Maximizing Energy Efficiency in HVAC Systems

Heat exchanger technology is a crucial element in making HVAC systems more energy efficient. A truly energy-efficient model will make use of all available energy, such as an oven with a heat exchanger that captures gases that would otherwise be expelled from the house and uses them to get more heat output. Any appliance with an AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating of 90% or higher is considered a reliable and energy-efficient air conditioning system. Investing in an oven with an AFUE greater than 95% will get the most out of your investment. The Department of Energy has found that energy costs can be reduced up to 35% per year by increasing the energy efficiency of air conditioning by adding or replacing parts.

Adaptations such as insulation can delay total improvements and improve comfort with constant temperatures and humidity. You can modernize both air conditioners and heating equipment, but you may lose a large amount of air conditioning due to a poorly insulated building. To maximize the energy efficiency of air conditioning, it's important to trap all the air (as well as the hot or cold air) it produces. Consider adding insulation to walls and windows, as well as wrapping pipes, ducts, and electrical outlets with insulation to save energy. The amount of material that insulates a space is called the R-value; the higher the R-value, the more it will trap the air conditioner. When it's hot outside, an air conditioning system at 75 degrees will consume 18% more energy than one at 78 degrees, and setting it to 72 degrees consumes 39% more energy than it does at 78 degrees.

To save even more energy, use a programmable thermostat to control the temperature like a clock when no one is present. Monitoring system boundaries by controlling the heating and cooling of designated spaces can improve air conditioning energy efficiency by up to 20%. The limits can be adjusted depending on the operating environment and season; for example, the garage or cargo area may not get hot or cold at all depending on the time of year. An open warehouse may sometimes have open entrances and doors between seasons, but at other times it may be sealed and heated or refrigerated. An energy audit or commission for energy conservation in new buildings requires that the limits of the system be clearly defined in order to know what those adjustments should be and when, where the limits are located, and how the air flow in the air conditioning ducts should be directed.

Maartje van den Visser
Maartje van den Visser

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