Climate Change and the Need for Efficient Air-Conditioning


Ducts dropped within the conditioned space.

Its HOT and getting hotter! While many will debate the whole climate change issue most will agree the temperatures seem more extreme. When it’s so hot out and the winters seem like they are getting more threatening, our homes need to be able to cope with it. However, we no longer have the luxury of just spending more money to stay comfortable.

Others may be concerned more about rising energy costs. Not far off our shores in the Bahamas the price per kilowatt is three times what we average in the United States. Just imagine tripling your current electric bill! Whether its due to limited supply caused by a crisis or by ever-increasing demand. Note: New power plant construction is extremely expensive and can take many years! If you’re interested in long-term sustainability and the most comfort for the best price, we have the solutions.

While central air-conditioning as become more prevalent, the thought put into its installation and the design of the HVAC systems has been somewhat lacking. More often than not, the HVAC ducts are just run through attic space like they have done for years. This is a horrible mistake.

Air-Conditioning ducts in extremely hot, or cold spaces sucks money out of your wallet!

AHU Air-Conditioning

AHU Closet within the conditioned space.

When you run cool air through ducks in a hot space you can’t help but heat up the air in the ducts, hence you loose efficiency. The same is true for running warm air through a cold space. Therefore it is best to run your duct work through your already conditioned space.

By simply moving your HVAC duct work down out of your attic you can drastically reduce the size of the system. It is all about using home design to make your air-conditioning system more efficient. A much smaller AC System is needed when the duct work is confined to the already conditioned space, for an example see Chart: Energy Hog vs ESHP Green Home. A Smaller AC System = Smaller Energy Bills!

In addition to your ducts, your Air Handling Unit (AHU) also needs to be within the conditioned space. It takes up the size of a small closet. This space may be difficult to find in an existing home. But all Energy Smart Home plans are designed with the AHU Closet within the conditioned space.

Ducts designed to be beautiful in the air-conditioning space.


Duct above that looks like and upgrade.

Ducts dropped into the conditioned space don’t have to look awkward or industrial. They can look like apart of the design. See the left photo, the dropped AC Duct frames the space between the great room and dining room, and does it beautifully. The ducts can also be hidden behind walls and within tray ceilings wherever possible.

Other things like better insulation and efficient appliances are all very important. But true efficiency has to go beyond selecting good building materials.

In conclusion, when building a new home it had better be designed for both comfort and efficiency. The correct plan choice solves both of these issues. The last thing you need is a home that requires a truck load of money each month just to stay comfortable.

If you want to keep your Farmhouse warmer in the winter, or your Florida style vacation home cooler in the summer, you need a hi-performance home design.

Dave Jenkins

Dave Jenkins is a leading designer of Hi-Performance homes for the residential market. His award-winning home designs boast the nation's most energy-efficient homes available. Dave has over 25 years of experience in high-end, residential design and illustration for luxury builders and developers.

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