House and energy efficiency labelWant to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint? Start with Your HVAC System

In recent years, the scientific community has come to a consensus that global warming is real and, if left unchecked, could have devastating consequences for the planet, such as rising sea levels, extreme weather patterns, severe crop failures and livestock shortages, reports Live Science. Human activity, specifically burning fossil fuels to generate electricity, is seen as a primary cause the problem, and the amount of emissions each individual is responsible for is known as a carbon footprint. It’s thought that, collectively, we can help slow the warming of the atmosphere by reducing our carbon footprint—starting with our HVAC systems.

Energy-Efficient HVAC Technologies

Electricity derived from fossil fuels powers the majority of heating and air conditioning units in the United States. In fact, the U.S. Energy Information Administration found that the electric power sector accounted for the largest source, 40 percent, of carbon emissions in 2009. Moreover, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notes that the amount of electricity used for lighting, heating, air conditioning and appliances in homes and businesses increased carbon emissions by 28 percent from 1990 to 2013. Fortunately, the HVAC industry has developed several energy-saving technologies.

  • heat-pump-diagramGeothermal Heat Pumps: Both the EPA and the Department of Energy (DOE) have lauded geothermal heat pumps as the “most environmentally friendly and cost-effective way to heat a home,” asserts The Refrigeration School. Utilizing the constant temperature of the earth as the exchange medium instead of the outside air temperature, geothermal heat pumps operate at 20 percent the cost of electric furnaces, and some types of units produce no pollutants of any kind. This clean technology is not limited to heating but can also be used for hot water and air conditioning.
  • HVAC Zoning: Rather than expend the energy to heat or cool an entire home, zoning allows home and business owners to control the climate of specific areas within a building, which ultimately saves energy. Typically, a zoned system consists of a control panel for multiple thermostats that operate dampers located in the structure’s ductwork. The thermostats open or close the dampers depending on which portions of the home are to be cooled or heated.
  • new-nest-thermostatDigital Thermostats: As recently reported, the DOE states that digital thermostats can save you as much as 10 percent on your energy bill. These  savings also equate to less electricity usage and, consequently, lower carbon emissions. In addition, these thermostats offer convenience, as they can be accessed remotely from your smartphone. For example, if you forgot to turn off the air conditioner before you left, you can do so with the touch of a screen from anywhere.

Securing Our Future Starts at Home

Many of us have the power to cut back on our carbon consumption and help slow the rate of global warming, thereby hopefully securing a better future for generations to come. We can start with the decisions we make in our homes: opting for more energy-efficient HVAC units and components could not only reduce our carbon footprints, but also save money in the long-term, which will likely offset initial installation costs. For those of us who aren’t ready for such purchases, regular maintenance like changing filters can help ensure the systems we already have are working efficiently as possible. Contact us anytime to learn more about how to save energy with your HVAC system.