Finding the right commercial HVAC equipment for any commercial building is a task, and with all of the options and new technology on the market today it is definitely not an easy answer. When this task involves finding equipment for a particularly dry climate, it shortens the list of options down a bit. Doing research ahead of time is key. Despite some limitations, there are many options to choose from when choosing for buildings in dry climates. These choices include: Heat pumps with auxiliary heat; Zoned Duct Systems; Zoned Mini-Splits; and Straight Cools.\
As it is in warmer areas, heat pumps are still a great choice for efficiency even with a commercial building. This type of equipment should be at the forefront of your arsenal because in this climate you rarely have to use heat—but when you do the heat pump will not dry the air out more like a gas furnace. And in the case a heat pump fails, you will typically have back up electronic heat while waiting for the repair. This system is usually only efficient if the heat pump is running optimally so facility professionals should ensure routine maintenance is ongoing.
A gas furnace is not a very good option for dry climates, since a furnace will actually dry out the air more as it runs. Even though a gas furnace is usually very efficient and effective this is not the climate right for it. This system is typically meant for more humid areas. And the same goes for electronic heat strips; they will do the same thing by drying out the air and removing humidity.
Another great method for a dry climate would be zoned duct systems. These systems can help make a building more efficient by putting demanded air in the right areas and directing airflow where it is needed. This system would:
- Allow different areas on the building attached to the same ductwork operate at different temperatures. By doing that, if one area of the building demands a higher load than the others it would get the air directed towards it without dumping unneeded air in the other areas supplied.
- Cut down on the energy load of the HVACR equipment. This helps the building, or at least every area on the duct, to heat and cool evenly.