For many years, the HVAC cleaning industry has been driven by concerns about IAQ. Now, through a two-year research project with the University of Colorado, the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) is on the path to confirm and define the relationship between HVAC cleaning and energy savings.

In February of this year, NADCA entered into an agreement with the University of Colorado for a $250,000 research project that is designed to provide members with a tool for estimating the energy savings associated with HVAC cleaning and restoration projects. The research project was also commissioned to develop a field-testing protocol for NADCA members that will facilitate collection of data to provide broader support for linking HVAC cleaning and restoration to energy savings. This project will encompass residential and low-rise commercial buildings.

Rather than go into full details of the research project, let’s just say a computer-based energy simulation for typical residential and low-rise commercial buildings will be used by the researches. An in-depth study will be conducted to show how HVAC pressure drop affects energy consumption in these settings. The research team is also to develop an energy simulation to represent typical usage for a standard housing construction located in Denver.

Upcoming stages for the research project include the development of a light commercial-base case model and a parametric study of how HVAC system pressure drop is related to energy consumption in that environment. The research team will also begin developing a laboratory experiment, based on the findings of the energy simulation studies. The results from the simulation studies will serve as the basis for all experiments during the following phases of the project.

NADCA believes this research will provide members with the credibility needed to establish the connection between HVAC cleaning/restoration and energy savings. The association is already happy with the U.S. Department of Energy, which called attention to the link between HVAC cleaning and energy savings through its advocacy of cleaning condenser and evaporative coils. According to DOE’s Website, when this cleaning is performed by a trained and competent technician, the result is energy savings of up to 30 percent. That is a remarkable testimonial from a government agency that sets energy policies for the United States.