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7 Commercial HVAC Trends for the New Year

by Patti Althoff - Siwicki | Jan 15, 2020 | Property Manager, HVAC, Facility Manager, Commercial Building | 0 Comments

commercial hvac trends

Are you ready for the changes in the HVAC industry in 2020? Next year is slated to be one of the best for commercial HVAC contractors and business owners looking to upgrade or replace their current systems. This is because new energy-efficient improvements combined with IoT and BAS systems are slated to help business owners save money over the entire lifespans of their HVAC systems, and owners who install new HVAC equipment before 2023 can take advantage of near-immediate tax breaks. 

7 HVAC Trends for the New Year

1. Commercial Will Outpace Residential HVAC Growth in 2020 

Commercial HVAC is poised to outpace residential HVAC in 2020. This is because the residential housing market has seen an 8.6 percent decrease in new construction since August 2019 and whispers of a slowdown in the housing market are gaining momentum. Since a decrease in the residential market means fewer new HVAC systems being installed, it may be prudent for HVAC contractors to expand their commercial services. This is especially true when you consider that there are still tax breaks available to businesses that install new systems, and recent energy-efficiency requirements for rooftop systems are slated to go into effect by 2023.

2. IoT and BAS 

IoT and BAS for efficient building management of mechanical systems will continue to grow in 2020. This is because more building owners and property managers are exploring total building control solutions. This can be attributed to the advancements in home automation controls and the awareness being driven by the residential side of the market. As an increasing number of people start controlling their heating, cooling, lights and security systems at home, they are taking that knowledge to work and asking themselves why their commercial building isn’t as efficient or convenient as their house. Why does the superintendent have to walk through the building and change 45 thermostats every season? Why is the first sign of an HVAC problem often a building that is too warm or too cold. Building owners want answers to these problems so that they can reduce maintenance man-hours on their HVAC systems and sudden breakdowns of the equipment. The good news is that IOT and BAS are often the correct answers because they help automatic HVAC systems and provide reports for potential equipment malfunctions so that they can be repaired in a timely manner. 

Commercial HVAC system manufacturers are listening to this demand, and as a result, they are developing integrated solutions, including HVAC equipment with WiFi and Internet capabilities as well as advanced control systems and sensors that monitor for humidity, indoor and outdoor temperatures and CO2 and nitrogen levels. Some systems are even able to monitor the sun’s positions and adjust heating and cooling accordingly.

3. Improved Energy-Efficient Features 

Commercial HVAC systems are getting an increasing number of energy-efficient features, including multi-stage fans and blowers as well as variable frequency drives. It’s being spearheaded by new requirements for minimum efficiency ratings that go into effect in 2023 that state that rooftop systems must be 30 percent more efficient than they are today. The goal is to reduce the energy consumed by HVAC systems by 1.7 trillion kilowatts. This means that building owners who purchase new systems will see a dramatic decrease in the power needed to heat and cool their buildings. In fact, it’s estimated that these new systems will save building owners as much as $7,000 over the lifetime of their new HVAC rooftop units.

4. New and Improved Air Quality Sensors 

Energy-efficiency, saving the environment and lowering the carbon footprints of commercial buildings is only going to grow in 2020. This means that buildings will increasingly become more air-tight in an effort to save on heating and cooling costs, which can be as high as 30 percent of the building’s energy usage. With increased airtightness, there is a decrease in air quality due to the lack of outdoor air being allowed in the building. This can lead to a building up of indoor air pollutants, including dust, dirt, pollen, CO2 and VOCs. If humidity also gets trapped in the building, it can lead to an increase in mold and mildew. All of these indoor air quality problems can lead to sick building syndrome. 

The good news is that HVAC manufacturers are already aware of these problems, and they are developing more advanced air quality control sensors and systems that can detect high levels of CO2, VOCs, nitrogen, moistures and other types of particulate matter. Once the levels of indoor air pollution 

are outside of the preferred ranges, the system can automatically allow fresh air into the building and activate fans for increased air circulation.

5. HVAC Tax Breaks Are Still in Effect for Businesses in 2020 

HVAC tax breaks for the installation of new commercial HVAC systems are still in effect for businesses in 2020. These tax breaks were implemented with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The current legislation allows businesses to purchase up to 2.5 million dollars of HVAC equipment and deduct up to 1 million dollars on their tax returns for the new system. Since this tax break is slated to be phased out, starting in 2023, 2020 is a great time to start planning for your new HVAC system.

6. References and Previous Job Information Is Going to Be a Must Have 

With the increased desire of businesses and building owners to hire the most experienced and trusted HVAC contractors in their local areas, reviews, references and previous HVAC job information are becoming increasingly important. This means that commercial contractors are expected to have previous job information available on their websites and with them when they meet with new clients for the first time. This previous job history can be in the form of personal statements from the previous clients as well as pictures and detailed descriptions of the work performed. 

What this means for HVAC contractors is that providing a detailed estimate and acting professionally may not be enough to close the deal. Potential clients want proof and not just a blanket statement that the contractor is the best in the industry. The potential client may even call or drive by some of the contractor’s previous worksites in order to determine if the previous client was happy with the work performed. Only after all of this research is performed will the potential client review the estimate along with all the information they acquired in order to determine which HVAC contractor will best meet their needs.

7. Payment Options Are Changing 

For decades, HVAC customers have paid with credit cards, debit cards, cash and checks. However, customers are moving away from cash and checks as payroll practices and account management of finances changes. In this new modern financial landscape, HVAC companies are going to have to add more payment methods in order to keep up with the payment methods used by potential and current customers and the demand for increasingly secure payment methods. 

This means that HVAC companies should consider accepting alternative payment sources, like PayPal, Google Wallet, Square and Amazon Payments. Credit card companies are also getting in on the decline in customers willing to put their credit card numbers at risk. This means that MasterCard now has MasterPass, and V.me is Visa’s solution to not having to put in credit card numbers. In order to stay competitive HVAC contractors are urged to implement new ways for customers to pay to reach a broader audience. 

HVAC Installs and Upgrades With Althoff, Serving Chicago 

When you need the latest in energy-saving advancements for your existing commercial HVAC system or a new system that will save you money and lower your carbon footprint, you can count on our HVAC technicians to listen to all your needs and design solutions that are right for your building. This includes finding the commercial rooftop HVAC system that fits your budget while helping you achieve your desired Energy Benchmarking score and designing and implementing BAS technologies and energy- saving features as well as retro-commissioning options. For businesses that want to dramatically lower their carbon footprints and monthly energy bills, we’ve recently introduced commercial solar panel installation.

To learn more about our HVAC services and to schedule an inspection or repair or to find out more about the modern, energy-efficient rooftop systems that are now available, give us a call at 800-225- 2443.

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