Part 1 provided background on the evolution of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems and the increased use of sensors and Part 2 elaborated on sensing in more advanced HVAC systems. In this third and final part, government and industry organization’s effort to change HVAC systems and the impact on sensing will be explored.
In addition to making indoor environments cleaner, safer and more sustainable, governments around the world continue to implement regulations designed to improve HVAC system efficiencies, reduce the use ozone depleting refrigerants and to lower carbon emissions. Sensors play a key role in these efforts allowing manufacturers to meet or exceed the requirements stipulated by these regulations.
Specifically in the U.S., the 2021 Executive Order 14057 targets 100% carbon pollution-free electricity (CFE) by 2035, and a net zero emissions U.S. economy by 2050. To meet these goals, the HVAC industry is actively looking at designs which reduce energy costs and increase efficiencies and sensors will play a critical and prominent role in this effort.
Government regulations change the rules for system designers. As a leading sensor supplier for HVAC applications, TE Connectivity is seeing the interest in sensors to address these regulations. “It’s a topic that is being discussed both with the manufacturers but also with the trade organizations,” says Paul Sittard, Account Manager, Sensors Group at TE Connectivity. “There’s a lot of discussion about the decarbonization of buildings.”
As the standards authority for energy usage in buildings, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) formed its Task Force for Building Decarbonization (TFBD) in Spring 2021. Building decarbonization is an important ASHRAE effort, since the worldwide building sector accounts for about 40% of energy-related carbon emissions and buildings remain a major sector that lacks sufficient mitigation policies.
Previously enacted regulations will impact HVAC within a year. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), beginning in 2023, all new residential central air-conditioning and air-source heat pump systems sold in the United States will be required to meet new minimum energy efficiency standards. Based on seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) as a performance metric, the southern part of the U.S. minimum SEER will increase from 14 to 15 SEER and northern states will increase from 13 to 14 SEER.
“Every time they bring that SEER rating up, they have to have a more efficient system and there are a couple of different ways to do that but typically sensors are part of that because they are running the system,” says Devon Brock, Manager of Product Knowledge and Training, Sensors Group at TE Connectivity. “You need more accuracy and you need more sensors in different parts of the system.”