HVAC overview

What is HVAC?

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) electricity consumption typically accounts for around 40% of total building consumption and 70% of base building (i.e. landlord) electricity consumption. It provides fresh air, control of the indoor temperature and provides comfort the building occupants. The installation, operation and maintenance of the HVAC system are the responsibility of the building owner. Under a net lease, tenants contribute to base building costs through their outgoings.  Under a gross lease the building owner pays for energy costs for the base building services. Tenants will pay the energy bills for any supplementary HVAC plus additional appliances including fans and heaters installed on their floor.

Why adjust heating and cooling?

Understanding the contribution heating and cooling makes to electricity consumption is important so that tenants’ actions can enhance and support the green activity of their building operators. For tenants, avoiding unnecessary heat from equipment and considering issues like air-flow when doing office fit-outs means that your floor is not working against the buildings’ own systems and unnecessarily increasingly energy load. It will help make the whole building greener and more efficient, unlocking further savings.

Resetting the indoor temperature by 1 degree can make an approximate 5-10% energy saving for the base building, so a little flexibility in temperatures can offer big emission and energy savings without compromising occupant comfort. 

Further, good indoor environment air quality can have a significant effect on worker productivity and influences how people perceive their workplace.

How to improve HVAC performance

Tenants can help improve HVAC systems in several ways:

  • a preference for high performing buildings with good NABERS ratings
  • making energy savings throughout the tenancy that reduce heat load on the  HVAC Systems
  • working with facilities management to optimise the base building’s heating and cooling efficiency, including the temperature settings
  • considering the impact on base building heating and cooling systems when doing fit-outs or refurbishments
  • undertaking NABERS indoor environment quality (IEQ) ratings.


Related resources

Why Expand the Band - a factsheet for building owners

Why Expand the Band - a factsheet for building owners

Over heating or cooling your building?  This factsheet will show you how we can provide better occupant comfort, save money and reduce emissions by expanding the band.

Why Expand the Band - a factsheet for Tenants

Why Expand the Band - a factsheet for Tenants

Increase productivity, reduce emissions and save money.  This factsheet will explain how.

Bring your Best Self- Campaign Posters

Bring your Best Self- Campaign Posters

Download these fun 'Bring your Best Self' posters to use in your office. 

BCO Guide to improving the environmental performance of offices

A guide by the British Council for Offices providing methods to measure building performance, occupant satisfaction, case studies and more. The report says that high performance can create productivity improvements that swamp utilities costs.

A guide to office building quality

A Property Council of Australia document providing tools for assessing office building quality in new and existing buildings. The tools provide a guide to parameters that typically influence building quality, offering a voluntary, market based approach.

Low Energy High Rise Project

Research and information for building operators by the Warren Centre showing how NABERS ratings can be improved but up to one star, with very low or no capital cost.

EEX: Heating, Ventilation and Air-conditioning

A comprehensive resource from the Energy Efficiency Exchange on reducing demand, optimising service, and upgrading HVAC services to improve overall energy performance.

Video: what affects occupant comfort?

Occupant comfort, indoor temperatures and energy consumption are are linked. In this video, Sydney University's world-expert on the topic, Prof. Richard de Dear explains the different dimensions impacting occupant comfort at a Better Buildings Partnership event.

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