By John Matheny.
When building a new home or doing a major remodel, an important consideration is how it will be heated and cooled, and which appliances to use. Natural gas for ambient and water heating has long been accepted as most efficient and cost effective, but is now changing due to advances in technology. By switching from carbon-based fuel to a grid-tied solar installation, it’s entirely possible to have a Zero Net Energy home, with all electricity coming from the sun.
The All Electric Home is making a comeback. It was popular in the 70s, but people soon realized that there were major drawbacks, the main one being that heating with electricity used to be extremely inefficient. The trend then shifted back to heating with natural gas and propane. Since then, major breakthroughs have been made in heat pump technology. Here is a link that explains how heat pumps work: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_pump
A split pump allows one unit to be both an air conditioner and heat source, and multiple units work together to heat and cool a home. Split pumps only use electricity, so their energy consumption can be offset by a grid-tied solar installation. In addition, many of these systems do not use forced air or ducts, so they are quieter and cleaner.
Generally speaking, the cost of removing an existing furnace or HVAC system and replacing it with a heat pump system can be cost-prohibitive, unless the system needs to be replaced. For a new building, a heat pump is cost-effective in the long run and provides a more comfortable environment.
Water heaters and clothes dryers are now available with heat pump technology, making them much more efficient than older counterparts. Many Foodies will not want anything but a high quality gas-powered stovetop. No worries, there are multi-fuel ranges that use electricity to heat the oven, and natural gas or propane for the stovetop, and infrared and induction stovetops are available for completely clean-energy cooking options.
By switching from carbon-based fuel to a grid-tied solar installation, it’s entirely possible to have a Zero Net Energy building, with all electricity coming from the sun. This is positive from an environmental perspective and also provides financial benefits by reducing long-term energy-related expenses. Check out the following article for more information on the Net Zero home: http://www.architectmagazine.com/practice/what-it-takes-to-go-net-zero_o
Please contact Solar Works to learn more about how solar can help you achieve a more energy-efficient home or business.