Home Energy Evaluation - Building an Energy-Efficient Commercial Building


Dr. Energy Saver is "On The Job" again, this time to help build an energy-efficient commercial building.

The owner of this property wanted to build a garage from where they would dispatch production trucks and crews. He wanted the building to be as comfortable as possible for the people working in it year-round, and as energy efficient as a large commercial garage can get.

Commercial garages have huge doors that need to be opened frequently - several times a day - so the challenge was not only to heat the 9,000 sq. ft. space but prevent all that heat from escaping when the doors were open, and also allow for a quick heat recovery when the doors were closed again.

Larry Janesky, owner and founder of Dr. Energy Saver, explains how that comfort and energy efficiency was achieved.

They opted for heating the building with a high-efficiency Radiant Floor system, with radiant loops running underneath the concrete slab. The 9,000 sq. ft. slab was divided into five heating zones, each zoned with its variable speed circulator, which can be custom adjusted to control the speed in which the heated water circulates in the radiant loops, within the different zones of the building.

The Radiant Floor system relies on a high-efficiency Mod Con (Modulating and Condensing) Boiler. A self-modulating system like the one used, has the ability to increase and decrease the opening of the gas valve depending on how much heat is needed. On warmer days, the pilot flame burns low, and on cold days the unit will burn more gas to produce more heat. This saves a lot of energy because the unit is not running full blast at all times.

Highly-efficient condensing boilers like this one also have a secondary heat exchanger that extracts as much heat as possible out of the exhaust gases. That heat is then used to heat the building rather than escaping outside. The exhaust gases in these units are so cool, they can be vented to outdoors using conventional PVC pipes!

To prevent the heat from the Radiant Floor system from being leaked outside through the walls and floors, Dr. Energy Saver used two approaches. The foundation walls were insulated on the outside with 4-inch rigid foam boards and the concrete slab over the radiant loops was built 6-inches thick, creating enough thermal mass to conserve the heat on the slab when the garage doors open, and allowing for a quick recovery when the doors close.

After the upgrades to the building were completed, Dr. Energy Saver returned to test for
air leakages. As with any new construction, not every air leak is fixed the first time around. In this case, gaps around the garage doors, and all around the perimeter of the roof were allowing cold air in and hot air out and had to be air sealed and insulated using spray foam.

If you want to make your home or commercial structure more energy efficient, we can help! Call Dr. Energy Saver today for a home energy audit and free estimate.

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