Everywhere you look people are looking for green solutions or are “going green”. There is a valid reason for this, whether you’d like to believe in global warming or not. First, we must think of renewable energy sources. With oil prices going up and supplies running lower and lower each year, finding an alternative to gas for heating your home, water, etc. is important. Then, there is always your carbon footprint you have to worry about. How many toxins are you releasing into the atmosphere when using certain types of HVAC systems? To some, this is an important factor in their HVAC equipment decision. For those who care about these types of issues, the HVAC industry has come a long way in finding alternative eco-friendly solutions. There are now several options that you have when looking for environmentally friendly HVAC equipment.
Hybrid Heat Pumps – Hybrid heat pumps are a combination of traditional heating pumps and gas furnaces. They are highly efficient systems that, by blending two already efficient systems, allow you the best of both worlds. Traditional heat pumps work well in warmer weather, but lose their efficiency in colder weather. That is the beauty of the hybrid heat pump: when the heating pump begins to lose its efficiency, the gas furnace turns on to supplement the work that needs to be done. The system itself will automatically adjust for optimal efficiency, by toggling between the two heating sources to figure out the most efficient combination.
Solar Heating Systems – Solar heating systems are a great fossil fuel alternative. These systems are powered by the sun’s energy, and therefore the operational costs are very low. Though the installation fees can be somewhat expensive, the system often pays for itself in less than 5 years. These systems are used to heat water (i.e. bathing water, water for a radiant heat system, pool water, etc.), and can often provide up to 80% of your home’s hot water.
Radiant Floor Heating – One of the more popular eco-friendly HVAC systems, radiant flooring works by funneling hot water through pipes/tubes located in your flooring. The floors get warmed, and because heat rises, it begins to circulate through the room/house. On the downside, because the tubing has to be installed in your flooring, radiant floor heating is usually recommended for new construction and major remodeling. Another positive aspect of radiant floor heating, that you usually cannot obtain through traditional HVAC equipment, is the fact that the floors are warmed. Imagine being able to walk across your tiled bathroom or kitchen floor with bare feet and the floors being toasty warm to the touch.
Ground Source Heat Pumps (Geothermal Heating and Cooling) – These energy-efficient systems are inexpensive to install and have low operational costs. Piping is installed in the ground near or under your house. Then, water (or antifreeze) is funneled through these pipes and this water either heats or cools your home. The system works off of the inherent, and pretty constant, temperature in the soil, which is cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The soil will either heat or cool the water in the pipes, which in turns heats or cools your house.