The heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) industry continues to expand, and with new technologies and external forces like extreme weather and a global pandemic bearing down from all angles, it’s crucial for contractors to stay on top of these changes and provide the best service possible to clients to remain competitive. The importance of indoor air quality, ventilation systems and energy efficiency has never been clearer, and with changing government regulations and incentives, the state of the industry has hardly ever been so full of change – or so exciting – before.
Trend 1 – Demand in HVAC systems is rising
Commercial HVAC systems are growing in demand faster than ever, at a rate of more than 7%. Already, more than 90% of U.S. households are using air cooling equipment, spending more than $10 billion a year on HVAC repair and maintenance. And it’s not just that. Homeowners and property managers across the country are looking to become more energy efficient, so homes and commercial buildings alike are starting to transition to new, higher efficiency systems that can reduce energy usage by as much as 50%.
Trend 2 – Adoption of smart thermostats
Making up a large portion of current HVAC projects is the installation and use of smart thermostats in homes, apartment buildings and commercial buildings. Building owners and utility payers love the energy-saving features that reduce costs, as well as the increased control over interior temperatures and comfort.
Trend 3 – Demand for energy-efficient HVAC systems
Naturally stemming from the growth of smart thermostats, is an increased demand for energy efficient HVAC systems. While not every smart thermostat requires a pro to install, new HVAC systems do.
Innovations in furnace technologies reduce both energy consumption and the output of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions include:
Options like these allow building owners to prioritize clean indoor air and lower emissions, without sacrificing comfort or increasing cost.
Trend 4 – Increase SEER ratings for AC units
On the cooling side, there has been a marked spike in demand in SEER ratings, which indicate the efficiency of AC units, using less energy while kicking out more cold air and providing lower energy bills for building owners. This is especially critical as temperatures continue break record highs across the country.
Consumers use SEER ratings as a crucial factor in deciding which AC unit to install. Government regulations encourage the adoption of highly rated units with its incentive programs.
Trend 5 – Ductless HVAC systems
Homeowners have also embraced ductless systems, partly because of their energy efficiency but also because of their flexibility. Because they don’t require any ductwork for installation, it’s a less invasive process. This is particularly appealing for people in older homes, where traditional ductwork simply isn’t feasible.
Trend 6 – Transition to low-GWP Refrigerants
The HVAC industry is embracing low-GWP (Global Warming Potential) refrigerants, like freon. New systems adhere to updated standards and building owners are replacing outdated systems, like R-22, with new options, with less harmful effects for people and the planet.
These new systems also have the added benefit of being more efficient and improving the overall performance of the HVAC system.
Trend 7 – Labor shortages continue
Across the trades, labor shortages continue to impact contracting businesses, with 546,000 projected net new jobs this year. Many companies are struggling to complete jobs and attract enough skilled workers, which means the next decade is going to have quite the labor gap, even as the job outlook for HVAC technicians is expected to increase by 5% by 2031.
How contractors are responding
With consumer demand growing and contractors competing for fewer and fewer trade pros, businesses are looking for any way to get more bang for their buck, do things more efficiently and attract the best talent. All of that comes down to quality. To attract quality projects, they need quality people and quality tools.
To keep their edge, HVAC contractors should stay on top of industry trends, including embracing smart thermostats, energy-efficient systems, SEER ratings for AC units, ductless systems and more. By learning about new advancements, continuing to provide high-quality service and using durable tools, contractors will continue to keep us all safe and comfortable.
Check out how Malco makes sure our products are top-quality.