Air conditioning accounts for nearly 50% of the energy use in the United States during peak summer months, and air conditioning is responsible for nearly 100 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year.
HVAC units are one of the biggest energy hogs in a building. Up to half of a home’s energy costs can be attributed to its HVAC
system. With rising energy costs, and an increased global awareness of environmental issues, “green HVAC” systems are becoming a standard when it comes to building construction and maintenance.
One way to take an existing HVAC system green or “eco-friendly” is to perform regular maintenance on the filters. A dirty air filter will result in decreased air flow throughout the system, which will make the HVAC unit work harder, and unnecessarily waste more energy than it has to. Dirty air filters can also cause dust and other particles to build up and get into the mechanics of the system, leading to lowered performance, and possibly reducing the life of the system. Air filters should be changed every 3 months to ensure clean, uninterrupted air flow.Another green upgrade to an HVAC system is checking the duct work. Air flow lost to poor ducting can lead to a 20% loss in efficiency and can be a buildings greatest energy waste. Energy can be saved by making sure all duct work in the building is properly sealed. Another green upgrade to existing HVAC systems is to install a programmable thermostat. Setting pre programmed temperature settings to different times of the day will ensure that the system is not wasting energy heating or cooling an empty room.Another option is to upgrade the whole system to an ENERGY STAR certified HVAC system. These systems use more efficient technology than traditional systems and can save as much as 50% off current energy costs. Another cost benefit is that some areas and counties offer tax credits for upgrading to an energy efficient HVAC model. These systems will ensure that the system is energy efficient as well as environmentally friendly.
New Jersey Institute of technology in New Jersey it is a place of learning in the heart of Newark New Jersey , but it’s also a temple of green technology. In April 2011, Unitemp, inc installed 60 rooftop solar collectors to heat and cool its student center. Engineers designed the large-scale array to run the building’s hot water and air conditioning units.
The system is very efficient. The solar collectors grab the sun’s rays and concentrate their captured energy, heating the building’s water to 200 degrees. University officials expect the system to reduce the building’s natural gas consumption by 70 percent each year and eliminate 34 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere [source: New Jersey institute of technology is not alone in installing green heating and cooling systems. Other universities, businesses and homeowners are taking advantages of this green technology. Compared to standard heating and cooling systems, going green is better for the environment because it helps eliminate greenhouse gasses. In addition, the efficiency of these green systems allows people to save money on their energy bills, which has the potential to make a huge difference.
Green heating and cooling systems fall under two distinct categories: passive and active. Passive systems maximize nature’s ability to heat and cool without furnaces or air conditioners [source: Green Technology]. Among other things, passive technology includes constructing homes with white or light-colored roofs that reflect the sun’s energy instead of absorbing it. As a result, the amount of energy it takes to cool a house is less. Passive designs also use windows that can keep the heat out and cool air in.
The uptick in green-energy use in recent years is slowly having an impact. For one thing, Americans saved more than $19 billion in 2008 by using various green heating and cooling systems [source: U.S. Department of Energy]. But these green systems are not cheap — some solar collectors cost between $30 and $80 per square foot for installation. The government, however, has incentive programs to help builders and homeowners defray some of the cost
[source: U.S. Department of Energy].