Renewable energy generated by solar, wind, and geothermal technology has garnered a lot of attention lately, but residential biomass central heating systems have not enjoyed the same exposure. What’s holding biomass back?
Barring any changes stemming from the pending lawsuit against the Department of Energy (DOE), the new regional efficiency standards for residential furnaces, air conditioners, and heat pumps are scheduled to become effective May 1, 2013. What does that mean for you?
The new residential boiler efficiency standards just went into effect in September, with gas-fired hot water boilers now having to be a minimum of 82 percent AFUE. Many in the industry note that sales of higher efficiency boilers have been trending up, so homeowners are already expressing interest in better efficiency.
With residential new construction barely a blip on the radar these days, most contractors have shifted gears toward educating customers about the benefits of retrofitting older HVAC units with new high-efficiency equipment. In the northeast U.S., where hydronic systems are very popular, that often involves replacing older boilers.
As Benjamin Franklin once famously said, “In life, nothing is certain but death and taxes.” Many business owners might argue that “regulations” could have been added to that quote as well, given the large number of new rules imposed each year by local, state, and federal governments.
While nonresidential construction spending has increased somewhat over the last year, current indicators show that this market is still not robust. Geothermal heat pump (GHP) systems seem to be bucking this trend, though, as most manufacturers state that sales of commercial equipment are increasing.
Many homeowners would love to take advantage of the energy savings that geothermal heat pumps (GHP) can provide, however, the high cost to install these systems can prevent some from making that purchase. Is there something that will help?
Geothermal heat pump (GHP) sales have grown steadily in recent years, but manufacturers estimate that GHP installations account for only about 1 to 2 percent of the total market. As the economy improves, some industry experts predict sales of GHPs will command a far larger share of the market by 2016.
Geothermal systems can significantly reduce energy consumption in a traditionally built house, but when installed in conjunction with a tight thermal envelope, they can help a homeowner procure the coveted net zero energy label.
Many in the industry are still lamenting the loss of the federal tax credits for higher efficiency HVAC systems; however, most manufacturers believe that customers remain willing to pay a premium for better equipment.