HVACR & Net Zero
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning and refrigeration systems have a profound impact on the whole life carbon emissions of buildings, whether in homes or non-dwellings.
From the specification of equipment to installation and operation, HVACR equipment must be a significant part of any carbon reduction strategy.
Embodied carbon and HVACR
CIBSE TM65: Embodied carbon in building services: A calculation methodology was published in 2021. It provides a method for calculating the embodied carbon footprint of mechanical, electrical and public health (MEP) systems – stating that MEP could account for between 2% to 27% of a building’s embodied carbon footprint.
The document provides useful insights into reducing the embodied carbon of MEP systems, including some straightforward advice on specifying products with:
- low refrigerant Global Warming Potential (GWP) and leakage rates
- long lifetimes – replacement with new equipment increases the building carbon footprint
- lower weight
- materials with low embodied carbon
- products and components that can be demounted and re-used
- products that can be disassembled and materials recycled
- easy accessibility for inspection, maintenance and replacement
Operational Carbon and HVACR
The operational carbon of HVAC arises largely from its energy use. Specifying for energy efficiency should already be on the agenda for most projects, however, the focus on long-term carbon emissions gives an extra boost to the selection of efficient products.
It’s also important to support long-term energy efficient building operation. For example, with the use of building controls that allow users to set timers and optimise temperatures. Simple approaches such as demand control can ensure that spaces aren’t heated or cooled when unoccupied.
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Page last updated on 3 October 2023