Be kind to your planet with energy efficient hvac

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Keller Williams Realty STL

Alternative Hvac systems are becoming more popular

With temperatures in St. Louis soaring over the 100 degree mark for 10 days in a row, we are all seeing $$$$ on our next electric bill. This could be a good opportunity to explore ways to be kind to our planet and our budget with the installation of geothermal or ductless (also known as mini-split) hvac systems.  And, if you are thinking about really being on the cutting edge start a watch for the MagLev Chillers/Compressors which are currently available only in commercial buildings.

geothermal energy systemGeothermal energy is energy extracted from the energy that is stored in the earth. Geothermal heating and cooling systems provide space conditioning for heating, cooling and humidity control and also for water heating.  It works by moving heat rather than converting energy to heat like the conventional furnace. 

There are three parts to a geothermal heating and cooling system:  a heat pump to move heat between the building and the fluid in the earth connection, a earth connection for transferring heat between its fluid and the earth and a distribution subsystem for delivering heating and cooling to the building. 

Most residential geothermal heating and cooling systems use conventional ductwork to distribute hot or cold air and to provide humidity control.  The source of this information is Taco residential and commercial hydronic systems.  See Geothermal Heating and Cooling for more details. 

More and more residences are using geothermal systems. An example in St. Louis County is 919 Lay Road in Ladue.  (Click on the link for sale information)  Here is a picture of the geothermal unit installed in this home.

Another option for "greener" hvacs are ductless air conditioners also known as mini split systems.  Most systems are designed for heating and cooling.  A ductless hvac system is composed of smaller air handlers that are permanently mounted on a wall or ceiling.  These air handlers are supplied with electricity, a refrigerant line connected to an outdoor (and sometimes indoor) compressor and a condensate drain line.

Some advantages:

  • Easy installation
  • Capable of removing alergens
  • Individual room control with remotes
  • Less energy loss
  • Quieter than forced air
  • Balanced temperature throughout a room
  • Handle greater extremes in temperature

Ductless air conditioning is becoming more popular in many older homes that were built without ducts and as an alternative hvac for room additions.  Each room has its own system which can be adjusted so that rooms that are not used during the day can be adjusted to keep energy usage down all year round.  The compressor speed modulates and pumps only what it needs at any given moment.

Sources for more information:  Fujitsu, Mitsubishi, Sanyo, Buzzle

The most recent breakthrough in energy efficient air conditioning needs to be put on your watch list.  It is the MagLev Centrifugal Chiller/Compressor.  The system is currently available only for commercial use.  It is an innovative air cooled chiller system based on magnetic levitation technology.  (MagLev technology is most commonly heard in reference to train technology.)

The MagLev chiller's oil-free design eliminates oil maintenance and the expenses associated with the damage caused by its use and disposal.  Another energy saving aspect is the fact that there is not wasteful water consumption because it is air cooled.

Advantages include extended equipment life, soft starting, outstanding energy efficiency, exceptionally quiet operation, weight and size reduction.

For more info:  Product information Danfoss, Multistack,  ClimavenetaGeneva 2009

If you are considering the installation of a new energy efficient system, here are some facts about using the energy-efficiency tax credit which is available through 2016.

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"Unique Needs/Unique Solutions. Respecting individuality."

Barbara Heise, Keller Williams Realty, STL.



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