A Green Home is A Warm Home: Eco-Friendly Heating Options
For most of us, December means plummeting temperatures and sky rocketing utility bills. Not just that but both gas and electric heat can have detrimental effects on our environment. Seeing as though lately I've been focusing my articles on ways to make your home or office building greener with eco-friendly flooring, walls and ceiling options, I thought it appropriate to take a look at eco-friendly heating alternatives as well. Here are three of the forerunners:
GeoThermal Heat Pumps
Surpisingly, solar heating won't be making this list. Given the amount of solar panels it would take to heat your home using solar energy as well as the limited sunlight during the winter, heating your home with rays from the sun isn't very practical. However, if we turn our attention to back down to earth, one of the most innovative and eco-friendly heating options can be found. According to ThisOldHouse.com, Geothermal heat pumps are super efficient, clean and quiet. They can also cut utility costs up to 70%. A geothermal heat pump (GHP) functions like any other typical heat pump; however, it doesn't gather the heat and dispose of it through the outside air like a conventional pump. Rather, a GHP transfers heat through long loops buried in the ground as can be seen by the above diagram. This system only takes a kilowatt-hour of electricity to produce nearly 12,000 Btu of heating or cooling. That's right - GHP can be used for cooling as well. Nonethelss, more easily installed options exist, such as these next two alternatives.
GE's GeoSpring Hybrid Water Heater
General Electric (GE) claims their GeoSpring Water Heater could potentially reduce water heater operating cost up to 62% and save owners up to $320 a year. EnergyStar qualification guarantees that this water heater saves energy and also qualifies owners for a federal energy tax credit. Integrated into the electric water heater unit are a compressor and evaporator, which draw in ambient heat from surrounding air using two variable speed fans. This heat is transferred into the tank and heats the water via condenser coils that wrap the tank all the way to the bottom. The innovative technology produces the same amount of hot water as traditional water heaters but saves energy and money doing so.
The Complete Radiant Panel
Hydronic, radiant floor heating systems have gained popularity in recent years, yet most of the time this trendy and effective heating system can be expensive. However, the Complete Radiant Panel (CRP) promises to save owners money while saving heating energy, improving air quality, and decreasing installation waste. What's more, the aluminum top coat is composed of recycled content and the water-based adhesive has low VOCs. Still not green enough for you? The paneling is made from sustainably harvested hardwood OSB substrate. The thick aluminum top layer spreads the heat evenly across the floor of the room from hydronic tubing, keeping the entire room clean from the ground up.
These innovative, ecocentric alternatives to heating your home can not only save you money but also conserve our planet's natural resources. Clearly, going green doesn't have to mean turning blue this winter.