Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems control the climate in commercial and residential buildings by regulating the temperature and air flow. HVAC systems not only provide comfort by keeping the inside temperatures balanced but also have environmental advantages to the building occupants’ health. A well-maintained system will keep the environment free from mold, allergens, mites and other harmful organisms.
Through the years, HVAC systems have advanced from single-stage motors with mercury thermostats which were manually controlled by dialing the temperature up or down to today’s programmable thermostats. Programmable thermostat technology offers advanced settings to customize your cooling or heating needs, such as:
- Setting multiple temperatures
- Scheduling temperatures depending on the time of day and/or day of week
- Variable-speed motors for energy efficiency
Programmable thermostats are not the only trends in HVAC systems to ensure environmentally friendly and energy efficiency. With the humble beginnings of HVAC systems, most homes and businesses were drafty. Therefore, supplying all the needed ventilation. However, as buildings became more energy efficient by sealing off drafts from windows, doors, floors and attics-- an unintended consequence emerged, the inside humidity began to rise.
HVAC engineers and manufacturers acknowledged the problem and responded by developing air conditioners with humidity controls and ventilation. But another issue arose, the coolants initially used, R-12 and R-22, contained chlorine or bromine and were believed to deplete the ozone layer. Resulting in the phasing out and eventual ban of these coolants. Today, R-410A, a fluorine based coolant, has become an environmentally friendly alternative.
The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), which required the switch from R-22 to R-410A, often sets forth new HVAC regulations. The EPA requires all newly manufactured units meet a minimum SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) for energy efficiency.
It is not only recommended that Chicago’s HVAC contractors and engineers are current with the latest EPA regulations but also Chicago’s business owners, property managers or superintendents. Often any changes will directly regulate how to purchase or replace any HVAC equipment, or how to maintain or properly dispose of old HVAC equipment.
On June 1, 2019, a new phase of Chicago’s Energy Conservation Compliance Code has taken effect. In essence, the green building code requirements apply to new residential and commercial construction and major renovations, alterations, additions and repairs to existing buildings.
Additionally, the ultimate goal of the changes are to increase indoor comfort without sacrificing the environment. Chicago building owners should expect future heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems innovations to include:
- Better air duct materials
- Enhanced DDC controls
- Improved HVAC software
- Increase insulation technology
Whether you are in the market to purchase an HVAC system to a new building or upgrading an old system. Don’t make the most common mistake of simply just replacing the old system with a new one. Choosing the correct system can be a challenge. In order to achieve efficiency and maximum comfort level, the system needs to be the correct size for the building.
When the HVAC system is too small for the building, the system runs constantly trying to heat or cool the building. Since the system simply is not suffice, energy costs skyrocket, the unit wears out quickly, and the occupants never feel comfortable in the building.
On the other hand, oversized systems often cycle off too quickly causing inconsistent temperatures, high fuel bills and increased repairs. When any HVAC system cycles off too quickly they have not had time to dehumidify the air--leaving a sticky and uncomfortable feeling.
Because Chicago weather conditions can be harsh, planning the correct HVAC system is more important than ever. The best place to start is consulting New York Engineers. A HVAC engineer is vital to the building industry. The highly-skilled professionals ensure proper climate control of residential and commercial buildings.