The HVAC industry is big, especially in warmer parts of the United States. Every year, market growth is staggering, proving that Americans (and other parts of the world) are not giving up on HVAC luxuries just yet.
We decided to look in detail at HVAC facts and statistics, including the impact on the environment and the trends for 2022.
- In 2019, global HVAC sales reached $240 billion, with the US being a major contributor.
- Environmentally, HVAC systems contribute to global warming, accounting for 12% of annual energy use in homes.
- Geothermal HVAC systems are a more sustainable option, operating at 400% efficiency.
- Smart and motion-activated HVAC systems are some of the latest developments in the industry.
What Is the HVAC Industry?
The HVAC industry comprises heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (hence the name). Sometimes refrigeration is added, making it HVACR.
To give you an idea of the scale of the industry, according to the Department of Energy, almost three-quarters of US homes have air conditioning. That accounts for six percent of all the electricity used in the entire country (or $29 billion in costs).
Key HVAC Facts and Statistics
Here is a list of our favorite 10 facts and stats; however, there are plenty more to read in the article.
- In 2019, HVAC sales topped $240 billion globally.
- Japanese company Daikin is the biggest HVAC manufacturer on the planet.
- Your HVAC system accounts for 12 percent of your yearly energy use.
- By 2050, air conditioning will account for 25 percent of global warming.
- Almost 100 million homes in the United States benefit from air conditioning.
- The U.S. is the second largest global polluter.
- In 2017 and 2018, China sold 90.45 million AC units!
- Canada bucks the trend with AC sales remaining flat between 2012 and 2018.
- Geothermal HVAC systems are 400 percent efficient.
- Motion-activated HVAC systems are one of the newest developments in HVAC technology.
HVAC Facts and Statistics
To get a handle on HVAC industry statistics, we need to break down the overview into different sections. Let’s start with HVAC industry facts.
HVAC Industry Facts
1. How Much?
The global market size for HVAC sales topped $240 billion in 2019. By 2018, the Asian market had the biggest slice of that lucrative pie, at $115 billion. With an estimated compound annual growth rate of four percent, the global figure could top $370 billion by 2030.
Growth is closely linked to the construction industry, so as more nations develop, so does the HVAC market.
2. Fast Growth
The industry is projected to grow massively, with yearly global sales of 151 billion HVAC units. Bizarrely, global warming fuels the desire for HVAC units, which then impacts the environment in a vicious spiral.
3. Public Sector Stats
The public sector is the biggest global HVAC customer. Hospitals, schools, offices, and other public buildings need heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. HVAC is a necessity in states like Florida and Texas, where humidity is a real issue.
4. Biggest Players
Daikin is the biggest HVAC company on the planet by market share. This Japanese multinational company has an annual turnover of $22.509 billion. In second place, we find the American giant Ingersoll Rand, with a revenue of $5.152 billion.
5. How Many?
There were 528,000 people working in the HVAC industry in 2019. The most significant employment stats by state belong to California, with over 187,000 people in the industry. New York came second, with about 69,400 employees.
In third was Texas, with 67,300 employees.
6. King of Distributors
Watsco, Inc was the largest U.S. employer in the HVAC distribution industry as of 2019. This Miami company employed 5,300 people as of 2019. Other notable brands include Ferguson Enterprises and Johnstone Supply, Inc.
7. Salary Stats
According to the Bureau of Labor, the average salary for HVAC technicians topped $57,000. The average hourly rate comes in at $23.43, although this varies by state and city. New recruits start at about $43,000 annually, while those with experience could make over $90,000.
Compare that to Australia, where HVAC technicians make almost $83,000, and you can see the differences between countries.
Environmental Impact of HVAC Systems
The United States uses more energy for air conditioning than the continent of Africa. It gives the first clue to the scale of the industry and the impact it has on the planet. Your HVAC unit is the single largest user of power inside your home.
It runs on average two to three times every hour for 10 to 15 minutes and uses 3,500 watts. It accounts for 12 percent of your annual energy expenditure.
So, what is the price to pay to keep us cool? Let’s take a look.
8. Necessity, not Luxury
Given that HVAC systems are so energy-greedy, the impact on the planet and resources is significant. According to an International Energy Agency report, there are 1.6 billion HVAC units in use around the globe (1). This number is expected to increase to 5.6 billion by 2050.
9. Vicious Circle
The sad truth is that the more the planet heats, the more we rely on air conditioning to keep ambient temperatures at comfortable levels. A significant number of air conditioners use electricity and refrigerants, which emits toxic gases.
These exhaust emissions deplete the ozone layer, fueling climate change. It is predicted that by 2050, air conditioning will account for 25 percent of all global warming.
10. It’s Not All About HVACs
While the HVAC industry and its popularity drive demand, all those units need energy. Most burn fossil fuels like coal, gas, or other liquid resources. Even electricity isn’t clean because it comes from power stations reliant on fossil fuels.
Getting these resources out of the ground or sea causes untold disruption to the planet and habitats. Industrial mining is a significant contributor to sea pollution. And then all that fuel must be transported by road, rail, and sea, which adds to the burden.
11. Air Quality
There’s an irony here because while HVAC units improve the air quality inside our homes, it impacts the air quality outdoors. Again, this creates another vicious cycle because, to breathe clean air, we make the air dirtier.
12. Poor Maintenance
Maintenance is crucial if you want to reduce the impact on the environment. Poorly serviced HVAC units are inefficient and burn more energy to produce the same results. It could even affect your system’s reliability.
If your HVAC breaks, it is costly to replace and adds to global pollution in terms of manufacturing your new unit/spare parts.
