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6

Section 1 Theory of Heat

GREEN aWaRENESS
As mentioned, global warming stemming from the uncontrolled
rate of greenhouse gas emissions is a major global environmental issue. Most of the sun's energy that reaches the earth is in
the form of visible light. After passing through the atmosphere,
part of this energy is absorbed by the earth's surface and is converted into heat energy. The earth, warmed by the sun, radiates
heat energy back into the atmosphere toward space. Naturally
occurring gases and lower atmospheric pollutants such as CFCs,
HCFCs, HFCs, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, water vapor,
and many other chemicals absorb, reflect, and/or refract the
earth's infrared radiation and prevent it from escaping the lower
atmosphere. Carbon dioxide, mainly from the burning of fossil
fuels, is a major contributor to global-warming. The gases in the
atmosphere slow the earth's heat loss, making the earth's surface
warmer than it would be if heat energy had passed unobstructed
through the atmosphere into space. The warmer earth's surface
then radiates more heat until a balance is established between
incoming and outgoing energy. This warming process is called
global warming or the greenhouse effect. Humans are chiefly
responsible for producing many of the greenhouse gases that are
causing environmental problems.
Over 70% of the earth's fresh water supply is either in
ice cap or glacier form. Scientists are concerned that these
ice caps or glaciers will melt if the average earth temperature rises too much, thereby increasing ocean water levels.
The scientific consensus is that we must limit the rise in
global temperatures to less than 3.6°F (2°C) above preindustrial levels to avoid disastrous impacts. An increase of
2°C will likely displace millions of people from their homes
due to rising water levels. Food production will decline,
rivers will become too warm to support marine life, coral
reefs will die, snow packs will decrease and threaten water
supplies, weather will become unpredictable and extreme,
and many plant and animal species will die and become
extinct.
Nineteen of the hottest 20 years on record have occurred
in the past 20 years [this information updated from multiple
sources, including http://www.climate.gov/news-features
/videos/2014-global-temperature-recap]. Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are now at their highest. Half of the
world's oil is gone and other natural resources are dwindling.
The average American uses 142 gallons of water per day,
and in some regions of the country, water supplies are drying
up. Because of this, slowing, and possibly stopping or even
reversing, the growth rate of greenhouse gas emissions has
become a global effort.
Buildings are the major source of demand for energy and
materials, and they are also the major source of greenhouse
gases that are attributed to the by-products of energy use and
materials. At the time of this writing, there are over 5 million
commercial buildings and over 132  million housing units
in the United States. Surprisingly, almost every one of their

mechanical systems is obsolete. The global-warming scares,
the rising price of fuels, the scarcity of clean water, and the
ever-growing waste stream demand improvements in our
homes and businesses today. Trained contractors, with the
help of the government, installers, builders, manufacturers,
and educators, must renovate and improve the efficiency of
these buildings and mechanical systems.
In the United States, buildings account for approximately
●●
●●
●●
●●
●●
●●

36% of total energy used,
65% of electrical consumption,
30% of greenhouse gas emissions,
30% of raw materials used,
30% of waste output (136 millions tons annually), and
12% of potable water consumption.

Organizations like the Green Mechanical Council (GreenMech)
and the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) are setting goals for the use of fewer fossil fuels in existing and new
buildings. Some of these goals are listed here:
●●

●●

●●

●●

All new buildings, developments, and major renovation
projects must be designed to use one-half of the fossil-fuel
energy they would typically consume.
The fossil-fuel reduction standard for all new buildings
must be increased to
◗● 70% in 2015,
◗● 80% in 2020, and
◗● 90% in 2025.
By 2030, new buildings must be carbon-neutral, which
means that they cannot use any greenhouse-gas-emitting
fossil-fuel energy to operate.
Joint efforts must be made to change existing building
standards and codes to reflect these targets.

Builders can accomplish these goals by choosing proper
siting, building forms, glass properties and locations, and
materials and by incorporating natural heating, cooling, ventilating, and lighting strategies. Renewable energy sources
such as solar, wind, biomass, and other carbon-free methods
can operate equipment within the building.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)
is a voluntary internationally recognized green building certification system for developing high-performance, sustainable
buildings, which is referred to as the LEED Green Building
Rating System. It was established by the USGBC in 1999 and
is widely recognized as a third-party verification system and
guideline for measuring what constitutes a green building.
It was enhanced in 2009 and is currently operating under Version 3 of the rating system. All of the information for LEED
ratings is available at http://www.usgbc.org/. Version 4 of the
LEED program was scheduled to be put into effect in July
2015 and, at the time of this writing, the implementation of
the new version is on schedule.
The USGBC membership, which is composed of every
sector of the building industry and consists of over 9,000


http://www.climate.gov/news-features/videos/2014-global-temperature-recap http://www.climate.gov/news-features/videos/2014-global-temperature-recap http://www.usgbc.org/

Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Technology, 8e

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Technology, 8e

Contents
Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Technology, 8e - Cover1
Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Technology, 8e - Cover2
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