There will always be a demand for better, more efficient heat and air conditioning technology. The less energy we consume to heat and cool our homes, the more money we save. Plus, we can reduce our impact on climate change by burning fewer fossil fuels to meet our home comfort needs. With those ideas in mind, the federal Department of Energy is chipping in to help develop new HVAC technology as part of its Building America program. Read on to learn more about the investment and what it means for you.
Seeking Billions in Savings
The Building America program has some lofty goals – a 50 percent reduction in energy consumption in new homes by 2025, and a 40 percent decrease among existing homes by 2030. Since heat and air conditioning make up the largest chunk of energy usage in the average home – Americans spend $70 billion for heating and $24 billion for cooling in total, according to the DOE – that's the place that efficiency technology can make the biggest impact.
That's why the Energy Department is dedicating $4 million to support new innovations and technology in the heat and air conditioning arena, focusing on three areas:
- High performance building materials, assemblies and systems
- Optimal comfort systems for heating and cooling, air distribution, and humidity control
- High performance ventilation systems and indoor air quality strategies
Technology Tailored to Climate
Projects will also be tailored toward meeting heat and air conditioning needs in three distinct climate zones of the country: hot/humid, mixed humid and cold. For example, high-efficiency air conditioners will see a greater return on investment in warmer climates, and likewise for energy-saving heating solutions in colder areas of the country.
One of the grant recipients working on the warm-weather piece of the equation is the Building America Partnership for Improved Residential Construction, led by the Florida Solar Energy Center at the University of Central Florida. The team will get $1 million to support its research in heat and air conditioning, as well as distribution, ventilation and indoor air quality.
“This research will help us develop integrated approaches to making homes more energy efficient while keeping them comfortable, healthy and durable,” Eric Martin, the project’s lead researcher and program director in FSEC’s Building Research Division, said in a press release.
Don't Wait to Improve Your Own Efficiency
Another lab at the University of Washington is leading the research into better cold-weather solutions, while industry partners across the country work on developing improved doors, windows, roofs and walls to beef up home insulation.
All the attention and investment toward efficiency is a promising development in the road to a greener, more energy-secure future. You don't even have to wait for new technologies to hit the market to make a difference in your own home. If you want to cut back on your bills today, have a heat and air conditioning expert pay a call to conduct an energy audit.