By Mike Schaefer, Performance Construction Manager, Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US LLC
If there are natural and effective balances in the greater environment, it makes sense for a home environment to have a certain order of things for optimum efficiency. It also follows that those concerned about the health of the overall environment can make their own home “ecosystem” more integrated and thoughtful.
Today’s high-performance, lower-carbon homes reflect this confluence of sustainability, resiliency and performance. A whole-home approach, in which the entire home is considered a single system comprised of interdependent parts, ultimately results in greater efficiencies that help enhance the living environment and the bigger-picture environment.
A key component of the whole-home approach is the HVAC system, which can (and should) work in harmony with other elements of the home, such as framing, walls, insulation, windows, doors, lighting, wiring controls and power sources.
The envelope, please
Today’s high-performing homes have a more airtight envelope, thanks to elements such as smart framing, improved outboard insulation and better cladding. This reduces heating and cooling loads and the risk of condensation, and also impacts the choice of HVAC systems.
Bigger isn’t necessarily better
Oversized HVAC units aren’t as efficient or effective for homes built in a more airtight way. Instead, split-ductless and ducted systems better address lower heating and cooling loads and also conserve more energy while often using less ductwork. These systems are available in a range of capacities to match the needs of a particular home. Meanwhile, as more people utilize solar, wind or hydroelectric power, these systems are also ideal for such greener energy sources. Another bonus: because they have less wear and tear, split-ductless and ducted systems are more durable with a longer life.
A custom fit
While optimizing energy with lower loads, high-performance HVAC systems can be designed for the way people live in their home. For example, split-ductless and ducted systems allow builders to customize the design and keep rooms at temperatures that work best for a particular time of day and for how a room is used. A homeowner can also control comfort zones through better control technologies, including remote controls via mobile devices.
Just as the whole-home approach is optimal for efficiency and environmental impact, it takes a collaborative team to create a high-performing, energy-efficient home, from architects and builders to contractors and HVAC manufacturers. Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC, for its part, offers a Performance Builder Program to develop innovative HVAC systems that meet homeowner needs and requirements.
To learn more, visit metahvac.com. For another example of the power of a collaborative approach to sustainable, resilient design, visit nexthausalliance.com. Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US LLC is a member of the NextHaus Alliance.