Smart Roof Top Units: A Shift in Technology for Commercial HVAC
Everything around is being optimized to be as smart as a human. Our phones, cars, and computers have drastically shifted since their break through. These new, innovating technologies are designed to make our lives as consumers an easier and better experience. Don’t think a commercial roof top HVAC unit can follow this “smart” trend?
Introducing the smart rooftop unit.
A standard RTU has and is a reliable system for commercial buildings, offices, and manufacturers. But, this new breed of smart RTUs is a game changer. In an article with ACHR News, Johnson Controls Commercial Product Marketing Manager Brian Wathen describes them as having the capacity to “monitor, adjust, detect, and diagnose itself and indoor environmental conditions to ensure proper building occupant comfort”. This isn’t the end of its capabilities. Wathen continues to elaborate that these new systems can also provide feedback to users on its conditions and possible issues immediately through wireless communication using an electronic device. One type of smart unit takes things a step further- Internet of Things enabled-where all data collected gets loaded to the cloud. Jim Macosko from Daikin tells ACHR News that an IoT enabled unit is able to use the data it collects, combine it with external analytics, and increases its IQ with the information it harvests. He continues to explain how the unit is able to use all this information to better help the building’s owner make decisions for its unit.
While a smart RTU comes with quite the price tag, it may be worth it for building owners to invest in. Chris Opie spoke with ACHR news on the clear advantages of a smart roof top HVAC. He notes that the unit provides better comfort control and energy efficiency because its ability to communicate with itself. They can monitor its surroundings such as temperature, air quality, and humidity and are then able to auto adjust themselves through sending messages to fans and compressors. Steve VanPeursem, also from Daikin, explained that smart rooftop HVAC are also easier to repair because of its abilities to send diagnostic messages to a dashboard. Rather than a service tech having to manually inspect a unit, they can quickly use the dashboard to view information about the unit and make repairs accordingly.
Opie speaks on how investing in a smart rooftop HVAC is worth it despite the obvious price difference. He explains the benefits of the machine’s life cycle and its ROI. Opie claims that a smart RTU will actually even pay back faster through energy savings and its ability to self-diagnose with can limit service calls. The wireless communication capabilities will also reduce installation costs as they can communicate with other systems and make things easier for the installer.
As these innovative rooftop HVAC units are making their breakthrough in the commercial and industrial HVAC industry, the response is taking slower than usual. Shaun Thomas from Rheem Mfg. Co points out that most business owners usually look for a smaller price tag rather than the latest technology. With time, smart roof top units will likely become the norm as their benefits are overwhelming.
Just like other innovations in technology, the consumer will need time to accept and adapt to the better choice due to comfort in what the standard holds. Before long, smart roof top units are expected to make their breakthrough and be on top of buildings everywhere.
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