HVAC Tech Essential To Green Economy

Created:
Tue, 2012-08-07 07:42

With the summer heat upon us, it’s no surprise that heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) technicians are in demand. But, even after the summer heat has subsided, there is more to HVAC than just indoor temperature control. There’s more to it than just staying cool in summer, warm in winter. Proper installation and maintenance of an HVAC system contributes to better airflow, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, lower energy consumption, and healthier air quality.

The potential for improvement in overall health and performance of a home or building has made HVAC technicians a growing sector of the green economy. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, employment of heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics is expected to increase by 34% from 2010 to 2020.

What are the aspects of HVAC that make skilled HVAC technicians such important contributors to the home performance industry and the growing green economy?

Utility Bills

Statistics show that on average about 40-50% of utility bills are spent on HVAC, making it an obvious staring point for improvements that can result in energy efficiency and cost savings.

Emerging Technology and Standards

Technologies such as hydronics (water-based heating), geothermal, and solar-powered heating and cooling are creating more options for system improvements. Government regulations, incentives, and standards are resulting in more efficient products and more affordable services that are creating a demand for service, upgrade, and retrofit of older HVAC systems.

Refrigerants

Some refrigerants used in air conditioning systems are known to be harmful to the ozone layer and are being phased out according to EPA regulations. New, more environmentally friendly refrigerants are being developed and used in newer systems, creating a demand for upgraded systems that reduce environmental impact.

Health and Safety

The EPA has ranked indoor air quality as a high-priority public issue, especially as it relates to schools and managing asthma. HVAC systems that are properly installed and maintained contribute to better airflow and healthier indoor air quality. Proper filtering, clean ducts, leak repair, and moisture control are just some ways that an HVAC tech can assist in improving air quality in conjunction with energy retrofits. As building envelopes are made tighter in pursuit of increased energy efficiency, a properly functioning HVAC system plays an even greater role in maintaining indoor air quality.

Beyond Equipment

It’s true that higher efficiency equipment is now available, but beyond the equipment, a quality installation is equally as important. According to statistics from ENERGY STAR, efficiency can be reduced by almost 30% due to an improperly installed air conditioner or heat pump. An HVAC tech performs diagnostic tests and makes adjustments for optimal system performance. Whether equipment is old or new, diagnostic and maintenance services provided by skilled HVAC technicians continue to be in demand to improve performance and extend the life of the equipment.

Although the motivations for energy efficient retrofits and repairs of HVAC systems vary, the market is growing, and HVAC techs, building owners, tenants, and the environment all stand to benefit. According to the Building Performance Institute, HVAC is the critical component that keeps the heart of the home beating efficiently, safely, and affordably. As energy efficiency programs are growing around the country, the home performance market is growing, along with the demand for skilled technicians. For more information on training for a career in HVAC and other aspects of home performance, check out Everblue’s NATE Certification courses.

By Amy Malloy

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