Going green refers to practices that are geared toward protecting the environment. Thanks to the on-going debate regarding climate change and the need for sustainable energy sources, going green is a trend that has now extended to the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning industry. The trends for the HVAC industry are focused on two main areas: indoor air quality and energy efficiency. Among these green categories, various systems and mechanisms including DEVap air conditioning, user-friendly controls, and zero-energy buildings are trending as ways to make the HVAC industry more environmentally conscious.
Indoor Air Quality
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, indoor air quality is one of the main areas of individuals searching for jobs in green construction. The use and maintenance of HVAC systems in order to filter out unwanted particles including mold spores, pollen and dust is essential for improving air quality indoors. Additionally, HVAC units must be regularly maintained and repaired as needed. Otherwise, as noted by the Department of Labor, these units can become a source of airborne bacteria and mold.
In all areas including the HVAC industry, energy efficiency equates to two things:
- Saving money on energy costs
- Cutting back on the amount of energy consumed
This green HVAC trend is focused more on reducing the carbon footprint of a building or structure. A carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gases produced by a person, automobile or building. Construction Digital points out that homeowners and contractors who are interested in earning LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification by the U.S. Green Building Council are seeking more energy efficient HVAC systems. “There’s a trend not only around direct energy efficiency of the systems and equipment, but also for our systems to work alongside in synergy with passive systems,” adds CEO of Hastie New Zealand Brett Laurent.
DEVap Air Conditioning
According to Continuum, the DEVap (desiccant-enhanced evaporative air conditioner) Air Conditioning system was built in 2011 by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). This system is estimated to reduce energy usage by approximately 40 to 90 percent according to The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration NEWS. The NEWS points out that the DEVap Air Conditioning was originally meant primarily for commercial buildings. However, the move toward more eco-friendly HVAC systems will most likely push for the development of the DEVap Air Conditioning system for home use.
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User Friendly Controls
User-friendly HVAC controls are those operated via Wi-Fi connectivity. The newer controls on the market provide a highly interactive format for keeping tabs on heating and air controls. For commercial building operators and homeowners who are looking for a way to becoming more energy efficient, user friendly controls do more than just turn up the heat or vice versa. The NEWS calls attention to a particularly user-friendly thermostat called the Nest. Benefits of the Nest include:
- Recalls user’s preferred temperature settings
- Monitors humidity levels according to temperature
- Utilizes activity sensors to monitor temperature
- Uses zip code to define thermostat according to the regional climate
- Offers remote control access via an app or the Internet
As defined by the NEWS, zero-energy buildings are those that actually produce energy to offset any energy consumption. The premise here is to make buildings and homes capable of sustaining themselves while decreasing their carbon footprint. Eco-conscious business owners, as well as their customers, are expected to move forward with the use of zero-energy buildings as noted by the NEWS. Some of the areas in the HVAC industry that will be implemented in zero-energy systems include:
- Solar-powered energy systems
- White or solar-powered roofing
- Geothermal cooling and heating systems
In 2014 HVAC companies with a green focus who utilize the zero-energy building concept stand to gain traction with building and homeowners if the energy saving elements are user friendly. Training to be an HVAC technician will help you to get a foot in the door in this unique and growing industry.