How to Make Your HVAC More Sustainable

  • by Emily Newton
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  • 2022-01-13 00:00:00
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  • International
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  • 2983


Residential heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems get a bad rap for their high emission rates. Most HVAC devices run on oil- or gas-derived electricity, increasing their carbon footprints. As the environmental movement expands, individuals search for residential emission-reduction techniques.

Ecological engineers and scientists discovered ways to improve the sustainability of HVAC systems, shrinking a resident’s carbon footprint. Improving your home’s envelope and adding efficiency-enhancing appliances can enhance the eco-friendliness of residential heating and cooling. Home improvement professionals can create sustainable HVAC systems by first assessing efficiency degradation influences.


The Sustainability Limitations of HVAC Systems

Residential structures use nearly half of their energy supplies to support heating and air conditioning systems. Most of the global power supply comes from fossil fuels, like coal and gas, creating greenhouse gas emissions during combustion. Conserving a property’s energy sources is essential to protecting the environment, lowering utility costs, and conserving natural resources.

A few building features minimize the efficiency of HVAC systems. Air leaks contribute to nearly 40% of energy loss in the residential sector. When individuals fail to fix damaged building materials and structures, their home’s carbon footprint expands.

An inefficient or absent zoning system also affects HVAC system sustainability. Because hot air rises and cool air sinks, a single residential temperature meter is unable to maintain one condition through an entire structure. The temperature differentiation between rooms creates discomfort and high utility costs.

Individuals may shrink their utility bills and carbon footprints by improving the efficiency of their HVAC systems. There are five ways home improvement professionals can enhance the sustainability of their heating and cooling features.


Increase Your Home’s Ventilation

The first step to creating sustainable HVAC systems is improving a home’s ventilation. Installing ceiling fans throughout a building can circulate indoor air by moving static air towards windows or vents. Whole-house fans also increase indoor ventilation by pulling air through a window and releasing it through attic exhausts.

When individuals increase the natural ventilation in their homes, they minimize their HVAC usage. Adding more vents and windows to a structure also sends different temperatures of air through each zone. Mixing higher- and lower-temperature air reduces drastic differentiation between areas and rooms.

Energy recovery systems are another sustainability-enhancing ventilation device. These utilize heat exhausted by HVAC systems to condition inward-moving air during colder months. In warmer times, the system works in reverse. The result is a less energy-hungry system.


Add a Smart Zoning System

Homeowners may also improve the sustainability of their heating and cooling features by installing smart thermostats. The technology divides a structure into various temperature zones, sending conditioned air to each area based on real-time readings. Smart thermostats use the Internet of Things (IoT) to monitor indoor and outdoor conditions.

Using Wi-Fi, the device assesses weather predictions, adjusting indoor temperatures to reduce energy loss. It also uses motion detection sensors to adjust the conditions in each zone based on their occupancy. Individuals can minimize the energy use associated with cooling by nearly 15% and heating by 12% when using a smart thermostat.


Assess Your Ductwork’s Condition

A home’s air ducts also contribute to the efficiency of its HVAC system. The ducts lie in a structure’s ceilings, floors, and walls. The branching network carries temperature-controlled air from a furnace or air-conditioning device.

Some ducts carry controlled air far distances before releasing it into a room. Individuals can lose nearly 30% of their conditioned air through inefficient duct sealing. Home improvement professionals may restructure their ductwork and improve insulation to minimize energy loss.

Professionals can place the ducts in a dropped ceiling and the corners of each room to enhance the efficiency of indoor temperature control. Individuals should also restrict the use of floor cavities and chases for ducts. They may additionally improve the insulation and sealant of the branching network to minimize energy loss.


Install a Variable-Speed System

Most residential HVAC systems run through a single- or double-speed process. They either have an on and off setting or high and low power features. Variable-speed HVAC systems have multiple speed settings, increasing their energy efficiency.

On a cool summer day, the system may adjust the air conditioning to a lower speed, decreasing energy waste. It may also use a lower setting to reach slightly warmer or cooler indoor temperatures quickly. Individuals may also decrease the emissions and power loss associated with HVAC systems by connecting them to renewable energy devices.


Connect Sustainable HVAC Systems to Renewables

Environmental researchers predict the solar power sector will quadruple in market value by 2030. Home improvement professionals can use the market’s expansion to support the sustainability of HVAC systems. Connecting a temperature control system to solar panels can eliminate emissions related to residential heating and cooling.

Professionals may place photovoltaic (PV) panels on top of a home’s roof to convert solar radiation into electricity. HVAC systems are more sustainable when connected to PV technology because they lower the demand for fossil fuels. Individuals may also connect their home’s temperature control system to a geothermal heat pump to enhance its efficiency.

Geothermal energy is also renewable, relying on natural, non-depletable resources. The system utilizes the temperature differentiation between Earth’s layers to heat or cool a home. Installation professionals place pipes beneath the surface, accessing warmer temperatures.

Professionals then filter a heat extraction liquid through the pipes, moving it indoors and using it to warm the air. Geothermal heat pumps release significantly fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional HVAC power sources. After connecting a temperature-control system to renewable power supplies, residents may begin accessing various benefits.


The Benefits of Increasing a Home’s Sustainability

Increasing the sustainability of an HVAC system benefits residents and the local environment. When individuals improve the energy efficiency of their temperature control devices, they minimize their utility costs. After conducting the sustainability-enhancement techniques listed above, residents can begin enjoying significant financial savings.

Improving the efficiency of an HVAC system also increases a home’s general sustainability. When individuals shrink their properties’ carbon footprints, they improve their value. Installing a rooftop solar array to power an HVAC system can raise a home’s value by $15,000 on average.


Beginning Your HVAC Improvement Project

Individuals can begin developing sustainable HVAC systems by researching low-impact materials and appliances. After you source eco-friendly components, you may add ventilation features and efficiency-enhancing technologies. If your HVAC system is 10 years old or older, you may need to replace it with a more efficient version.


 energy efficiency
 smart building

Author of the page

  • Emily Newton



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