In the summer of 2018, a customer was facing a real problem – their resident satisfaction at two properties needed some work, and they were just about to hit the hot summer busy season – which can be notoriously difficult if residents experience air conditioning issues.

Fortunately, they were able to implement a preventative maintenance and HVAC asset management solution at one of their properties. At this property the customer wound up doing only 3% unplanned replacements out of 300+ units – and had a customer satisfaction score of 97%.

Unfortunately, they did not have time to implement this solution at another one of their recently acquired properties and wound up with 17% unplanned replacements on 700+ units and a 77% resident satisfaction score.

Finding Relevant HVAC Solutions

The search for a HVAC technology solution that is focused on energy efficiency and provides multifamily and commercial property owners with ease and insight into their HVAC property management needs, can be daunting.Property owners have several boxes to check: proactive maintenance, environmentally friendly solutions, always with an eye to the bottom line. HVAC is one of the largest consumers of energy in commercial and multi-family properties, accounting for up to 40% of a building’s energy consumption.

It may be hard to believe, but in totality, businesses are wasting over 60% of the energy they purchase every year. And the inefficiencies can build upon one another. HVAC systems are typically the largest consumers of energy in commercial and multi-family properties, accounting for up to 40% of a building’s energy consumption. There is also the matter of the state the HVAC system in play. Poorly installed or malfunctioning units can increase energy consumption by another 30%. Add to that another 18% energy increase from poorly optimized heating and cooling processes and it is possible to see up to 90% of energy costs directly related to HVAC.

Considering Energy Costs

HVAC is one of the largest consumers of energy in commercial and multi-family properties, accounting for up to 40% of a building’s energy consumption.

Not only is high energy use costly for business operations, but it has an impact on the environment through the carbon that HVAC systems emit. That is why technological innovation and a reputable contractor network for commercial and multi-family building HVAC investments is a crucial consideration for commercial building owners. Commercial and multi-family properties that ‘back burner’ system innovation at this critical time will find it increasingly difficult to compete and maintain their resident satisfaction ratings by staying ahead of the inevitable replacement and repairs.

Building owners must make time to consider what the future of big data and smart platforms looks like. In our world of data, implementing HVAC services like this are no longer a luxury; they are a necessity. In fact, commercial buildings can attain a savings of roughly 18% on whole-building energy consumption from installing smart technologies to optimize services.

Adopting Smart Technology

Partnering with the right service provider will have a dramatic effect on the ultimate success or failure of an HVAC rollout in several areas such as acquiring quality, cost-effective equipment, ensuring compliant and thorough installation, accessing knowledgeable and rapid repair personnel who can also maintain equipment on an ongoing basis.

Whether your company is looking to adopt HVAC smart technology for the first time or replacing an out-of-date solution, here are a few factors to consider that will help in making your choice when embarking on a HVAC contractor network.

Commercial buildings can attain a savings of roughly 18% on whole-building energy consumption from installing smart technologies

Look for an experienced professional

 It may be tempting to seek an HVAC professional based on the lowest bid received, but there are other considerations that must be taken into account. Look for a solution provider with industry experience and a history of demonstrated success in managing technology from roll-out to deployment. When you meet with potential partners, insist on viewing live solutions.

A network of contractors

Look for an HVAC professional that is connected in their local community. Other considerations include the size of their contract network and are those contractors well-vetted? Ensure that the network has a reputation for meeting deadlines and affirms that it can meet yours. Ask if there is one point of contact for the life of the job, too.  It’s an important detail to know who your point person is and with whom you will be contacting for the questions that will arise along the way.

Have an eye to the future

Ensure that the HVAC technology under consideration possesses the capability to handle large volumes of data and a large number of users at the same time. Ask some questions about the peak season and confirm the contractor has planned ahead and thought through a scenario of how to prioritize repairs during a heat wave, for example. What about considering predictive analytics? What benchmark performance measures do they have in place? Do they use state-of-the-art remote monitoring, giving them a 360-degree view of your entire property portfolio?

