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Transform a Replacement Hassle into a Replacement Opportunity

Don't just replace, replace and improve. While it can be easy to swap your HVAC equipment when a failure happens, consider upgrading your systems to invest in your facility and meet organizational goals.

Business is going great. You’re meeting production, education, or financial goals for the month. Then it happens. Your 25-year-old HVAC system fails in the middle of a sweltering summer, and it looks like your climate control system is as dead as your plan to achieve this month’s objectives. This is impacting the employees who work in your building as well as the work they do.  So, you rush to find someone — anyone — who can get you back up and running as soon as possible. 

While it can be easy to get in the groove of simply completing like-for-like replacements, it's worth hitting pause for a moment when an equipment failure happens. A system or equipment replacement may certainly feel like an urgent or emergent need. It's also a great time, however, to consider simultaneously meeting other organizational goals, especially sustainability, energy, and carbon-reduction objectives. In other words, every time a capital project arises, it's a chance to truly invest in your facility and operation more broadly and holistically. 

Here are some considerations to help you build a framework and approach that enables you to identify more a holistic solution for the long-term – even in the face of an urgent need to fix something.

Identify Your Goals

While the system performance need is already evident, it’s important to know what else would you like to achieve besides simply replacing the broken equipment: 

  • Is this an opportunity to align with your organization’s sustainability and decarbonization goals? 

  • Is it vital to reduce energy and operational costs? 

  • Is it most important that you ensure resiliency to manage uptime and avoid future failures? 

  • How do other factors play in? Do you want to enhance or improve other building systems?

  • Lastly, is there an opportunity for you to take a more macro, holistic approach and either bundle or combine the current need with another building improvement?

Overcome Financial Limitations 

It’s also essential to identify the fiscal parameters for your replacement. Maybe you’ve been planning ahead and have capital available or access to debt financing.  If so, keep in mind that it’s still critical to ensure that you maximize those investments with highly efficient, long-lasting solutions.

If you have budget limitations, however, consider taking advantage of incentives and funding options, which can also help you expand the scope of a replacement to achieve other organizational goals such as increased sustainability, enhanced energy efficiency or greater decarbonization. Options may include Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) tax incentives, utility rebates or state/local grant programs. An experienced energy partner can help you identify the right program for your needs. 

You can also consider options that don’t require upfront investment, but instead utilize third-party ownership to manage assets, turning a capital expenditure into ongoing operational spend. Energy-as-a-Service or Energy Service Agreements allow property owners and managers to implement energy-saving upgrades without making an upfront investment. Instead, a third party pays for the development, design, construction and maintenance, and owns the new equipment. You pay a monthly fee, turning your capital expense into an operational expense.

Find a Trusted Partner 

Rapidly changing regulations and financial incentives/options, and even shifts in the latest technologies, can easily transform a simple replacement process into analysis paralysis. Finding an energy services partner with the right expertise can help you navigate these complexities and make the most out of a replacement opportunity. This can be a great way to take a future-forward approach to achieving one or more organizational objectives, including sustainability goals, decarbonizing or lowering energy use.

Look for a partner with expertise in building systems technology, funding/financing options and experience designing a holistic plan to meet your current need. Additionally, a strong partner will provide long-term and contingency planning – so that over time you can take a phased approach to equipment replacement, preventing catastrophic challenges that could significantly impact your business.

A holistic solution that delivers energy outcomes


About the Author

Ty Vierling, Energy Services Business Leader


Ty leads the Energy Services East team in acquiring and implementing complex facility projects in the Eastern U.S., including Florida, Southeast, Southern Atlantic, Great Lakes, Mid Atlantic, and Greater Northeast Regions. In this role, he supports the East team in creating long-term partnerships that help customers meet their key organizational objectives. Ty is known for his passion for innovative solutions that improve customers’ businesses.