Contracting Business/Kelly Faloon
Endeavor Business Media
Contracting Business/Kelly FAloon
Kelly L. Falloon
Contracting Business/Kelly Faloon
Contracting Business/Kelly Faloon
2024_ahr_expo_resilient_hvac

2024 AHR Expo: Climate Resilient HVAC

Jan. 25, 2024
What happens to HVAC systems when extreme weather events occur?

Last year was the warmest year since global records began in 1850, and global temperatures will continue to rise, according to Climate.gov. This warming has manifested in extreme climate events and violent storms.

What happens to HVAC systems when these weather events occur? Many times, people lose power – no heat, no air conditioning – for days or weeks at a time. The development of resilient building systems and HVAC technology must be a priority for the industry.

Bill Spohn, P.E., president and CEO of TruTech Tools; Eric Kaiser, industry engagement manager of TruTech Tools; and Ben Lipscomb, P.E., (pictured) director of engineering and utility services at National Comfort Institute, spoke on these subjects Jan. 24 at the 2024 AHR Expo in Chicago.

Kaiser explained how heat pumps combined with proper insulation and a generator can keep people comfortable until professionals can restore power and make repairs.

Lipscomb discussed five climate-resilient HVAC goals:

  1. Dramatically reduce emissions relative to fossil-fuel heat sources.
  2. Limit negative impacts on electricity grid reliability.
  3. Handle potential for higher average temperatures and more extreme weather events. 
  4. Provide essential services (such as heating) in an extended grid outing event.
  5. Provide pricing flexibility through peak demand management or fuel flexibility.

He also described best practices in building and system assessment, equipment selection, duct system sizing, home performance improvements, and installation and commissioning.

Spohn ended the session with his experiences building a home with Passive House design. "New construction is not immune" to heating problems. After investigations and troubleshooting, he discovered that his heat pump system was installed by someone on the general contractor's payroll, not a professional HVAC technician.

The solution implemented by a trained HVAC technician was to replace the complete refrigerant circuit (two coils and line set) using proper tools and processes.

About the Author

Kelly L. Faloon | Freelance Writer/Editor

Kelly L. Faloon is a contributing editor and writer to Contracting Business magazine, Contractor and HPAC Engineering. The former editor of Plumbing & Mechanical magazine, Faloon has more than 20 years experience in the plumbing and heating industry. She started a freelance writing and editing business in 2017, where she has a varied clientele.

Faloon spent 3 1/2 years at Supply House Times before joining the Plumbing & Mechanical staff in 2001. Previously, she spent nearly 10 years at CCH/Wolters Kluwer, a publishing firm specializing in business and tax law, where she wore many hats — proofreader, writer/editor for a daily tax publication, and Internal Revenue Code editor.

A native of Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula, Faloon is a journalism graduate of Michigan State University. You can reach her at [email protected].