Frequently Asked Questions

Many companies and departments have questions related to Building Automation Systems, Maintenance Programs or Energy Conservation Incentives. Below are a some of the questions generally asked.

How can I reduce costs associated with my commercial HVAC system?

Reducing operating costs is increasingly a pressing aim of many companies. This starts with tackling what is for countless firms one of the largest variable expenses they face: their utility costs. Heating and air conditioning represent roughly 40-60% of businesses' expenses, and SANDCASTLE uses some of the following methods reduce these expenses:

1) Preventative Maintenance Programs - Regular, scheduled maintenances. Routinely checking motors, belts and steam traps, replacing filters, and cleaning coils and boiler heat transfer surfaces helps keep your system running efficiently.

2) Energy Conservation - SANDCASTLE will automate your operations and ensure your system operates efficiently and according to your business's needs. Lighting management and reducing air conditioning and heating when the facility is unoccupied, and other automation, will help reduce costs.

To ensure the right strategy is employed for your building, SANDCASTLE will conduct an energy audit. By studying the use and traffic in your building, we can identify peak hours of heavy use and when the building is unoccupied.  Consider an Automated Energy Management System that will alter indoor air flow and temperature based on the outside climate and building use.

Does replacing an older commercial HVAC system reduce my energy costs?

Older and less efficient HVAC systems tend to have higher operating costs. This can be because equipment has a low efficiency rating and therefore consumes more energy, or because older equipment is incapable of running as efficienctly as it might have in its prime. Regardless of the cause of operating inefficiencies, there is often an opportunity to reduce costs by replacing an older unit. It can be a company's chance to cut energy costs. What follows are some of the recommendations that SANDCASTLE provides its clients:

1) Invest in the right unit for your business. Start by having your system assessed by a trained professional. This will allow you to purchase and design the right system for your business. High-efficiency systems use less energy and run less costly utility bills.

2) Recalculate the energy load on your building. Over time, the building and its use are likely to have changed since the previous system was installed. Reevaluating your building's energy load may help you reduce your replacement costs, as you might not need a large system. Simple measures like reducing the lighting level, insulating windows, and sealing duct leaks may decrease the strain on your system and will translate into energy savings.

3) Sometimes equipment used in your operations will emit heat and add stress to your air conditioning system. You should have a professional evaluate your equipment in order to ensure that all the components of your system are proportionate to your energy needs.


What is an Energy Management System?

An Energy Management System, also known as a Building Automation System, can control your energy costs and help create energy savings through automating your commercial HVAC system. Similarly, other systems, like lighting, fire controls, and alarms, can be integrated in order to improve the security and protection of your building.
Some of the SANDCASTLE Energy Management System strategies include:

1) Managing the temperature of your building or facility by syncing the demands of your HVAC system with peak and valley traffic and operations.

2) Leveraging web browser interfaces to centralize management of HVAC systems and other services for buildings at different locations.

3) Aligning reporting and savings objectives with our clients' needs. Ensuring that you know the goals, tracking history, and results empowers you with the information to feel confident that your Energy Management System is helping reduce your costs.


What is a SEER rating on an air conditioning unit?

All air conditioners have a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating - or SEER rating. The higher the rating, the higher the energy efficiency of the unit in question. This is essentially a reflection on the amount of energy required for the unit to perform a given task - the more efficient a unit is, the less energy required to operate it.

In an effort to reduce our carbon footprint and decrease energy costs, the federal government has implemented a minimum SEER requirement of 13 (out of a maximum rating of 20) to ensure that the most efficient units are being installed whenever possible.


Where are Energy Conservation Incentives for Lighting most accessible?

Energy retrofit incentives for lighting are most accessible in BC, MB, ON, QC, NB,  NS and PEI.


Where are Energy Conservation Incentives for HVAC and Refrigeration most accessible?

Energy retrofit incentives for HVAC and Refrigeration are most accessible in BC, MB, SK, QC and NS.


Which lighting retrofits have the quickest payback?

Lighting measures utilising incandescent light sources such as Halogen, High Pressure Sodium and non pulse start Metal Halide tend to have the shortest paybacks.


Which HVAC measures have the quickest payback?

The HVAC measures with the quickest paybacks include movement to Programmable Thermostats with holiday scheduling, as well as Demand Control Ventilation.


Can SANDCASTLE manage the task of applying for Energy Incentives on my behalf?

Yes. SANDCASTLE has dedicated personnel who project manage the submission of the Energy Incentive Application, collection of required documentation, and follow up of your potential incentives on your behalf – from start to finish.


Why should you use SANDCASTLE Energy Systems to process incentives?

Single point of contact! A typical claim requires a dedicated resource for the coordination and collection of supporting information in order to submit an application for incentives. This process typically involves several points of contact – SANDCASTLE takes care of it all for you. Furthermore, we are already familiar with the guidelines and requirements of conservation programs across Canada.