By: Kevin Williams
Categories: HVAC Electrical Solar
HVAC contractors will play a crucial role in the ongoing development of the smart grid. But what exactly will their part entail as smart grid technology becomes more ubiquitous? While nobody can predict the future, there are several specific instances in which the expertise of anHVAC contractor will be needed to facilitate the development of smart grid features such as smart homes, smart cities, and home automation. These include:
Integration between renewables or microgrids with the smart grid – While sometimes used interchangeably, the terms "microgrid" and "smart grid" don’t mean the same thing. A microgrid is an electrical network that allows for energy generation and storage within a specific locale. A smart grid is an integrated system of utilities, consumers, and distributed-energy resources that allows for two-way communications throughout the grid.
HVAC contractors can help integrate renewable energy sources with the smart grid such as solar or wind power. The purpose is to introduce more energy and resilience to the smart grid while allowing energy consumers to receive the benefits of the bilateral communications with utilities. These benefits include the potential for decreased energy costs as well as immediate notification of power outages or other malfunctions.
Smart HVAC systems – The influence of the Internet of Things (IoT) hasn’t been lost on the HVAC industry. There are new HVAC systems and products that are constantly being produced which take advantage of the interconnectedness of the IoT. These include smart heating and cooling systems, smart ventilation systems, and smart home comfort control systems such as smart thermostats. Naturally, HVAC professionals are needed to select, install, and maintain these systems on behalf of consumers and corporate clients.
Energy storage – The energy storage market is booming. It experienced a 243 percent increase in 2015 and is likely to continue growing for the foreseeable future. However, energy storage systems require the expertise of a certified HVAC contractor to be installed. This also means that there’s an opportunity for HVAC contractors to sell or resell energy storage systems as well as to perform regular maintenance to ensure that they’re always operating efficiently.
Smart grid technology is the way of the future. It’s more efficient, less costly, and less wasteful than traditional grid infrastructure. HVAC contractors will play a key role in facilitating the implementation of the smart grid because of their specialized knowledge and expertise.