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Using HVAC against Global Warming

According to the World Building Council, the building sector must operate at “net zero carbon” by 2050 if global warming is to remain under two degrees Celsius, the limit enshrined in the Paris Agreement. At least two approaches using HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) technologies are looking good to help.

The VRF (variable refrigerant flow), also known as VRV (variable refrigerant volume), is an HVAC technology invented by Daikin Industries, in 1982. VRFs use refrigerant as the cooling and heating medium. This refrigerant is conditioned by one or more condensing units and is circulated within the building to multiple indoor units. 

Unlike conventional chiller-based systems, VRV/VRF allows for varying degrees of cooling and in more specific areas may supply hot water in a heat recovery configuration while improving overall building energy efficiency. Also, air handlers and large ducts are eliminated, which can reduce the height above a dropped ceiling as well as structural impact as VRF uses smaller penetrations for refrigerant pipes instead of ducts. This translates into lower integration costs and higher energy savings with a corresponding reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

The second technology is geothermal heating and cooling. According to Global Market Insights the geothermal market is anticipated to growing to $50 billion per year in 2027. Geothermal heating and cooling systems have a significant potential to reduce the energy footprint and environmental impact of buildings.

In addition to offering the highest efficiency among the HVAC options commercially available, geothermal systems eliminate on-site fossil fuel combustion. Increasing regulations around emissions are creating opportunities for geothermal localized distribution plants to offer a clean source of renewable energy that, unlike solar and wind energy, can be scaled to match a buildings overall size and energy demands.

Anticipating this growth, Kontrol Technologies Corp., a provider of smart building technologies, is entering into the net zero building infrastructure market using both these approaches through its operating subsidiary Global HVAC and Automation. Global has completed its first integrated installation of VRV/VRF technology and will commence quoting geothermal technology solutions to their customers yet this year.

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