No hassle, no waiting

Although larger than the residential market, commercial demand gains will increase at a slower rate due to an expected slowdown in commercial construction activity. As 2021 is quickly approaching, the market changes can present both dynamic opportunities and challenges for technology platforms. What’s key here is availability of product and services. Ensure that the contractor has the resources to accomplish your objectives. Are they vendor neutral? Consider and compare the price of labor and equipment. Also, confirm that there are multiple channels of ordering paths for optimization. 

How to choose your solution

The installation and implementation of all of a building’s HVAC assets should consider how the condition analysis of each unit captured. Make certain there is a clear representation of how data is being collected from your contractors and that you understand your role in consuming and interpreting that data. Ask about the kind of alerts and sensors that will be used and how the data collected is then presented to you. The technology provider should be able to provide guidance into which building metrics should be measured and offer technology solution that gives property owners visibility into their entire asset portfolio, empower managers, and make precise decisions about HVAC condition and energy-efficiency.

Building owners must make time to consider what the future of big data and smart platforms looks like

The reason why most residents do not renew their leases is because of poor staff performance and assistance. Technology solutions are now considered mission-critical for property managers, owners, and investors who want to excel at HVAC service needs. If the HVAC is in disrepair for too long a period, tenants will move onto another property.

According to data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program, companies spend more than $20 billion on energy, annually. By replacing air conditioning equipment that has been in operation for 10 years, facilities can save 20-50% on energy and maintenance costs. Taking some steps toward technology via a contractor network can help ensure excellent staff performance and assistance, resulting in higher residential satisfactory ratings, tenant retention, as well as energy and cost savings.

For a look at Motili’s Survival Guide in its entirety, please visit: https://lp.motili.com/ebook

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version Download PDF version

Author profile

Kirill Kniazev Marketing Director, Motili

Kirill Kniazev is the marketing director at Motili. Motili is a technology company which helps commercial, multifamily, and single-family property owners and operators with proactive and reactive HVAC and hot water maintenance.

In case you missed it

The Impact Of Millennials And Other HVAC Industry Trends
The Impact Of Millennials And Other HVAC Industry Trends

Millennials have been shaped by their experiences growing up with technology and by their heightened awareness of the environment. These facets of a consumer market dominated by millennials will guide the future of the HVAC market over the next several years. Each generation reshapes markets in their own image. In the case of millennials, trends and behaviors are influencing how companies design new solutions, including those in the world of HVAC. Sustainable solutions and personalized experiences Millennials place a premium on sustainable solutions that reduce their environmental impact Millennials place a premium on sustainable solutions that reduce their environmental impact. Millennials also want more personalized and convenient experiences, and they value enhanced customer service support. New systems designed with a personalized and ecological mindset are amplifying efficiency and convenience and giving unprecedented control to create a truly connected home for technophilic millennials. Future HVAC products to cater to millennials The challenges of catering to millennials is one of the trends LG Electronics has listed among those likely to impact the HVAC industry in the months and years ahead. The trends are directly guiding LG’s product mix, including WiFi-enabled indoor units and LG’s Smart ThinQ application, which put the ability to control a home’s comfort system at the consumer’s fingertips. Here are some other trends to watch, listed by LG Electronics, when looking ahead to 2021 and beyond: Greener solutions on the horizon: Beyond appealing to millennial sensitivities, green solutions have a long list of their own advantages. Industry providers are responding by creating more sustainable and efficient products to enable customers to reduce their carbon footprints. LG Inverter air conditioning systems are designed to minimize efficiency losses, provide sustainable energy savings and contribute to lower lifecycle costs. More efficiency and reduced costs: Geothermal heat pumps have quickly proven themselves to be an alternative energy source, offering both warming and cooling capabilities. They are a highly effective and renewable energy source that can transfer heat from the ground to cool and heat buildings. Minimizing greenhouse gas emissions: Connecting HVAC to the electrical grid highlights the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Air-to-water heat pumps and other solutions can generate cooling and heating from one unit, thus furthering the transition from natural gas, fuel oil or coal. Fulfilling the need for new employees: The next generation of HVAC engineers and technicians requires training programs. LG Air Conditioning Academies provide training and skills programs around the world to empower the new generation of HVAC professionals. The impact of COVID-19: The pandemic has created a need for greater safety precautions within the HVAC industry. Remote working trends and additional precautions will likely continue to impact the industry even post-pandemic. LG HVAC systems are evolving to better aid the road to recovery and to prepare for the new normal with optimal solutions for the ever-changing challenges.

