4 Technologies That Will Transform HVAC for New Construction Projects

After nearly two months in quarantine, Americans are looking forward to spending time outdoors and enjoying the sunlight and fresh air. But as summer approaches, most homeowners are dreading the high electricity bill that will come in the mail once the air conditioner starts to run 24/7.

Though air conditioning units have become significantly more efficient over the past few years, there is still much that can be done to lower energy expenditures and costs. Here are a few projects the U.S. Department of Energy’s Building Technologies Office is developing (or has recently completed) to help homeowners lower their electricity bill, especially during the summer.

Advanced heat exchanger

The goal of this project is to “develop a manufacturing procedure for a serpentine heat exchanger for heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems that has 90% fewer joints than current heat exchangers.” If successful, the project will help reduce refrigerant charge by as much as 475 TBTU annually by 2030.

Learn more about the project.

Enhanced dehumidification control

The goal of the project was to reduce “the cost and complexity of traditional closed gas-fired systems by streamlining, and even eliminating, certain components.” The project was undertaken by a team of scientists from the University of Florida and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory who was able to develop a system that draws energy from the surrounding air as well as from natural gas.

Learn more about the results of the project.

Membrane-based rooftop air conditioner

The goal of the project is to “demonstrate improved comfort and control with a system that eliminates climate-sensitive refrigerants and demonstrates a 30 – 50% reduction in electrical consumption from today’s RTUs” (or rooftop units). If successful, the technology will be applied in cooling, heating and refrigeration systems.

Learn more about the project.

Chemical-free heat pump

The United Technologies Research Center undertook a project demonstrating an electrocaloric heat pump that will be approximately 50% smaller than current models, operate at a quieter level and cost less to maintain. If the project is successful and the heat pump is commercialized, greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced by 60 million metric tons per year.

Learn more about the project.