Our global temperature has already increased by more than 1C since the end of the 19th century. This is dangerously close to the 1.5C climate change that scientists fear will irreversibly alter our planet, bringing with it flooding, droughts, tropical storms and widespread extinction of animal species.
According to research, growing populations, increasing urbanisation and access to more and more electronic and motorised technologies is causing climate change that could see the number of worldwide A/C units triple by 2050. It’s a vicious circle: global warming leads to a change in seasonal temperatures which encourages increased use of air conditioning and other HVAC solutions. If the air con leaks or is not used correctly, this intensified use of aircon can lead to global warming.
Once something that was only enjoyed in hotels and shopping centres, HVAC installation is now common in all kinds of private and commercial premises. Hot or cold, heating and air conditioning systems are used to keep staff and customers comfortable, whatever the weather. But at what cost?
On top of our efforts to cope with unaccustomed temperatures, building design has also played a role in our more prolific use aircon. In an effort to keep heating costs down, lots of new buildings are being constructed with little ventilation, which conserves heat in cold months but prevents natural cooling whenever the sun decides to shine.
Combine this with our love of big, picture windows that trap heat in summer and allow cold to permeate in winter and you’ll have a rather unpleasant environment in which to spend your working day or leisure time… unless air con is installed and HVAC maintenance is carried out regularly.
Carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4) all occur in our atmosphere, some quantities occur naturally but a great deal is as a result of human activities. This group of elements are called ‘greenhouse gases’ for the fact that they stop heat from escaping from the atmosphere, in much the same way as greenhouse glass lets the sunshine in and locks in heat.
Over the last 100 years or so, deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels – oil, gas and coal – has increased levels of CO2; N2O levels have risen due to the use of soil fertilisers and vehicle combustion engines; and CH4, though occurring in smaller quantities, has been found in higher concentrations thanks to decomposition of waste in landfills and domestic livestock farming.
As heat isn’t able to escape, our planet is gradually warming up, causing more evaporation and precipitation, and a rising sea level. Changes in temperature drastically effect crop production with weeds, and pests thriving in warmer, wetter weather.
Animal habitats are also at risk, as plant food sources suffer and water levels changes. And humans won’t escape the consequences of global warming, either, with the dangers of extreme weather to our health, and property damage from flooding and storms having devastating and long-lasting effects.
Fluorinated greenhouse gases or F-gases, such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) also contribute to global warming, trapping heat in the atmosphere, with PFCs and SF6s remaining here for thousands of years. So much so that the use of these fluorinated gases has been closely regulated. However, they are still used as refrigerant gas, air conditioner gas and in some solvents and portable fire extinguishers.
With the negative side effects of these greenhouse gases, it’s crucial that we minimise the fluorinated gases that we send into the atmosphere. If you are responsible for any heating and air conditioning equipment or items containing refrigerant gas, you must ensure that they are correctly serviced. This will both maintain efficiency and avoid excessive fluorinated greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Recruiting a reliable property and facilities management service, such as phs Compliance, capable of HVAC repairs and air conditioning maintenance, will give you confidence that your A/C system is in good hands. We can also handle HVAC installations from small single wall mounted units all the way to large VRF aircon systems throughout the UK.
Planned maintenance of your HVAC installation ensures that your air conditioning and heating components are not releasing fluorinated refrigerant gases, as well as safeguarding against infection from nasty bugs, such as Legionellosis bacteria. The phs Compliance team of over 500 electricians, engineers, technicians and admin staff will make sure that HVAC and air conditioning repairs are handled in good time but regular HVAC maintenance will also ensure that your aircon is running efficiently so that your premises and, more importantly, your staff and visitors will always be a comfortable temperature.
phs Compliance carries out maintenance and HVAC repairs to SFG20 and CIBSE standards for any size of air conditioning systems and air handling units.
Now you know about fluorinated gases and what causes global warming, it’s time to address it. If we all do our part to reduce the use of fluorinated greenhouse gases and/or prevent them escaping into the environment, we may be able to minimise climate change.
Do your part in the fight against climate change by getting in touch with phs Compliance to ensure that all of your air con and HVAC systems are running safely and efficiently.
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