The North American residential housing industry is typically builder-driven and does not see the benefits of engineered HVAC systems or ASHRAE’s extensive knowledge base.  Globally, residential housing HVAC systems account for almost 10% of all energy consumed.

Meeting the 2030 and 2050 sustainability goals outlined in the Paris Accord requires a ‘Just Transition’ to ensure that there are simple and affordable solutions to reduce the energy consumed, especially in existing homes. 

This presentation demonstrates how blending ASHRAE’s art and science of HVAC systems with the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals can provide a framework to reduce energy consumption in the existing housing stock.   

The presentation shows an example of how advancing the typical North American residential HVAC system from a traditional forced air system to a hybrid forced air / hydronic radiant system created comfort, improved air quality, reduced energy consumption and costs, and reduced the risk of fire-related deaths.  Expanding on North American Indigenous ecological knowledge of using radiant heat from rocks to heat the Tipi shows that using the thermal mass of the structure to our advantage can play a significant role in improving comfort and energy efficiency in the existing North American housing stock.


Murdoch MacPherson is the president of MacPherson Engineering Inc, a Western Canadian mechanical consulting firm.  He graduated from the University of Saskatchewan in 1981 with a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering.  In forty years, he has designed mechanical systems for a wide variety of residential, commercial and institutional buildings.  He is an active ASHRAE member with the Regina Chapter and a past RVC (membership) for Region 11.