Ultimate Guide to HVAC

Going Green: HVAC and Ecology

The HVAC industry has long been committed to minimizing its ecological impact, and the relationship between HVAC and ecology continues to grow. Many strides have been made to bridge the gap between HVAC and ecology in recent years.

These innovations include the systems and materials used by HVAC technicians and a heightened reliance on solar energy. But to take it even further, the rules and regulations referencing the HVAC industry and its energy consumption are also evolving.

Keep reading for our deep dive into the connection between HVAC and ecology.

Sustainable Practices in HVAC

As most of the world shifts towards sustainability, the conversation about HVAC and ecology isn’t far behind. Most prominently, energy-efficient HVAC systems are on their way to becoming the new norm. These modern units generate the same heating and cooling comfort levels but consume less energy – minimizing their negative environmental impact.

These modern units also take advantage of innovative, smart technologies – like smart thermostats that alter temperature controls based on time of day and other factors.

Renewable energy sources like solar-powered systems are another example of trending technology becoming more common at the intersection of HVAC and ecology. Solar energy helps minimize the reliance on harmful fossil fuels, while energy surpluses can often go back into the grid.

Heating and cooling aside, environmentally friendly refrigeration systems also continue to grow in popularity. The industry is moving towards sustainable practices, materials, and equipment by moving away from refrigerants contributing to global warming and toward systems designed to minimize carbon footprints.

Energy Efficient Regulations in HVAC

In early 2023, several major regulatory updates were implemented to improve the baseline efficiency required for heating and cooling equipment sold and installed. These changes seek to impact the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER), which measures the energy levels produced by HVAC units.

More specifically, air conditioners must now have a minimum SEER rating of 14 in northern and 15 in southern states in the U.S.

Targets like these also impact refrigeration systems and will inevitably lead the HVAC industry to a heavier reliance on more efficient units with reduced ecological impact.

Because of earlier legislation like the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, regulations like these have been made an accelerated priority. The transition of the HVAC industry to renewable energy has been incentivized beyond the regulations and financially, with more affordable, clean-energy equipment becoming available.

Similar regulations have changed the expectations in natural disaster responses. Before, the most common action taken in terms of HVAC in buildings impacted by natural disasters was to replace systems with products that matched the previous models. Now, natural disasters create the opportunity to install more energy-efficient units.

The Work Is Not Done

The HVAC industry actively works to “go green,” but that doesn’t mean the work is done. While many individuals and companies have switched to green energy and sustainable systems, getting everyone on board will be an ongoing challenge. While regulations continue to be passed and affordable units become more accessible, we are well on our way.

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