An air-conditioned room can provide much-needed relief in summer, but there’s more to HVAC than personal comfort. From healthcare to outer space, HVAC can help promote health, safety, and productivity in nearly every industry imaginable.
Technicians who work in commercial refrigeration install, maintain, and repair walk-in refrigeration cases and retail refrigeration units. Handling commercial refrigeration equipment requires a thorough understanding of sanitation and safety practices. Although HVAC’s role in commercial refrigeration is generally thought of in connection to food storage, it is also used in a variety of other commercial contexts.
From the maternity ward to the oncology department, HVAC plays a role into the daily operations of hospitals. Patient comfort is of great importance, of course, but a functioning HVAC system does more than keep patients cool. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers stresses the importance of HVAC in the area of infection control. Specific air systems must be installed in order to prevent the spread of disease. 1 HVAC’s role in healthcare extends beyond hospitals and clinics to also include research and pharmaceuticals.
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More companies are using data centers to store information, and that number is expected to grow. 2 A variety of new and exciting tactics are being used to improve efficiency among HVAC systems in data centers, including new server layouts and the construction of facilities near the Arctic Circle. These and other developments will likely be accompanied by a boost in HVAC employment.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification is increasingly a priority in the construction industry, where HVAC plays a significant role in eco-friendliness. Many state and federal institutions mandate compliance with LEED standards. Installing ENERGY STAR labeled HVAC systems is one step toward LEED certification. Air filtration also plays an important role in green construction, ensuring both efficiency and the health and safety of building occupants. HVAC technicians who wish to work in the government sector may need to learn more about green practices in the near future.
While HVAC is important in hospitals and data centers, it also plays a huge role in space exploration. On Earth, HVAC is often more about comfort than survival, but this is definitely not the case in outer space—a place of extreme temperatures. NASA protects astronauts from temperature extremes with aluminum-treated Multi-Layer Insulation (MLI). Due to the efficacy of MLI and the heat generated by people and equipment, the International Space Station features an Active Thermal Control System, in which heat exchangers and cold plates are used to remove heat, which is later exchanged with an ammonia loop. 3
Improving the World with HVAC
If you’re looking to enter the HVAC field or are currently in it, there is good news for you. A market study from The Freedonia Group, Inc. indicates that demand for HVAC equipment will hit $20.4 billion in 2019. The growth rate between 2014 and 2019 is twice that of between 2009 and 2014. Whether your interests lie in green technology, healthcare, etc. pursuing an HVAC education could help you to play a role in making the world a healthier, safer, and more comfortable place. 4
1 – http://www.omicsgroup.org/journals/the-study-of-sustainable-green-hvac-systems-in-health-care-facilities-2168-9717-1000160.php?aid=70437
2 – http://mashable.com/2014/09/30/doe-energy-efficiency/#7HpXC.uSd5qo
3 – https://www.refrigerationschool.com/blog/hvacr/hvac-in-space/
4 – http://contractingbusiness.com/commercial-hvac/demand-hvac-market-reach-204-billion-2019