HVAC energy demand is rising: how to deal with it

The necessity of moving towards a sustainable approach to refrigeration is emerging ever more clearly.

Data provided by the researchers during the XVI “European Conference on technological innovations in refrigeration and in air conditioning”, held in June, 27th and 28th, at the Polytechnic University of Milan, reveal that refrigeration equipment accounts for the 40% of building energy consumption and for the 17% of global energy consumption. This 17% is produced mainly by the so-called “industrialized countries”, with North America prevailing, whereas the least developed countries bring up the rear. But the ever-increasing demand for HVAC solutions, coming from the “emerging” countries, will lead to an increase in energy demand and, therefore, energy consumption.

In such a scenario, one has to face four main problems, that are the shortage of energy resources, the need to abandon fossil fuels, the cost of energy supply, climate change. These are all important issues that cannot be underestimated.

Bearing all this in mind, HVAC sector is asked to develop alternative solutions that can reduce energy consumption. To do this, there are two key aspects that must be kept into consideration: refrigerants and technology. Since the Montreal Protocol and the more recent European F-Gas Regulation, many steps have been taken towards the abandon of greenhouse gases in favour of gases with low GWP, such as HFO1234ze and R290. But refrigerants alone are not enough if they are not combined with innovative energy efficient technologies. Therefore, manufacturer of HVAC equipment must develop new solutions that require low running current or that could exploit alternative resources, thus reducing energy consumption.

We expect and are already seeing HVAC market moving toward much more sustainable solutions, but there is still much to do. The design of sustainable and energy efficient HVAC solutions is essential to deal with the ever-increasing development of this sector in the “emerging” countries and to face the growing demand for energy supply.

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