STANDARD 180 – Inspection & Maintenance of Commercial Buildings HVAC Systems

Hvac System Cleaning

For better or for worse codes and standards are here to stay. While at times they cause frustration, they are generally intended to improve the industry in which they are being implemented.  It seems like every year the game changes and everyone is expected to learn the rules and keep up or be left dead on your feet. Trying to keep up with the changes is quite a task. To make matters more complicated, “a model code has no legal standing until adopted by a state or local jurisdiction.” This is why many of the codes and standards  in Galveston and Houston are the same while others are only adopted by one of the two city.

A code that will be voted on in either October or November of 2010 is Standard 180. “Robert Baker, chair of the committee that wrote the standard, explains why this new code is so valuable. “Consistent maintenance ensures that energy efficiency remains at design levels,” Baker said. “Where maintenance is neglected, energy costs rise significantly and equipment life drops dramatically. With HVAC&R systems responsible for about 60 percent of site electrical energy use, it’s imperative that we provide consistent maintenance and inspection to improve energy efficiency along with thermal comfort and indoor air quality. When systems are not maintained, indoor air quality, occupant comfort and energy efficiency all suffer.”

In the following exert from the ICC’s code development cycle document, Standard 180’s intent is explained.

Standard 180 was created in a collaborative effort between ASHRAE and ACCA, the Air Conditioning Contractors of America. Its intent is to address the often inconsistent practices for inspecting and maintaining HVAC systems in commercial, institutional and other buildings where the public may be exposed to the indoor environment. Current practices in such buildings vary widely today.  Many facilities choose to follow rigorous policies that maintain the system in new or nearly new condition. Others either lack policy in this area or have adopted a run-to-failure approach where the system or components of the system are attended to only when there is a failure.  To provide consistency and improve energy efficiency, thermal comfort and indoor air quality provided by HVAC systems, a standard practice for the inspection and maintenance of commercial HVAC systems is needed. When there is no routine inspection and subsequent adjustment or maintenance of system components, the system is typically found operating outside its optimum performance parameters. When systems are not maintained, they do not continue to provide the level of work they were designed for. A standard practice is also needed to guide maintenance of HVAC systems because the maintenance information often provided by manufacturers applies only to the discrete components that they provide rather than to the entire system. This document considers the integration of those components and the way they interact as well as each component separately. For the public good, it is essential that the HVAC systems in all buildings where persons work, visit or reside support a high quality indoor environment. In addition, sustainability mandates that those conditions be maintained in as energy efficient a manner as possible. This document describes the minimum acceptable level of maintenance for commercial building HVAC systems. Other standards or guidance documents may establish more specific or rigorous requirements that apply to certain buildings. Where applicable, those requirements should be followed or considered (if guidelines). Much of the information that will be required to prepare the maintenance program that is mandated by this standard can most conveniently be obtained from the building commissioning (re-commissioning or retro-commissioning) documents. Although re-commissioning is not a requirement of this standard, it should be considered where the commissioning data is either unavailable or outdated.

With more than 90% of commercial buildings in the US having never been inspected, we feel this code is long overdue. As this code moves through the approval process, we will keep you updated.

Katie Long

Power Vac America, Inc.

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