High efficiency HVAC systems have the potential to achieve efficiencies as high as 98 percent. However, these ratings are generally only achieved under ideal conditions. Real-world energy efficiency is often much lower. If ducts or radiators are not properly sized for a building or home, for example, the system’s fans will work harder to compensate.
Smart thermostats have helped to improve the efficiency of HVAC equipment by calculating when it is best to start and stop the equipment so that temperatures stay at a desirable level, but they cannot expand the operational efficiency of the equipment to which they are connected. The next step in technology-enabled efficiency, according to a blog post on The Energy Collective website, is to enable thermostats to feed information back to the furnace computer so that the HVAC equipment can run at peak efficiency for as many hours of the day as possible.
Start-ups like Ecovent are helping energy efficient HVAC systems reach their full potential by expanding wireless control to the room level. Wireless temperature and pressure sensors installed in air ducts or other appropriate locations can communicate when increases in fan energy or raising the temperature are not resulting in measurable improvements in occupant comfort.
Enhanced HVAC systems can also be used to help identify problem areas of buildings and target opportunities for improvement. Communicating technology makes it quicker and easier to determine if an upgrade is necessary and cost-effective.
Image via Shutterstock.