How Do Climate & Building Materials Affect Your HVAC System’s Efficiency?

Hardware isn’t the only factor behind your HVAC’s efficiency. You could have a state-of-the-art system, for example, and still experience major heat loss. That’s because you also need to consider building materials and climate. As an HVAC manufacturer, we know how these factors influence our products’ performance. Below, we’ll explore this relationship and explain how these two forces affect your property.

Building Materials

Every property has a “building envelope” or a physical barrier between the conditioned and unconditioned environment. It consists of three parts: walls, windows, and roofing. Together, these components provide not only structural support but also moisture, air, and thermal control.

For your HVAC to run effectively, you need a building envelope that reduces the overall demand on the system. That means calculating the U-values. This unit measures the rate at which heat is conducted through a material. The lower the U-value, the better the insulator.

In some cases, you might have two materials with identical U-values. However, they will not always perform the same. Hence, you must also consider their thermal masses. Thermal mass refers to the amount of heat a material absorbs during conduction. Because a great deal of energy is required to change the temperature of concrete, bricks, tiles, and other high-density materials, these are said to have high thermal mass. Thus, these materials are better at combating external temperature shifts and maximizing your HVAC’s efficiency.


U-values and thermal masses are calculated during a building envelope analysis. During this process, the analyst must also consider how the building materials interact with the outside air. They start by creating a 3D model that is used to simulate weather conditions throughout the year. Typically, they focus on the most extreme temperatures a property will experience based on the local climate.

This analysis then gives detailed information on the thermal conditions inside a space and its associated surfaces and on the energy consumption of your HVAC system. Consequently, you can use these results to make smarter purchases for your property.

From single package ACs to hybrid water-cooled air conditioners, we offer a variety of custom HVAC solutions designed to maximize your building’s energy efficiency. To learn more about building envelopes and how we as HVAC manufacturers account for them, call us at (914) 668-4700.