BSRIA Worldwide Market Intelligence (WMI) will launch a study to investigate what is likely to happen by the end of this decade, based on the current status of the HVAC market and known future enablers for change.
On the 3rd of November 2021, BSRIA hosted a virtual discussion forum with the title “HVAC 2030” to discuss this initiative. Nigel Cotton moderated the event which was attended by a global audience.
Krystyna Dawson, BSRIA Commercial Director, introduced the event by highlighting the key role that HVAC products and systems play in the construction industry’s efforts to minimise carbon emissions in buildings as we enter a decisive decade for climate action.
Anette Meyer Holley, BSRIA WMI Business Manager, set out the climate ambitions and targets of governments in the US, China, and the EU. Ultimately legislation and incentives will be key to meet carbon neutrality targets. In China, the target to become carbon-neutral is by 2060, 10 years later than Europe and the US. As 99% of buildings are existing buildings it is not enough to target only new build with legislation and incentives, rather it will require solutions for existing buildings which might involve building envelopes – including insulation. The risk is that incentives dry-up before producing the desired effect.
While the US is a consumer-driven, conservative market with regionalised legislation, the European market is policy-driven and there is greater awareness and incentive to switch to more efficient and lower-GWP products. In China, the market is heavily influenced and directed by government legislation and the switch to renewables is a little longer term.
Steve Nadel, Executive Director of ACEEE, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, shared more light in the situation in the US, looking at energy, electrification and the uptake on heat pumps. His main message was that energy efficiency will get you halfway to decarbonisation. One of the major drivers is utilities spending on energy efficiency programmes. In terms of HVAC decarbonisation options, most of the attention is on electrification. Can we switch over to heat pumps using a carbon-free grid? Two limitations are low payback due to low natural gas price and growing winter peaks. The second option is to decarbonise fuel and use energy efficiency but supplies, like renewable natural gas and hydrogen, are limited and expensive. Thirdly, a combination of the two options, especially in cold climates, was presented – particularly with a growing interest in cold-climate heat pumps.