New green technologies, such as geothermal systems and smart thermostats, are changing the HVAC industry in every possible way. Hence, today’s heating and air conditioning businesses are continually evolving. A green tactic for property development has become greatly important both for HVAC technicians and property owners. As such, numerous HVAC professionals and clients have shown an interest in investing in energy-efficient systems to deliver more considerable cost savings down the line.
Moreover, from stricter reinforcement of EPA regulations, updated equipment technologies, and changed building codes, HVAC businesses and HVAC technicians are expected to evolve along with a heaving business climate. The movement toward green energy and green technologies has been affecting all contractors and subcontractors globally. On the other hand, tight EPA regulations on HVAC refrigerants and equipment have been changing and affecting every HVAC occupation.
Let’s discover how the green movement has affected the HVAC industry on a deeper level.
1. Higher Efficiency Systems
With the widespread and advent adaptation of R-410A, HVAC systems using 410 are operational at greater efficiency and higher pressures compare to R-22 brethren. It can be good news, but higher efficiency results in much lower electric bills for R-410A heat pumps and air conditioners. Therefore, the systems often come with additional protective features, better control boards and other more complex components.
These emerging and implemented technological advances are not exactly set in stone. Each year, several manufacturers are trying to collaborate and negotiate both themselves and their respective competitors. Also, heating and air conditioning are considered a copycat industry. Thus, having an extensive understanding of the emerging technological adaptations will help HVAC technicians understand the complexities.
2. Building Codes are Going Green
HVAC installers have their worst nightmares, and that is the inspector. Inspectors are unpredictable, even downright confusing. They serve a critical purpose both for building owners and contractors. Hence, the building codes should be designed to keep all parties involved for protection, particularly the buyers. Moreover, building codes are ever-changing towards the green end of the spectrum.
Though it might not be an issue in smaller cities and communities, metropolitan areas are witnessing a massive change to eradicate unnecessary materials, promoting recyclable use on job sites. There is an alteration expected in the HVAC industry over the coming years, upgrading more environmentally-friendly insulation. Other trends to expect to include flexible and efficient ductwork and overall movement to enhance human and environmental health further.
Furthermore, HVAC technicians working in the field alongside the installers must be well-versed in all available products at their disposal. By doing so, they can satisfy local building codes and be more aware of what the industry offers in green technologies.
3. Phasing Out Refrigerants
One of the leaders in HVAC technologies, Honeywell, has introduced R-410 refrigerant years ago. Since then, this particular refrigerant has grown in popularity and has become the most leading refrigerant in the U.S. for new heat and air conditioning systems. Right after, R-22, the antagonist of the story, has been phased out. The EPA has mandated that R-22 refrigerant must be gradually phased out because a new production of R-22 is expected to cease all together this year 2020.
As for HVAC technicians, this means a continuous adaptation and a learning curve. Both refrigerants are behaving differently, and neither one of them is compatible with one another. Thus, HVAC technicians should be trained and be extra aware of the significant differences between these two refrigerants. They must become familiar with the refrigerants to recognize the vital data each tend to display.
Vital data is often displayed whenever there is a service call. It used to maintain and adequately service today’s equipment. Additionally, understanding other available alternatives and possible R-22 replacement refrigerants are also necessary. It does help any HVAC technicians give their customers more options to keep their respective systems running as long as possible.
4. EPA Regulations are Continuously Changing
The EPA has taken some significant steps to regulate and standardize the HVAC industry into possessing a far lesser impact on the global weather climate. Over the years, the agency has been pressured by the increasing global demand for extra attention to climate change and global warming.
A sudden increase rapidly followed the phase-out of R-22 refrigerants in the SEER rating for the latest equipment (minimum seasonal energy efficiency ratio). To put it simply, the SEER rating is the amount of cooling (BTU) divided by the amount of energy (watts) a system generally uses. Before 2015, the minimum SEER rating in terms of air conditioners was required to be 13. However, at the start of 2015, it has changed as it increased to 14.
Though it doesn’t seem a drastic change, the HVAC industry is currently at the mercy of every-changing EPA regulation. Hence, understanding the laws, consequences, and regulations of failing to uphold them has been a constant challenge in the industry at large.
5. Bringing radiators in the 21st century
Heating systems that typically use hot water that radiates heat and flowing through pipes are nothing new. However, today’s improved and green HVAC systems uses more sophisticated green HVAC technologies. In a very modern hydronic system, the liquid – whether antifreeze, water, or some other fluids, will run under the floor or through baseboards, radiators, or other heat exchangers.
Depending on the applied design, the heat is being transferred via convection, conduction, and radiation. For maximum green impact, the boiler that tends to heat the liquid can utilize solar or geothermal power rather than fossil fuels.
6. Local support for going green
Several local and state governments have started to promote green initiatives and help move green HVAC technologies. For instance, the NYC Carbon Challenge encourages commercial tenants, business owners, private and non-profit organizations to reduce greenhouse emissions by 25% or more over the next ten years.
Under this voluntary program, there will be unending support and resources to help participants implement other improvement options. Green alternatives are available for heating and cooling, sustainability initiatives and efficiently on-site. The very ultimate goal is to minimize citywide emissions by 85% by 2050.
7. Sizable tax break
It cannot be sure how long the laws will remain in effect. However, there will be a tax break qualification for the next years when any upgraded HVAC system is deployed under federal law. Typical savings are already calculated, and it reaches more than $5,000, depending on the system’s size.
As a result, it can help offset the replacement costs for older and lesser efficient systems. Also, the latest green HVAC technologies will be showcased as part of the best options. Switching and choosing HVAC technology have a positive impact on the business.
Construction Schedule Software and Green Tech Benefits for HVAC technicians
The key benefit of this advanced project management solution is automation in terms of project scheduling and planning. Below are the following benefits this advanced software tool provides for all participating crew and stakeholders, including green technology opportunities to add value.
- Scheduling and Time management – project leaders can track the crew’s labor hours and schedule them more efficiently and quickly. While green tech inclusion is agreed upon already, it is equally essential to follow this added equipment set.
- File management – all project files, construction drawings are best managed using this advanced software tool. Also, other records are saved, stored, and can be edited. The tool allows users to share files and exchanged information.
- Collaboration and communication – communication with one another, including external stakeholders, is best achieved using this tool. A full historical record of all actions is being kept.
- Project planning and managing construction – be able to initially plan and manage projects while taking track records into account. Additionally, the inclusion of green technologies allows any of the stakeholders to collaborate in the entire process.
- Easy to use – this software application is an enabler. It is very user-friendly and can easily be accessed anytime and anywhere. It is an excellent advantage for the entire crew members. For HVAC technicians, understanding green techs is easy since it is a mix of complexity and simplicity.
- Optimization of HVAC system performance – a software designed for project management for construction projects provides detailed management in every aspect. Thus, occupant health and comfort, energy use, and space planning can be improved and continuously monitored.
Seasoned contractors know that they will need a very practical resource management strategy to complete projects successfully. Doing so will keep the teams in tip-top shape without overseeing them with work or vice versa.
The green movement and green technologies have showcased myriad challenges to the industry, including the technicians. Learning to adapt to this continuous change might be challenging because issues are just around the corner. That is why HVAC technicians should possess a greater understanding of emerging trends and become a problem-solving type, exploring how green technologies affect their jobs in full detail.