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Tom Balme, Senior Technical Account Manager

Many facility managers, building operations teams and contractors are responding to the effects of partial occupancy and potentially even preparing for an extended closure period. In the event of a partial or full building shut down, it’s important to know that putting heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems into hibernation is not as simple as flipping the switch and walking away.

HVAC systems are complex and interconnected, often comprising hundreds of expensive components and pieces of equipment. Incorrect hibernation of an HVAC system can adversely affect equipment operation, result in costly breakages and lead to health and safety issues. To help building owners and operators make an informed decision around HVAC system hibernation, CIM has prepared a response strategy for various asset types.

There are many factors to carefully consider when preparing for an extended HVAC system shut down, including:

  • Safe and controlled shutdown procedures
  • Periodic operation of plant and systems
  • Continued operation of critical equipment
  • Compliance with health and safety standards (such as fire safety, legionnaires, microbial control)
  • Remote monitoring and alerting.

Depending on the length of hibernation, it is often beneficial to keep the HVAC system ticking over at regular intervals instead of fully shutting it down so that expensive plant and equipment is not damaged and start-up can be restored quickly. This is the approach CIM is currently taking with many of our customers, by using the PEAK building analytics platform to remotely monitor systems during hibernation to ensure equipment is safely protected and properly maintained.

On the flip side, owners and operators can also take advantage of an extended closure period and empty building by using the available downtime to target capital and maintenance initiatives such as water balancing, air balancing, and sensor calibrations. These initiatives improve energy efficiency and reduce outgoings over the short to long term once the building reopens to tenants and visitors.

If you are considering hibernation of your HVAC plant and equipment, please contact the CIM team for complimentary technical guidance and support on how best to achieve this outcome.