© 2023, ECCO Supply
ECCO Supply is part of The ECCO Group

The Role of HVAC in Sustainable Building Design

As environmental regulations tighten and energy prices rise, the demand for more energy-efficient and eco-friendly buildings will continue growing.

HVAC professionals with specialized knowledge of energy-efficient systems and practices will be in high demand. They can design systems that not only meet energy efficiency standards but also enhance buildings’ overall sustainability.

This is a unique opportunity to influence building design sustainability through carefully selecting, installing, and maintaining HVAC systems.

Understanding the impact of HVAC on sustainability

HVAC systems are among the largest energy consumers in residential and commercial buildings, often accounting for nearly half of a typical building’s energy usage.

Green building certifications like LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) consider HVAC systems’ efficiency and environmental impact during the building design phase. HVAC pros can guide builders and their teams to higher levels of efficiency through careful selection, installation, and maintenance of HVAC systems.

This improves the building’s environmental profile, increases market value, and lowers operational costs.

The role of HVAC pros in designing greener buildings 

With the rising demand for greener building designs, HVAC pros must take steps now to stay competitive—from training on new technology to learning new standards.

Master LEED and BREEAM requirements 

To design HVAC systems for LEED– or BREEAM-certified buildings, you need to understand how these credentials are awarded. For example, LEED certification operates on a points system, with different elements of a building’s system scoring independently.

Understanding how these certifications are awarded will inform how HVAC pros select equipment, develop zoning plans, etc.

Lean into eco-friendly HVAC tech 

While not new, some eco-friendly HVAC technology is less commonly used, so many HVAC pros may need more experience installing them.

Technologies like geothermal heat pumps and solar-powered HVAC systems are highly efficient and an excellent option for integration into green building designs. Geothermal systems use underground temperature stability to provide heating and cooling at efficiencies up to four times greater than conventional systems. In contrast, solar HVAC systems reduce a building’s reliance on grid power and decrease its carbon footprint.

Train-up on high-efficiency systems 

Innovations such as variable speed compressors and heat recovery ventilators drive the shift towards high-efficiency HVAC systems. These systems adjust operation dynamically based on real-time conditions, drastically improving energy utilization compared to traditional systems.

HVAC pros must understand how different high-efficiency models from other manufacturers work, how they should be installed, and how to maintain them for optimal performance.

The future of greener HVAC design 

HVAC pros looking even further ahead can expect the integration of AI and machine learning into HVAC systems to become increasingly commonplace. These technologies can help a system predict energy needs, better automate system adjustments, or even predict maintenance needs and preemptively schedule servicing.

Larger HVAC teams eager to stay competitive, or even ahead of the competition, will want to keep these technologies on their radar and seek out training opportunities to become market leaders.

Leading the way on greener buildings 

HVAC professionals must stay current with the latest technologies, standards, and practices to stay on top of the latest developments in their field. This helps them provide the best possible service to their customers. By adopting advanced energy-efficient systems, eco-friendly technologies, and sustainable practices, HVAC leaders can dramatically reduce the ecological impact of the buildings they work on.

Back to What's New


ECCO Supply™ is one of North America’s largest distributors of HVAC and related products. We proudly partner with top industry manufacturers in order to offer an extensive selection from the many industry leading suppliers.