A group of commercial manufacturers supported by International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) and members of the Hydronics Industry Alliance, a Committee of the Radiant Professionals Alliance, have released BEST: The Building Efficiency System Tool.
Available free of charge, BEST allows users to accurately compare different styles of HVAC systems. HVAC systems are all tested to different standards, with various efficiency ratings (EER, IEER, SEER, COP, HSPF), as they are applied in an actual building.
BEST uses the Building Energy Efficiency Ratio (BEER), which takes certified AHRI data, manufacturers’ published performance data at multiple performance points, as-applied correction factors, performance curves for components, pipe and duct required in a typical system. It combines these elements to bridge the gap between certified equipment efficiencies and real-world building system efficiencies.
Users enter the square footage of the building, the number of stories, and the nearest city for local weather data, and then choose up to four types of HVAC systems to compare from more than 30 pre-loaded systems.
BEST features more than 100 default input settings, including system cost per square foot (provided by more than 50 contractors around the U.S.), each of which are adjustable to model any building in any location. BEST outputs estimated installation cost, replacement cost, maintenance cost, monthly energy cost, electrical and fossil fuel consumption costs, total life cycle cost, cumulative life cycle cost by year, system payback time (as compared with other modeled systems), pump and fan HP, system integrated energy efficiency ratio (IEER), coefficient of performance (COP), and more.