HVAC Systems That Qualify For Green Construction
Heating and air conditioning your home is where a majority of your energy is used each month. For this reason many people are looking to install energy efficient HVAC systems so they can save themselves money over the long term and reduce the amount of carbon emissions that their family creates. Let's take a look at what HVAC systems qualify as energy efficient green construction.
What is Your Temperature Region?
Before going too far into the different available HVAC systems that are great for new construction and remodeling, it is important to understand that each region of the country has its own heating or cooling needs. For example, homeowners in the North are going to be more concerned about heating the home through the long cold winter months, while the South focuses on keeping cool during the hot summer. Those in between will need a system that covers elements of both.
Simple Tips That Everyone Should Follow
No matter what climate you live in, there are a few simple tasks that everyone should include in their energy efficient HVAC upgrade. Installing a programmable thermostat will ensure that your system only runs when your family needs it, and save you money each month. No system will function correctly if the heating and cooling ducts sealing allows for air to escape. Ensure that all ducts are sealed correctly to get the maximum energy savings from your new HVAC unit.
Energy Efficient Heating Systems
Furnaces - These are the most common type of heating system in the US. You should look for units that are at least 90% efficient, which means that 90% of the energy used by the furnace goes directly towards heating the home. Additionally, green furnaces have a high efficiency blower motors that help to circulate the heated air throughout the house.
Boilers - A boiler keeps the home warm by heating water or steam that is circulated throughout the home. The heat is then radiated from the baseboards, beneath the floor, or from wall radiators. Green boiler features to look for are electronic ignition so that the pilot light is not constantly running, and high insulation so that the heat does not escape the boil before circulating around the house. Radiant floor heating has become incredibly popular because of its high energy efficiency for especially cold climates and the added benefit of warm floors instead of traditionally cold tiles in the kitchen and baths.
Green Air Conditioning Systems
Central Air Conditioners - These cooling units are often called split systems because there is an outside condenser unit and an interior evaporator coil that work together to cool the air that is blown throughout the home. An Energy Star AC unit is going to have a high SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) value and EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio).
The SEER focuses on the unit's efficiency over the cooling season, while the EER focuses on how it will perform at a given temperature. For those who live in consistently hot climates the EER value should be very high to save the most energy throughout the year. Keep in mind that an efficient blower motor is needed to circulate the air properly, and that leaky air ducts can negate the impact of a green air conditioning system.
Efficient HVAC Systems for Moderate Climates
Heat Pumps - For those that need heating and cooling during the year, heat pumps are very popular. An electric air source heat pump (ASHP) makes use of the difference in indoor and outdoor air temperatures to maintain the interior temperature. As with the AC unit mentioned above, the SEER and EER numbers must be high if you want an Energy Star approved HVAC system. Geothermal heat pumps are the most energy efficient heating and cooling units for moderate climates. They use the grounds temperature difference to heat and cool the home, and often include the added benefit of water heating as well. This type of system has a much higher initial installation cost, but the increased energy savings and tax credits for green HVAC equipment can help to offset that difference in cost within a few years.
These are the heating and cooling systems that qualify for green construction and Energy Star tax credits. Make sure that you consider the money and energy savings of your HVAC unit when it comes time to build a new home or replace an older unit.