With commercial building owners seeking to reduce building costs and carbon footprint in smarter and more efficient ways, proper HVAC system design is a critical first step to achieve energy-efficiency targets.

Not only do HVAC systems account for nearly half of the energy used in commercial buildings, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), they also fall in the top five sources of greenhouse gas emissions. What’s more, building owners, facility managers, and HVAC and plumbing professionals are under increasing pressure to comply with changing regulations that mandate energy-efficient practices.

While hydronic systems have long been recognized for their energy-saving properties in HVAC and plumbing applications, designing an efficient hydronic system and narrowing down the necessary system components can be challenging. With multiple different touchpoints and decision-makers involved, selecting the right component or set of components is crucial for maximizing efficiency. A range of criteria need to be considered, including the highest efficiency across the pump curve, depending on the building load, installed footprint in terms of mechanical constraints and compatibility with existing system design.

Whether it’s specifying a hydronics system from scratch or integrating components within an existing system, Bell & Gossett’s advanced software selection program offers a comprehensive solution to ensure efficient hydronic system design and prioritize what matters most to end users. Here are five benefits this advanced selection software has on the design process and in promoting productivity and efficiency:

  1. Ability to choose all components from a single interface — Hydronic systems, by their nature, are component-based, meaning they can be scaled up or down by individual product for both retrofit projects and new construction. At the same time, because water is not compressible like air, hydronic systems require specific components, such as a properly sized air separator, expansion tank, or relief valve to accommodate the expansion of water and prevent excessive water pressure. From a single product selection interface, duty points — like cost index, footprint, and energy efficiency — can be input to identify and compare specific products that will deliver optimal performance within a hydronic HVAC or plumbing system.
  2. Enables more efficient overall system design — In addition to offering a broad range of product selections that allows users to preview their options and choose the best one, advanced selection software takes the guesswork out of what else might be required to create the most efficient system. This includes access to dimensional drawings, REVIT families, and other supporting documentation on proper installation and applications as well as the ability to compare parallel and single pumping options, helping users realize both operational and cost savings.
  3. Self-service capabilities — Time and resource allocation has become increasingly compressed, making the need to act quickly to meet multiple deadlines crucial. From a self-service standpoint, advanced selection software provides all the necessary documentation and application tips to turn around a complete hydronic system design within minutes, making quoting jobs fast and easy, and all with minimal training.
  4. Long-term benefits — Beyond the initial convenience value, there are many long-term advantages to using Bell & Gossett’s ESP-Systemwize to facilitate a thoughtful design process. For instance, built-in calculators can help optimize overall project budget goals, saving time, money, and resources. Energy efficiency criteria allows users to compare multiple different pump choices to select the most efficient option, while footprint criteria enable the selection of hydronic components with the smallest footprint. What’s more, a detailed operating cost analysis allows users to compare operating costs based on a range of considerations, including hours of operation, a state’s electricity cost per hour, and control strategy to design the most efficient low-cost system. Being able to identify the right combination of components ultimately advances sustainability, delivers optimal occupant comfort, and improves facility performance and productivity.
  5. Advances informed decision-making — Guided selection advances informed decision-making by matching up pumps and supporting equipment from concept to completion, all with the specific need of the end user in mind. This could be life cycle, cost savings, or considering the highest-efficiency pump based on lowest energy use intensity (EUI). More advanced features include DOE’s Pump Energy Index and Hydraulic Institute’s Energy Rating information to help users make the most informed selection for their application.


A Holistic Sustainable Solution

As consumer expectations for sustainable environments continue to grow, industry professionals are increasingly allocating more of their budgets, time, and resources to align with these values.

Aside from regulatory and societal pressures to build sustainably, growing industry pressures are also driving the evolution of advanced selection software. In addition to generating a list of the components and products needed for a system, users will see more robust data to understand exactly how much energy that component or product will use based on their specific parameters.

Hydronic system design is only as efficient as the sum of its products and the efficiencies each of those products delivers within the overall system. The use of Bell & Gossett’s robust product selection software at the initial design stage is more than just convenient in prioritizing energy-efficient products and housing all that information in a single tool; it creates long-term positive environmental impact that can be felt long after the design stage is complete.