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Decarbonization and Electrification Are Coming: Are You Ready?

This article was written in collaboration with Bisnow


Many building owners may not know where to begin when considering decarbonization or electrification changes. Here's a simple overview of what building owners need to understand about decarbonization and electrification, what they should do to reduce their carbon footprint, and how the right HVAC tools can help.

Building owners need to understand that decarbonization is coming. It's not a matter of if it's coming, but when. It will impact buildings of all types by fundamentally changing how they are heated.

Buildings are currently cooled with electricity and heated with natural gas, but impending decarbonization laws will not allow buildings to use natural gas for comfort heating or domestic hot water. To combat this, the equipment building owners typically have access to today will need to be applied in slightly different ways. There is also new equipment under development designed to help meet decarbonization goals. Building owners need to educate themselves so that they're not caught flat-footed and can stay ahead of the curve.


Legislation is going to be a big driver for the decarbonization movement. Many jurisdictions, including New York, Boston, and parts of Canada, already have policies in place that don't allow natural gas even to be brought into some new buildings. Policies like that are going to push this movement forward.


There will be quite a few challenges that building owners will need to be aware of when implementing decarbonization and electrification strategies. In the past, natural gas has been relatively cheap, so some owners will see an uptick in their energy spend and perhaps in their upfront costs when they adopt some of the new technologies that are going to be hitting the market. Additional training might be required for building engineers or facility management staff to operate and maintain this new equipment.


Building owners will also have to rethink the hot water temperatures they use in their buildings. Historically, most buildings used up to 180-degree hot water, and in some places, up to 200-degree hot water to heat buildings, but most new technologies will not allow water temperatures to get that high. While it may be aggravating to reconfigure their current system, owners will see an improvement in the overall efficiency of their building by using lower-temperature water in both domestic hot water and comfort cooling applications. This will give them more equipment options and also improve the overall efficiency of the building.

This transition might be a bit difficult to navigate, but at Boland, we have the expertise to guide our clients through this process and set them up for current and future success.

At Boland, we focus on the building so our clients can focus on their mission. We can help them achieve decarbonization goals across every step of the building life cycle. Regardless of the building type, we can help our clients design and implement HVAC systems that utilize heat pumps and heat recovery technologies to cool and heat their buildings without using natural gas. We're also a leader in the next generation of low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants, which can further help our clients minimize their environmental footprint.


HOW CAN WE HELP YOUR BUILDING TRANSITION SMOOTHLY?

  • Advanced control systems that help to integrate and optimize HVAC systems, regardless of the size of the project

  • Use of thermal energy storage (specifically using ice tanks), which could be charged at night when the energy costs are low and discharged during the day when that energy needs to be utilized

  • Equipment monitoring, proactive planning, preventative maintenance, and upgrades as needed

  • Service agreements, in-house parts and supplies, rental services, and more than 150+ highly skilled service technicians that will help keep your building online and operating as designed while working toward decarbonization goals


READY TO WORK WITH ONE OF OUR ENGINEERS?

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