8 energy-efficient HVAC products for offsite business owners

8 energy-efficient HVAC products for offsite business owners

If you’re an offsite business owner, you can rein in energy use for your restaurant, hotel, office building or other commercial location even when you’re not on the premises. Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems account for about 40% of electricity use in the average commercial building1 and as much as 70% during peak hours.2 Try these 8 energy-efficient HVAC products to cut costs, stay hands-off and be worry-free:

  1. ENERGY STAR®-certified heating and cooling products. If your current heating and cooling equipment is more than 10 years old, you may be able to save up to 20% in energy costs by buying new equipment.3 Look for the ENERGY STAR certification to make sure equipment meets current energy-efficiency standards.
  2. Programmable thermostats. Replacing your current thermostat with a programmable one may save up to 50% on heating and cooling costs by setting appropriate upper and lower temperature limits.4 These thermostats also allow you to tailor heating and cooling schedules to when people are present. Some models allow remote temperature setting with an internet connection.
  3. Demand-controlled ventilation. Tired of paying to heat or cool empty spaces after people have left the room? DCV can save up to 40% on energy use by using CO2 sensors to determine how many occupants are in a space and adjusting ventilation accordingly.5
  4. Economizers and advanced digital economizer controls. Economizers bring in air when it’s cool outside to reduce demand from the AC system. Advanced digital economizer controls detect and report problems with sensors, dampers and other components to help maintain energy efficiency. They can save you 10% or more, depending on the local climate.6 The retail giant IKEA was able to save big through the use of economizers and other measures.7
  5. Variable-frequency drives. VFDs (also known as variable-speed drives) are motor controllers that match the operating speed of HVAC fans or pumps to the actual heating and cooling load, which can be affected by weather, occupancy schedules and other factors. In one case study, Imagery Estate Winery installed this type of drive at their processing facility for year-round operation with a refrigerated wine cellar. VFDs slowly brought the speed of pumps up to the desired pressure for moving coolant, thereby saving the business energy. The cost of installing these drives was reduced by more than half with the rebate provided by PG&E. The company realized savings of over $13,000 for the year, which more than covered the cost of the VFD drives, and will continue to save thousands of dollars every year going forward.8
  6. Radiant heating. If your business has high ceilings or spaces that are frequently open to the outside air, consider switching to radiant infrared heaters. These heaters can reduce energy usage by 15%, compared to conventional heating systems, because the infrared heaters spot-heat objects and people nearby.9 Some of the absorbed heat from equipment and furnishings also radiates into the nearby air to provide additional warmth. Infrared heaters are especially helpful in high-ceilinged or outdoor spaces such as warehouses, garages, loading docks and outdoor restaurant areas. In high-ceilinged spaces, a traditional forced-air system would result in warm air rising above the level where work is done, but infrared heaters installed just above workspaces keep the warmth where it is needed. This type of heater also works well for restoring heat in spaces that are frequently open to the outside, such as garages and loading docks. Free-standing infrared heater models are great for keeping customers cozy on restaurant patios.
  7. Heat-recovery ventilation. Is your business blowing hot air, literally? Consider recapturing the energy in that heat with a heat-recovery ventilation system. These systems recover 50% to 80% of wasted energy from warm exhaust air and use it to heat incoming cool air.10 Such systems include heat exchangers, recuperators, regenerators, passive air preheaters and waste heat boilers.
  8. Evaporative coolers (for drier climates). If your facility is located in a dry climate and has energy-intensive compressors, consider switching to evaporative coolers, which use water evaporation to cool spaces.


Learn more about energy-saving options available for your business by downloading this eBook: How to Get the Best Results from a Lighting or HVAC Project.


  1. Pacific Gas and Electric Company
  2. Pacific Gas and Electric Company
  3. Pacific Gas and Electric Company
  4. Pacific Gas and Electric Company
  5. Pacific Gas and Electric Company
  6. Pacific Gas and Electric Company
  7. Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PDF, 236 KB)
  8. Pacific Gas and Electric Company
  9. Air Condition, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (PDF, 751 KB)
  10. Pacific Gas and Electric Company