CRANSTON, R.I. — The Hydronic Industry Alliance-Commercial (HIA-C) and Taco Comfort Solutions have built on the foundation of their commercial building HVAC system efficiency comparison tool. Enhancements stem from more than two years of additional input from engineers, contractors and building owners – resulting in a substantially upgraded, interactive Building Efficiency System Tool™ (BEST).

When it was introduced several years ago, BEST solved a long-standing industry need for accurate comparisons of different styles of HVAC systems, all tested to different standards, many with differing efficiency ratings (EER, IEER, SEER, COP, HSPF) as they are applied to actual, real-world buildings.

BEST 5.0 allows designers to easily comply with ASHRAE 209 Early Box Modeling requirements with the inclusion of real cost, budget, and comparative energy efficiency predictions. This results in better decision-making information for builders, engineers, and design-build professionals when faced with selection options for HVAC systems.

BEST 5.0 now incorporates the consumption and energy data for domestic water heating systems. New benefits also include per-square-foot energy load based on building occupancy, profile, and cost of energy — through local utilities — with forecasting of cost increases. The new software is easier to use yet still has the capability to be customized for each energy source (water, air or refrigerant), efficiency, and labor.

“BEST is unique in that it accounts for the performance of HVAC systems in the real world, and not just laboratory test conditions,” said Mark Chaffee, vice president, governmental relations and product management, commercial and industrial, Taco Comfort Systems. “It uses this information to compare systems at the early stages of a project with limited information. Most legacy energy modeling software requires detailed input about building construction and systems to arrive at any output. BEST does this quickly and easily.”

The Building Efficiency System Tool (BEST) is available for free download at