When you think of electrification, electrical contractors might come to mind. However, HVAC contractors play a key role in commercial electrification. Part of electrification is installing renewable energy systems to partially or completely offset the electrical load of a building. HVAC contractors control heating and air conditioning, which can be the most energy-intensive components of the building’s electrical load. A comprehensive supply chain management platform can help reveal where the HVAC field fits into an overall electrification scheme.
The electrification space has often been associated with electricians. But HVAC technicians are now playing a major role in the greater approach to building electrification and energy efficiency. They offer a unique and specific solution for multi-family property managers and owners.
As the world decarbonizes and the green economy gains relevance, the push to phase out fossil fuels, replace them with renewable energy sources and retrofit existing mechanical systems to more efficient units is gaining steam. The goal for many businesses is net-zero emissions.
According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, if large commercial and residential buildings replace natural gas-burning heating systems with energy-efficient heat pumps, they could lower their total greenhouse emissions by 44%.
There is a big opportunity for HVAC contractors to demand a seat at the electrification table. It could be argued that they will play a central role in the electrification of commercial buildings.
HVAC Is Transitioning
Many traditional HVAC units burn fossil fuels like natural gas. This has long been a relatively cost-effective way to operate large air-moving units. As natural gas prices rise and efforts to move away from fossil fuels intensify, alternative units are becoming more popular worldwide.
All-electric heat pumps are one of the most popular options to confront de-carbonization. While these units are great and help reduce fossil fuel use, they still add to a property's overall electric usage.
VRF (variable refrigerant flow) heat pumps and heat recovery systems provide an efficient way to heat and cool. This is because of how they extract, reject and transfer heat. These units can save major costs over the long haul when applied in the correct situations.
HVAC manufacturers are capitalizing on green initiatives and dumping resources into research and development. Their goal is to design more efficient systems that embrace renewable energy and the electrification space.
HVAC Technicians Can Seize This Opportunity
As businesses shift to greater efficiency and more renewable energy, HVAC contractors can step in and provide the services they need. Replacing natural gas units and converting them to all-electric units is a service that is in great demand. Also, HVAC contractors can position themselves as leaders in this field with valuable experience and expertise for consumers.
HVAC technicians can talk to building owners and show them how to reduce energy costs. Their efforts will give these property owners real and tangible ROI reports for installs and retrofits. The technicians will, in turn, boost their own credibility and business. Speaking directly to building owners’ wallets can have a huge impact.
Here are a few ways that you as an HVAC technician can add value to building owners:
• Educate. Inform and present information and products that demonstrate their efficiency and efficacy. This shows your area of expertise and your position on the edge of new technology.
• Propose conversions.Strategically propose conversions from gas furnaces to heat pump systems (where applicable) and present ROI payback information.
• Take a comprehensive approach. Instead of offering a one-off approach to specific units or situations, offer a total package for a building and/or portfolio. This will often give the customer a better overall value.
The seats at the electrification table are multiplying. HVAC contractors stand to play an important role in the electrification of heating and cooling systems. The impact of this industry will shape how building managers and owners evaluate and vet potential purchases or renovation projects.
Federal and local officials are climbing on the green bandwagon. They are trying to enact policies that aid the production, consumption and integration of energy-efficient heating and cooling units.
The federal government has generously thrown incentives at consumers who purchase electric vehicles. Many are hoping it will offer some sort of incentive for the HVAC industry.
Either way, the industry is not waiting for the government to act. Instead, it is diving deep to design, create and install the most energy-efficient and eco-friendly units available.
Why Supply Chain Management Is Important
Global supply chain issues have been garnering a lot of attention over the past year. Images of stranded cargo ships waiting to unload their goods and stories of long lead times on supplies have dogged every industry. The HVAC trade is no exception. Shortages hit HVAC contractors hard. Critical supplies like filters, belts and water heaters were hard to come by, and prices skyrocketed.
Supply chain management is an approach that evaluates, monitors and tracks shifts and changes throughout the supply chain process. By understanding the supply chain on a basic and nuanced level, HVAC companies can make smart decisions when sourcing supplies.
As you monitor trends in the supply chain, you will understand potential issues like production slowdowns, shipping delays, and price increases or decreases. This valuable data will allow you to inform customers of delays or price changes quickly and will raise your credibility in the industry.
Supply Chain Management Solutions Are Available
As you navigate the new and evolving world of electrification, embracing tools and technology that can assist you and your customers is key. Supply chain management can be tedious — but it does not have to be. HVAC techs can employ software that automates many of these processes.
Raiven's supply chain management platformcan solve problems for both electrical and HVAC contractors. It gives you access to the top suppliers and supplies in the industry at discounted rates. You can also gain a clear view of the supply chain and a host of reports and data that can help you make informed decisions.
Raiven gives HVAC technicians a competitive edge in their local market.