As the world becomes more and more advanced, new designs and ideas are emerging to make HVAC an efficient, easily accessible part of our lives. Here, our HVAC company shares eight of the latest developments that are transforming the heating and cooling world:
Thermally Driven AC
With the ongoing shift towards renewable energy, some companies are beginning to harness things like solar or wind power and are channeling them into their air conditioner designs. For example, Australian company Chromasun has already created a low-cost AC unit that is thermally driven by solar energy and supplemented by natural gas. It may take awhile for the design to become widespread, but we could be seeing more thermally driven units in the future.
Using your air conditioning only when you need it is the key to energy savings and a smaller carbon footprint, which is why engineers at MIT have developed a movement-activated AC unit. The unit utilizes aluminum rods fitted with sensors and hung from the ceiling to detect when someone is in the room. It will then kick on the cold air so that you use it only when you need it.
Instead of transforming warm air into cold air, California-based company Ice Energy has come up with a way to start with cold air. Their product, the Ice Bear, freezes water overnight inside of a tank and then uses it the next day to help cool buildings. Once the ice is gone, a conventional air conditioner takes over. It may be awhile until we see a product like this in homes, but it’s a good start.
Geothermal Heat Pumps
Geothermal heat pumps aren’t exactly a new technology, but they’ve been successful investments for both business owners and homeowners. These pumps harness the consistent heat of the earth and use it to power the unit and transform warm air to air conditioning or cold air to heat. In addition, it can also produce hot water, making it an all-in-one piece of technology. Today, more and more homeowners are considering the benefits of geothermal heat pumps.
Dual Fuel Heat Pumps
Homes and businesses with access to both electricity and gas can benefit from a dual fuel heat pump (now made by several U.S. companies). These pumps provide an efficient way to take advantage of two types of energy in order to maximize the benefit of each. In low temperatures, the heat pump uses low-cost gas for power; once the temperature rises, it switches to electricity to help save money in the long run.
If you’ve ever used a laptop, you know it can get pretty hot as it runs. Because of this, two companies – Project Exergy and Nerdalize – have their sights set on using this heat as a heating source for air and/or water. This could mean lower costs for businesses and homeowners as well as an opportunity to reduce the energy needed to cool down server rooms.
Today, there are lots of different ways to control your home using apps. From video surveillance to security systems to lighting and more, we are now able to turn things on and off with the push of a phone or tablet button. Because of this, engineers are developing HVAC systems that cater to the mobile world and easy-to-use technologies.
We’re not too far from the possibility of fully automated homes and with that comes the idea of automated appliances. With things like refrigerators and dishwashers designed to make our lives even more convenient, it’s only a matter of time before HVAC systems are also directly tied to our homes.