Estimates show that the number of High Performance HVAC Contractors in North America is currently somewhere between 5 and 10% of the industry. This group continues to grow at an increasing rate every year.
Furthermore, HVAC service companies everywhere are increasingly discovering there’s a better way to differentiate their businesses, deliver a superior product, take better care of their employees, and make more money. Sound like a tall order? It is. But it’s achievable in baby steps, with significant rewards along the way.
There are many forces at work that will help create the perfect storm for measured performance in the months and years ahead. Government and utilities for example, are discovering traditional energy efficiency measures just aren’t moving the needle fast enough to reach their goals. Many realize the ‘deemed’ approach to efficiency ‘where credit they give for computer-modeled measures ‘ just isn’t cutting it.
While higher efficiencies save energy, they are not getting the expected savings or reduction in peak demand. Minimum cooling efficiencies will rise over the next few years. Perhaps they’ll go to 16 SEER or higher. If and when that happens, it will be even harder to justify utility rebates on equipment replacement alone.
The California Connection
While the country isn’t quite there yet, in California, legislation like Assembly Bill 802 is nearly in place. This new law could change California’s HVAC efficiency landscape as it requires proven reduction in KWs at the meter.
With this law, program implementers must prove savings, and will be on the hook if they don’t materialize. They will need quality HVAC contractors to test their work to prove reduced consumption, home-by-home, and building-by-building.
Contractors who properly install, test, and adjust high performing systems, WILL make their equipment shine ‘improving brand value and image.
There’s an ever-growing mountain of proof that the typical HVAC system only delivers less than 60% of its rated BTUs into the space. Performance-Based Contractors’ know these losses are primarily due to air distribution system issues. They know how to increase delivered BTUs to 85% or more, far exceeding any savings achieved through typical utility program measures. This approach also shaves peak loads, helping utilities avoid building new power plants, or moving energy across the grid to meet peak demand.
But Wait, There’s More
What else is in it for manufacturers and distributors? Contractors who properly install, test, and adjust highly performing systems, will make their equipment shine – improving brand value and image.
How should the industry support Performance-Based contractors? To start, by supporting the right training. Owners, managers, salespeople, and field staff need as much system performance training and support as they can get.
Manufacturers can also help through consumer education. Through their marketing, they can show how contractors who test performance can fix problems ranging from original installation issues, to deterioration of air distribution systems.
When manufacturers encourage consumers to use trained and certified contractors to test, diagnose, and correct HVAC system performance issues, our entire industry wins.
The High Performance HVAC industry is just getting started. If you’re not yet on the path to becoming a Performance-Based Contractor, now is the time to get going!