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Energy Efficiency Has Its Rewards

Apr 5.2017 Brian Arlinghaus

Energy efficient HVAC choices can have rewards.

When you consider buying energy efficient HVAC equipment, you may get a bit worried about the higher price tag. Equipment that offers greater efficiency often does cost more, but you get so much in return—lower bills, fewer emissions, and more. In fact, there are more benefits to energy efficiency than meet the eye.

Lower Utility Bills

When you think about the difference between 85 percent furnace efficiency and 95 percent efficiency, that 10 percent may not seem like much by itself, but it all adds up—especially if you focus on improving energy efficiency for all of your HVAC systems. When heating or cooling is as much as half or more of your energy bills, and you spend hundreds of dollars on average per month, 10 percent for one appliance really takes a bite out of your energy consumption. Even a drop of $20-$30 per month, through a furnace or air conditioner upgrade and a new thermostat, turns into hundreds of dollars per year.

Smaller Carbon Footprint

Trying to lower your carbon footprint takes a lot of work. Every time you order something online, you have to factor in the cost of the energy for manufacturing of the item, as well as the gasoline for the trucks to deliver it to your house. Fortunately, shortening your carbon footprint through your HVAC equipment is not that difficult, at all. Upgrading your appliances to an air conditioner, heat pump or furnace with a higher level of efficiency is a standard expectation, even if your current system is only 10 years old. If you are able to cut back on your consumption of natural gas by 20 percent as a result, you:

  • decrease the burning of fossil fuels needed to heat your home
  • expel less of the fuel you use as emissions in the air
  • lower your city’s dependence on a non-renewable energy source

You really can achieve all of these things without sacrificing your home comfort.

Better Comfort

A lot of homeowners worry that in order to improve their energy efficiency, they have to get used to cooling their homes with ceiling fans alone. Fortunately for everyone this summer, that is not true. New technology allows HVAC equipment to provide the same degree of heating or cooling as an old machine would without using as much energy. One excellent example is two-stage or multi-stage heating and cooling.

Old systems had two options to blow the heated or cooled air: on and off. On used every bit of energy the machine could muster, and off provided nothing at all. Now, your heat pump, air conditioner or furnace may work in multiple stages. A two-stage system is designed to work with a programmable thermostat to ease the temperature up or down with as little energy used as possible. You can still use the machine’s full power if you need it, but that is no longer your only choice.

Preserved Home Value

It is hard to put a price on your HVAC system in terms of home value, particularly because it is such a vital aspect of your home’s function. You may not be able to estimate the value of one bedroom window, but you would sure miss it if it were broken or seriously damaged. Updating your heating and cooling to energy efficient systems helps to ensure that your home value never goes down because of an old, inefficient furnace or air conditioner.

If you decide to invest in a particularly innovative HVAC approach, such as geothermal heating and cooling, you can even appeal to homeowners who are looking for the top of the line in green technology. The benefit that geothermal equipment provides in a decades-long lifespan at a fraction of the energy costs is just another layer of icing on the cake for you to enjoy and make a selling point to future buyers.

Monetary Incentives

There are a number of ways to save money on your upgrade. On occasion, states or the federal government will offer tax credits on the purchase of certain types of energy efficient HVAC equipment. For example, if you bought an Energy Star air conditioner before the end of 2016, you could claim a tax credit of up to 10 percent of the cost. Homeowners who purchased a geothermal heat pump could claim as much as 30 percent as a credit on their 2016 taxes. If you missed out on these tax credits, you may still be eligible for manufacturer rebates and installation discounts. Ask your HVAC technician for more information.

Who wouldn’t want to save money on their energy bills? The purchase of energy efficient HVAC equipment has so many rewards, and money is just one part. A happier home that uses less energy and maintains its value is more than worth the investment.

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