Energy efficiency ratings (SEER/EER) of air conditioners and heat pumps keep rising, thanks to new technologies such as electronically commutated motors (ECMs), inverter-driven compressors, and advanced heat exchangers. These technologies have helped boost high-end cooling equipment ratings to the mid-20-SEER range, which was unthinkable just a few years ago.
Manufacturers often offer longer warranties and hefty rebates as a way to entice homeowners to purchase more expensive HVAC systems. Rebates and tax credits are also sometimes offered by federal, state, and local governments and utilities as a way to encourage consumers to reduce their energy use by purchasing newer, more efficient equipment.
Ductless heat pumps have taken the U.S. by storm with sales increasing by double digits over the last few years. That momentum is expected to continue; however, not every homeowner wants to look at wall-mounted units in their living spaces.
Today’s heat pumps offer a wide range of advanced features that satisfy consumers’ demands for supreme comfort and energy savings as well as contractors’ desires for easier installation and service. And, with consumers demanding even greater energy savings and comfort control, they are already hard at work on the next generation of heat pumps.
The National Comfort Institute Inc.’s (NCI) mission is to help its members implement HVAC and home-performance contracting through easy-to-use strategies. That mission was accomplished at its recent annual summit, where the focus was on the best practices involved with selling and installing air upgrades.
It is estimated that HVAC systems account for approximately 40 percent of the energy used in commercial buildings, which is why many building owners and managers are looking for ways to cut these costs. One way to do that may be to utilize evaporative cooling systems, which can be relatively inexpensive to purchase and often require much less energy than other forms of cooling.
While many educational sessions were presented at the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration (AHR) Expo, perhaps the most popular was the course on global HVAC trends offered by the Building Services Research and Information Association (BSRIA).
Contractors started out 2017 feeling positive about short-term growth, according to ACCA, which reported its January 2017 Contractor Comfort Index (CCI) scored a 78 — up two points from its January 2016 rating.
Sales of HVAC equipment ticked upward in 2016, according to Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), which reported that 2016 year-to-date combined U.S. shipments of central air conditioners and air-source heat pumps increased 7.6 percent over 2015 and shipments of gas warm-air furnaces increased 4.6 percent for the same time period.