The Internet of Things is growing, enabling the systems and appliances we use most to communicate with us in new ways. HVAC trends are beginning to incorporate these capabilities. Imagine your HVAC system alerting you when it needs a repair or routine maintenance check—even scheduling the appointment on its own. Remote capabilities are available to control your facility’s HVAC system from anywhere. New or added sensors in the thermostat, compressor or other areas can help regulate how the system should run, when it is really needed and where. All technologies aimed at running the system more efficiently and saving money.
Sustainable Building Design
New buildings are now being designed with sustainability in mind. This is a new movement referred to as green building design, green construction or sustainable building design. The building’s HVAC system is a major component in sustainable building design, as heating and cooling systems are a major source of building energy consumption. Sustainable design has caused architects to rethink ventilation systems, using more natural airflow to reduce energy costs. It might also choose different building materials that keep the building at a more constant temperature to start with, reducing the need for high-powered HVAC. HVAC systems in green buildings are likely to have alternative power sources as well.
DeVAP stands for “Desiccant Enhanced Evaporative.” A desiccant is a substance that absorbs water from its surroundings. DeVAP HVAC systems cool the air by employing an evaporative cooling system. Water is run into a honeycomb media, like absorbing it into a sponge. A fan then blows water through the honeycomb media, causing the water to evaporate. As the water evaporates, the air becomes cooled and is released into your system. DeVAP systems then use a desiccant to absorb the humidity from the air. This provides you with the same kind of cool, dry air the current air conditioners offer. DeVAP systems use less energy to operate and use no harmful refrigerant.
Solar HVAC systems can be installed in new construction or retrofitted to existing buildings. These systems use solar paneling to absorb both heat (thermal energy) and light energy from the sun. For heating applications, the thermal energy is used to heat a fluid, usually a mixture of water and antifreeze, which then runs through a heat exchanger. This creates the heated air that warms the building. If your building has an existing air conditioning system it can be refitted to be solar powered— that is, solar power is used to generate the electricity needed to run the system. New applications might opt for a solar cooling system. These systems employ an evaporative cooling method, where the air is cooled simply by the evaporation of contained water.
Geothermal HVAC systems consist of a system of pipes buried underground, called an earth loop. While the ambient air temperatures outside rise and fall with the changing seasons, ground temperatures remain pretty constant when you’re more than about six feet below the surface. Geothermal heating and cooling systems take advantage of this consistency to heat and cool your building. Water is run through the underground pipes. As the water travels through the ground, it is heated (or cooled, depending on the time of year) by the ground’s constant temperature. An indoor unit uses a fan, compressor and pump to deliver the temperate air through the building.
If you would like to start reviewing the new HVAC options for your facility, a great place to start is to perform an energy audit. These can be done using auditing software designed to analyze how your building uses energy. You can also call in a professional who can help you through the audit process. This information can help you and your HVAC contractor assess the current options and decide which best fit your facility’s needs.
The product statements contained herein are intended for informational purposes only. Such product statements do not constitute a product recommendation or representation as to the appropriateness for a specific application or use. W. W. Grainger, Inc. does not guarantee the result of product operation or assume any liability for personal injury or property damage resulting from the use of such products.