by Alicia Lawrence
When it comes to eco-friendly heating & cooling for your home, toeing the line between comfort and eco-conscious can be overwhelming.
After my family found out just how big of a footprint our home had on the environment, we started to try to find ways to do our part to keep the earth green. We began to recycle cardboard, cans and plastics. We turned off our lights when we left a room and only used cold water for laundry.
But I knew we needed to make a bigger change to have a bigger impact. That’s when our family decided to invest in the environment (and our pocket book) by finding a greener way to heat and cool our home.
Even though data from the Department of Energy found homes are getting more energy efficient, data shows 48 percent of household energy use is linked to heating and cooling.
4 eco-friendly heating & cooling options that will save you money…
Use the following ideas to revamp your home’s heating and cooling system so it’s as eco-friendly as you are and your monthly utility bill is less of a drain on your bank account.
1. Pellet stoves
Considered more efficient than wood stoves, pellet stoves burn easily renewable (and easy to find!) resources like switchgrass and sawdust. If your home is smaller than about 1,500 square feet, you can probably get by with having just one pellet stove. However, if your abode is any larger, plan on installing two.
Pellets take up much less space than wood, so pellet stoves work well if you don’t have a yard big enough for a wood pile. Plus, tiny but effective pellets are much easier to manage than heavy pieces of wood. They’re very money saving, too. Before I had a pellet stove installed a couple of years ago, I spent nearly $700 each season for fuel. My pellet stove costs at least $100 less to run, yet still keeps my home terrifically toasty.
2. Geothermal heating and cooling systems
A home geothermal system uses naturally stable ground temperature to keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. No matter what time of year it is, the underground temperature stays at 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, with this system, one unit of electricity creates four units of heat.
After a geothermal system is installed, your heat pump circulates liquid through pipes buried in the ground. The liquid responds to the ground temperature and goes back up to the heat pump. Because this kind of system doesn’t use a lot of electricity or rely on fossil fuels, it’s very kind to the Earth.
3. Active solar heating systems
If you live in an area that gets cold in the winter but is very sunny, active solar heating systems are worth checking out. They capture heat from the sun via a fluid (usually water or non-toxic glycol) and transfer it into the home where it collects in a storage chamber for later use. That heat can be sent through the home through radiators, radiant floor heating setups, hot water baseboards or central forced-air systems.
4. Hybrid solar air conditioners
Unlike conventional options, hybrid solar air conditioners depend on both solar power and batteries to run. When the sun’s shining, the air conditioner pulls double duty by using uses solar energy for power while also charging the appliance’s batteries.
During times when battery backup power is necessary, the batteries get charged via alternating current power. Some of these systems can run off a single solar panel, making them feasible even if you’re not in the mood for a major remodeling project.
These home improvements take a lot of planning and consideration. But if you’re serious about making some powerful changes to be a more eco-responsible resident, the solutions on this list could help you succeed, without having to cope with unpleasant temperatures.
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~Asst. Ed. Green Diva Christine | Images via Shutterstock