Market Overview: The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) market is the largest energy-efficient product sector in the United States in terms of dollar volume and boasts a significant amount of domestic manufacturing. Products made here feed the domestic market and are exported to markets around the world.
The market for advanced HVAC products is growing, fueled primarily by the ongoing replacement of older units as well as continued demand from regulators and consumers for new and increasingly efficient products. Heating and air conditioning equipment is measured by the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) rating, defined by the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute. The SEER rating measures the ratio of heating/cooling to the amount of energy input. Increasingly stronger building standards and government incentives are driving retrofits and new construction, which drives demand for efficient HVAC systems.
Large HVAC equipment such as central air conditioning, furnaces, and boilers continue to be made in the United States with significant domestic content. In contrast, smaller products—such as window air conditioners, dehumidifiers, humidifiers, and ceiling fans (except for high-end)—are exclusively manufactured outside the United States. Exhaust fans and similar ventilation products are an exception to the size rule as they are made both domestically and overseas.
Manufacturers in the HVAC market became more consolidated during the late 2010s due to buyouts; however, the four largest manufacturers still only account for half of industry-wide market share. The diverse set of products manufactured for the HVAC market, especially in non-residential sectors, have attracted many small to medium-sized manufacturers across the country, many of them with 20 employees or fewer. While the larger manufacturers are more nationally recognized, there are still smaller, independently owned and operated U.S. manufacturers making products such as boilers, commercial systems, and geothermal systems to meet regional market needs. Ductwork, especially commercial ductwork, is especially localized due to the need for custom fabrication and installation. [iv] [v]