Renewable Energy: Its Effect on HVAC Systems and All-Electric Building Design

As the push to rely on renewable energy gains traction, the HVAC industry is changing to meet new government standards and consumer expectations by producing greener products and using cleaner processes to do it. To provide the same level of comfort to residences and businesses without dependence on fossil fuels, engineers upgraded HVAC systems to run on electricity. Using renewable resources to generate electricity makes it possible for heating and cooling systems to be environmentally friendly, free of emissions, more efficient, and less expensive. The move to all-electric HVAC systems is in the not-so-distant future for the United States. Engineers are turning to the development and adoption of variable refrigerant flow (VRF) technology as their primary electric heating solution. Instead of burning fuel, an inefficient process that causes energy loss, VRF systems depend on electricity and use heat pumps in place of furnaces and other standard HVAC equipment. In VRF systems, heat is transferred instead of generated. Ducted and ductless systems both utilize heat and cold extracted from the outside air, eliminating fossil fuel generation, making the VRF system significantly more efficient than traditional HVAC systems. An additional factor in their efficiency is the use of R-410a refrigerant which is not only more energy dense than past refrigerants, but also environmentally friendly.

“Variable refrigerant flow systems lose efficiency and their ability to create occupant comfort as the outside temperatures drop.”

One significant downfall of VRF systems is that though they are the most common choice for engineers looking for electric HVAC, they are not the single-source heating and cooling solutions they were promised to be. Variable refrigerant flow systems lose efficiency and their ability to create occupant comfort as the outside temperatures drop. This loss of occupant comfort is most evident in spaces within a facility that experiences little or no solar gain. Radiant Electric Heat’s (REH) infrared electric heat panels, however, exhibit outstanding performance in operational efficiency and provide optimal occupant comfort, even in sub-zero environments. They can also be placed individually or in groups in locations where occupant comfort is compromised. After their simple installation in any location inside a building, REH’s panels produce heat as soon as they are powered on and bring a room to temperature quickly. These panels operate on REH’s patented CeramiCircuit™ technology that replaces the typical filament or calrod with a proprietary element comprised of a carbon steel core, porcelain coating, and aluminum oxide resistive trace, which together provide optimal direct source-to-object heating. Radiant Electric Heat radiant panels are the perfect, environmentally friendly supplements for VRF systems. And while they are most often used as HVAC add-ons, they are gaining popularity as whole-building heating solutions as well. Radiant Electric Heat’s panels can fill in the gaps in heating that other HVAC systems create. They make the typical cold spots warm. Radiant Electric Heat panels are green, efficient, and effective. They rely on electricity to operate and work well with any HVAC system using renewable energy. They offer infinite zone control options that allow users to only operate the units when necessary, assisting in meeting energy efficiency requirements in building codes and lowering electric bills. The heat from REH panels is infrared radiant heat and green in all senses of the word: it is planet friendly, emissions free, and energy efficient.

“REH’s panels rely on simple electric circuitry to generate heat and make no negative environmental impacts.”

Radiant Electric Heat’s radiant heating panels require no refrigerant and no fossil fuels, posing little risk of damage to the environment, or injury to occupants. They also require no maintenance to retain their efficiency and provide decades of cost-effective operation. While they are not renewables themselves, REH’s panels support the use of such resources and make no negative environmental impacts, as they rely on simple electric circuitry to generate heat. As the HVAC industry shifts to working mostly with renewable resources and running on electricity, REH’s panels are valuable additions to and supplements for both traditional and electric HVAC systems. The implementation of these unique panels allows engineers to offer consumers affordable and highly effective supplemental heat options for duct heat pumps and whole-building heating with individualized control for optimal comfort, all without leaving behind an irreversible carbon footprint.

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