Residential HVAC Continues to Show Business Strength Amid COVID-19
Residential HVAC Continues to Show Business Strength Amid COVID-19

The entire economy has been severely impacted by COVID-19, with small businesses being hit the worst. These businesses make up 47% of the private labor force and contribute 44% to GDP in the United States. Thankfully, not all small businesses are the same. Jobber’s Home Service Economic Report: Summer Edition analyzes the performance of the Home Service category throughout 2020, and shows a positive path towards recovery. It shows that the Contracting segment, which includes HVAC businesses, had its first full quarter of positive year-over-year growth since the start of the pandemic. As we look ahead to the future, it’s important to reflect on the past year and understand how residential HVAC, and the Home Service category as a whole, has fared through this pandemic and the economic turbulence that it has caused. Jobber’s report highlights some trends and key findings that can help guide companies through the end of the year and into 2021. The Residential HVAC Industry Falls within a Strong Home Service Category Wrapping up the third quarter, it’s clear that the Home Service category—including residential HVAC—continued to recover as the economy opened up and consumer demand rebounded. With the exception of Grocery Stores and General Merchandise Stores, Home Service was the most stable category through the peak of the pandemic. It also recovered very well through June and into Q3, showing 10% year-over-year growth in September, compared to other categories such as Clothing Stores and Restaurants, which registered declines of 12% and 14% respectively. New Work Scheduled Finds Pre-Pandemic Success New work being scheduled is an early inductor of the health of Home Service businesses, and a proxy for consumer demand. When the pandemic first hit, the Contracting segment, which consists of industries such as Construction, Plumbing, and HVAC, saw a sharp decline in new work scheduled in March and April. Residential HVAC continued to recover as the economy opened upAt its lowest point, Contracting saw new work decline by 23% year-over-year as states across the country began implementing stay-at-home directives and consumer spending tightened. This impacted revenues in April and May, where growth declined 15% year-over-year, roughly 25% below expectations. Despite this dip during the initial peak of the pandemic, new work scheduled for the Contracting segment started to show signs of recovery from May onwards, hitting a record high for the year in June with 15% growth year-over-year, and consistent positive growth since then. As a result, the third quarter revenues for this segment have also shown positive results. Although the growth was moderate earlier in the quarter, the Contracting segment finished strong with 12% year-over-year revenue growth in September, matching pre-pandemic levels. Employment Growth Sees Upward Trajectory In April, the U.S. unemployment rate shot up to a record high 14.7% largely due to COVID-19 layoffs, but improved to 10.2% in July as the economy began to reopen, and further to 7.9% by September. For Home Service specifically, the category began 2020 with positive employment growth in Q1 that outpaced the employment growth in Total Nonfarm. However, stay-at-home orders in April caused employment growth year-over-year in Home Service to drop drastically by 12.9%, although this was still a bit better than the 13.4% drop for Total Nonfarm employment. Since this drop, Home Service has seen rapid recovery, with September employment only showing a decline of 3.9% year-over-year while Total Nonfarm shows a decline of 6.4%. Digital Payments on the Rise Despite Historic Resistance The Contracting segment has historically been a bit slower to adopt digital payments as these businesses often have large invoice sizes, and don’t want to collect payment using methods that can deteriorate their margins. However, according to market reports, the adoption of digital payments has accelerated significantly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The adoption of digital payments has accelerated significantly due to the COVID-19 pandemicSpecifically, the estimated percentage of transaction values done digitally in 2025 is now expected to be 67% rather than the previous estimate of 57%. In our data, we saw a significant increase from January to May, from 32% to 37%, in the share of payments being collected through digital methods, compared to other methods such as cash or check. While each business has its own unique dynamics related to e-payment usage, it will be interesting to monitor this trend heading into the new year, as social distancing continues, and more companies commit to improving their technology usage. Although there has been a positive economic turnaround for all categories towards the end of Q2 and through Q3, it’s difficult to predict where we are going with the recent rise in COVID-19 cases throughout the country. While consumer spending and employment have recovered from the massive declines they saw in early Q2, they seem to be stagnating a bit below their pre-COVID growth levels, suggesting that both consumers and businesses are remaining cautious. One thing is clear though, Home Service as a category is incredibly resilient as most businesses managed to survive through unprecedented economic hardship, while finding new and better ways to service their customers.

