Heating and cooling your homes with traditional HVAC solutions significantly contributes to our current climate change crisis. What’s more, the warmer the planet becomes the growth in demand becomes more critical. The International Energy Agency predicts we’ll need 5.6 billion AC units in buildings globally by 2050. That’s roughly ten new units every second for the next 30 years. So the question becomes, how do we provide the temperature control people need with minimal impact on the climate?

The solution from Gradient is a step in the right direction. It replaces traditional window ACs with heat pumps that reduce the carbon footprint of your home while doing away with using harmful refrigerants that break down the ozone layer and accelerate global warming. Fun Fact: Leakages of refrigerants and methane burnt in heating have a much greater impact on global warming than CO2 emissions!

Want to learn more about how a DIY install of window-mounted heat pumps instead of traditional HVAC solutions can lower your home’s carbon footprint and protect the environment? Check out the key takeaways of this episode below. Better still, listen to the podcast!

Key highlights

  • 11:08 – 12:54 – challenges of traditional heating and cooling solutions

We need to look at three levels to understand the climate impact of traditional HVAC solutions. The energy used to run these units is about a third of the footprint, and burning natural gas and releasing CO2, along with leakages of methane and refrigerants, accounts for the rest. A 3% increase in methane leakage doubles the carbon footprint since methane is a bigger enforcer of global warming than CO2 emissions. 

  • 15:07 – 17:18 – A beneath the hood look at heat pumps

In nature, thermal energy moves from a warmer area to a cooler area, while the basic premise in an AC unit is the reverse, akin to rolling a ball uphill. In a heat pump, the compressor cools an inert gas and passes it through coils. When the hot air in the room comes in contact with the coil, the heat is transferred from the air to the coil, thereby cooling the room. The heat that the coil absorbs is transferred to the air outside your home. Heat pumps for heating are more significant than those used for cooling since the temperature difference to cover is greater in heating.

  • 20:35 – 24:42 – The harmful impact of traditional refrigerants

Refrigerants are easily one of the worst substances from a planet protection perspective. Refrigeration is a part of our day-to-day lives, from cooling rooms to preserving food. The early refrigerants were chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) gases, and emissions and leakages of these gasses break down the ozone layer in the atmosphere and accelerate global warming. The use of CFC gasses also extended to all aerosols, where every spray released the gas.  These were replaced by other gasses which continue to impact global warming. The Gradient solution replaces these gasses with natural refrigerants that are environmentally benign.