By Matt Gallo
In today's environmentally conscious world, everyone wants to do their part for a more sustainable future. But it's hard to know what you can do to limit your impact on the planet. One of the easiest and most eco-friendly choices is to install an energy-efficient heating and cooling system in your home for dramatically reduced energy usage. And, as if that wasn't enough, the lower energy consumption of these heating systems will also help you save big bucks on your bills! In fact, some Energy Star rated HVAC systems can save you up to 30% on heating and cooling.
Solar Heating Systems
Solar heating systems are a great hot water heating solution that's eco-friendly and has extremely low operating costs. These systems can provide up to 80% of your home's hot water for major energy cost savings. Used to heat hot water, pools, and water for radiant heating, solar heating systems harness the free energy of the sun. And, although solar hot water heating can be expensive to install, it usually pays for itself in less than five years (in reduced energy bills and government incentives). Once the equipment is paid off, you have almost zero operating costs.
Hybrid Heat Pumps
Hybrid heat pumps are efficient combinations of gas furnaces and traditional heat pumps; blending two energy-efficient systems allows this hybrid to get the best of both worlds! Heat pumps function quite efficiently during warm months, but at cold temperatures they typically lose their effectiveness. Hybrid heat pumps work like a hybrid vehicle, turning on the gas furnace when necessary to supplement the efficiency of the heat pump. Switching between the two heat (and cooling) sources allows the system to automatically adjust for optimal function.
Ground Source Heat Pumps (Geothermal Heating and Cooling)
Ground source heat pumps are among the most efficient heating and cooling options on the market today. They're eco-friendly as well as inexpensive. This specialized type of heat pump utilizes the relatively constant temperature of ground to heat your home in winter and cool it in summer. A loop of piping is installed in the ground near or under your house, and liquid (antifreeze or water) flowing through the loop heats or cools your home depending on the season. In summer, the soil is relatively cool, so it chills the liquid, which in turn cools your home; in winter, the soil is warmer, heating the liquid. Ground source heat pumps are a completely safe method of heating and cooling your home with a renewable alternative to fossil fuels. They can even reduce your home heating costs by up to 70%!
Radiant Floor Heating
Radiant heating is another environmentally-friendly heating solution that has gained popularity in recent years. Radiant heat functions by circulating heated water through pex tubing in your flooring. This warms the floor and radiates heat throughout your space as the warmth from the flooring rises. Because the tubing must be installed under the flooring, radiant floor heating is recommended for new construction or during major remodels. However, despite the expense and hassle of installation, many homeowners love the energy-efficiency and great tactile experience of radiant heating. Just imagine walking across a toasty-warm floor instead of icy cold tile! Radiant heat can be used as a whole house heating system or installed in individual rooms (commonly kitchens and bathrooms).
Consult your local HVAC contractor to learn more about these different energy-efficient options for heating and cooling your home. They'll be able to give you expert advice about your specific area and help you select the best HVAC system for your needs. If you're ready to switch to green heating, new energy-efficient systems are the answer you've been seeking!
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