Heating, ventilation and air conditioning

An efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system reduces costs, improves your work environment and can make the system itself last longer.

Commercial buildings use about 40% of their energy on making the workplace comfortable. But it’s estimated a third of commercial buildings have systems that are inefficient, significantly increasing the amount of energy used.


Get the best from your HVAC system

HVAC systems should provide heating and cooling only when they’re needed, and only as much as needed.

Centralised HVAC systems

  • Zone your workspaces correctly - place thermostats away from heat sources and open doors.
  • Set your system to heat up to 20°C and to cool from 24°C - when the temperature sits between the two settings, neither system is needed.
  • Do annual maintenance on your HVAC system - check controls and settings regularly to take account of seasonal changes and daylight saving.
  • Set your timers - to start no sooner than needed in the morning and to stop no later than needed at the end of working days.
  • Set your air conditioning humidity control - to float between 30% and 60% relative humidity.
  • Reroute your HVAC system when refitting your building - rebalance it to suit the new layout. Relocate heat sources and sensors to appropriate positions.
  • Remove obstructions - all filters, heat exchangers and outlets should be accessible and unobstructed.

Staff comfort is the best guide to how well your system is working. If there are complaints, or staff are using personal fans and heaters, then check and adjust your system.

Manually controlled HVAC systems

  • Turn off heaters and air conditioning - in areas that aren’t occupied
  • Make sure staff know how to use the HVAC system - and understand how it affects other areas.
  • Have a process for weekend and holiday shut downs.
  • Progam the systems so they shut down at night

Managing extra heat

Use blinds and screens to minimise overheating from the sun, which can make work areas uncomfortable. Servers, IT equipment and kitchens generate heat that puts more load on air conditioning. There may be cheaper ways to cool these areas, such as installing windows and vents to let in fresh air. You may also be able to duct heat out of the building.

Building management systems

If you have larger premises, it may be worth installing a building energy management system (BEMS or BMS). These are computer-based systems that monitor and control all the energy-using services in your building, including HVAC.

 Building management systems

Get expert HVAC advice

If you want to make sure your building is heated and cooled as efficiently as possible, consult an experienced professional.

Energy Management Association of New Zealand website

Institute of Refrigeration, Heating and Air Conditioning Engineers website

Funding and Support for HVAC systems

Systems optimisation

Recalibrating existing equipment can significantly reduce costs and better meet staff and production needs.

 Systems optimisation