According to the United States Department of Energy, heating and cooling accounts for 56 percent of energy use in the typical home. While needs vary considerably across different types of commercial activities, estimates are that heating and cooling can be as much as 73 percent of the total energy use for commercial buildings.
For both residential and commercial property owners, those statistics make the move to green HVAC technology an appealing idea. After all, compared with standard heating and cooling systems, green HVAC systems help to reduce greenhouse gasses and environmental footprint & increase energy efficiency and costs savings.
Switching to green HVAC technology can have a positive impact on the environment and your wallet. The misconception is that there are not many options and they are not cost effective but the truth is that there are more options available to you than you realize.
But why make the change now? Below are the top nine reasons to make the switch and embrace green HVAC technology!
1. A sizable tax break when you replace old technology – We cannot ensure how long the law will remain in effect but under the 2018 federal law, you can qualify for a tax break when you install a new HVAC system. The average savings $5000 or more, depending on the size of your system. This can offset the cost of replacing an older and less efficient system a lot when considering replacing it for a newer green HVAC system.
2. The upcoming ban on R22 in air conditioners- While the R22 was once the standard in air conditioning and heat pump systems, the EPA is now in the process of phasing out the use of this ozone-depleting refrigerant. Removing old R22 AC units and buying new green air conditioning technology today will prepare you for the 2020 replacement rush and let you take advantage of the current tax break. In addition, newer green HVAC technology will run more efficiently, for added cost savings.
Effective January 1, 2020:
- R22 will be banned in the U.S., making it illegal to manufacture or import.
- All new ACs will use alternatives such as the more environmentally friendly R410A refrigerant.
- Replacing R22 refrigerant and servicing older systems may become more difficult — and more expensive.
3. Local support for going green- Many local and state governments have stepped up to promote green initiatives and help in the move to green HVAC technology. For example, the NYC Carbon Challenge encourages business owners, commercial tenants, nonprofits, and private organizations to commit to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by 30% or more over ten years. Under this voluntary program, the mayor’s office provides support and resources to help participants implement improvements such as green alternatives for heating and cooling, efficient on-site energy generation, and sustainability initiatives. The ultimate goal is to reduce citywide emissions by 80% by 2050.
4. Green enhancements for traditional HVAC systems- There are number of green HVAC technology options you can implement right now to improve the energy efficiency of your current HVAC system. Here are the top three changes you can make:
- A smart thermostat lets you control your HVAC system anytime, anywhere, using a smart app on your phone, tablet, or laptop. For example, if you have unexpected business closure or forgot to adjust the temperature before leaving on vacation, a smart thermostat lets you program the settings from a remote location. It’s a quick and easy way to make sure you’re always using your HVAC system efficiently.
- A zoned HVAC system lets you divide your space into multiple heating and cooling zones, and control each zone separately. Zoning works with traditional ducted split HVAC systems, VRF systems, and ductless mini splits. This
- -allows you to keep occupied spaces comfortable while shutting off or adjusting settings in unused areas, to reduce energy use and costs.
- Use an HVAC economizer to draw cooler outside air into your indoor space to provide, essentially, “free cooling.” By reducing the time your AC needs to run, this green HVAC technology can reduce the amount of mechanical cooling by up to 75%. If your existing HVAC unit doesn’t already have an economizer built in, an HVAC professional can add one without a lot of structural or mechanical changes to your current setup.
5. Custom heating and cooling in multiple zones- For the ultimate system in heating and cooling zones, consider a Variable Refrigerant Flow system. This green HVAC technology uses multiple small air handlers that can be individually controlled but are all part of a single system. The main systems VRF detects each zone’s requirements and controls the amount of refrigerant flowing to each air handler. A VRF HVAC system can deliver green heating and cooling for a home or space. Unlike the traditional HVAC system, the variable-speed compressor of a VRF unit provides exactly the amount of cooling needed for the current conditions in smaller zones that means it runs less frequently and at lower capacity, making it more energy efficient.
A VRF system’s green HVAC technology also captures heat from the cooling process and redirects to areas that may need heat. In addition, the small, indoor air handlers are quieter than a traditional split system. For the ultimate in heating and cooling zones consider a variable refrigerant flow system.
6. Readily available solar power- Between solar farms and rooftop-mounted systems, Solar Energy is probably the most familiar green HVAC technology. The solar panels contain photovoltaic materials for converting ordinary sunlight into electricity that can be used for heating, cooling, and lighting.
While solar energy systems can be expensive to install, there are tax rebates and other incentives to help reduce the cost. In addition, there are less expensive systems that use a liquid or air to absorb the sun’s energy and transform the heat to a building or storage system to later use.
7. Geothermal – It is no surprise that, with its volcanoes and geysers, Iceland has been a pioneer in Geothermal Energy using it to meet the heating needs of about 87% of its buildings. But it may surprise you to hear that geothermal energy is a viable option for green HVAC technology in the United States. A geothermal system takes advantage of the constant temperature only a few feet below the earth’s surface to provide both heating and cooling. The system consists of a geothermal heat pump and underground, looped piping containing water or refrigerant. During cold weather, the fluid in the pipes absorbs heat from the earth and is carried indoors to radiate warmth into the air.
A geothermal system takes advantage of the constant temperature only a few feet below the earth’s surface to provide both heating and cooling. The system consists of a geothermal heat pump and underground, looped piping containing water or refrigerant. During cold weather, the fluid in the pipes absorbs heat from the earth and is carried indoors to radiate warmth into the air. In the summer, the process works in reverse: the fluid in the pipes draws warmth out of the indoor air and transfers it outdoors. The system also provides an added bonus: hot water! While a geothermal heat pump does use electricity, it is still the most energy efficient green HVAC technology.
8. AC on ice- The ICE-POWERED AIR CONDITIONER is a new green HVAC technology that not only cools the air, but also reduces energy consumption. An ice-powered AC unit freezes a large amount of water at night. Then during the hottest part of the day, the AC uses the ice rather than a compressor, to cool the unit’s refrigerant. This reduces the amount of electricity the unit uses. When the ice melts, the regular AC system kicks in while the water is recirculated to be frozen overnight and reused the next day.
While ice-powered AC does consume electricity, the combination of cooling and cost savings is likely to make it a popular green HVAC technology as it becomes available on a larger scale.
9. Bringing radiators into the 21st century- Heating systems that use hot water flowing through pipes and radiating heat are nothing new. But today’s HYDRONIC HEATING SYSTEMS use much more sophisticated green HVAC technology. In a modern hydronic system, the liquid whether it’s water, antifreeze, or some other fluid — runs through plastic tubing. The tubing might run under the floor or through radiators, baseboards, or other heat exchangers. Depending on the design, heat is transferred via conduction, convection, or radiation. And for maximum green impact, the boiler that heats the liquid can use solar or geothermal power rather than fossil fuels.