Karl Pomeroy, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, motive.
Several of my gotechbusiness.com columns are devoted to topics related to the upcoming changes in HVAC regulations. In a nutshell, the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) measures the annual energy consumption and cooling capacity efficiency of an HVAC unit. The higher the SEER rating, the less energy the device consumes.
HVAC is the largest energy consumer in the US, and much of that energy is produced from fossil fuels. The regulatory updates to SEER ratings coming into effect in January 2023 will change the basic efficiency of HVAC equipment that can be sold and installed in the US
As part of these regulations, changes to refrigeration will also come into effect. We will continue to move away from highly corrosive refrigerants such as R-22 and instead increase the use of low-impact and highly efficient refrigerants such as R-32, which are already regularly used in countries in Europe and Asia.
In addition, the The Department of Energy’s Cold Climate Heat Pump Program creates momentum around electrification. The federal level continues to lead the way in sustainability mandates to move us closer to carbon neutral HVAC.
Green HVAC: here we come
The green movement is gaining ground within the HVAC industry. Companies across the country are investing in sustainable technologies, products and practices. The definition of green jobs is also evolving. There are green opportunities in sales, marketing, sustainable building products, real estate and many other professions. With new sustainable technologies and easy access to renewable resources, it is becoming easier than ever to switch to eco-friendly practices and choose green alternatives.
For example, companies within the industry can focus on installing cold climate heat pumps in areas that fall below freezing. Cold climate heat pumps are electric and provide reliable comfort, are safer for the environment and offer the best value. In addition, inverters make heat pumps more environmentally friendly. Because an inverter efficiently controls the motor speed, it prevents energy wastage and provides greater comfort. With electricity rates rising, inverter technology and cold climate heat pumps are examples of sustainable technology that I believe are worth the investment as they pay for themselves. Easily accessible financing allows them to be cash flow neutral.
A major trend in the HVAC industry that is fueled by regulatory changes and helping to introduce more direct action is replacement projects after a natural disaster. After a natural disaster, the simplest action is usually to replace damaged building systems with an equivalent product replacement. With new regulatory requirements, these events are opportunities to introduce new HVAC infrastructure and replace units with the environment in mind.
We can all participate in the green movement in different ways, but it can still be challenging to motivate people and businesses. Action is the biggest hurdle to take over green moves. Electrification and efficiency upgrades are the types of improvements we should strive for in the HVAC industry. This not only reduces CO2 emissions, but also provides a significant return on investment over time. While it takes time to educate a market and take action, the global energy crisis and the cost of fossil fuels that have recently reached an all-time high are gaining momentum interest in renewable options.
HVAC durability and efficiency support the emphasis on renewable energies encouraged by the electrical industry. Like some of the Largest U.S. Utilities Say They Will Leave Fossil Fuels Behind in the coming decades and as we work towards carbon neutrality, we can see that the way has been cleared for the production of more equipment that will run on electricity instead of natural gas.
The heating and cooling industry is also seeing more research and development in green technology. There are opportunities to sell these new receivables. Suppose a building runs on renewable resources and a weather event cuts out the power; that building could sustain itself because it is electrified and does not rely on fossil fuels for power. Inside the building, batteries can provide heat and power for lighting, as the batteries derive energy from low-impact electrical sources rather than fossil fuels.
Not only is our society unofficially entering the green age, but so is our government. A part of the Inflation Reduction Act including a tax benefit for individuals and companies using clean energy. If passed, this bill is likely to generate even greater demand and push for further change in green technologies. Incentives for green HVAC are part of this bill with promises of a positive effect on the average consumer’s energy bill.