Table of Contents

How do HVAC Systems Affect the Environment?

Updated August 29, 2022

Did you know that HVAC systems account for nearly half of the energy used in commercial buildings? And, according to the EPA, HVAC systems are also one of the top five sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Fortunately, there are steps green builders can take to improve the HVAC systems and reduce their environmental impact. In this blog post, we’ll explore how HVAC systems work and discuss some ways to make them more efficient. We’ll also take a look at some new technologies that are helping to improve the efficiency of HVAC systems. Stay tuned – we’re going to help you build greener homes while also installing HVAC systems that don’t affect the environment!

Air Conditioning and its Impact on the Environment

Air conditioning has some of the least detrimental effects on the environment when compared to the many other technological advances over the years. Maintaining a cool home in the summer and a warm one in the winter does not significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions or harm marine life.

However, there are still some environmental damages associated with HVAC systems. Listed below are the four negative impacts of using AC units:


Older air conditioners heavily rely on CFC and HFC and significantly contribute to global warming. Even more recent models, which depend more on HFCs and HFOs, contribute significantly to ozone depletion.

Energy used

Depending on the season, the ordinary and normal air conditioner will take between 3000 and 5000 watts of electricity every hour — the warmer the weather, the more power is required. This is obviously more costly and a negative for the environment.

Unclean ducts

It is important to remember that air conditioners also have an impact on the environment on a smaller scale. Each air conditioner has ducts that accumulate dust and germs over time. When the air conditioner is switched on, these contaminants are released.

Materials used

Metals have been a popular choice for the production of air conditioners since its inception, but over time individuals have begun to choose plastic instead. Although both plastics and metals are detrimental towards our environment in different ways – with metal being worse due its non-biodegradability while also contributing negatively toward greenhouse gas emissions during manufacturing processes – it’s clear that we need more sustainable options if want future generations can enjoy clean water sources without constantly worrying about how far away they may live from land filled only half way up by junk!

System Performance Training. On average, the typical ducted HVAC system delivers 57% of the equipment’s rated capacity. Contractors who take NCI’s performance training get the job done right. Learn why ➔

The Environmental Benefits of Energy-Efficient HVAC Systems

HVAC systems are responsible for a large portion of the energy use in commercial buildings, so it stands to reason that environmentally friendly HVAC systems can have a significant impact. The energy used by HVAC systems comes from a variety of sources, including fossil fuels, solar power, and geothermal energy. However, the most common source of HVAC energy is electricity.

When HVAC systems are designed with energy efficiency in mind, they can use less electricity and produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, energy-efficient systems can also save money on utility bills. As a result, green builders should be aware of the environmental benefits of energy-efficient HVAC systems. Here are these two systems were voted to be the most energy-efficient HVAC system:

Open loop geothermal HVAC system

Why is it efficient? Instead of using propane or fuel oil to heat and cool your home, they use the constant temperature of the earth’s surface. One of the most effective heating and cooling systems is an open loop geothermal system.

An open-loop geothermal system is a great way to heat and cool your home with the natural resources around you. It starts by using water from well, pond or lake that enters through an opening in order for it be heated before being chilled again after entering our house via ductwork where we capture any energy then distribute them throughout different rooms as needed!

Ductless mini split HVAC system

The zoned heating and cooling system in your house allows you to control individual thermostats for each space. For instance, if there is a room that’s more comfortable at 70 degrees Fahrenheit while another upstairs bedroom needs 66°F as opposed to 61°F, then this will work perfectly!

Ductless mini split systems are a great way to cool down your home during hot summer months. They work by linking an indoor unit with outdoor compressors. This gives them the ability for duct-free installation in tight spaces that would otherwise not permit such construction.

To construct the zones you desire to heat, an HVAC expert can put these indoor units in various rooms throughout your house. Another advantage is that you may quickly adjust each designated area to your ideal degree of comfort using wireless or cable temperature controls. Compared to conventional ducted systems, this can save up to 40% on energy and expenses.

HVAC Technologies to Consider for New Construction Projects

Advancements to HVAC systems happen not just through energy efficiency. New options are popping every now and then that enable HVAC companies to have versatility. Here are some of the latest technologies the present can offer:

Smart thermostats connect to home monitoring services

Smart home systems let homeowners combine their HVAC technology with other aspects of the house’s operation. Saying “Alexa, set the living room to 72 degrees” on an Amazon Alexa device, for instance, would allow a user who has a Nest Thermostat to modify the temperature with their voice. But if they were to pair the Nest thermostat with compatible Phillips Hue lighting, the HVAC system could recognize when they were away from the house and switch off any lights that were unintentionally left on to conserve energy.

Demand for smart thermostats. It’s only going up. If your business isn’t offering these, you are leaving money on the table. Here are some useful tips and tricks to get started ➔

Smart systems increase preventive maintenance

Before a problem arises, smart HVAC systems can anticipate when maintenance is required. This new technological trend has the potential to transform your connection with your consumers from one in which they only contact you in an emergency to one in which they do so for routine check-ups.

Embedded with sensors, software, and connection, new HVAC technologies that make use of an Internet of Things (IoT) system allow the HVAC system to share data with other connected devices. IoT solutions enhance preventative maintenance by collecting information on equipment status and air quality. Gaining insight into a variety of equipment is now substantially simpler thanks to new, lower-priced IoT.

Customers expect tech-savvy services and technicians

Green builders should partner up with HVAC companies that embrace tech. Customers want to work with contractors that use scheduling and invoicing software to simplify every process. They also want quick access to more details about their work order in one location.

In a recent study by Verizon Telematics, two-thirds of consumers said they wouldn’t use a home service professional a second time that wasn’t tech savvy. Using mobile technology helps in most situations.

How Green-Minded Builders Should Think About HVAC

HVAC is a key part of any building, both commercial and residential. HVAC systems are responsible for maintaining comfortable indoor temperatures and air quality. As such, HVAC systems have a significant impact on the environment both inside and outside of a building.

For builders who are interested in creating green buildings, it is important to consider the environmental impact of HVAC systems during the design and construction process. They can be designed to minimize energy consumption and waste production. Additionally, they can be connected to renewable energy sources, such as solar panels or wind turbines, to further reduce their environmental impact. By carefully considering the HVAC system during the design and construction process, builders can create more sustainable and environmentally friendly buildings.

Success Metrics for Green Builders to Consider

Green builders have always been driven by a desire to create more sustainable, energy-efficient homes. However, it can be difficult to measure the success of these efforts. Some common metrics used to assess the performance of green builders include:

  • energy efficiency
  • water conservation
  • indoor air quality

However, these measures only address a limited aspect of sustainability. To truly assess the success of green builders, a more holistic approach is needed. Some additional factors that should be considered include the:

  • use of renewable materials
  • carbon footprint of the home
  • overall life cycle assessment of the construction process

By taking a comprehensive view of sustainability, green builders can ensure that their efforts are having a positive impact on the environment.

Rob Ambrosetti

Rob Ambrosetti

KGG’s National Training Director and go-to IAQ expert. Rob is a council-certified Indoor Environmental Consultant. He also holds Healthy Home Professional and HVAC Professional certifications from IAQA. Since joining KGG in 2018, Rob has focused on curriculum development and led KGG’s in-house training services. He is also the host of KGG’s industry podcast RepTalk.

We send out a monthly guide on industry trends to hundreds of businesses like yours.

contact us to get started
contact us to get started

Don't miss out on the HVAC industry's top insights

Say goodbye to the stress of staying informed, and let us deliver the next 30 days of your business operation strategy straight to your inbox.