HVAC Ways to Go Green in Your Home
Going green is all the rage. And it’s understandable why. We all have a responsibility to care for the world around us for future generations. You probably already take at least small steps to do things like reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Our team at Ballard Natural Gas wants to provide some heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) related ideas to help you go even further.
It Is Making a Difference
According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), the country has started down the right track during the last two decades or so. A Residential Energy Consumption Survey showed 48 percent of energy in United States homes was used for heating and cooling in 2009, which was a decrease from 58 percent 16 years earlier. Projections conducted in more recent years shows a steady decline as well.
As Seattle households adopt more energy-efficient equipment and take advantage of improved insulation developments, it’s hopeful energy usage will continue to decline for typical HVAC requirements. Here are some things you can consider to make a green difference.
Learn About Efficiency Ratings
Technology continues to improve when it comes to HVAC equipment, and new furnaces, heat pumps, and air conditioners are always more efficient than antiquated models. When it’s time to replace your HVAC equipment, pay attention to energy-efficiency ratings to see how your new heating and cooling system can be greener than your last.
Air conditioners use a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) rating and furnaces use an annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating. The government has set minimum standards for new equipment, but high-efficiency models exceeding those minimum standards are also available. Typically, the higher the rating, the greater the efficiency. Be sure to take these ratings into consideration when you make future HVAC purchases.
Consider Heat Pumps and Other Low-Carbon Equipment
Several different types of HVAC equipment leave a smaller carbon footprint than conventional heating and cooling options. The most popular and best proven of these technologies is the heat pump.
Unlike a conventional furnace, a heat pump does not generate heat by burning a fossil fuel. Instead, it transfers heat from one location to another. During the colder months, the heat pump will absorb heat from outside and relocate it into your Washington home.
In the summer, the pump works in the opposite direction, moving the heat from inside your house to release it outside, which has the effect of cooling your indoor air.
Other alternative energy HVAC options such as geothermal systems and solar-powered options also exist in various parts of the country, and as these technologies continue to develop, they will offer additional sustainable HVAC possibilities.
Add Complementary Components
Besides generating heat or air conditioning, you can also find ways to hold on to that conditioned air for a longer period of time. Investing in additional insulation and energy-efficient windows is another easy way to reduce your energy consumption. Taking this step along with selecting energy-efficient HVAC equipment can have a combined effect on the environment and your pocketbook.
Further, consider investing in a programmable thermostat or even smart technology designed to maximize your comfort while minimizing your energy consumption. These technologies can help you turn on your HVAC system when you are home or even target the rooms you are currently using. They can likewise turn off your system when you’re away or not using particular rooms.
Utilizing window coverings to augment your heating and cooling can also make a difference in your overall energy usage. For instance, take advantage of the sun in the cooler months to help naturally heat your home. When the weather turns warm, however, be sure to cover those same windows to block and reflect that heat away from your home.
Rely on Professional Installation and Maintenance
Finally, be sure to use an experienced, certified HVAC professional when you’re installing new equipment or servicing current furnaces or air conditioners. Our trained technicians can help you size new equipment appropriately and install it properly, which can improve efficiency and longevity of your HVAC investment. This also keeps your equipment manufacturer’s warranty in good standing.
You may additionally want to invest in biannual maintenance to have your HVAC system inspected, cleaned, and tuned up before each heating and cooling season. This simple, affordable step can make a big difference in your system’s efficiency, which will then have a positive effect on the environment.