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Over the past ten years Demand-Controlled Ventilation (DCV) systems using carbon dioxide sensing have become increasingly more affordable. This is due in large part to widespread adoption of CO2-based DCV systems. While individual components of CO2 monitors have remained stable in price the economy of scale has allowed CO2 monitor manufacturers such as Digital Control Systems, Inc. to pass cost savings on to contractors.
The expansion of DCV systems has created demand for a wide variety of products on the CO2 monitor market. We, for example, offer a full line of CO2 sensors, from the very robust AirSense™ 310e, which comes with a digital display and multiple voltage output options, down to the latest release of the economical AirSense™ M307. This variety has come about for two primary reasons; the variety of building spaces now employing DCV systems, and the various levels of air handling systems.
In a school environment, for example, tampering and vandalism is a large concern so it is key to have a discreet case that discourages students from attempting to adjust the monitor. Additionally some models of CO2 Monitors can be mounted directly into the duct so that all of the DCV controls are “behind the scenes.”
Conversely, in a 2000 square foot building space where there may only be two monitors (California has revised building codes to require CO2 based DVC in all buildings housing 25 people or more per 1000sq ft. (see Federal Technology Report “Demand-Controlled Ventilation using CO2 Sensors” http://www.eere.energy.gov/femp/pdfs/fta_co2.pdf), the occupants may want a visible reading on the monitor.
The application of CO2 Monitors has become more efficient as more systems have been installed. As a manufacturer Digital Control Systems, Inc recognized that simplifying the wiring, mounting, and calibration procedures could drive down installation costs. In the past, units that were wired incorrectly would be damaged, which is why the AirSense™ M307 was designed so that there is no damage done if the unit is accidentally wired backward, it simply won’t turn on, alerting the contractor to reevaluate the wiring.
There are multiple sources indicating that the return on investment for DCV systems using CO2 Sensors can be as short as 2-3 years. A report by Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory cited five case studies in large office buildings with CO2 based DCV, all of which reported energy savings that resulted in payback times of from 0.4 to 2.2 years. (FEMP, “Demand-Controlled Ventilation using CO2 Sensors” pg8. 03/04). Given the improvements to technology, the quick return on investment and widespread adoption, DCV using CO2 Monitors are projected to see continued growth rates of 25-30%. Buildings where occupancy fluctuates widely have seen the best payback. Large office buildings, assembly rooms, auditoriums/gymnasiums, and shopping malls are top candidates for applying this technology.
Demand controlled ventilation systems have become a staple in building design and with new low cost CO2 monitors like the Airsense™ M307 the trend doesn’t show signs of slowing.
Digital Control Systems, Inc. manufacturers robust parametric controls and gas sensors for the Laboratory, HVAC, Greenhouse and Industrial marketplaces worldwide. Our product portfolio includes the AirSense™ line of CO2 Monitors, the Multistat™ Temperature Controls, and Servomax™ Speed Controls.
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