When you think of going green, you probably don’t think of your commercial HVAC system as an energy-efficient, carbon footprint lowering machine, but recent and continuing advancements in green HVAC technology are making cooling commercial and multi-tenant residential buildings increasingly eco-friendly.
1. Complexity of Higher Efficiency Systems
Highly energy-efficient air conditioning systems contain complex electronic components that precisely control air flow, indoor temperatures and humidity. The need for these complex controls has evolved over time. Air conditioning has been in development since 1758, according to Popular Mechanics, and in 1931, window air conditioners made an appearance inside homes.
During the early years of HVAC, homes and businesses were not air tight or insulated. This meant that outdoor air frequently invaded indoor spaces, which provided the needed ventilation. As buildings have become more energy-efficient in their designs, drafts from windows, doors, floors and rafters have been nearly eliminated. In the early years, these advancements resulted in an increase in indoor humidity. In response, manufacturers started developing air conditioners with ventilation systems and humidity controls.
In 1994, it was found that R-12 and R-22, depleted the earth’s protective ozone due to their chlorine content. In response, better coolants, including R-134A, were developed by Carrier and Honeywell. Today, all air conditioners must be designed to run with the more environmentally friendly R-410.
When energy prices started to rise in the 70s, it pushed air conditioning manufacturers to design better systems that use less electricity and/or gas. These eco-friendly developments have led to an increase in complex electronic controls, like digital thermostats, dampeners and sensors that allow property managers and superintendents the ability to precisely control the heating and cooling in their buildings.
The future of HVAC technology promises to be even more environmentally friendly as manufacturers attempt to develop systems that meet the new EPA regulations while tackling modern HVAC issues, like improving the efficiency and effectiveness of multi-zone HVAC systems and air handlers and further reducing health hazards associated with poor indoor air quality.
2. Evolving EPA Regulations
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) periodically sets forth new HVAC regulations. Their goal is to ensure that HVAC systems become more environmentally friendly. The most well-known change was the required switch from R-22 to R410, but the EPA has also required that new HVAC systems meet minimum SEER ratings for energy-efficiency. Currently, most HVAC systems must be rated SEER 14.
For HVAC contractors, the EPA sets forth regulations for technician certification, coolant leak repairs, safe disposal and record keeping as well as the sales and distribution of coolant. As a business owner, superintendent or property manager, you should remain up-to-date on the EPA’s regulations regarding the purchase and replacement of HVAC equipment, how to properly maintain your HVAC system and how to properly dispose of your old HVAC equipment.
3. Increase in Green Building Codes
New and old buildings can expect an increase in green building codes that relate to their HVAC equipment and insulation with the goal of increasing indoor comfort and the healthiness of the environment while minimizing risk to the environment. Building owners in Chicago should expect future HVAC innovations to include better air duct materials and improved DDC controls and HVAC software. Building owners should also expect an increase in insulation technology that offers better protection against heating and cooling loss and minimal impact on the environment.
Jump Into the Future of HVAC Technology Today with Althoff
If you are waiting on the future of HVAC technology in order to install the most energy-efficient commercial heating and cooling equipment in your high-rise building, you don’t need to wait. Here at Althoff, we offer custom solutions for your most challenges HVAC questions, and we can design your HVAC system to be as energy efficient at possible.
Our HVAC technicians will find the best HVAC system for your building, and we can include such features as custom air ducts, energy efficient air handlers and fan systems and BAS systems or DDC controls so that you can precisely control your heating, cooling and ventilation.
To learn more about green HVAC technology and to schedule an estimate for a new energy-efficient system, call us today at 800-225-2443.