New Going Green Codes For Homes & Businesses’ HVAC Systems

ByMarc Silberberg


It is extremely irresponsible and costly to ignore checking your air conditioning and heating systems efficiency in both your homes and businesses. The larger the capacity of the structure the more money is lost when the element is not working at maximum capacity. Add the danger of bad chemicals, viruses and bacteria that are so prevalent today and you have the perfect recipe for disaster. We know from the past the viruses such as Legionnaire’s disease and COVID-19 can be passed on through HVAC systems. Even less serious but annoying allergens and common cold germs are rampant in dirty systems that have not been cleaned and repaired.

By keeping your duct system in tip top shape and checking it at least yearly if not more often depending on how much the volume of usage is, will assure you that you have the cleanest and most expedient system possible. There is no perfect system especially as time goes by and your system’s ducts get old but at least you know that there is no contaminated air coming in whether it is a home, office, or industrial facility.

New Green Guidelines for Developers

Are you New Yorkers aware that New York City has now created new “green” guidelines for builders? Any new building 25,000 square feet or more will have to cut down their greenhouse gas emissions to 40% by 2030. This percentage increases to 80% by 2050 and not following these specific guidelines could mean a one-million-dollar penalty for business owners.

You might think you have a lot of time left since 2030 is almost ten years away, however, the government is really seriously buckling down to counteract climate-change as it affects the way buildings install their energy systems such as duct, heating and cooling systems.

I don’t know about you, but I was curious to see where this “green energy” term originated. Checking online I found this easy-to-understand definition from the Environmental Management Assistance Program: Going green means, reducing the overall environmental impact of your business. When you combine those initiatives with energy efficiency measures that conserve the earth’s resources, you make your business more efficient, and reduce costs.

It is truly amazing how consumers will switch to products from companies that advertise that they are “going green”. This is because this generation is so involved in being in control of the world and thinking they could actually change it. According to a recent study by Nielson, 81% of consumers think that it is important for business owners to introduce programs in their companies that will help contribute to environment improvement.

Why is this so? Well, look at what’s actually going on around the world and specifically in the United States. There is an increase in natural disasters such as freezing temperatures in the Midwest causing the increase of carbon emissions, the wildfires in California and the hurricanes on our own east coast that have caused concerned citizens to ask their favorite businesses to do their part in the worldwide greening movement.

It seems like it is specifically the Millennials who are especially involved in this endeavor. They make up about one trillion dollars of consumer spending. These voices have become quite vocal lately and big businesses are listening. Although today almost no millennial could be without their daily coffee, they do have several brand choices. That’s why Starbucks has introduced low-flow water valves, energy efficient lighting and exact regulation of air conditioning with increased efficiency related to duct and machinery. Now you can be a Starbucks consumer and green at the same time.

Small businesses, by installing sufficient insulation, energy efficient windows and checking and repairing air ducts will have more satisfied clients and employees as well. In a recent survey, 35% of small businesses claimed energy costs as one of their most costly expenditures. One way for them to reduce costs is installing energy efficient HVAC systems. Any HVAC system more than ten years old if replaced can earn the company a saving if over 20% in cooling and heating costs

Large Companies That Have Gone Green

The Disney company has enacted a zero-greenhouse emissions policy in their locations around the world. Their electric and water consumption has been reduced. They are striving to make their production, from gift shop items to larger products, more eco friendly.

Our very own search engine company Google is making great strides in the greening department. It has greatly decreased its energy use while supporting green energy innovations. Google has purchased or funded green energy projects such as buying and installing solar panels and even many new energy windmills.

On the topic of windmill energy production, my family went on a summer vacation to a place in The Berkshires, MA called Jiminy Peak. I learned later that the various windmills on the top of one of the mountains were their main energy source. That’s really putting your money where your mouth is.

Getting back to New York City’s new energy code, one of the major requirements is for “good indoor environmental air quality”. Each type of structure has its own specific coding. Every three years this code system is upgraded. The last year it was upgraded was 2020 and that code set minimum efficiency requirements for both remodeled and new buildings. These standards include but are not limited to the following: heating systems, lighting systems and insulation instructions. For example, a multi-family house with three stories or less would require a ventilation system with characteristics for the recovery of energy and heat.

You may ask, how much energy savings can actually result from such changes?  The answer is about 19 percent for one- and two-family homes as well as smaller multi dwellings. It remains to be seen just how fully we will be able to use our air conditioning and heating systems with all these limitations. That is why it is of the utmost importance to make sure that your home and business HVAC systems are working efficiently. So even if the government decides to put a cap on the lowering of temperature in your cooling system in the summer or not letting the temperature get too high in the winter to conserve energy, your system will be at its max for efficiency. In fact, there’s a good chance that with the right heating and cooling specialist checking out your system, it could work better with a thermostat limitation than it did prior to calling in the HVAC specialist.  Perhaps you have found that no matter how low you make the temperature in the summer, your home or business is not cool enough. This may have little to do with your thermostat and much to do with the hidden ducts and connectors. A small hole in a duct could lower the efficiency of your air conditioning system causing it to work less efficiently.

So even if you are not the typical environmentalist and don’t believe in global warming, it is still prudent to get your HVAC system checked regularly. There is no cause more important than money and you will save on that even if you are not concerned about saving the environment. You may believe that there is a higher being who is involved in the evolution of the climate in the world. You may take it for granted if one summer is not so hot and a winter is not so cold. So, what! Who cares?

Right now, as I write there is still a question about Congress’s over three trillion Infrastructure Bill which is trying to be passed through the Senate and House. There is such a great variety of proposals hidden in this massive bill, something for everyone, as varied as the largest candy store. Inside the proposal are many recommendations for the improvement of climate change and increased energy efficiency. We don’t know if this bill will ultimately be passed but what we do realize is that anything electric such as HVAC systems consume fuels which environmentalists claim is heating up our planet within their opinion, only ten years left to fix this issue.

Whichever camp you are in, be it the “Green Climate Camp” or the “Green Money Camp” get your air conditioning and heating systems checked often. Make sure you use a recommended professional who can explain to you the new codes and how much they will cost to implement as well as explain to you the more practical aspects of repairing your system especially if it is more than ten years old. Heating and cooling systems are constantly in use. There is no way any structure, be its owner a green advocate or not can function without heating and cooling. There are many new technologies, such as remote thermostatic control from a smartphone that can reduce the energy usage and costs of your HVAC system. As the government continues to put legal provisions on harmful emissions, HVAC companies are getting on board with many new innovations to make your cooling and heating systems the color green.

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