How Climate Change Is Affecting Commercial HVAC Systems

How Climate Change Is Affecting Commercial HVAC Systems

Extremes of heat seem to set new records almost annually, as does the use of cooling technologies to combat them. In September 2022, temperatures in California topped 110 degrees Fahrenheit, causing hundreds of thousands to receive emergency text alerts that their power grid was facing collapse under the strain of millions of HVAC units.

Now, to add context, consider that The International Energy Agency projects that the number of building HVAC units should increase from the current 2 billion in use, to 5.6 billion in use by 2050.

Does HVAC Contribute to Global Warming?

The contribution of HVAC and cooling systems to climate change is a matter of fact. First of all, there is the energy consumption. As noted above, the hotter it gets, the more power is required to cool a building, which brings a corresponding environmental impact. Then there is the issue of carbon emissions. HVAC, including both commercial and residential, accounts for 100 million tons of carbon emissions being released into the atmosphere annually, primarily due to their use of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants.

Because of these environmental concerns, legislation and regulations focused on energy efficiency are becoming common. Here in New York City, for instance, Local Law 97 was enacted in 2019 to enforce a reduction in carbon emissions by placing a carbon cap on most buildings of 23,00 square feet or more. That translates into approximately 50,000 properties across New York City, both commercial and residential. These caps, slated to go into effect next year in 2024, will continually reduce over time with a goal of 80% emission reduction by 2050.

What Is the Most Environmentally Friendly HVAC System?

The question of environmentally friendly HVAC systems is a rapidly evolving one. The race is on to develop increasingly more efficient ways of meeting the expanding global cooling needs. The exploration of advanced heat pump technology, solar panels, energy analysis software, and other green solutions is at an all-time high, with end applications for both residential and commercial needs.

At the time of this writing, many believe that next-generation heat pumps are one of the most promising avenues of research in HVAC systems that won’t exacerbate climate change. In addition, innovation is being spurred by efforts like the Global Cooling Prize (whose efforts and initial impact are explored in Scientific American). This means both that progress is being made, and that constant self-education is required to stay current.

At Henick-Lane, we actively stay current with the latest advances and technologies in environmentally friendly building solutions. Our LEED-accredited techs receive ongoing instruction on the newest systems and technologies, as well as the regulations and codes governing them, with an emphasis on low emissions and green technologies.

Henick-Lane, Your LEED Accredited HVAC Solution

Our LEED-accredited team stands ready to help you develop the greenest, most cost-effective solution for your building. Learn about HVAC commissioning to ensure peak HVAC system efficiency and local law compliance. Leverage our combination of more than fifty years of experience with commercial HVAC and dedication to the most current green technologies. Contact us online, or give us a call directly at (718) 768-7277 and let’s begin assessing your situation and options!