If you walked over to your thermostat right now, the chances are that it is digital and may possibly have network or WiFi capabilities. I can also bet that if you looked at a thermostat from 20, 10, or even 5 years ago you would clearly see the advancements made in technology. The same reigns true when it comes to commercial and industrial HVAC as it does residential; keep up with the times or get left behind. That’s why we thought we’d share the top 7 trends in HVAC that we have found for improving efficiency in 2019.
This is referring to the detection and automation of temperature, humidity, or even the flow of air from sensors placed in particular spaces or rooms. These sensors are designed to keep your home or office energy efficient by regulating the amount of energy the system uses to minimize waste and save you money. As a result, you have lower maintenance costs, centralized control of your building’s air along with the freedom that accompanies an automated system. Auto setting your temperature is one thing, but having the temperature automatically adjust throughout the day is something we used to see in ‘The Jetsons’.
You could say these should fall under Smart Sensor Technology and you wouldn’t be in the wrong, but the capabilities of today’s thermostats made us think they deserve their own section. Some of our favorites are their ability to connect to IoT devices and the ability to be remotely managed, at any time, from any mobile or PC with an internet connection. A smart thermostat once connected to a network with other devices can now communicate with those devices and gather data to make better more accurate decisions involving the heating and cooling of the building or home.
When it comes to larger HVAC equipment, these machines are designed to run at peak load to ensure that the maximum required output from the system is easily attainable. However, often these machines are only running at part load and thus creating a lot of waste. With the application of more extensive variable speed controls to smaller systems, businesses are finding they don’t need the larger systems as the peak loads those machines are designed for only happen a small portion of the year. This results in large scale waste reduction as well as monetary savings for the business coming directly from the ability to run at variable load speeds.
Systems now can communicate with sensors that are monitoring more than just the HVAC system itself, which we discussed a little bit at the beginning of this post in reference to smart thermostats and sensors. Yet the real magic doesn’t happen until the information these sensors are detecting gets back to the core, as this allows for these main HVAC systems to respond. For example, a sensor may sit in a portion of the building that is expected to see more sunlight than the rest, so when the core system receives the data showing sunlight is heating the room on its own, it can then make adjustments to compensate for the lower need for heat or higher need for cool air depending on the season.
Shockingly, your HVAC system can cost you an arm and a leg from what could look like overuse at first glance. If you begin to see a steady rise in the consumption of electricity or just a higher energy bill, to begin with, you may want to call a service tech to come out and check on your ductwork. Air ducts can come dislodged from their original installation place, but duct sealant can not. Aeroseal, for example, is a newer non-toxic sealant that is applied during or shortly after installation using technology to evenly distribute the sealant through the ductwork, lessening the likelihood for duct dislodgment and leakage.
In the wave of new technology, people often overlook the chemistry aspect to HVAC systems as it seems a little less fascinating unless you’re a die-hard chemist (we’re looking at you, Bryan Cranston). But as with any chemical, being aware of the environmental impact is just as crucial as its performance. A great example of a more green initiative is Carrier’s Puron Advance™ refrigerant, which has definitely made its mark in terms of lessening its environmental impact. As Puron Advance™ GWP (Global Warming Potential) is 1/5th that of R-410A, another leading refrigerant used in HVAC systems.
Carrying on with our eco-friendly conversation, we have also seen some significant improvements in designs for eco-friendly systems. We have discussed a few of these already such as shrinking the required unit size down and smart sensors monitoring where we fail to, but there are much more worth noting. Geothermal heat pumps, for instance, capitalize on the flow of heat radiating from a given heat source to warm cool areas saving owners in long-term costs. Two-stage compressors are also seeing quite an uptick as they can dramatically reduce electricity usage by adjusting the frequency in which they compress the heated vapors to return the refrigerant to an effectively cooler temperature.
Keep in mind that there are hundreds of thousands of innovative minds working in this industry every day who are trying to make our comfort easier. While we selected a few HVAC innovations that are our favorites, we are in no way able to cover them all here; therefore we ask that you let us know of any additional HVAC trends you think we should cover! Next time you are taking a look at your home or office HVAC needs, we hope these are able to help you save time, money, and prevent the environmental externalities from our human footprint. Stay cool!