The Energy Department believes that non-vapor compression technology is the key to reducing the energy used by HVAC systems, and it’s willing to put money on the line to prove it.
Near the end of October, the Energy Department announced that it will provide research and development programs with $8 million in funds to investigate non-vapor compression options for modern heating and air conditioning applications.
At the moment, HVAC systems are responsible for the largest proportion of energy used by buildings, coming in at about 30% of all energy used by commercial and residential structures. Vapor-compression technologies, which comprise most traditional HVAC systems, are also thought to release harmful chemicals into the environment, increasing climate change.
According to the Energy Department, non-vapor compression could cut down on energy consumed by commercial and residential HVAC systems by as much as 40%. Instead of chasing a single magic bullet, however, the agency plans to generate what they call “regionally appropriate” technologies.
These technologies include smart grid technology, building efficiency and other innovative approaches to heating, ventilation and air conditioning that offer significant energy savings for buildings old and new. Researchers will also look into options that will move away from refrigerants, which harm the environment.
The Energy Department funding aims to improve the efficiency of ratings systems that measure energy efficiency, like the Energy Efficiency Rating and the Seasonal Energy Efficiency rating, as well as to improve systems that allow HVAC units to operate efficiently at partial load.
“Continually looking to new, more energy efficient technology should be a focus of all HVAC companies. We understand that HVAC systems are responsible for a large portion of energy used in homes and businesses, but we are all constantly looking for solutions to reduce energy cost for our customers. We offer systems that do a tremendous job of handling partial load conditions and greatly reduce energy consumption and we look forward to the new technologies the Energy Department will develop with this new funding,” says Bo Thomas, President of the Thomas HVAC Company.
The Energy Department is actively seeking proposals from universities, non-profits, businesses and laboratories that will revolutionize the way we think of HVAC technology and other amenities that require energy to function.
The Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, which is offering the grant to parties with promising proposals, supports innovative market-based solutions that make renewable energy feasible on a wide scale.