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In today’s age when global warming and its effects on the environment are making headlines each day, it is crucial for facility managers to understand their contributions to decarbonization and take action. Facility managers have a great opportunity to reduce carbon emissions through their choice of HVAC systems, utilities, insulation methods, and more. Fortunately, these decisions do not come at the cost of operations or budgets as most green choices can save you money in both operational costs and financial investments. In this blog post, we will discuss how facility managers can make sustainable green choices that help facilitate decarbonize without breaking the bank.

Understand What Decarbonization is and Why It Matters

Decarbonization is one of the most pressing issues facing our planet today, and understanding its importance is critical to addressing the global climate crisis. Put simply, decarbonization is the process of reducing the carbon footprint of our economy and society. This means reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses that are responsible for the warming of our planet. Achieving decarbonization requires a shift away from fossil fuels, which currently provide the majority of the world’s energy. Instead, we must transition to clean, renewable sources of energy like wind, solar, and hydropower. Decarbonization is crucial in order to avoid catastrophic climate change and create a sustainable future for our planet.

Analyze Your Facility’s Energy Consumption and Identify Areas for Improvement

As businesses strive to become more environmentally conscious, analyzing energy consumption is a crucial step towards sustainability. By examining your facility’s energy consumption, you can identify areas for improvement and implement changes that will reduce your carbon footprint and save money. Performing an energy audit will reveal where energy is wasted and highlight opportunities for improvement, such as upgrading lighting or HVAC systems, implementing energy-efficient equipment, or adjusting employee habits. By taking steps to improve energy efficiency, businesses can not only benefit the environment but also their bottom line.

Energy-Efficiency in Relation to Commercial HVAC

Decarbonization efforts prioritize boosting energy efficiency in HVAC systems. It’s crucial to replace outdated and inefficient units with modern, energy-saving systems. These advanced systems utilize technologies like smart controls, enhanced insulation, and variable speed compressors to greatly reduce energy consumption.

Invest in Renewable Energy Sources Such as Solar, Wind, or Hydroelectricity

Renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydroelectricity hold immense potential to curb carbon emissions and fight climate change. Investing in these sources not only benefits the environment but also the economy. With technological advancements leading to reduced costs, renewable energy is becoming increasingly competitive with traditional fossil fuels. Furthermore, the deployment of renewable energy infrastructure creates jobs and stimulates economic growth. As governments and businesses around the world prioritize sustainability, investing in renewable energy sources can be a wise decision with long-term benefits for societies, the environment, and the economy.

Renewable Energy Integration in Relation to Commercial HVAC

Integrating HVAC systems with renewable energy sources, such as solar power, can greatly diminish the carbon footprint. By harnessing clean energy to power HVAC units, the dependence on fossil fuels diminishes, resulting in a substantial decrease in greenhouse gas emissions.

Implement Energy-Efficient HVAC Systems to Reduce Carbon Emissions


With a growing emphasis on sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint, it’s imperative to look towards implementing smarter and more energy-efficient HVAC systems. These systems align with the goal of reducing our carbon emissions, while also providing benefits such as cost savings and improved indoor air quality.

Utilizing technologies such as variable speed drives and occupancy sensors can cut down on unnecessary energy consumption, while incorporating renewable energy sources like geothermal or solar power can further reduce our environmental impact. By taking a proactive approach towards upgrading HVAC systems, we can not only contribute towards global efforts for a more sustainable future, but also see the direct benefits in our day-to-day operations.


Shifting HVAC systems from using fossil fuels for heating and cooling to electric-powered systems can contribute to the decarbonization of commercial buildings. An excellent example is electric heat pumps, which are not only highly efficient but also capable of providing heating and cooling functions without the need for fossil fuels.

Consider Green Building Materials Such as Recycled Steel and Concrete

We also need to think carefully about every aspect of our lives, including the buildings we construct. The use of green building materials such as recycled steel and concrete can have a significant impact on the environment. These materials not only reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills but also save energy during production. Recycled steel and concrete have similar properties to their non-recycled counterparts, but they require significantly less energy to produce. By opting for these green building materials, we can make our buildings more sustainable and reduce our carbon footprint. As professionals in the HVAC industry, it’s our responsibility to consider the environmental impact of the materials we use and ensure that we contribute to a healthier planet.

Demand Response

By implementing demand response strategies, energy consumption can be effectively managed during peak periods. Buildings can contribute to grid stability and reduce reliance on fossil-fueled power plants by adjusting HVAC system settings or temporarily reducing loads during times of high demand.

Smart Building Technologies

By incorporating smart building technologies, HVAC system performance can be optimized using real-time data. AI-powered controls can dynamically adjust temperature settings, ventilation rates, and airflow to ensure optimal comfort while minimizing energy consumption.

Decarbonization in Light of Local Law 97

2019 saw the introduction of Local Law 97 — a comprehensive legislative package aimed at addressing climate change. This law imposes strict standards on medium and large-sized buildings in NYC, requiring them to significantly reduce their carbon emissions. Starting in 2024, emissions caps will be enforced — with caps tightening over time. 

Donnelly Mechanical can assist you in understanding the potential penalties for your building, ensuring compliance with Local Law 97 guidelines and avoiding hefty fines. We offer a range of services, from initial analysis of your building’s energy use to a full energy audit with system upgrade recommendations.

In conclusion, it is essential to recognize the role that decarbonization plays in protecting our planet’s future. Every small effort we make to reduce carbon emissions can have a powerful and positive impact. By understanding your facility’s energy consumption, investing in renewable sources of energy, utilizing HVAC systems, green building materials, and cleaning practices with low-carbon footprints, our businesses can become active participants in combating climate change. 

Moreover, it is important to ensure HVAC systems receive regular maintenance and upgrades. Investing the time and energy to do so will further prolong your HVAC system’s lifespan.

Donnelly’s Commitment to Decarbonization

At Donnelly Mechanical, our experienced project teams are proactive in their decarbonization efforts. We hold  facility managers in high regard and aim to be as environmentally conscious as possible. Through these efforts, we aim to combat climate change in all its forms. To learn more, please visit our website and contact us today!

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