HVAC Energy Management with Microweather Data

August 14, 2018

Large venues have significant climate control and HVAC energy management demands, and climate control systems often consume the lion’s share of the energy bill. Every minute of the day, venues like airports, stadiums, and shopping malls, among others, must strike a fine line between balancing operational cooling and heating costs and maintaining a comfortable environment for patrons.

Those in charge of making cooling/heating decisions require a clear understanding of expected temperatures and relative humidity levels. How those factors increase or decrease throughout the day is vital for the efficient operation of the HVAC system.

Specifically, setting alerts when temperatures or humidity levels exceed or fall below certain thresholds can greatly assist the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning decision making process for the managers involved anywhere large groups of people congregate for business, entertainment, or travel.

Here are the key weather parameters affecting the indoor conditions of shopping malls, airports, stadiums, and many others.

Cloud Cover:
Cloudy times of the day have less incoming solar radiation via windows. This means transparent structures, or ones built with large quantities of glass don’t heat up as much indoors as they do on sunny days, which cause significant UV heating. Malls, airports, and stadiums can plan for their use of heating or cooling climate control and waste less energy on reactively adjusting indoor temperatures as clouds move over them.

Dew Point:
Humidity plays a big role in comfort level: higher humidity can make hot temperatures a lot more unpleasant and turn cold temperatures bone-chilling. The use of humidifiers and de-humidifiers indoors can be energy inefficient without knowledge of the outdoor weather conditions in real-time. Additionally, an 85 degree day with low humidity will have a different energy demand profile than one with high humidity, which means that indoor venues can optimize their HVAC energy management.

Wind:
People walking around corners of tall buildings on windy days may experience wind tunnel effects, and since windy times of the day whip air around structures they can cool down buildings inside, too. Since windy days might force people inside, and crowded spaces tend to need more cooling, understanding the wind direction and speed can help harness the wind for cooling effects. In pro sports and entertainment, there is a need to control the climate inside the stadium and protect fans from the elements. That’s why many take advantage of a retractable roof.

Spaces with retractable roofs warrant a deeper look. Most commonly found at stadiums, event, and concert venues, they also feature in some higher-end dining establishments and wedding venues. For spaces that can be either outdoor or indoor, there are specific challenges associated with closing a retractable roof. Timing and preparation are everything: for some venues, the entire preparation process for closing a retractable roof can take up to nearly an hour, but only about 5 minutes of that time is the physical process of closing of the roof. This shows the importance of having accurate weather data with significant lead times so that a roof closure team can be be ready to “hit the button,” so to speak, when a closure is required. Additionally, in situations where high winds are involved, it may be physically impossible to close the roof while winds are of a certain magnitude, once again underscoring the importance of advance warning when inclement weather strikes.

Most often, we refer to outdoor customers when we talk about our top use cases for micro weather data and weather software, but there is a surprising diversity of indoor use cases all year-round. Closed large venue such as malls, airports, or stadiums must optimize their use of climate control systems in order to manage their energy resources more efficiently.

ClimaCell provides the HyperCast weather software and Microweather API to customers in professional sports, aviation, and retail, among other users of weather data for indoor climate control and HVAC energy management. Contact us today to learn more about how to harness the outdoor elements for savings while providing the most comfortable indoor environment to fans, travelers, or customers today.