If you’ve been paying attention to the news and various laws that have passed, you’ll note that reducing carbon emissions is becoming a priority for many state legislatures. Reducing carbon emissions is a collective responsibility: one that companies, government organizations, and individual community members must focus on.
With a community effort, we can create the kind of change we need for a better, healthier world. At Donnelly Mechanical, we’re here to help you achieve emissions compliance — while also saving you money long-term on your energy bills.
Here’s what you need to know about carbon emission reduction and HVAC.
Why Is It Important to Reduce Carbon Emissions?
As carbon emissions are released, the temperature on our planet increases. This global warming has devastating impacts. You may have read about the continuously melting polar ice caps, which leads to a large rise in sea levels. Animals such as polar bears are already experiencing shrinking habitats, putting them at serious risk of becoming endangered — and this is just one example of the devastating effects of climate change.
If we don’t reduce carbon emissions and reverse the effects of climate change in the limited time we have left, generations after us will experience the extinction of vital species, the loss of land space (say goodbye to beachfront property), severe weather, and shrinking availability of resources, including food.
A carbon footprint is the amount of measurable impact a person, building, or business has on the environment. For an individual, that covers everything from the meat you eat to the number of children you have. For a building or a company, the carbon footprint involves everything from the heating, cooling, and electrical use of running the office building, manufacturing plant, etc. to the amount of air travel its employees do. Due to scale, businesses have a larger carbon footprint than people do and commercial buildings frequently have a larger carbon impact than a residential home, but there are ways to reduce any carbon footprint.
What Causes Carbon Emissions?
Energy is an expensive resource, and its production contributes to carbon emissions. We think about air travel and unnecessary car trips when we discuss energy and climate change, but what about the other energy we can’t live without — heating and cooling buildings and businesses?
Burning fossil fuels such as oil and gas to heat and cool buildings is a major cause of carbon emissions. According to an International Energy Agency report issued October 2019, the United States was the second largest producer of carbon emissions worldwide, with China in first place and India third. Increased research and development for renewable energy is working to provide practical alternatives to fossil fuels.
Why Are HVAC Costs Increasing Your Carbon Footprint?
As temperatures and conditions become more extreme due to climate change, heating and cooling costs rise. Your standard HVAC equipment has to work harder. That’s not smart for your bottom line or the environment.
In our New York climate, it costs more to heat a building than it does to cool it, but the production methods for the energy required to both heat and cool the building increases your carbon footprint pretty significantly. HVAC accounts for 40 percent of all carbon emissions, so greater efficiency can net big savings.
How Do I Lower HVAC Costs and Carbon Emissions?
Managing energy settings and HVAC systems provide several ways to lower your carbon footprint.
Change Thermostat Settings
Schedule Routine Maintenance & HVAC Filter Changes
Monitor Ventilation and Air Quality
Upgrade Your System
Check For Any Air Leaks
If possible, set your thermostat to 72 degrees in the summer and 68 degrees in the winter. Even a difference of just a couple of degrees can save on energy consumption and costs.
Regular, routine maintenance is essential to keep your HVAC system running efficiently. Regular HVAC filter changes also helps. When those filters are clogged, your HVAC systems use more energy to heat and cool.
Large commercial buildings, office buildings and apartment complexes have a ventilation system to avoid indoor air stagnation. However, this outside air needs to be heated or cooled, according to the season. Excessive ventilation wastes energy. Installing air quality sensors can help maintain the balance between good indoor air quality and HVAC energy efficiency.
Due to efficiency improvements, newer heating and cooling systems use significantly less energy than systems as recent as 10 years old. While it will cost a bit more at the outset, in the long term, you’ll also save plenty of money with a newer, higher efficiency system.
Additionally, check for any unsealed locations with the change of each season. Air leaks and unsealed windows can really increase the amount of energy you use to heat and cool your structure.
Contact Donnelly Mechanical Today
Ready to consider a more efficient HVAC system? Give us a call at (718) 619-4384 or fill out our contact form online! From inspecting your building for heat loss to upgrading your HVAC, we’re committed to helping you lower overall energy costs while helping the environment, too. We can commit and come together as a community to slowing the damage our heating and cooling systems are causing to the environment.