A study cited in ACHR News a few years ago forecast the 2015 HVAC demand at $17 billion, with heat pumps making the strongest gains of any heating equipment. The survey also showed rising interest in geothermal heat. We’ve seen much of this forecast become a reality, in part due to the increase in residential construction, increased interest in energy-efficient HVAC systems, as well as success in the commercial market place that can be translated into benefits for the residential market. In addition, incentives for energy-efficient systems have also sparked upgrades and increased spending on HVAC systems.
Heat pumps have become important for both heating and cooling. First widely accepted in the commercial market both in the U.S. and overseas, geothermal heat pumps have shown significant growth. They are environmentally friendly, using the earth’s heat to generate their own energy for heating. According to the Department of Energy’s website, www.energy.gov, the ground temperature a few feet below the earth’s surface is relatively constant, ranging from 45°F to 75°F, and it is warmer than the air above it in wintertime and cooler than the air above it in summertime. The geothermal heat pumps exchange heat with the earth.
These systems will take a while to be mainstream simply because they are more costly at first, but the pay-off in the end promises to be well worth it. To jump-start the market, heat pumps and geothermal heating and cooling systems will offer tax incentives for people who install them. The Department of Energy’s website claims the additional costs for installation will be realized in energy savings in five to 10 years. The site estimates that there are approximately 50,000 geothermal heat pumps installed in the U.S. annually.
If these numbers keep inching upward – and we’re cautiously optimistic – the residential HVAC market will, indeed, fulfill the forecasts about a recovering HVAC market.