Could Thermic Heat-Generating Paint Play a Crucial Role in an HVAC System?
Could Thermic Heat-Generating Paint Play a Crucial Role in an HVAC System?

Is wall paint a feasible element in an HVAC system? That’s the supposition that underpins Thermic heat-generating paint, which is applied like conventional paint but then can heat up a room when it is connected to a safe level of 24 volts of electricity. The paint is a water-based, solvent-free and low-pollutant dispersion that provides a wafer-thin carbon specialty coating (about 0.4 mm), which can be connected to a low-current circuit to provide radiant heat. In effect, the product allows a house painter and/or an electrician to “install” a heating system. infrared heating panel “Thermic heat-generating paint can be processed particularly evenly and is so electrically conductive that a low voltage of 24 volts is sufficient to generate high outputs of up to 100 watts,” says Hans Schulte, Director of Thermic Coating Systems Ltd., based in Chester, United Kingdom. The low voltage is selected in accordance with the “toy safety directive,” so it is safe to touch. The coating can be applied to any wall, ceiling or floor and transform it, in effect, into an infrared heating panel, says the manufacturer. The company suggests the coating would be particularly useful for builders planning a low-energy house. One liter of Thermic Paint costs 149 Euros ($175). low energy requirement This requires technology that provides heat at short notice - at the time and place where it is needed" “In new buildings, the trend is toward intelligent heating solutions that flexibly cover the low energy requirement and adapt to the needs of the user,” says Schulte. “This requires technology that provides heat at short notice - at the time and place where it is needed." The responsiveness is an advantage when compared to heat pumps, which require a lead time of several hours to change the temperature in a room, says Schulte. The system is particularly useful for concrete surfaces, and normal walls made of brick or wood are sufficient. The combination of products also has an almost unlimited lifespan and does not require maintenance, says the manufacturer. The coating can be painted over with standard colors. Low energy use is another advantage, with Thermic Paint providing the highest infrared heat radiation at the lowest energy consumption, according to the company. wall coating system With an efficient layout and intelligent control, the wall coating system can save more than 50% of a required heat load. An area of one square meter can achieve a surface temperature of 118 degrees F, so a few such areas on walls or ceiling can provide a warm comfort level. In effect, 6 square meters of heating area would be needed to heat a 25 square meter (269 square foot) living room, according to Thermic Coating. The company’s website says they are amenable to “attractive opportunities for cooperation.” Transformers are used to supply electricity, transforming the mains voltage to the low operating voltage. Thermic Coatings sees use of large-sized infrared heaters on low temperature on walls and ceiling as the future. It is most efficient to locate the heat paint in the coldest parts of a room, says the company. The paint should cover an area as big as possible to ensure lowest energy consumption while still heating the room.

vfd