Remember the days of large, heavy air conditioning units and heaters? Those days are quickly coming to a close, as many property owners are looking for smaller, more compact air conditioners and heaters to deliver energy-efficient improvements that enhance the quality of their buildings.
A green approach to property development is becoming exceedingly important for property owners worldwide. As such, many business operators and homeowners have shown a willingness to invest in energy-efficient systems that may require a higher upfront cost but could deliver substantial cost savings down the line.
Many property owners are prioritizing improvements to their heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems as part of their push for energy efficiency. These units remain essential in both commercial and residential buildings, and moving forward, new HVAC technology may revolutionize the way business operators and homeowners heat and cool their properties.
For example, green technologies appear promising, and state-of-the-art, energy-efficient HVAC systems may be implemented in buildings worldwide in the near future. These new HVAC products could help reduce the “environmental footprint” of homeowners and business operators. Plus, the offerings may usher in a new era of “green HVAC” technologies that deliver immediate and long-lasting benefits in a number of areas.
What Is HVAC, and Why Is It Important?
An HVAC system is responsible for keeping a building warm or cold, depending on the season. It also can help improve air quality, particularly if an HVAC unit is properly maintained by a trained and certified HVAC technician.
The care and maintenance you provide for your HVAC system will dictate its efficiency and your energy costs. With regular maintenance and repairs, an HVAC unit will continue to run properly, which means the system may help you lower your monthly energy bills.
An HVAC unit may need significant repairs or maintenance as it ages. This system’s components will experience wear and tear much in the same way a car’s parts may need to be replaced or repaired periodically. Fortunately, those who devote the necessary time and resources to monitor the performance of an HVAC system can minimize their repair and maintenance costs.
Using HVAC technicians who understand the ins and outs of HVAC systems is important as well. These technicians will work with you to ensure an HVAC system is performing consistently and identify and address potential issues immediately.
HVAC technicians also recognize the importance of energy efficiency and are happy to help explore energy-efficient and cost-effective HVAC systems with property owners. By doing so, these technicians can help you install and maintain an efficient HVAC system that will serve you well for an extended period of time.
Don’t expect the demand for HVAC technicians to slow down any time soon, either.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the number of HVAC mechanics and installers is expected to increase by 14 percent between 2014 and 2024. Therefore, as the push for green HVAC systems continues, many property owners may look for HVAC technicians who possess comprehensive experience and education to fulfill their HVAC system needs.
What Is Green HVAC?
Green Building points out that green HVAC systems consist of “smaller, less costly and less complicated” heating and cooling equipment. It also notes the systems focuses on using energy-efficient designs that can “collectively reduce the size of the heating and cooling system by 30 [percent to 50 percent].”
But how? Green HVAC requires everyday HVAC technicians to rethink how they have performed installations and system maintenance in the past and focus on implementing solutions that meet consumers’ energy needs in the future.
For instance, the most energy-efficient HVAC system does not necessarily need to be large and powerful. Instead, this system may serve as an energy-efficient option if it merely fulfills the needs of a homeowner or business operator at a given moment in time. It may even help users reduce their HVAC system maintenance and repair costs dramatically, too.
Although green HVAC remains relatively new, there are already many technologies that are making waves among homeowners and business operators, including:
1. Chromasun Micro-Concentrator
Are you familiar with solar panels? Well, the Micro-Concentrator (MCT) panel from California-based company Chromasun takes solar panels to the next level by delivering solar-enhanced air conditioning.
Today, many property owners pay an average that ranges from $3,699 and $7,152 to have air conditioning units installed. A property owner’s monthly air conditioning unit usage costs, meanwhile, will vary based on the size of a building and how frequently they need to leverage the unit.
Chromasun is offering property owners a cost-effective alternative to air conditioning units with its MCT Panels that “can utilize solar thermal energy to drive [chillers] and can be supplemented with cheap natural gas,” according to the company.
“The most efficient of [the MCT] systems use double effect chillers but requires high temperatures (around 350°F) as a driving temperature. Such temperatures are beyond the capability of normal solar collectors but are perfect for Chromasun MCT Panels,” Chromasun points out.
The Chromasun MCT Panels provide several advantages over traditional air conditioning units, including:
- Reduced operating and maintenance costs – Because the MCT Panels do not require electricity, property owners won’t have to worry about breaking their electricity budgets to leverage these panels day after day.
- Enhanced reliability – MCT Panels provide a sustainable onsite energy source supported by natural gas. This means if a blackout ever occurs, a property owner won’t lose air conditioning support in their building.
- Incredible efficiency – For property owners, efficiency is crucial. With MCT Panels, these owners can benefit from efficient chillers that will help them keep their buildings cool every day.
Several globally recognized organizations are already using MCT Panels as well.
In 2004, the Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems (CSES) at the Australian National University worked with Chromasun to build rooftop hybrid concentrating solar systems that delivered both electricity and hot water to a new student residence. And four years later, CSES once again collaborated with Chromasun to develop and deploy an efficient HVAC system.
2. Ice Energy
Ice Energy represents an outstanding energy-efficient HVAC product for those who dream big, as it provides an ice battery that helps business operators and homeowners lower their energy bills consistently.
In 2003, Ice Energy was launched with a simple mission: to find ways to use thermal energy storage to transform inefficient HVAC systems into clean cooling systems. This mission would lead to the implementation of the Ice Bear ice battery in 2005. Since that time, Ice Bear has helped utility providers with “cost-effective and reliable energy storage, lowering electric bills for businesses and homeowners, and reducing CO2 emissions,” Ice Energy points out.
