A quick history
A familiar name appears at the dawn of air conditioning—Willis Carrier. Carrier, after much experimentation, invented the first air conditioner, that we would recognize as such, in 1902. The first application was not for home cooling, but for a printing company in search of a way to cool paper while printing. In 1914 Carrier manufactured the first air conditioner for a home, installed in a mansion in Minneapolis. The next year, in 1915, the Carrier Air Conditioning company was born. By the 1950s air conditioners were becoming popular, and by 2007 more than 85 percent of homes in the US had some type of air conditioner. Today more than 100 million US homes have air conditioning.
For an industry not yet 120 years old, HVAC technology has grown by leaps and bounds, and new technological innovations are introduced every year. Here are some recent advances, and a peek into the future at what’s to come.
Solar-powered and ice-powered air conditioning
Solar-powered air conditioning is exactly what it sounds like, a system that uses sophisticated roof-top solar panels to collect solar power and convert it to energy that powers the HVAC system. Ice-powered air conditioning freezes water during the night, when the load on the electric grid is lessened, then uses that ice during the day to aid in air conditioning.
Dual fuel heat pump
Quite simply, the dual fuel heat pump combines both electric and gas in one system, using whichever is most energy efficient given the outside temperature.
In 2018, 13% of US homes had smart, or programmable, thermostats. That number has continued to grow since then, and that growth rate is expected to continue. There’s a simple reason for that—smart thermostats make homes much more energy efficient, delivering real energy cost savings. Smart thermostats give the homeowner precise, easy control over their home energy consumption.
Variable speed fans
Chances are, the blower and ventilation fan on your heating and cooling system has one speed – on or off. The variable speed fans that are available, however, give you more latitude, allowing the unit to determine which speed is needed to satisfy the thermostat set point. This provides you with a higher level of comfort and, saves energy and money!
Movement activated air conditioning
Imagine this . . . air conditioning that kicks on when you walk into a room, then cycles down when the room is empty. Once the engineering challenges are worked out, this could be a game changer in energy efficiency.
Fully automated smart homes
It may sound like we’re getting into Jetsons territory here, but the technology is just about available. You can already control your thermostat, lighting, security system, home entertainment system and even your refrigerator right from your smartphone. Fully automated smart homes take that just one step further, by integrating all of those systems, allowing them to communicate and work together for true energy consumption efficiency.
On-demand hot water recirculator
We all do it—turn the hot water on, then let it run while we wait for it to heat up. An on-demand hot water recirculator diverts that wasted water back into the system, for real, concrete savings.
Finally, green is good
HVAC systems have long had a large carbon footprint, but new technology is making that better now, and more is on the way. There is quiet duct wrap that not only reduces heat loss, but is manufactured from recycled denim fabric, which means that denim does not end up in landfills. Better, more environmentally friendly refrigerants are replacing those that were damaging to the ozone layer. Geothermal heat pumps have been around for decades, and are popular in Europe, but are starting to catch on here because they are more energy efficient at heating and cooling your home, and also have a smaller carbon footprint.
Give Crown Heating and Cooling a call! We love to talk about new HVAC technologies and how they can help you.