Fighting Climate Change with Better HVAC Practices

Posted Apr 5, 2017

Fighting Climate Change with Better HVAC Practices

A recent study conducted by BCC Research came out in early January detailing the expected growth of global HVAC. HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.With developing countries pushing forward the march of progress at an alarming pace, it’s no surprise they expect a $41.2 billion dollar increase from 2014 through 2019. Other factors to add to this growth rate include new technology like remote controls and system development.

In the face of growing concern over climate change, it’s important to put these numbers into perspective. New growth for the market is a boon if you’re focused on the potential revenue, but the cost to the planet is becoming significant enough that heating service industries and individuals are taking notice.

The Canadian government has been slow to act on climate change’s impact, even as environmentalism among individuals is a standard. If the government is slow on acting, it is up to us act. Specifically, building owners and business owners can make a lasting impact through awareness and action. With a few policies and practices in place, building owners get the benefit of being more environmentally friendly and the potential savings to boot.

HCFCs

We’ve come a long way since the days where chlorofluorocarbons were the standard. Today, HCFCs have reduced up to 95% of ozone depletion. The progress made is no small feat and it was a win for climate change up to a certain point. Growing markets in developing countries and higher standards of living are causing more air conditioning units to be installed, and developed countries have put a plan together to even phase out HCFCs.

Developed countries have agreed to phase out HCFCs up to 90% by 2015. This number is slated to grow by 2020 to nearly 100%, and the remaining 0.5% will be allowed continued use until 2030. While developed countries are better equipped for the phasing out, no plan other than a commitment to lessen the numbers has been declared.

If those who still rely on these older systems consider reinstallations, the HCFC phase could be offset by a significant amount in the final ten years. If those who have older systems aren’t certain they rely on HCFCs, education on their systems could help businesses put policies in place that can help reduce use where possible.

Both building owners and business owners can take advantage of the ecoEnergy Efficiency program offered by the Government of Canada to help them attain a more eco-friendly system. As of January, 2015, all programs have ended but will be ongoing at various times until 2016.

Additionally, as tighter restrictions come down the pipe as we near 2020, the decision to change to a better system may not be as planned and manageable as you’d like.

Energy Efficiency

Lowering energy is a no-brainer, but when it’s done mindfully, business owners and building owners can stand to save massive amounts of cash each year. But it’s not just a win for your yearly savings; the environment gets its cut, too.

For an old system, the best possible option on becoming more efficient will be an upgrade. We know that upgrading and entire system is not always the most reasonable option, so in the absence of this, there are still some measures that can be taken.

Switching It Off

Did you know that many buildings are able to maintain their RH (relative humidity) and temperature when switched off for a surprising period of time? Just how much time depends on many factors, such as outside temperature, time of year, the season to name a few. Buildings experience unintentional system shut downs all the time, and it’s common for these shutdowns to have a small impact for a time, but the potential energy savings in the long term can be well worth the exploration of this idea.

Manned and Measured

When a building is occupied by an operation, a business or the like, we usually assume that the HVAC system is being managed. If it’s not being managed, then it’s managing itself. The fact is that all of the installers and others have long left after the building was erected. The only time these systems are managed is usually when something has gone wrong. That leaves a huge slice of time when these systems are left to do what they do with no oversight. If the first step is education, then the second step is management of these systems to ensure the best possible working condition.

For Those Who Upgrade

There might be some who are in the market for upgrading, and if you’re considering it then understand that all energy efficient systems don’t jump out at you. Even when you see these efficient systems, they may be less efficient in other areas. The best defense against this is a good bit of research and data to back up any decision. 

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