In 2015, residential and commercial buildings accounted for about 40% of total U.S. energy consumption.1 It’s no wonder, then, that every building — large and small, public and private — is looking to reduce its energy expenditure. Whether working toward a certification of sustainability or simply acting as an environmental steward, most companies realize that building and operating an efficient facility makes good business sense. It is up to the building designers to implement cost-effective strategies for conditioning and for the building operators to use the strategies wisely.
An often overlooked casualty of energy conservation is latent heat, or moisture. A good example of this is the use of free cooling with outside air by way of an air-side economizer. By taking advantage of cool exterior temps, compressors can be shut off, and instead the building can be conditioned with free outside air. But, when the air-side economizer system isn’t designed or operated correctly, bringing outside air in can lead to another major problem — high moisture levels in the building. This can cause damage to the building and comfort issues for the occupants.