Managing costs

Optimise and save: heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC)

Did you know heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) units guzzle so much energy they can add up to 40 to 50% of your total energy bill? Particularly if you operate a retail outlet, supermarket, hospitality business, an office or commercial building. 

Given HVAC systems control the temperature (heating and cooling), humidity, air circulation and filtering, they have a big job to do in keeping your workforce feeling comfortable and productive – and for some business – customers and clients.

By exploring ways of reducing energy consumption of your HVAC, you can: 

  • slash your business energy bill
  • minimise repair and maintenance costs
  • improve the reliability of your systems
  • apply sustainable practices by reducing your carbon footprint
  • enhance working conditions for employees.

Here are seven tips to optimise HVAC systems and save:

Meters are a great way to track your energy – how much and when you’re using it most. They can also identify if your unit isn’t working efficiently. Meters can help save 100 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year.

Timers can switch your system on and off so you’re not using energy on heating or cooling when not needed. Remember to adjust your thermostat with the change of season. Automating start and stop times could help reduce energy by up to 10%.

It’s best to make gradual changes to the temperature of 0.3°C until there’s a balance of comfort levels and energy efficiency. This could help reduce your energy consumption by 20%.

Use outdoor air for your cooling and you could save up to 20% on air conditioning compressor energy consumption. 

Remove internal heat by bringing in cool night air without having to run air conditioning to cool. Best suited to non-humid climates where temperatures drop overnight and dew point is 12 degrees or lower. You may save up to 20% on energy compressor start up. 

Developed in collaboration with various stakeholders, an energy management plan requires ongoing monitoring of your energy usage. 

Create a list of the most important energy-efficient initiatives, hold workshops, create documentation and keep records. As a holistic approach you could potentially save up to 50% on total energy usage. 

Regular maintenance of your system allows you to not only reduce your energy consumption and bills but also make your system last longer. Check all components are operating correctly – look for any damages, blocks or leaks. You could save up to 20% on energy. 

Business Energy Advice Program (BEAP) is an Australian Government initiative funded by the Department of Industry Science Energy and Resources and delivered by Business Australia. BEAP helps businesses apply sustainable energy practices and identify opportunities to save on energy bills.

The free consultative service provides independent and trustworthy advice. You’ll receive a detailed report on your energy usage with tailored recommendations for your business. You’ll have access to a wealth of information such as case studies and fact sheets. 

Discover other ways you could maximise energy savings on your HVAC. 

Jenny Dikranian

Content Writer, Business Australia

Jenny Dikranian is a content writer passionate about entrepreneurship and innovation in inspiring business success.

Full business energy consultation

Are your energy costs soaring? If you’re a small business with 6 to 20 employees or a micro business who is drought affected, you can take part in our free energy advice program. Book a comprehensive consultation with a business expert and receive a detailed report and recommendations on how to save

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