiency than utilizing those services on their own.
Smart thermostats are good investments when talking ESG practices. You can program these and set them via your phone to operate on a schedule — saving precious time and energy. This, in turn, improves IAQ as well — as your HVAC system won’t be overworked, thus preserving the quality of its parts (air filters, etc.) and prolonging its overall lifespan.
And don’t forget energy-efficient lights! Switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) can save you up to 40% on your electricity bill, while light-emitting diode bulbs (LEDs) can save you up to $249 a month.
Installing a VRF System
When it comes to efficiency, a modern HVAC solution for problematic IAQ is installing a Variant Refrigerant Flow (VRF) system. VRF systems are ductless, high-capacity outdoor units that simultaneously offer heating and cooling to multiple indoor zones.
According to Ferguson, VRF’s high performance is accomplished “through the use of inverter compressors, which “allow the compressor to ramp up or down based on the needs within each space.” Essentially, this means that capacity is regulated accordingly based on whichever areas need air conditioning at the moment.
“Duct losses can account for more than 30% of energy consumption for air conditioning, especially if the ducts are in an unconditioned space such as an attic,” per the Department of Energy’s Energy Saver report, With the removal of air ducts in a VRF system, there’s plenty of money to be saved, as you won’t have to worry about leaky air ducts and wasted energy — which also leads to improved IAQ for your residential and commercial space. An ideal choice both economically and health-wise.
Educating Your Workforce
Employee education is imperative when partaking in good ESG practices, as increased awareness can lead to better IAQ for all.
One way that businesses can do this is by informing employees of potential environmental hazards that pose risks to healthy IAQ. Employees should be able to detect flaws such as hot/cold spots in an office (usually indicative of poor air balancing); unusual smells (a possible buildup of sediment, dirt, and/or a dead rodent in the ductwork); leaks, and more.
Such environmental hazards should be reported immediately, as HVAC professionals can properly inspect any shortcomings and threats to IAQ and ensure the utmost health for all building employees.
Performing Appropriate Duct Work
Though awareness of poor IAQ’s hazards is important, having trained HVAC technicians perform the appropriate duct work represents another key element of good ESG practices.
Duct work, the process of performing repairs on an air duct, should not be confused with ductwork — which represents the actual HVAC system itself. Regardless, technicians can help inspect all elements of your ductwork and properly diagnose any issues your system may face — from pooled standing water (which can be a breeding ground for legionella) to leaky air ducts (which can lead to high bills due to energy loss).
Donnelly’s Dedication to HVAC Optimization and Quality ESG Practices
Donnelly Mechanical is committed to helping NYC companies optimize their HVAC systems to help with their ESG practices. With over 30 years of experience in the HVAC industry, Donnelly has a vast track record of success across New York City.
With our commitment to quality and innovative HVAC solutions, along with our environmental practices, Donnelly ensures the absolute best for our clients around the New York metropolitan area. To learn more about Donnelly Mechanical, please visit our website and contact us today.