Climate ready measures: Ventilation and cooling

Ventilation and cooling

Heating, cooling and ventilation (HVAC) systems move air between indoor and outdoor areas, and heat and cool your home. They keep you warm and cozy in the winter and feeling cool and fresh in the summer. They also filter and clean indoor air to keep you healthy and maintain humidity at comfortable levels. The most visible components of your home HVAC system include the furnace, vents and thermostat. 

Indoor cooling

Most homes in Calgary do not have air conditioning installed, but it is becoming more common as summers have become hotter and drier. The energy costs of running an air conditioning (A/C) unit can be significant. Remember that running an A/C units contributes to climate change, so ideally we should choose energy efficient A/C systems and only use them in combination with (or after applying) passive cooling measures.

Passive cooling measures reduce temperatures in your house without using energy (e.g. upgrading your insulation, installing energy efficient windows, using window awnings, closing blinds when it’s sunny outside, planting vegetation around your house, etc.)

Main types of air conditioning

  • Central air conditioning generates cool air from a central unit and distributes that air to the entire house through the ductwork. This is the most expensive option and may only be practical if you are building a new home.
  • Window units sit on the windowsill, pull air in from the outside, cool it, and push it indoors. This is the least expensive option, but they only cool one room.
  • Split (or ductless) air conditioning units are installed on the side of the home, half inside and half outside. Split units work like window units but can cool multiple rooms. This is the mid-range cost option.

Heat pumps

A heat pump is an electrical device that extracts heat from one place and transfers it to another. A heat pump can provide year-round climate control for your home – heating in winter and cooling and dehumidifying in summer.

  • An air-source heat pump absorbs heat from the outdoor air in winter and rejects heat into outdoor air in summer. It is the most common type of heat pump used in Canada.
  • Ground-source (or geothermal) heat pumps draw heat from the ground or ground water.

Visit Heating and Cooling With a Heat Pump ( for more information about heating and cooling your home with a heat pump.


Ceiling fans or free-standing portable units use a fraction of the electricity that air conditioning units would use and still provide occupant comfort.

Indoor air purifier

If building new, or replacing your HVAC system, consider incorporating an air purifier into your central air system. Alternatively, you can purchase a free-standing portable unit. An air purifier is a device that purifies the air of particulates or gases. To protect your home from wildfire smoke, look for a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter, which is able to trap microscopic particles. 

Disclaimer:  The content of the Climate Ready Home Guide is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as technical advice with respect to any particular building(s) or construction project(s). The Climate Ready Home Guide does not recommend or endorse specific products or companies. All products and measures should be installed by a professional contractor, according to manufacturer specifications and following all City Bylaws and codes.