Reducing carbon footprint through HVAC
Ecological sensitivity and climate change continue to drive new HVAC product and system design concepts. In an effort to quantify the effects of energy consumption on the environment, researchers have introduced the term “carbon footprint,” a numerical representation of the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by human activities. There is general consensus among climate scientists that reducing one’s carbon footprint can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change.
Conditioning and positive feedback loop
As global temperatures continue to rise, experts worry that people will use their air conditioners more often and for longer periods of time. Additional energy requirements result in more waste gas byproducts from gas and coal-fired power generation facilities. This scenario creates a positive feedback loop similar to the melting of the Arctic ice cap. Some scientists believe that energy demand for indoor cooling could increase tenfold by 2050. The US Energy Information Agency has released data confirming that heating and cooling account for 48% of the energy used in a typical office or home. In fact, residential air conditioning consumes more than eight percent of all electricity generated in the United States at a cost of more than 15 billion. Additionally, the US Department of Energy estimates that 40% of all US CO2 emissions come from demand for heating, cooling and hot water.
HVAC technologies to reduce your carbon footprint
By replacing old air conditioning equipment and improving the efficiency of the duct system, residential power and fuel consumption can be significantly reduced. There are many existing and emerging technologies that can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce your carbon footprint. Furnaces and air conditioners: Several major manufacturers, including Carrier, offer equipment that is configured as an overall system concept. The Advanced Infinity Series includes a variety of leading components designed to provide exceptional comfort and performance. Temperature, humidity, ventilation, fan speed and indoor air quality are integrated and activated through one control. An array of sensors use sophisticated algorithms to continuously monitor the indoor environment and adjust equipment output to meet the homeowner’s specific comfort parameters in the most efficient manner. Infiniti series products are able to accommodate eight different temperature zones, so comfort can be adjusted according to the preferences of each occupant. Geothermal heat pumps: Geothermal heat pumps provide heating and cooling from a single unit. While geothermal units share many of the same components as forced-air heat pump models, geothermal technology is more efficient because the ground has a much more stable temperature than the surrounding outside air. Geothermal heat pumps are characterized by three main components. A special heat exchanger transfers heat energy between the living space and the ground. A condensing unit houses the refrigeration cycle and a blower is used to push conditioned air into the building. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), properly designed and installed geothermal heat pumps have the best efficiency and lowest CO2 emissions of all current central HVAC products. Smart thermostats: The Nest and Honeywell Lyric thermostats represent new entries into the smart thermostat space. Using adaptive intelligence, the Nest thermostat uses an array of temperature, humidity, motion, and light sensors to record occupant behavior. After collecting enough samples, the thermostat creates a program that maximizes HVAC efficiency without requiring user input. Smart thermostats: The Nest and Honeywell Lyric thermostats represent new entries into the smart thermostat space. Using adaptive intelligence, the Nest thermostat uses an array of temperature, humidity, motion, and light sensors to record occupant behavior. After collecting enough samples, the thermostat creates a program that maximizes HVAC efficiency without requiring user input.
Simple ways to reduce energy consumption
Using new HVAC technology can have a dramatic impact on reducing energy consumption and reducing your carbon footprint. However, there are also many inexpensive ways to improve HVAC efficiency.
- Variable speed blower: producing more heating and cooling capacity than your home requires wasting energy and increasing water and electricity bills.
- A furnace or air handler with a variable speed drive ensures that your HVAC system delivers the exact amount of conditioned air needed to keep you comfortable without wasting energy.
- Adjust the thermostat. Increasing the thermostat in summer or reducing it in winter by one degree can reduce energy consumption by four percent.
- Change your filter: Clogged filters restrict airflow, which forces your HVAC system to work harder to meet indoor load demands. Disposable filters should be replaced every month and cabinet filters every three months.
Benefits of environmental awareness
Reducing your carbon footprint can help improve the environment while saving on your utility bills. Modern technology can help reduce energy consumption without compromising comfort