Energy Efficient HVAC Systems
Thermal Energy Storage, Underfloor Air Distribution, Chilled Beams, and Other Emerging HVAC Innovations for High Performance Buildings
Although the primary purpose of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in commercial buildings is occupant productivity, the objective of most changes to HVAC systems in the next five years will be to decrease energy cost. Because of rising energy prices and the drive to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with building operations, many building owners have begun to manage energy cost actively as an asset, rather than a fixed cost. HVAC accounts for almost one-third of the energy cost in commercial buildings, so these systems hold great potential for energy savings.
The HVAC industry in the United States changes slowly. Most commercial space is in small and medium-sized buildings and is heated and cooled by packaged units sold as commodities. Because of intense price sensitivity in the market, new features are only added as necessary for regulatory compliance and market differentiation. In large buildings, new construction and retrofits are designed for energy cost savings in the range of 20% to 35%, with incremental changes in conventional practices. While unconventional HVAC engineers achieve HVAC energy cost savings well over 50% with improved occupant productivity, at comparable prices, this practice is rare and appears unlikely to spread rapidly. At many levels, from national, state and local governments to corporate boardrooms and ratepayer-sponsored Demand Side Management programs, energy policies have a major impact on the market, driving innovations which would not otherwise occur, while also preventing other innovations which might have occurred.
This Pike Research report explores emerging HVAC innovations for the commercial building market, including building energy management systems, underfloor air distribution, active and multiservice chilled beams, and onsite ice-based thermal energy storage. The study includes an examination of market drivers and challenges, technology issues, profiles of key industry players, scenarios for market adoption, and forecasts for each sector.