What Does Green Energy Mean?

Published on: June 14, 2013

When choosing new HVAC equipment, many home and business owners worry about the impact that they are having on the planet. After all, many older heating and cooling units wasted precious fuels or used refrigerants that did damage to the environment. Thankfully, today’s consumers have a wide variety of environmentally friendly products from which to choose. These green energy products and solutions are designed with the health of the planet in mind. When you choose a green heating and cooling solution, you can rest assured that you’re providing for your own comfort and watching out for the planet.

Understanding Green Energy

HVAC products that are referred to as green have been engineered with environmental concerns in mind. This means that they are designed to use less energy than conventional heating and cooling units but still deliver a high level of service. Manufacturers also work hard to ensure that the materials used to build green products are available in abundance. Many of these environmentally friendly units are even built with recycled materials to help cut down on consumer waste while controlling manufacturing costs.

Why is Choosing Green Solutions Important?

Some consumers are hesitant to buy green HVAC products because they worry that they are too expensive or that they will not work as well as conventional units. However, there are many benefits to buying green solutions. As you weigh your HVAC options, keep the following in mind:

  • Green products offer reliable, efficient heating and cooling.
  • Green heating and cooling solutions tend to be less expensive to run than conventional HVAC units.
  • Green units don’t contain chemicals that are harmful to the earth or human health.
  • Green initiatives and incentive programs have been created to reward home and business owners who choose environmentally friendly products.

How Can You Choose Green Energy Products?

One of the first steps in choosing green HVAC products is determining the overall efficiency of your current home heating and cooling systems. Perhaps you’ve wondered how much energy your AC unit uses or how much it costs to run your furnace every winter. Ask your HVAC dealer to help you calculate your current energy costs. As you shop, use this information so that you can find a new, green unit that meets your needs.

Understanding Efficiency Ratings

Most manufacturers clearly label green products so that consumers can make wise purchasing decisions while shopping. Of course, it’s also important to pay attention to other unit information. Familiarize yourself with these efficiency ratings so that you can make the best purchasing decision possible:

  • SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) ratings describe the overall cooling efficiency of heat pumps and air conditioners. All new units must have a rating of at least 13. Look for units with higher ratings to ensure optimal efficiency.
  • HSPF (heating seasonal performance factor) ratings described the heating efficiency of heat pumps. All new units must have a rating of at least 8.6. Look for heat pumps with ratings of nine and higher to ensure optimal efficiency.
  • AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) ratings describe how furnaces and boilers use fuel. A unit that has an AFUE of 80 uses 80 percent of its fuel to produce heat and wastes 20 percent of its fuel. Look for units with ratings of 95 or higher to ensure optimal efficiency.
  • CEE (consortium for energy efficiency) Tiers describe the overall efficiency of appliances. Look for units in tiers two, three or four for optimal efficiency.
  • Energy Star ratings describe the overall efficiency and average operating costs of a wide variety of consumer appliances. Carefully review operating cost information on Energy Star labels before making a buying decision.

Benefitting from Green Initiatives

All home and business owners can benefit by choosing green solutions. Thanks to both private and government initiatives, manufacturers have been able to develop and refine green HVAC solutions. When you choose green products, you invest not only in your own comfort but also in the overall health of the planet. Many manufacturers offer financing programs designed to assist home and business owners who want to invest in green products. Your local HVAC dealer can explain your manufacturer-backed financing options to you in detail.

Taking Advantage of Green Energy Incentives

Many homeowners will be able to take advantage of state and federal rebates designed to award consumers who choose energy-efficient appliances. Your HVAC dealer should be able to provide you with information about state and local programs designed to reward consumers who purchase green HVAC units. You can also check with your municipal utility company, which may offer incentives if you purchase appliances that meet certain criteria.

Homeowners can also take advantage of special federal tax credits until the end of 2013. Under the 25C federal tax credit program, individuals who purchase certain, energy-efficient appliances on or before December 31, 2013, can take tax credits. These credits are designed to reduce your overall tax burden. Remember that they do not work like a direct rebate.

Working with Local Green Energy Products Specialists

Working with an experienced, friendly HVAC professional is the best way to ensure that you find green HVAC solutions that meet your needs. At AC Southeast®, we’re proud to help consumers throughout Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina locate qualified HVAC dealers. You can use our free, simple online tools to locate a professional in your area to assist with all of your HVAC needs.