Heating & Cooling

District heating systems provide economies of scale in large cities like Copenhagen.


Photo: Bill Ebbesen. License: CC BY 3.0

HVAC—heating, cooling, and ventilation—is responsible for more than a third of energy use in commercial buildings in the U.S. Smart designs can easily save upwards of 40% of that energy, often with strategies that offer instant or short payback. And good design that focuses on thermal comfort supports healthier, more productive occupants.

Heating & Cooling

Deep Dives

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


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  • Buildings on Ice: Making the Case for Thermal Energy Storage

    Feature Article

    Thermal energy storage uses ice to shift daytime cooling loads to nighttime, when electricity costs are lower. You may be able to reduce the size of chillers as a result, saving money and energy and lowering the environmental footprint of a building

  • Ductless Mini-Splits and Their Kin: The Revolution in Variable-Refrigerant-Flow Air Conditioning

    Feature Article

    Ductless split systems using heat pumps and variable refrigerant flow offer an energy-efficient alternative to conventional heating and air-conditioning systems for a variety of settings, from homes to hotels and schools. Three major manufacturers-Daikin, Mitsubishi, and Sanyo-offer the greatest variety of products.

  • The Challenge of Existing Homes: Retrofitting for Dramatic Energy Savings

    Feature Article

    Greenhouse gas emissions associated with residential energy use account for a fifth of all emissions in the U.S. Retrofitting existing houses to achieve a two- to three-fold reduction in energy use is necessary if we are to achieve the emissions reductions scientists say are required for avoiding catastrophic climate change. Here's a look at how it can be done.

  • In the Pipeline: District Energy and Green Building

    Feature Article

    Very common in northern Europe, district energy systems use a network of buried, insulated pipes to distribute centrally produced steam, hot water, or chilled water to heat or cool multiple buildings. These systems can make use of waste heat from power generation (combined heat and power) or renewable fuel sources to help reduce the environmental impacts of buildings and communities.

Quick Takes

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


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  • Radiant Floor Heating: Wrong Choice for Green Homes?

    Primer

    While very popular, radiant-floor heating is not well-suited to highly insulated, green homes.

  • Comparing Fuel Costs

    Primer

    One would think comparing the costs of different heating fuels would be simple, but figuring out the amount heat available in a given quantity of fuel-and the associated cost-can be tricky.

  • Evaporative Coolers

    Primer

    As water evaporates, it absorbs heat. Direct and indirect evaporative coolers use this property to cool homes efficiently.

  • How the Sun's Path Can Inform Design

    Primer

    Designing a building with the sun in mind can help reduce both heating and cooling loads.

Product Guidance

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In The News

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Perspective

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Learning Resources

Syllabus supplements and CEU content, with automatic reporting for AIA and GBCI.


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Just For Fun

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