As forward-looking city planners react to the news of climate change by tightening building codes for heightened energy efficiency and air quality, contractors and distributors are on the front lines of the impending changes. New greener materials and technologies will merge with connected controls, sensors, and equipment to enable monitored data of temperature, humidity, time of day, occupancy, CO2 levels, VOCs and indoor pollutants. Using this data will enable total control over the heating, ventilation, and cooling systems, making contractors predictive experts critical to keeping key HVACR systems functioning at peak performance in environments that could be anything but hospitable.
New HVACR technology trends
From the use of ultraviolet light near the evaporator coil to eliminate many types of pathogens to passive solar and radiant heating in buildings, new material innovations and technologies are shaping the worlds of HVACR contractors and distributors. Numerous innovations are rapidly emerging, many of which are also green. Now, more than ever, HVACR industry professionals need to stay abreast of the latest technologies and equipment available to them.
A few of the most notable include:
Solar-Powered Air Conditioning: Compact, rooftop panels with specially mirrored lenses automatically follow the sun’s path, capturing and concentrating solar energy that is then utilized by the building’s HVAC system.
Ice-Powered Air Conditioning: A thermal battery that turns existing air conditioners into cost-effective cooling machines, filling with water at night and freezing it into a block of ice. During the day the ice is used for the A/C, eliminating the use of the compressor and cutting energy use during the hottest hours of the day by 95%.
Desiccant-Enhanced Air Conditioning: a new technology that combines the cooling power of evaporation with the dehumidification of liquefied desiccants to create an air conditioner that creates cold, dry air with up to a 90% reduction in energy use.
A new retrofit technology that installs directly into existing rooftop units, updating them with economizers, variable fan speeds, demand-response ventilation, smart controls, and automated capabilities, all with a 25 to 50% reduction in energy use.
Digital Ceilings: equipped with adaptive sensors that learn the daily habits of occupants and merge the building’s lighting, security and HVAC systems into a single, easy to manage network.
Smart Glasses: Specially designed for field technicians, the glasses transmit video in real-time, allowing multiple techs to inspect and diagnose a system remotely while automatically generating a detailed service report.
Recyclable Ductwork: Fire-resistant and waterproof coated cardboard that takes the place of ordinary HVAC ductwork. Stronger, lighter, cheaper than sheet metal, requiring 20% less insulation.100% recyclable.
While the above innovations are both real and quantifiable, there are other emerging HVACR technologies that could make the training, manufacturing, installing and repair processes faster and more efficient.
For example, someday 3D printing could be used to create missing or custom HVACR parts or even an entire HVAC unit needing to be installed in a particularly awkward spot. While virtual reality could help contractors visualize the blueprints of a room or building for better spatial recognition and faster, more efficient installation.
Residential technologies emerging within the smart home
Whether for indoor climate control or preventive maintenance, smart home HVAC technologies sales are up due to increasing customer demand. Globally, the market is predicted to grow 29.5 percent by 2024.
For many homeowners, the way into the market has been with smart thermostats, which allow air conditioner and heater control from a smartphone app. But there are newer and more intelligent devices available that can offer expanded mobile access, text alerts, pre-scheduled diagnostics, and real-time updates. Some can even adjust home lighting based on when the sun rises and sets.
Industry change and the decline of the HVACR technician
The level of change HVACR contractors and distributors are facing on the job - with new refrigerants, growing automation, complex sensing, and monitoring technologies, the advent of smart controls, predictive residential diagnostics, the ongoing push for green buildings, even how contractors are communicating with customers is unprecedented. Perhaps it’s understandable why HVAC professionals seem to be a vanishing breed. Yet despite all the uncertainty and challenges brought by changing times, HVACR business beyond 2019 is looking better than good—and the business opportunities abound for those that want them.
With the changing market growing in unexpected ways, industry professionals need to be proactive in their next steps. So where’s a good place to start? Download How to Capitalize on HVAC/R Trends to Drive Business Growth white paper to learn what actions HVACR contractors and distributors must take now in order to capitalize on these exciting new technology trends.
Article contributed by Parker Global
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