How technology is influencing HVAC for the better

The HVAC industry has come a long way since the introduction of the first electric furnace in 1861. Today, there is a push towards AI-powered automated heating systems, driving innovation and market growth. The global market for HVAC systems is projected to reach USD 277 billion by 2025, with India’s HVAC industry expected to grow to approximately $30,000 million by 2030. This growth is attributed to the adoption of smart home automation systems and IoT, infrastructure development, rising disposable income, and government initiatives focusing on energy efficiency. “Riding the technology wave that disrupted nearly every sector, the Heating, Ventilation, and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) sector has undergone changes tuned to better sustainability quotient and ensuring energy-saving interventions while ensuring comfort,” explains Gaurav Bawa, Senior Vice President, WIKA India.

What’s new
Initially, the development of HVAC technology centered around mechanical improvements and enhanced efficiency. However, the present focus has shifted towards sustainability, comfort, and energy conservation, which are crucial in light of the current climate impact and the rising need for effective heating and cooling systems. “The biggest game changer has been the integration of artificial intelligence and machine learning, which enables HVAC systems to analyze vast amounts of data, optimize performance, and predict maintenance needs, resulting in further energy savings, lower costs, and improved system longevity. Advancements in the field of applied AI driven by ever-increasing computation power and supported by the cloud ecosystem has been a reckoning force which is acting as a key driver of growth and innovation for HVAC industry,” says Anand Mahurkar, CEO and Founder, Findability Sciences.

AI and machine learning have transformed the HVAC industry, allowing for data analysis, performance optimization, and maintenance prediction, resulting in energy savings and system longevity. IoT devices have enhanced energy management and comfort optimization, resulting in efficient and personalized solutions. Smart HVAC units can be controlled through mobile devices and use smart vents, thermostats, and sensors for efficient cooling, sensing outside temperature, and occupants’ habits. Gaurav shares, “The sensors detect movement and adjust cooling accordingly. The system communicates with ducts and thermostats to maintain a desired temperature, while smart vents detect leaks and carbon monoxide. These automated controls lead to less electricity consumption and emissions, fully optimizing the system.”

The adoption of smart HVAC technology has rapidly increased in the modern world. These systems are designed to optimize energy efficiency, comfort, and indoor air quality with data and AI as the foundation of this smart ecosystem. Anand mentions the key factors driving this trend:
• Energy Efficiency and AI: An AI driven HVAC system can ensure optimal settings across various zones within an establishment. This automated control also allows for more precise and flexible adjustments as compared to a fixed parameter traditional HVAC system, leading to a more energy efficient solution.
• Comfort: The strength of an AI-driven HVAC system lies in the algorithms on which the framework is built. By studying customer usage patterns, the system can automatically adjust to user preferences. Sensor data can be used to create personalized experiences through complex algorithms.
• Indoor air quality: AI-powered HVAC systems can analyse real-time data to adjust to occupancy and indoor air quality, including proactive responses to increased occupancy triggering CO management.

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