Keeping My Power Bills Down

Heating And Energy Use For A Remodeled Mixed-Use Building

Mixed-use buildings that have commercial establishments on the ground floor and residential above provide needed housing in walkable areas. But older mixed-use buildings that have been remodeled have some particular heating requirements that highlight the drastic difference between older and current energy usage and conservation regulations. If you've begun planning for a remodel of a much older building, you'll have to do more than just gussy up the place cosmetically.

Whole-Building with Individual Control

It's not uncommon for buildings to have a whole-building heating system where the landlord controls when heat and cooling will be available. This is more prevalent in certain areas of the country. If you have one of those buildings, you are better off redoing the heating and air in the building so that everyone has control of their own heating and cooling, especially if you're in a moderate climate. There's a range of moderate temperatures that some find too cold or warm while others find them perfect. Restricting the entire building to just heat or just cooling can be highly uncomfortable for customers, which could result in them avoiding the businesses in the building.

Insulation Between Commercial and Residential

Wall and floor insulation in the first residential level above the commercial level has to be excellent. Commercial establishments, especially retail and food, may have their doors open a lot, letting hot air out and cold air in, in the winter. If there is poor insulation between the store and the apartment above, that constant leakage of cold air into the building can make it harder for the residents above to control heating costs.

Improved Ventilation

Ventilation is often part of heating and cooling, and the ventilation in older buildings needs to be inspected and cleaned, if not redone. You do not want cooking smells from apartments flowing into the stores downstairs; that could affect business. You don't want smells from restaurants or businesses like perfume stores flowing upstairs, either. Good insulation will help stop those, too, as will separating the ductwork between commercial and residential portions of the building so that the odors aren't carried further by the fans from the heating and cooling systems.

It's best to get a commercial heating company in to look at your plans for the commercial portion of the building to see how best to separate the heating and ventilation systems. It sounds complicated now, but the end result will be happier tenants who aren't fighting other floors about the temperature or about odors. To learn more, contact a company like Robison  Air.