HVAC Energy Efficiency

Heating Energy
Water heating is more efficient for heating buildings and was the standard
many years ago. Today forced air systems can double for air conditioning
and are more popular. The most efficient central heating method is
geothermal heating.

Energy efficiency can be improved even more in central heating systems by
introducing zoned heating. This allows a more granular application of heat,
similar to non-central heating systems. Zones are controlled by multiple
thermostats. In water heating systems the thermostats control zone valves,
and in forced air systems they control zone dampers inside the vents which
selectively block the flow of air.

Air Conditioning Energy
The performance of vapor compression refrigeration cycles is limited by
thermodynamics. These AC and heat pump devices move heat rather than
convert it from one form to another, so thermal efficiencies do not
appropriately describe their performance. The Coefficient-of-Performance
(COP) does, but this dimensionless measure does not enjoy wide use like the
dimensional Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER). To more accurately describe the
performance of air conditioning equipment over a typical cooling season a
modified version of the EER is used, and is the Seasonal Energy Efficiency
Ratio (SEER). The SEER article describes it further, and presents some
economic comparisons using this useful performance measure.
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