Sticking with the maintenance theme, another byproduct of dirty HVAC units is bacteria growing in the ducts. Every time you switch the unit on, it pushes microscopic particles into the atmosphere, polluting the air. This directly challenges the purpose of an HVAC system.
So, while it may not be a global impact, it still contaminates your local environment.
14. It’s a Gas, Gas, Gas
We aren’t about to burst into Jumpin’ Jack Flash (although that would be fun); we’re talking about CFCs and HFCs. These cooling agents pollute the planet when used in your air conditioning unit.
CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons) destroy the ozone layer and were banned in the USA, whereas the current use of HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons) is better for the ozone layer. However, while they have little impact, they contribute to the Greenhouse Gas effect.
HFCs are thousands of times more toxic than carbon dioxide, which is bad news if you have an old, leaky, and inefficient HVAC system.
Air Conditioning Statistics
The American love affair with air conditioning started in the 1940s when the first units were fitted to residential properties.
15. America and the Globe
Nearly 100 million homes benefit from cooled interior spaces in the United States. Given that there are approximately 142 million housing units across the nation, that’s over 70 percent that have AC.
Compare that with the global average of just 31 percent, and we can see the U.S. has no intention of loosening its grip on AC.
16. Big in Japan
While the U.S. is second to China in global pollution, it’s Japan that rules the roost when it comes to air conditioning. Astonishingly, 91 percent of homes benefit from cooled air.
17. Global Market
The global market for AC units was worth $102.02 billion in 2018. However, growth is strong as temperatures increase across the planet, and we are expecting a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 9.9 percent by 2025.
AC seems to be a victim of its own success because the more we warm the planet, the more we need cooled air.
18. China Growth
In 2017 and 2018, China’s growing reliance on AC topped 90.45 million units! When you compare that to the U.S. market, it is colossal. In 2018, the demand in the States topped 15.3 million units.
However, growth has been steady since 2012, with an increase of two million systems over the six years.
19. Canada Bucks the Trend
The demand for AC in Canada has remained the same since 2012, with 0.41 million units. In 2018, the figure stood at 0.46 million. This may be due to Canada’s vast landscape and moderate temperatures compared to some southern states of America.
20. What About the U.K.?
The U.K. lags behind other advanced countries by some distance when it comes to AC units. In 2018, a paltry 203,000 AC units were sold in the U.K. This is because the climate is rarely tropical, with high rainfall and cooler days.
Also, the U.K. housing stock is among the oldest in Europe. Most houses are Victorian or Edwardian, making them at least 100 years old. Retrofitting AC is tricky because these properties were not designed with cooling in mind.
You are more likely to see radiators than AC units in British homes.
21. Most Popular
The most popular type of AC in the world is the split system. There are two types: split and window-mounted. The split type has an indoor and outdoor element and accounted for 83.46 million units globally in 2018.
Split systems are more expensive and complicated to install, but they are more efficient and create less noise. Window units are easier to install but are less efficient and noisier. Window AC units accounted for just 12.6 million of global sales in 2018.
HVAC Industry Trends 2022
What are the newest and most exciting advances in the HVAC industry, and how will they impact our lives both commercially and residentially?
22. Smart Thinking
The Internet of Things (IoT) has revolutionized how we use our homes. From smart fridges to security, connectivity is the way forward for many. And the advent of intelligent HVAC systems is another development.
Most are app-controlled, making them accessible remotely. Imagine driving home and telling your AC to switch on to cool the house before you get there. Imagine getting an alert when the system malfunctions or loses performance.
It could even diagnose the issue to make repairs easier and less expensive.
23. Going Green
While HVAC systems are not good for the planet, nobody is advocating phasing them out. A better way would be to make our homes more advanced to take advantage of greener solutions.
Using special glass that heats your home, heat pumps, and materials that stay cool in the summer and retain heat in the winter are all clever methods of green construction.
It adds to a more efficient space and less work for your HVAC. That means energy and cost savings, which is better for you and the environment.
24. Solar HVAC
One advantage of a warming planet is more sunshine. We can harness the sun’s power through solar HVAC systems to reduce running costs and reliance on fossil fuels.
That said, you would only get power during the summer, so you would still need an alternative energy source for the colder months.
25. DeVAP HVAC
This system uses water pumped into a honeycomb structure. The water is then evaporated via a fan to regulate the temperature.
26. Geothermal HVAC
Geothermal is the most sustainable method of heating and cooling our homes. It involves extracting heat from the earth via coils that get heated or cooled using a heat exchanger located near the house.
These systems still use coolant or antifreeze to make the magic happen, so they are still a menace to the planet, but they operate at 400 percent efficiency.
It means that every dollar spent on heating returns four times that in savings. This is because geothermal HVAC doesn’t use electricity to create the treated air. It only needs the power to move it from A to B.
27. Motion-Activated HVAC
Imagine entering a room and the AC automatically coming on to cool the space. That is one of the bold advances in HVAC production. It saves money because you are not wasting energy on cooling unoccupied rooms, and it goes off when you leave.
Aluminum rods with sensors hang from the ceiling and detect movement to activate the system.
HVAC Vs. Air Conditioners
HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. AC stands for air conditioning. HVAC systems can heat and cool your home, whereas an air conditioner only makes the air cooler.
The advantage of an HVAC system is you can install it in colder climates to provide all your home heating and cooling needs. If you live in warmer temperatures, it is better to install air conditioning.
Americans clearly love their HVAC creature comforts because sales are growing at a staggering rate. However, to halt our slide toward climate disaster, we must find a cleaner way to heat and cool our homes.
Who knew that HVAC facts and data could be so interesting?