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HVAC and Energy Efficiency Trends

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2030, the HVAC field will experience an 8% increase in job growth, resulting in about 38,500 openings for mechanics and installers each year. Techs are in demand, as are HVAC units and parts. Here’s why:

The summer of 2021 was a warm one, in fact, it was the hottest on record in some states. Additionally, seven of the hottest U.S. summers have all happened in the past seven years. In the HVAC business, that extra and prolonged heat translates to HVAC units that are turned on earlier in the year, for a longer duration each day, and for later into the year. This results in an increase in malfunctions over the busy summer season.

Supply chain shortages are impacting HVAC repair and replacements for everyone — multifamily, commercial and individual homeowners are all feeling the impact of a supply chain where waiting for parts and units is the norm. No one really knowing when supply will become less scarce only adds to the problem.

As we face an HVAC sector that is growing while supplies are less plentiful, it is natural to think about the important considerations for the future of the HVAC industry. Energy efficiency is one of the most important goals – trends are emerging where, more than ever before, energy efficiency is at the center of innovation. Electrification and decarbonization are taking the lead.

According to data from 2014, HVAC accounted for around 35% of the carbon emissions in a typical building. Everyone from government leaders to utilities providers to individuals realize the importance of reducing that number. Electrification is an attractive alternative. Electrification is the movement to replace technologies that use fossil fuels with alternatives that use electricity instead. This will increase efficiency, reduce carbon emissions, and ultimately reduce costs for the consumer.

The ultimate goal is to power HVAC systems via electricity that is generated by a clean energy source, like wind solar. Transitioning can take time and might impact budgets in certain scenarios, but the body of research is there to support the switch to electricity.

Another energy efficiency trend I’ve observed involves a holistic approach. Instead of looking at a building and all of its systems separately (electricity, heating, plumbing, construction), taking the entire building into account and viewing its systems holistically is a trend bringing energy efficiency to the forefront once again. A well-insulated building reduces the need for heating when compared to an older and drafty counterpart that requires additional cycles from the heating system to maintain temperature. That same well-insulated home stays cooler longer, using less energy by requiring the air conditioner to cycle on less frequently.

Commercial building management is in place to see that systems are running both in residents’ individual homes and in the building as a whole. With a renewed emphasis on examining and maintaining a building as a whole, taking into account how one system may positively or adversely affect another, energy savings can be significant.

Management teams who regularly assess a building’s various systems and keep up with the scheduled replacement of filters, humidifiers and purifiers can ensure indoor air quality (IAQ) is at the best possible level while also making sure that a building’s systems are running efficiently. Hiring management professionals who care about the health of a building can be one of the biggest benefits for the structure for several reasons, including energy efficiency, building comfort, and tenant health and satisfaction.

Global supply chain issues, combined with a burgeoning HVAC sector, should make the next year an interesting one in terms of cost as well as completed HVAC repairs and projects. A concerted effort to do everything associated with HVAC in the most energy-efficient manner can bring several levels of benefit — cost, comfort and environmental — no matter what the business climate of 2022 looks like. Energy efficiency trends may change and adapt over that time, but I think industry leaders will still look to create these tactics as the best outcome for residents of buildings and our world.