CHANGE IS COMING
Cliché or not, the fact is that disruptions are on the horizon for the HVACR industry, and that means a shift for the zoning market. These primary shifts will likely come as a result of three factors — smart homes, performance-based contracting, and predictive maintenance.
“We live in an era where the consumer demands to have control at their fingertips,” said Jarred Duebel, national sales manager for iO HVAC Controls. “This is a great thing for the zoning industry. Zoning is becoming increasingly attainable, affordable, and available to the end user.”
MARKET ADVANCES: Technology enhancement examples include smart home compatibility, the ability to control bypass air with smart bypass technology (SBD), and modulating supply dampers that are compatible with today’s high-efficiency communicating protocols.
According to Duebel, zoning contributes to the customized comfort options promised with smart homes and the improved control and energy savings from performance-based contracting.
“Zoning integrates well with smart controls such as Wi-Fi thermostats, and because zoning requires multiple thermostats, it is a natural progression that the end user would want one place to program and control their system,” he said. “There is no better way than through smart home connected devices.”
Justin Hilaire, national sales manager for EWC Controls, echoed this matching of zoning technology to the current shifting trends and added that monitoring and controlling all the thermostats within a home from across the nation could be described as amazing.
“Hot water valve zoning originated in the 1950s, and forced air zoning followed shortly after in the ‘60s,” he said. “Today, while the concept of zoning has not changed, enhancements have made it easier than ever.”
Hilaire went on to describe some of these enhancements, including smart home compatibility, the ability to control bypass air with smart bypass technology (SBD), and modulating supply dampers that are compatible with today’s high-efficiency communicating protocols, to name a few. He explained that with these advancing zoning technologies, contractors are not only able to embrace zoning and smart homes, but they are also able to marry zoning and predictive maintenance technologies to provide increased control and real-time monitoring.
“Zoning gives the homeowner a more detailed picture by breaking down the home in sections for closer observation,” he said. “Zoning today’s multi-staged and variable speed, high-efficiency equipment is a perfect match and provides more comfort to the homeowner than ever before.”