New regulations, the pressure of decarbonization and electrification along with the emergence of new refrigerants with low global warming potential (GWP) are seriously shaping the HVAC industry.
Besides environmental awareness, the pandemic has also encouraged a focus on clean air. People pay more attention to their indoor environments including the air they breathe and are asking for more insight into what surrounds them.
Introducing Low-GWP Refrigerants
Several manufacturers have introduced low-GWP refrigerants. This innovation is a response to the phasedown of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants, which contribute to global warming.
Daikin recently introduced the ATMOSPHERA ductless system, which uses R-32, a single-component refrigerant. R-32 is already in wide use in Europe and Asia (as well as window units in the U.S.) and makes up 50% of R-410A, one of the refrigerants targeted by the phasedown. It has a GWP of 675, compared to R-410A’s 2,088 GWP.
Honeywell introduced Solstice N71 at the Expo. This refrigerant is optimized for supermarket applications and is designed to take the place of R-404A, another HFC refrigerant that’s subject to the phasedown. It’s non-flammable, energy-efficient and has a GWP of less than 150.
Replacement for gas and oil
One possible replacement for gas- and oil-fired furnace-type heating systems is a high-performance heat pump. Some models can also heat domestic hot water, making them a solid solution.
Consumers seem to be happy that more sustainable solutions are on the market, but are also demanding cost savings through greater efficiency – Buildings.com writes adding: According to focus group research on sustainability topics conducted by Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US what customers really want is a balance between sustainability, lower emission and costs savings.
Growing demand for cleaner air
Since COVID-19 people increasingly want to know what they’re breathing. Awareness encompasses all aspects of air quality, not just the risk of virus transmission. HVAC technology manufacturers are responding with greater IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) transparency.
Johnson Controls’ OpenBlue IAQ as a Service begins with the understanding of how the building is operating and then addresses any indoor air quality needs. OpenBlue IAQ is offered as a subscription, shifting what could have been major upfront capital investments over to the building’s operating budget. It also means daily monitoring is in place with IAQ sensors, so someone is measuring progress toward IAQ goals every day instead of putting a solution in place and forgetting about it.
enVerid is targeting air quality with its sorbent ventilation technology, which captures VOCs, CO2 and other gaseous contaminants. The company wanted to find a solution to combine ventilation with high levels of filtration to clean the indoor air and not just rely on outdoor air to maintain safe spaces. enVerid now offers a HEPA filtration system with the sorbent ventilation system to target not only gases but also microbials, bioaerosols and particulate matter. This way, the indoor air is cleaned and it’s not necessary to introduce maximum outdoor air all the time.