Energy Efficient HVAC Systems Will Receive Major Investment in the Commercial Building Sector over the Next Five Years

January 21, 2011

Although the primary purpose of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in commercial buildings is occupant productivity, a new report from Pike Research finds that the objective of most changes to HVAC systems in the next five years will be to decrease energy cost.  According to the study, because of rising energy prices and the drive to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with building operations, many building owners have begun to manage energy cost as an asset, rather than a fixed cost.  The tools for improving efficiency of HVAC systems are multiplying, including building energy management systems (BEMS), onsite ice-based thermal energy storage systems, underfloor air distribution, and chilled beams, to name a few.

“The HVAC industry changes slowly,” says industry analyst Levin Nock.  “Most commercial space is in small and medium-sized buildings and is heated and cooled by packaged units sold as commodities.  But with HVAC accounting for almost one-third of the energy cost in commercial buildings, the savings potential is quite significant.  An increasing number of industry players, including both established vendors as well as startups, are focused on addressing this market opportunity using a variety of innovative technologies.”

A few of Pike Research’s forecasts for the energy efficient HVAC market in the United States include the following:

  • The market for geothermal heat pumps in commercial buildings, including equipment and installation costs, will total $13 billion between 2010 and 2015.
  • Revenue from building energy management systems (BEMS) will increase from $0.9 billion in 2010 to more than $1.3 billion by 2015.
  • Investment in underfloor air distribution will total $1.2 billion during the period from 2010 to 2015.
  • Ice-based thermal energy storage systems revenue will expand from $17 million in 2010 to more than $190 million in 2015.
  • Revenue for Western Climate Challenge-Certified Rooftop Units will reach $26 million by 2015 under a baseline scenario, with the upside opportunity of $40 million by 2015 under a more aggressive forecast scenario.

Pike Research’s report, “Energy Efficient HVAC Systems”, explores emerging HVAC innovations for the commercial building market, including building energy management systems, underfloor air distribution, active and multiservice chilled beams, and onsite ice-based thermal energy storage.  The study includes an examination of market drivers and challenges, technology issues, profiles of key industry players, scenarios for market adoption, and forecasts for each sector.  An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the firm’s website.

Pike Research is a market research and consulting firm that provides in-depth analysis of global clean technology markets.  The company’s research methodology combines supply-side industry analysis, end-user primary research and demand assessment, and deep examination of technology trends to provide a comprehensive view of the Smart Energy, Clean Transportation, Clean Industry, and Building Efficiency sectors.  For more information, visit www.navigantresearch.com or call +1.303.997.4619.

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