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HVAC Should Clear the Air on These Industry Challenges

Things are really heating up in the world of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. According to analysis from Research and Markets, the U.S. HVAC industry will generate nearly $70 billion in revenue over the next six years.

What drives these gains today, and how can HVAC manufacturers ensure their continued prosperity into 2022 and beyond?

Continue progress on energy efficiency
Residential and commercial HVAC use represents a considerable energy cost expenditure for investing families and business. Even though programs like Energy Star and manufacturer dedication to greener designs have cut significantly into consumption rates across markets, there’s still a long way to go.

HVAC industry

Homes and businesses want the HVAC industry to deliver on efficiency.

Presently, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates 48 percent of household energy costs come directly from HVAC systems or appliances. A recent DOE report shows commercial energy consumption for space heating, space cooling, and ventilation currently stands at 5.53 quadrillion Btus per year, more than 30 percent of the sector’s total energy use.

Many manufacturers have already found a solution to an oft-cited HVAC problem in wall-mounted split model HVAC systems. These appliances close the wide gap between large commercial HVAC installations requiring ductwork and smaller residential products like window units or freestanding systems. Users can compartmentalize their HVAC energy consumption room by room and optimize use without worrying about window availability or floor space. Projected growth in construction over the next few years could push contractors and property owners to forego traditional ductwork HVAC for split models to keep costs low from the start. Manufacturers would be wise to add a split model design to their product line or develop new technology that offers the same middle ground between large and small units.

Secure products featuring smart connectivity
Even as it gains technological traction, the Internet of Things has already not only revolutionized manufactured goods the world over, it has forever changed how manufacturers develop and analyze their operations from supply to distribution.

Obviously, manufacturing isn’t the only industry interested in what the IoT has to offer, but HVAC manufacturers have a unique opportunity to provide its customers with value propositions once thought unachievable: Absolute oversight over HVAC usage and other data that can help achieve leverage against high energy rates.

However, a word of caution to manufacturers: Your IoT-enabled HVAC products will require high-level network security savvy. Remember Target’s 2013 data breach? Forty million credit card numbers were stolen from 2,000 store locations, all because of a single set of access credentials taken from a third-party HVAC vendor, according to an SANS Institute study.

Could breaches like this one, as well as many others bearing similar earmarks, prompt commercial businesses looking for cutting-edge HVAC solutions to throw the full weight of their IT teams behind all future investments? That is to be expected. HVAC manufacturers developing IoT-connected products should prepare for heightened scrutiny and offer bold new visions in return, including innovations that allow businesses to more easily monitor, analyze, and act on energy data with in-house expertise. Or, if the HVAC industry doesn’t want to lose profits from their newfound energy consultancy services, they should turn their attention internally to how they secure data from their clientele.