Heating & Cooling

District heating systems provide economies of scale in large cities like Copenhagen.
Photo: Bill Ebbesen. License: CC BY 3.0

Energy-efficient HVAC design is a fundamental of green building, for good reason:

  • The scale of the issue: HVAC is responsible for more than a third of energy use in commercial buildings in the U.S.

  • The scale of returns: Smart designs can easily save upwards of 40% of that energy, often with strategies that offer instant or short “payback.”

  • The human impact: Discomfort from spaces that are too hot or too cold, and lack of adequate ventilation, are an epidemic. Good design that fixes these problems supports healthier, more productive occupants.

Don’t make the all-too-common mistake of thinking of HVAC design separately from building envelope design. Over-glazed buildings lead to oversized mechanical systems, increasing costs on both fronts. A tight, well-insulated envelope may cost a bit more but can pay for itself with less mechanical equipment.

Heating & Cooling

Deep Dives

Get up to speed on complex topics. You can also earn CEUs and download PDF Spotlight Reports.


Quick Takes

Jump straight to the essentials with these short explanations of green building concepts.


Product Guidance

Unbiased information from our product experts helps you separate green from greenwash.


In The News

We break news down to the essentials and provide expert analysis.


Perspective

Thought-provoking opinions from the most trusted minds in sustainability.


Learning Resources

A wide range of education options, with automatic reporting for AIA and GBCI.


    Loading...
  • The Cost of Comfort: Climate Change and Refrigerants

    Feature Article

    Refrigerants with very high global warming potential can negate the energy-efficiency benefits of many HVAC systems, including popular heat pumps.

  • Are Cool Roofs Green? The Answer’s Not Black and White

    Feature Article

    Roofing choices are complicated by heating tradeoffs, climate effects, and condensation, but proponents say reflective roofs still make sense in most climates.

  • Climate Analysis for Architects

    Webcast

    For a lot of people, computer modeling is synonymous with energy modeling, and climate data is something you just input to your energy model. Kjell Anderson wants you to do energy modeling for your buildings, and he wants you to do it early—as BuildingGreen has advocated—not just for "keeping score" at the end. In this webcast, Anderson will demonstrate tools that are so easy that they can be used on every project regardless of budget or sustainability objectives, typically taking 3 to 5 hours once you have your system down—and almost no time for projects in a city where you have already done an analysis.

Just For Fun

Something weird happens every April at BuildingGreen...


  • Check if your spelling is correct, or try removing filters.
  • Remove quotes around phrases to match each word individually: "blue drop" will match less than blue drop.
  • You can require or exclude terms using + and -: big +blue drop will require a match on blue while big blue -drop will exclude results that contain drop.