3 Green Alternatives to Your Current HVAC Unit

*this is a guest post

Is it time to replace your HVAC system? Now is the perfect opportunity to upgrade to a system that is modern, energy efficient, and environmentally friendly. Energy-efficient HVAC systems are not only good for the planet but may decrease your utility costs. Here are three green alternatives to your current HVAC unit.

Geothermal Heat Pump

Image via Flickr by Holland and Green Architectural Design

Geothermal heat pumps heat and cool by taking advantage of the stable temperature just below our feet. Not far below the surface of the earth, the ground temperature is a consistent 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Geothermal heating systems are designed to pass water (or another liquid) through a series of pipes to cool or heat the water, depending on the season. 

Pipes are installed underground to nestle into the earth where the temperature is consistent. The pipes are then installed under the floor of your home and pass warmed water in the winter, and cooled water in the summer. A geothermal heat pump (which can last between 10-15 years before needing replacement) is an energy-efficient heating and cooling system that can decrease your monthly utility costs.

Evaporative Cooling

Evaporative cooling, also called “swamp cooling,” is a method for cooling a house that has been around for many years. A “swamp cooler” works by saturating incoming air with water, which drops the air temperature 15 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The cooled air is then circulated through the house, while the swamp cooler simultaneously pushes out warmer air.

Swamp coolers can cost one-half as much as an air conditioner, and use one-quarter as much energy. In addition, unlike an air conditioner, they circulate a steady stream of fresh air (as opposed to recirculating air in a closed circuit). The one drawback? Swamp coolers can only effectively be used in low-humidity areas of the country.

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters, sometimes called “on demand” water heaters, can provide between 27 and 50 percent energy savings if installed at each hot water outlet in a home. Tankless water heaters work by heating water as it passes through the unit. In contrast, traditional storage water heaters heat a large amount of water at once and then push it through the pipes to a house’s taps. 

Storage water heaters often generate more hot water than is needed. The water then cools and needs to be reheated again for use. As such, storage water heaters cost far more to operate than tankless water heaters. The icing on the cake is that tankless water heaters also are built to last longer than storage water heaters, and therefore need to be replaced less frequently.

When it is time to replace your existing HVAC system, consider these green alternatives. Geothermal heat pumps, evaporative cooling, and tankless hot water heaters are all ways to decrease your utility costs while lessening your footprint on the earth. Whether you implement one or all of these green alternatives, you are sure to notice the positive impact of your decision.

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