The inefficiencies of the service sector and the barriers to its changing have led to attempts to require mandatory QI and QM standards, so far unsuccessful, and to efforts to use information technology (IT) to help contractors and customers. IT use has been driven by public sector actors, CEC and NIST (National Institute for Standards and Technology). This early stage work borrows from the control systems used in large commercial buildings.
A name applied to this work is “Fault Detection and Diagnosis.” It anticipates home HVAC components having computer intelligence and network communications, neither of which they have now outside of a few advanced systems. During installation and as a maintenance procedure, the network would poll its components for faults. The network might then, for example, detect or even precisely analyze a duct leak or a refrigerant problem. IT diagnostic tools of this kind have been used in other industries for decades. They could help installers qualify their QI and QM procedures. They could help consumers know and improve the efficiency of their systems.
Looking ahead to 110 million house calls, this HVAC repair job will need all the diagnostic help it can get.
Summoning Public Will
This work making how we heat and cool dwellings energy efficient is ahead of the work, also beginning, to achieve further efficiency by integrating HVAC with the smart grid and utility demand response programs. And yet, none of this can go forward to scale without a political will for efficiency. This would translate into new laws, codes and public investments — into mandating things now voluntary, like a NATE course of training for every contractor.