7 Ways To Glimpse The Future of HVAC (Number 4 Is Our Favorite) | Rockwall, Texas
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
-Arthur C. Clarke
The basics of your HVAC system haven't changed a whole lot in the last 100 years. The systems today work, essentially the same way the did then. To cool, they absorb heat from the house, and remove it at the condensing unit outside using mechanical means(the compressor). The same is true of building materials like insulation and windows...pretty basic.
Well, it looks as though that's going to change over the next several years. We put together a list of upcoming home comfort technologies that will be the future of air conditioning, heating, and building science.
The Future is so Bright
1. Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, in partnership with Georgia Tech and IntelliChoice Energy, is developing an energy storage system that integrates with HVAC units to reduce the overall energy requirements of A/C systems by utilizing waste-heat that would otherwise be lost in traditional systems. Integrating ground-level diverse energy storage with HVAC could reach overall energy storage efficiency of 70% and improve HVAC performance by 35%.
2. The University of Florida is developing a prototype that combines a water heater, dehumidifier, and air cooler, which could result in more efficient heat transfer. This technology provides enhanced dehumidification control in residential buildings, resulting in better comfort and significant energy savings.
3. United Technologies Research Center in Connecticut is exploring electrocaloric, solid-state technology(here) to develop a heat pump that will keep a space cool without using any chemical refrigerants. This technology is ideal for residential and small commercial buildings. It’s small and quiet, and could result in 25% system efficiency improvement. And, with fewer mechanical parts, overall reliability could be improved—reducing your chances of losing A/C in the midst of a heat wave!
4. Magnetic air conditioners take an entirely different approach to cooling, using magnets instead of compressors and refrigerants to cool the surrounding air. Magnetic air conditioners cool the air by quickly and repeatedly exposing a magnetocaloric material to a magnetic field. Magnetic cooling is one of the closest to market technologies on this list. There are already Magnetically cooled refrigerators in production.
5. The use of thermally driven chillers is a lower cost alternative to electrically driven air-conditioning . These chillers can utilize solar thermal energy to drive them and can be supplemented with cheap natural gas. The most efficient of these systems uses double effect chillers but requires high temperatures (around 350F) as a driving temperature. Such temperatures are beyond the capability of normal solar collectors but are perfect for Chromasun MCT Panels.
6. Engineers at MIT have developed a heat- rejecting film that could be applied to a building's windows to reflect up to 70% of the sun's incoming heat. Below 89f, the material is highly transparent, but, as temps rise above this point they become opaque. Starting at 85f the material takes on more of a translucent or frosted look. It is estimated that if every exterior-facing window in a building had this coating, it would reduce air conditioning and energy costs by 10%. On commercial buildings that adds up to a lot of savings.
7. If you have ever experienced a Freon or refrigerant leak, you'll love this one. Optimized Thermal Systems in Maryland is developing an advanced heat exchanger(in this instance the heat exchanger is referring to an evaporator coil) that minimizes weld joints by 90% compared to current models to reduce refrigerant leakage. By minimizing the joints, refrigerant stays where it should be - working to keep your home cool and energy bills down.
8. Smart Technology has already been working its way into home comfort solution tech. A smart thermostat is one of the fastest and cheapest ways to increase your comfort and decrease your energy bill. The best part is that you don't have to wait for this technology! A Cool Casa representative can help you pick the proper Smart Thermostat for your system and home.
These are just some of the advances in air conditioning and heating technology that are headed to Rockwall and Dallas Texas. If we missed a really cool technology, let us know!