How to Choose Environmental Sensors for HVAC Upgrades

Posted on Wednesday Jun 29, 2022 at 03:56PM  

Buildings are always getting smarter. Automation technologies, advanced data collection, remote building controls, and more have brought us a lot more than just creature comforts. They’re savings facility managers boatloads of money with optimized energy efficiency and real-time insights for preventive maintenance. 

The nervous system of a smart building can include hundreds or even thousands of carefully selected and positioned sensors. If that sounds far off, don’t worry. Every sensor makes a difference and you’ve got to start somewhere. Environmental sensors are one of the easiest and potentially most impactful HVAC upgrades you can leverage.

Look into the sensors below for placement inside your HVAC units or mounted on the ceiling or walls. The intelligence they deliver will empower your team to make smarter decisions and save money.

Which Environmental Sensors Should I Deploy?

  • Humidity Sensors: If your facility is a lab, library, manufacturing plant, or other building with humidity-sensitive materials or processes, a responsive HVAC system is essential. It’s also important for occupant comfort in virtually all spaces. Humidity sensors help your AHUs determine when you need to introduce outside air or condition the air to keep RH in the desired range. 
  • Temperature Sensors: Temperature detection is important throughout your HVAC system to monitor duct temps, chilled and heated water loops, inside and outside air temps, and more. Use setpoints to trigger fan speed changes, heating or cooling systems, or ventilation.
  • CO2 Sensors: You can save a lot of money with a close eye on CO2 levels, which, unlike temp and humidity, are hard to detect without a sensor. A clear view of CO2 concentration can tell you when to introduce and condition fresh air from outside or when you can recirculate inside air to reduce costs.
  • Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Room Sensors: The comfort and health of your occupants depends upon a consistent and compliant indoor environment. Position IAQ sensors around rooms and common areas on walls or ceilings, where they can be accessed manually or remotely as needed. A modular sensor platform like the CW2 room sensors from Veris gives you the flexibility to track RH, CO2, temperature, and VOC concentration from a single sensor platform.
  • Occupancy Sensors: Occupancy sensors are more than triggers for indoor lighting (although they’re great at that and install easily in existing light switches). They can also help you to monitor occupancy trends over time and develop a more efficient HVAC schedule.
  • Pressure Sensors: Monitor building zone pressure to better regulate the inflow of outside air. Pressure sensors inside your AHUs, chillers, and ductwork can also help you to identify leaks or failures or become valuable control points for fan speeds and airflow.

Think of HVAC Upgrades As a Facility Brain Boost

Every smart building needs a brain. Your building management system (BMS) may be the brains of the operation, but it’s limited by the inputs in its nervous system. With a network of environmental sensors, it’s possible to ensure compliance, optimize energy usage, empower predictive maintenance, and reduce facility costs. Achieve better building control with environmental sensors throughout the HVAC system and occupied spaces, which keep that brain in touch with the world around it.

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