Skilled Trades

Celebrating Earth Day: HVAC’s Role in Sustainable Buildings

Skilled TradesMarch 31, 2022

Friday, April 22, 2022, is Earth Day, a time to look for ways to preserve and protect our planet. HVAC professionals are uniquely positioned to help promote sustainability efforts by installing more energy-efficient units and servicing and repairing existing equipment to make it perform better. If you have thought about getting into this vital field, here's how you will be helping to protect the environment.

Updating Systems with the Latest Technology

HVAC systems contribute directly and indirectly to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), buildings are responsible for nearly 40 percent of CO2 emissions worldwide. Minimizing energy use from HVAC systems involves optimizing energy efficiency during design and maintenance.

Space cooling accounts for roughly 15% of the electricity used in commercial buildings, second only to lighting. ENERGY STAR certified equipment is more efficient than standard equipment and can save more than $2,000 over the product's life. For example, commercial HVAC systems can have customizable dashboards that monitor and adjust HVAC performance to meet energy-saving goals. 

Nearly half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling. The latest earth-friendly residential systems, such as solar thermal units, high-efficiency heat pumps, and geothermal units, can help reduce carbon emissions. 

HVAC technicians also understand the size of the unit needed. If a system is too small, it can lead to overload and efficiency issues. A too-large system will also waste energy and be more expensive to run. The correct HVAC unit can create comfortable environments and reduce your carbon footprint, too. Likewise, the installation of the unit is important as improper installation can reduce a system’s efficiency by up to 30 percent.

Making an Impact with Maintenance 

HVAC technicians also provide routine HVAC maintenance that can help reduce energy usage. For example, biannual tune-ups can boost the energy efficiency of these systems. Technicians check the furnace to ensure proper ventilation, inspect the thermostat, heating elements, and computer boards to ensure they're working correctly, look for damaged wiring and connections, and evaluate drain lines for blockages. 

Technicians also perform air conditioner maintenance, checking refrigerant levels, the ventilation system, and filters, they’ll inspect the thermostat, look for damaged components, watch for drain line blockages and mold, and wash the outdoor condenser to improve its efficiency.

Multi-point maintenance checks help improve an HVAC system’s functioning and energy efficiency. Maintenance also helps catch problems before they become a more extensive repair. And a properly maintained HVAC system helps keep the indoor air circulating and clean, providing health benefits. 

As you can see, HVAC technicians can significantly impact energy use and safe environments. If you’re interested in this important career path, Fortis can help you get started. Visit our website for more information and find a training program near you. Or call 1-855-436-7847 to speak with an advisor today.