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Myth or Reality? New, high efficiency equipment doesn't need maintaining like the old models

The answer to this is it depends, sort of, and no.

First, obviously, it depends on the type of equipment.

After that, we would agree that it's not exactly the same type of maintenance. If your new drives have an electronic readout, for example, then instead of measuring the output yourself every time, you would change to verifying the readout is correct. Likewise for any complex model with a controls interface and built-in monitoring. Yes, it does the first step for you. However, you still have to regularly verify those readings and check overall operation against the standards.

Why? It's still mechanical equipment and it will still begin to fail the moment you install it. And that's if it was installed correctly in the first place!

Take a look at this article from the January 2009 edition of Buildings Magazine, specifically this paragraph: "Too often, new buildings that were formally and properly commissioned wind up with Energy Use Indexes (EUIs) that are three or four times higher than the industry standard. One contributing factor is that system components often fail or deteriorate over time. With today's sophisticated [systems], this deterioration is often hidden or unnoticed because the controls have 'learned' or 'adapted' to the changing conditions of the building and/or HVAC equipment. This can increase operating costs by as much as 50 cents per square foot per year."