Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are some of the most energy and cost expensive components of a business. On average, space cooling accounts for 15% of the electricity used in a commercial building and the average commercial building wastes 30 percent of the energy it consumes (1).
Therefore, HVAC systems are a good place to start when trying to become more energy efficient.
You can find more information about how EnviroProfit can help with your HVAC system, including an HVAC efficiency analysis, on our HVAC Solutions page.
Recent innovations in HVAC have opened the door to efficiencies not previously possible with the basic compressor -> refrigeration -> cool air systems.
Solar Based Air-conditioning
The sun is generally part of the problem that air conditioning is attempting to solve. The Australian company, Chromasun, has developed an HVAC system driven by solar energy that cuts costs versus utilizing electricity from the grid.
The use of thermally driven chillers is a lower cost alternative to electrically driven air-conditioning . These chillers can utilize solar thermal energy to drive them and can be supplemented with cheap natural gas. The most efficient of these systems uses double effect chillers but requires high temperatures (around 350F) as a driving temperature. Such temperatures are beyond the capability of normal solar collectors but are perfect for Chromasun MCT Panels.
Movement Adjusted Air Conditioning
Engineers at MIT have developed a system of motion sensors for homes. The sensors report information back to a central hub, which then adjusts air flow vents to obtain the desired temperature level.
Patel came to the MIT Sloan School of Management in 2012 specifically to develop and commercialize smart vents. He’d come up with the idea after trying to save money in his New Jersey home by shutting off some air vents. When his mother visited, he once forgot to open the vents again, and she froze all night without sleep.
Many current systems allow for different temperature zones, but the ability to adjust on the fly to information coming in about the inhabitants of a building opens the door to many more optimizations.
Ice-Powered Air Conditioning
HVAC systems are some of the biggest contributors to peak electrical load, on hot summer days the system can be running its hardest to keep things cool. In an ice-powered system the chiller can run at night, when load on the grid is less, and produce an ice pile. Then during the day water can be run through the ice pile producing chilled water that can be the chiller’s normal daytime output.
The Ice Bear system, made by California based Ice Energy, reduces electricity load on the grid by 95% for up to 6 hours a day. Installing systems like the Ice Bear help both customers and utilities improve efficiency and reliability.