Heating, ventilation and air conditioning units (HVAC) are an essential part of every building, especially our homes and offices. With nearly half of the energy usage dedicated to these systems it is easy to understand why it is vital that they be energy efficient. To achieve optimal energy efficiency there are many tools available, using both new technologies and improvements on standard procedures. Proper maintenance is also crucial to managing a highly efficient HVAC system, this can be done either on your own or, more effectively, by a professional service.
Some of the latest technologies being used are greatly increasing the efficiency of standard HVAC systems. With an emphasis on renewable sources being used to produce the energy required, there is also a trend for more effectively utilizing that energy in heating and cooling.
Recently developed software has been designed to apply statistics to ascertain the viability and value of upgrading HVAC units to newer technologies when applied to older structures. This same software has also proven to be useful in the design stages of new construction for determining the most practical systems and their operable lifespan.
A more direct application of upgrading older systems is a newly developed dual fuel heat pump. By attaching to a current system an integrated supply, using both an electric heat pump and the traditional gas furnace, the mechanism determines which will be more productive. By analyzing the heating or cooling needs, climate, season and other variables the system regulates HVAC units to deliver the most efficient controls for each situation.
Another example of a highly efficient system receiving renewed attention is geothermal heat pumps. Also known as ground source heat pumps, these systems are buried into the ground allowing for a better protection against weather and seasonal variations. By utilizing the insulated characters of the earth, the conductive coils can either cool or heat refrigerants in a shielded environment. While horizontal units are considered to be more cost effective, vertical installations can be applied when land space is at a premium.
With all the latest advances in energy efficiency, many homeowners and building managers are looking to Deep Energy Retrofits for increasing structural efficiency. This entails doing a full evaluation of the overall structure and determining where the greatest losses can be mitigated. As these will incur a considerable expense it is important to also determine the length of the fiscal recuperation, which can vary greatly depending on the age and initial efficiency of construction. By ascertaining the areas where the most energy is wasted, and applying appropriate remedies a structures energy efficiency can be greatly improved, often bringing them close to newer highly efficient buildings.
With the increasing costs of energy, whether it be traditional fossil fuels or renewable sources, there is an equally increasing need for more efficient and effective heating and cooling systems. Current trends and research are forging new paths in determining what is considered efficient and what is now outdated.