HVAC Technology / April 5, 2022
Climate Change and Your HVAC System
When you think of helping the environment, you likely think of common steps like using less plastic, recycling reusable materials, and even lowering the amount of organic waste you contribute to landfills. But have you thought of how your HVAC system plays a role in climate change?
Read on to learn more about home comfort and how it has an impact on the environment.
Keeping Your Home Comfortable Comes with a Cost
As temperatures rise, many Americans may run their air conditioners more frequently to keep their homes at a comfortable internal temperature. Similarly, as even more people regularly work from home post-COVID-19, HVAC use has increased to make living spaces more comfortable.
Unfortunately, using HVAC systems more consistently (and at a higher rate) only worsens environmental impacts. The more we lower our thermostats, the more our HVAC systems run. We use more energy in the process and, unfortunately, produce more greenhouse gases. And that increase in greenhouse gases contributes to climate change.
Additionally, the HVAC industry has seen a rising need for service and repairs. Home dwellers require more parts to fix their HVAC systems, or they need to replace their systems more frequently. In fact, 75%-80% of HVAC units in the U.S. have been replaced in the last few years as increasing temperatures have pushed older systems to their breaking points.
The demand for new parts or systems puts further strain on the ecosystem as manufacturers work tirelessly and use more energy and environmental resources to meet residential and commercial needs. If current trends in HVAC use continue, experts estimate the world will need billions of cooling systems in the next 30 years to adequately keep homes cool in worsening climate conditions.
Using Your HVAC System Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Help the Environment
While many environmental experts believe we can best combat climate change by reducing our use of fossil fuels and natural gas, you can also use your HVAC system strategically.
For example, you can lower your HVAC system’s energy consumption while keeping your home at a reasonable indoor temperature. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that homes produce twice the amount of greenhouse gases that vehicles do, but using energy-efficient techniques and systems can lower your contribution to climate change.
One way to achieve this goal is by opting for an HVAC system design that intentionally uses environmental factors to manage internal temperatures. Some systems use moisture in the air to cool an interior space, while others use demand-controlled ventilation (DCV) to only climate control portions of an occupied building. DCV specifically employs occupancy sensors and schedules to close ventilation systems in apartment buildings (or similar spaces) where no residents live. The remaining ventilation systems open to occupied areas, allowing the entire HVAC entity to cool necessary spaces and reduce overall energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
Upgrading to New Technology Can Bridge the Gap
Fortunately, technological advancements can help make up for the increased need for HVAC use and the higher levels of greenhouse gases produced. By upgrading to this new technology, you can keep your home cozy inside while continuing to focus on lowering your carbon footprint.
For instance, opting for geothermal HVAC systems allows you to take advantage of renewable energy sources below the earth’s surface. Likewise, a solar-powered system lets you harness the sun’s power to control your home’s internal temperature. Such innovations can have a positive impact on greenhouse gas emissions.
In fact, the Global Cooling Prize competition emphasizes innovation for room-by-room cooling solutions. In 2019, finalists designed various one-room cooling systems that would emit five times less greenhouse gas than the typical window-based cooling unit.
If any of these technologies are not available or affordable for you yet, you can still take advantage of newer HVAC technology to lower your energy consumption and greenhouse gas output. First, think of how old your home’s current system is. The older or more worn your HVAC system is, the more energy it will use and the more negatively it affects the environment.
However, retrofitting your old system with new features like automated controls, better fans, and improved ventilation could help decrease those negative effects.
Eventually, though, your system may be too old for retrofitting and repairs. When you need to replace your system entirely, invest in ENERGY STAR-certified HVAC units with high SEER ratings. Opting for units with these features can further your efforts to balance staying comfortable indoors and helping the environment.
If you have any concerns about your current HVAC system or want to schedule maintenance and repairs to keep your HVAC system running effectively, contact the team at Mauzy Heating, Air & Solar. We’ll use our years of industry experience to provide you with clear answers and quality services so you can enjoy your HVAC system for years to come — and so you can do your part in helping the environment.