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Energy Efficiency Trends for 2017

January 13, 2017

If energy efficiency wasn’t on your radar in 2016, it should be in the New Year. Heating and cooling systems are one of the highest energy consumers—accounting for almost 50% of all energy used in your home (DOE).

 In an effort to encourage every homeowner to cut back, this time last year, the government imposed more stringent standards on energy efficiency. Revised SEER ratings vary based on where you live. Check out this map to see the three regions and their minimum ratings.  

SEER Ratings

LENNOX

Even with new standards well in effect, homeowners continue to search for ways to improve their home’s energy efficiency. Sometimes this involves new equipment installations and other technologies. Luckily, the HVAC industry has been innovative with energy efficient systems and equipment—many of which we predict will be popular in 2017. Here are some of the trends we expect to see:

Related: Energy efficient upgrades and ROI

Going Ductless

Used internationally for quite some time, ductless units have made their mark in the states as a primary source of heating and cooling in homes. Ductless units, also referred to as mini-splits, are suitable for more than just additions, bonus rooms, garages and other spaces without ductwork. They’re powerful enough to work as a whole-house solution, or provide supplemental heating and cooling for homes that don’t have, or need, forced systems.

Variable Speed

The technology behind variable speed systems produces optimum efficiency, comfort and reliability. Unlike traditional systems that simply power on and off, the motor control drive enables greater handling of cycles as it slows down and speeds up power output based on the heating and cooling load in the home. Homeowners using variable speed control can expect to see great returns. According to Appliance Design, savings over the course of a year hover around 40% of the homeowner’s overall annual energy costs.

Geothermal

One of the easiest, most efficient ways to heat and cool–geothermal units are undoubtedly an HVAC trend that’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Although the investment is steep, geothermal heat pumps offer some of the lowest life-cycle costs of any other piece of HVAC equipment. Even though geothermal has been around for decades, a 30% tax credit from the 2009 Stimulus Act really put geothermal on the map for residential heating and cooling. (Proud Green Home)

Related: Achieving efficiency is more than just HVAC equipment

Radiant heat

Radiant heat has grown intriguing in recent years. Electric and hydronic radiant systems generate heat directly from the source and require no ductwork. We all know that without ductwork you eliminate a huge source of energy loss instantly. Radiant heat is also a widely popular alternative to forced air systems because it delivers superior air quality which in turn means a greater overall comfort level. Based on studies from ASHRAE, when the temperature is set 6-8° lower than average radiant heat is significantly more comfortable than what you’d get out of a forced-air system.

Smart homes are energy efficient homes

In addition to new equipment installations and retrofit systems, smart home technologies that reduce energy consumption, improve safety and comfort in the home will continue to take off. According to market research, growth in the smart home automation market is expected to reach to nearly $80 billion by 2022.

From intelligent thermostats that learn your behaviors to smart vents that open and close automatically, there are numerous products and accessories that are compatible with your HVAC system. Automated lighting and other one-touch control solutions just begin to scratch the surface when it comes to advancing energy efficiency in the home.

Is 2017 the year you’ll strive to be more energy efficient?

Hopefully your answer is yes! With all these highly efficient options available, it should be easy, right? Well, sort of. As enticing as these energy saving technologies sound, they are not all suitable for every home. In our service area, we see customers with 1920’s row houses and others with new construction on several acres. The characteristics of the property impact what types of service and technologies are compatible with the home, and thus most beneficial to the homeowner. 

Curious to find out which HVAC equipment trends are a good fit for your home? Our technicians are happy to talk with you about new equipment options, retrofit investments and other solutions, as well as available tax credits, rebates and incentives to make upgrades that much more worthwhile for you.

To learn more about achieving greater comfort, safety and energy efficiency in your home now and in the future, contact Dominion Service Company at 800-832-0758.