Ice Energy has been successful in driving its mission over the past few years — just consider some of the key stats surrounding this company’s progress:
- 1,000 units installed
- 95 percent peak load reduction
- 2,000 lbs. of CO2 saved per unit per year
Moreover, Ice Energy introduced Ice Bear 20 in February, which serves as a smaller-capacity version of its initial ice battery.
Ice Energy pointed out Ice Bear 20 allows utilities to manage residential cooling load and minimize peak demand by up to 95 percent over the course of four hours. It also delivers continuous cooling to homeowners and empowers utilities with increased load during times of solar over-generation, Ice Energy noted.
“The Ice Bear 20 is a uniquely cost-effective, reliable, and green energy storage system that transforms residential A/C load into a clean, flexible, and responsive grid resource for utilities while providing cooling comfort for homeowners,” Ice Energy CEO Mike Hopkins said in a prepared statement.
Clearly, the future looks bright for Ice Energy, along with the utilities and property owners who benefit from Ice Bear. And with Ice Energy’s ongoing push for improved efficiency, property owners may be able to reap the rewards of this company’s offerings for years to come.
3. Quiet-Duct Wrap
Finding duct tape made from durable natural fibers was nearly impossible — until now. Thanks to Quiet-Duct Wrap, property owners can enjoy an energy-efficient product that delivers a wide range of benefits.
Quiet-Duct Wrap serves as a thermal and acoustic insulation product similar to traditional duct tape. What sets it apart from other products, however, is it natural fiber construction.
The wrap does not include fiberglass, which means you’ll never have to worry about skin irritation while using it. Plus, the product is treated with a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered anti-microbial agent that delivers consistent protection against mold, mildew, and pests.
Let’s not forget about the fire protection Quiet-Duct Wrap provides as well
This wrap includes a strong aluminum barrier that reflects radiant heat and delivers exceptional protection against moisture and vapors. And with the wrap’s sound absorption capabilities, it is sure to serve you well for days, months, or years.
Quiet-Duct Wrap may become a must-own for HVAC technicians and property owners alike, as this product delivers enhanced protection and durability. It also serves as a top-of-the-line product that may help homeowners and business operators maintain energy-efficient buildings.
4. Geothermal Heat Pump
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recognizes the value of geothermal heat pumps, and considering the benefits they provide, perhaps you should, too.
These pumps can deliver efficiencies between 300 percent and 600 percent even on cold winter nights, the DOE notes. Comparatively, traditional air-source heat pumps can provide roughly 175 percent to 250 percent efficiencies in cold weather conditions.
There are many types of geothermal heat pumps currently available to property owners across the United States, including:
- Closed-loop – Generates an antifreeze solution through a closed loop, and a heat exchanger shifts heat from the pump’s refrigerant and the antifreeze solution in the loop.
- Horizontal – Ideal for residences, horizontal pumps generally use one or two pipes connected to a house to generate heat.
- Vertical – Commonly used for large commercial buildings, vertical pumps are connected to horizontal pipes linked to a property.
- Pond/Lake – In this scenario, a supply line is run underground from the building to prevent freezing.
DOE notes there are numerous benefits to leveraging geothermal heat pumps for both commercial and residential property owners as well. This department points out geothermal and water-source heat pumps “are able to heat, cool, and, if so equipped, supply the house with hot water.” Some of these models are available with two-speed compressors and variable fans as well, ensuring you can enjoy added comfort and energy savings.
“Relative to air-source heat pumps, [geothermal and water-source heat pumps] are quieter, last longer, need little maintenance, and do not depend on the temperature of the outside air,” DOE states.
Geothermal heat pumps could make a substantial difference for property owners who want to reduce their energy costs and consumption both now and in the future.
5. On Command Hot Water Recirculator
For those who want hot water as quickly as possible, there may be no better choice than the On Command Hot Water Recirculator from Taco Comfort Solutions. This device is an ideal option for homeowners, as it delivers immediate access to warm or hot water any time you need it.
So how does the hot water recirculator work exactly? Taco notes On Command enables you to cool water that runs down the drain. Then, the water “is circulated back to the water heater through the cold water line,” Taco says, and the pump moves the hot water from the water heater and puts back the cooled water via the cold water line. As a result, when the hot water reaches the faucet, the On Command heat sensor and control board stop the pump entirely, thus preventing the risk of pushing excess hot water into the cold water line.
Taco notes the average homeowner may waste over 12,000 gallons of water per year while they wait for hot water from a faucet. But with On Command, homeowners may be able to reduce water and energy consumption, as this device is simple to use and works only when hot water is needed. Thus, On Command may prove to be valuable energy-efficient system that could deliver substantial benefits to many homeowners nationwide.
What Does It Take to Implement Green HVAC Systems?
Believe it or not, you may be able to deploy green HVAC systems quickly and effortlessly, especially if you work with top-rated HVAC technicians.
Implementing green HVAC systems may seem challenging, but qualified HVAC technicians will be able to meet the needs of residential and commercial property owners who want energy-efficient HVAC systems. Thus, HVAC technicians may remain in high demand and could provide substantial support to a broad range of property owners nationwide.
With skilled and experienced HVAC technicians at your disposal, you’ll be able to find the most efficient HVAC system for any building, at any time. These technicians will collaborate with both residential and commercial property owners and ensure their systems are always fully supported.
Moreover, there are many opportunities for those who are interested in HVAC technologies to pursue careers as HVAC technicians thanks in part to the course offerings available from Vista College.
At Vista College, we offer campuses throughout the Southwest. That way, students from around the globe can enroll in our courses and discover the skills and insights they need to prepare for successful careers as HVAC mechanics and installers. We also are committed to our students’ success, and as such, we provide high-quality, specialized resources to ensure you can achieve your career goals.