Coal, oil, and natural gas — provide about 95% of the world's energy. The consumption of fossil fuels, however, poses serious environmental problems. When fossil fuels are burned, gases and particles like ash, sulfur, nitrogen and carbon are released into the atmosphere, all of which can be harmful to the environment. The processes of extracting and transporting fossil fuels are also of environmental concern since they often disrupt local ecosystems and require tremendous amount of energy. Furthermore, fossil fuels are a limited resource as there is a finite supply. Reducing energy consumption and finding alternative energy methods are essential to ensuring that the world's fossil fuel supplies are not depleted.
Consequentially, like all major appliances, heating and cooling systems are becoming more energy efficient thanks to new EPA standards designed to reduce fossil fuel consumption and associated emissions. Not only are high-efficiency HVAC systems reducing the amount of energy it takes to heat or cool your facility; new construction methods and improved insulation are making it easier for HVAC systems to keep your facility warm or cool.
Geothermal heat pumps and variable speed motors are just two examples of recent improvements in HVAC efficiency. The most energy-efficient heating option available today, a geothermal heat pump transfers heat into the living/working space from the ground in winter, and pulls heat from the space in summer to provide a cooling effect. Geothermal heat pumps use 30% to 40% less energy than their traditional counterparts. Variable speed motors improve efficiency by maintaining a more constant temperature and by eliminating energy-hogging "blasts" of heated or cooled air.
HVAC systems are all assigned SEER or EER ratings. The Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) of a particular cooling device is the ratio of output cooling (in Btu/hr) to input electrical power (in Watts) at a given operating point (indoor and outdoor temperature and humidity conditions). The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) has the same units of Btu/W•hr, but instead of being evaluated at a single operating condition, it represents the expected overall performance for a typical year's weather in a given location. The higher the rating, the more efficient the system is. A SEER of 10 was common for systems manufactured in the early 1990s, but by 2006, a rating of 13 was the norm. Now we're able to achieve a SEER of 15 or higher. This translates to much lower energy costs for building owners and less environmental impact
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