HVAC Sustainability Tips

/ HVAC / June 6

House with HVAC System on Outside - HVAC Sustainability Tips

If you’re on a journey to implementing better sustainability practices, you may be eyeing your HVAC system. In general, heating and air conditioning use a lot of energy and harmful substances, meaning they’re not the most environmentally-friendly system in your establishment or home. Luckily, though, there are numerous improvements and changes you can make to your HVAC system to boost sustainability and lower costs. We’ve compiled a few common methods below for you to consider so you can make the right sustainable switch.

Keep Your HVAC System Well-Maintained

One of the easiest ways to make your HVAC system more sustainable is to keep it well-maintained. Follow a regular HVAC maintenance checklist to ensure your system is in full working order each season. These tasks include changing filters every 3-6 months, cleaning around the unit and cleaning the coils. Maintenance tasks like these help prevent excessive buildup of dirt and dust, which could lead to your HVAC system running inefficiently and using too much energy. 

Additionally, you should have an authorized HVAC technician inspect the insulation, weatherstripping and ductwork in your home or business. Improper insulation and leaky ductwork can lead to inconsistent temperature control. This means that you may be adjusting your HVAC system to maintain a comfortable temperature without knowing that you’re excessively using energy.

Utilize Natural Lighting

You may not think of it as such, but using natural lighting—a.k.a. daylighting—is an excellent HVAC sustainability hack. This practice follows the principle of strategic natural light usage throughout the home or establishment at various times of the day. For example, windows that face east and west can produce natural heat from the daylight during the morning and evening. However, make sure if you want to keep your space cooler, use some light filtering or blackout curtains to block direct sunlight. So on top of saving electricity during the day, natural light can heat your space effectively during the colder months. This in turn can help reduce your heating usage. 

Invest in a Programmable or Smart Thermostat

There are many benefits to upgrading to a programmable or smart thermostat from a convenience standpoint, but did you know they also help with sustainability? These types of thermostats can not only help you manage the temperature of your space but also regulate the usage to be more sustainable and energy efficient.

For example, one major benefit of a programmable or smart thermostat is that it allows you to maintain a consistent temperature. Minimizing major or frequent temperature fluctuations means you won’t use as much energy or gas to cool or heat your home or business. Additionally, these types of thermostats allow you to schedule when your HVAC system will run. In this instance, you can program your system to turn off during times of the day when no one will be around, then have it turn on in time for the space to reach the ideal temperature. This can save you on energy usage while you get to sit back, relax and not have to worry about manually changing any settings.

Consider Alternative Energy Sources & HVAC Systems

If you have the time and money to invest, you can look into alternative and sustainable energy methods for your HVAC system. These various methods harness the power of natural energy sources to heat and cool your space for maximum efficiency and minimal environmental impact. There are a few options to choose from, so here are some common ones:

Geothermal Heat Pumps

This system runs off the earth’s natural heating and cooling cycles thanks to a closed-loop system of pipes that are buried 5-10 feet in the ground. At this depth, the pipes are protected from being exposed to excessive hot or freezing temperatures. The heat pump system is filled with water, which can then be used within your HVAC system to heat or cool the space.    

Solar Energy

As the name suggests, solar energy harnesses the power of the sun to convert into usable energy. Through the use of solar panels, energy is collected and transferred either to the HVAC system directly or to a battery (or batteries, if applicable) for storage. If you’re in a particularly sunny area, this option is perfect for you.

Ice-Powered Air Conditioning

A lesser-known option in the sustainable HVAC game, ice-powered air conditioners freeze large batches of ice to then cool the air within a building. This process begins overnight when energy usage and costs are much lower, where ice is frozen and stored until the following day. This stored ice is then used in the air conditioning system to cool down the interior of the building. Ice-powered air conditioners not only use less energy than traditional AC systems, but they don’t employ any refrigerants—many of which negatively impact the ozone. 

DEVap

An acronym for desiccant enhanced evaporative air conditioning, DEVap is a combination of evaporative cooling and liquid desiccant salt solutions used to cool down a space. How it works is that it draws in air from the outside, dehumidifies it and then pushes that cool, dry air back inside. This greatly reduces energy usage by around 80%-90% and also diminishes the need for refrigerants. 


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