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Uncovering Attractive Innovations in HVAC Amidst Evolutionary Growth

Buildings consume 38% of primary energy in the developed world, of which heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) account for roughly 13%. As such, increasing concerns over costs, resource scarcity, and climate change are driving interest in improving HVAC efficiency. In this report, we examine the complex landscape of HVAC technologies and rank established and emerging technologies to identify opportunities with true growth potential. We found that while technology development in the HVAC sector is more or less evolutionary, disruptive technologies exist whose implemenation can reduce building energy consumption significantly.

Table of Contents

  • Executive Summary
    • HVAC Technology Development Is Often Evolutionary, but Energy Saving Options Exist
    • A Steady Growth of Alternative Equipment and Energy Savings Components Will Emerge
  • Landscape
    • Providing a Comfortable Indoor Climate Is a Basic Function of Modern Buildings, but It Is a Massive Energy Sink
    • Current HVAC Technologies Made their Debut in the Early Part of the 20th Century and Are Now Virtually Ubiquitous
      • HVAC Systems have Certain Commonly-Understood Key Performance Indicators
      • Standards Bodies Evaluate and Assign Values to These Thermodynamic Standards for Efficiency
      • The Workhorses Are Vapor Compression Air Conditioning Systems, Boilers, and Furnaces
      • But There Are Alternatives with Growing Adoption Trajectories
      • The Selection of Current Technology Is Heavily Influenced by Regulation, Geography, Building Type, and - Most Importantly - Cost
    • Regulations and Environmental Concerns Are Pushing HVAC Improvements
      • There Are Improvements to Be Made to AC Systems and Heat Pumps
      • Alternative Cooling Systems, Humidity Control, and Ventilation Systems Make Strides
      • And of Course, Design and Controls Make All the Difference
      • Rehabbed Buildings Are Constrained, but the Sky Is the Limit for New Construction
      • Landscape Conclusions
  • Analysis
    • Benchmarking HVAC innovations for energy and cost savings.
    • Higher-efficiency Equipment Is Replacing the Standard Tech, but at a Rate to Be Expected
      • More Advanced Equipment Is Creeping Up on Standard Technologies, but the Adoption Is Incremental
      • Performance Improving Components Prove Their Value Via Many Possible Opportunities
      • Despite the Lack 0f a Silver Bullet, Building and Home Owners Have the Tools to Reduce Energy and HVAC Costs
  • Outlook
  • About Lux Research
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