Chasing down and putting out fires: There is a better approach to managing climate complaints

Jan 20, 2019

To most of us how heating, cooling, and ventilation (HVAC) work is a mystery. We put our trust in experts, we install recommended equipment, build service contracts, and hope everyone is putting our best intentions forward. But, an uninformed consumer is at risk of not gaining easily attainable benefits which should be guaranteed. At Pelican we believe you should be informed on how your indoor climate is operating, and in a format relevant to your business. Do you have free cooling? If you do not know the answer to this question, its time to start looking into getting Pelican.

What is free cooling?

In almost every climate there are periods of the year where the outside air temperature and humidity levels are more favorable than the air recirculating inside your building. A lot of HVAC equipment have or can add outside air dampers (economizers) which move to either increase the amount of cool dry air coming into your space or reduce it. The decision on how and when to open or close these dampers is automated, based on the local hardware and sensors installed on your roof.

Economization is not a new concept and Pelican did not invent the theories behind these controls. But, we have changed the world of economization through the development of the PEARL economizer controller and incorporating  two concepts into our design: 

  1. Make sure you always know how your economizer and HVAC unit is working. Not knowing is a risk to you, your organization and your occupants.
  2. Enhance the benefits of your outside air damper through learning algorithms (AI). Most economizer controllers are out-of-the-box programmed to do specific sequences. Pelican’s controller adjusts to your actual equipment capabilities, the space’s reaction, and the climate your building is in.
These simple concepts have taken our customers to a new level of comfort and efficiency, while eliminating headaches, costs, and workload.

You in the know.

You are a busy person with a LOT of tasks needing your attention. The last thing you want to be actively monitoring is your HVAC equipment. We agree, we are also busy, we also have HVAC equipment, and we do not want to sit and monitor if it is working or not. So, at Pelican we built algorithms to watch the equipment for us. If a problem is discovered, we generate an alert. And because the system is always tracking data on your equipment, we can quickly find the real problem and confirm it has been fixed.

"Chasing down and putting out fires"

Our company invented this theory and decided our biggest task was to help our customers eliminate this approach to climate complaint management. 

At Pelican we believe that a preventative approach is less expensive and more rewarding than the normal “fire drill” response to climate problems. To learn more about this theory – click here. But, lets discuss how this impacts your ability to taking advantage of free cooling. 

Taking advantage of your equipment.

Almost 80% of HVAC rooftop equipment have de-activated or non-functioning economizers. There are a few reasons for this: 1. Economizers are mechanical and they can fail without anyone knowing. 2. Economizer controllers are consider “man-in-the-middle” devices, sitting between your thermostat and your HVAC equipment. When someone complains about discomfort, a lot of contractors disable your economizer since it eliminates it from the potential problem. And many times, even if this was not the problem, the economizer is usually left disabled or forgotten- which has been studied and proven by many organizations across the US.

With the Pelican solution we invented the PEARL economizer controller to eliminate both of these issues. The PEARL monitors a wide number of points at your HVAC system, correlates these with the Pelican thermostat installed in your space, and learns best practices for how to operate your equipment. If something falls outside of best practices, the PEARL monitors this point in your system and decides if it should send you an alert about the problem.

Alerts are a double edged sword because while we want them, they also can be felt as a nuisance. This is why the PEARL correlates these alerts to the historical data it is collecting about your HVAC equipment and space temperature. The alert is a nudge that something wrong is or has occurred at your equipment, the data paints the picture of what needs to be fixed to eliminate this issue. This approach of nudge, identify, fix eliminates long-term capital expensive and occupant complaints. It also helps remove the potential of your economizer damper failing without you knowing or your economizer being left disabled (since it is connected right to your Pelican Web-App).


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