In recent years, much has been reported on the detrimental environmental impact on processes and products we’ve simply taken for granted for years. As a result, building owners have become more concerned about reducing their facilities carbon footprints and doing their part to preserve the environment. What role do HVAC systems play? What should the environmentally responsible owner understand about HVAC systems and the environment?
The primary environmental concern with heating and cooling systems is their potential contribution to ozone depletion. Most early air conditioning units used a refrigerant called R12. Like many types of early refrigerants, R12 is a chlorofluorocarbon (CFC). CFCs are a group of compounds that have been found to have unusually high potential to damage the ozone layer. R12 fell out of favor with manufacturers of HVAC systems when new standards imposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the mid-90s made it unlawful to vent R12 into the atmosphere.
For the last 15 years or so, newer refrigerant called R22 has been used in place of R12. Although still harmful to the ozone layer, R22 represents a significant improvement over R12. However, R22 is being phased out in favor of more environmentally sound refrigerants thanks to updated environmental protection regulations which took effect in 2010. The replacements (like R410A) contain no ozone depleting chemicals, operate much more efficiently and are much more reliable.
In addition to concerns about damage to the ozone layer, there are also growing concerns over fossil fuel consumption and the environmental impacts of burning these fuels. And so, like all industries, the HVAC industry also faces pressures to improve energy efficiency.
Call AAA Energy Service to discuss how we can help!
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