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Green Heating Systems

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Why choose a green heating system? Perhaps because heating a home engenders one of the highest costs associated with home ownership. On average it costs $900.00 per year to heat a home. Homeowners who live in the chilliest climates can see heating bills of up to $4500.00. When faced with a decision on a new heating system, bills like these can make homeowners eager to seek out heating systems that provide comfort for less cost. Green heating can meet that need.

Replace Old Heating Systems

Replacing a heating system that is more than 20 years old is a green choice. Older furnaces have very low efficiency percentages. The Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency equation, which is the amount of usable heat a furnace produces divided by the amount of energy that goes into producing it, calculates the energy efficiency of heating systems.

Older systems tend to have efficiency ratings of only 55% to 65%. The newest, most efficient systems have up to 93% efficiency. Though these furnaces employ the use of traditional fuels, the fact that they are ultra energy-efficient qualifies them as green. Energy Star labels can help the consumer identify green heating systems; their presence on a heating appliance indicates that it is 5% to 15% more efficient than the minimum 78% required by law for all newer furnaces.

Use Alternative Fuels

Green heating can also employ alternative fuels to heat the home with the least amount of harm to the environment. For example, efficient biomass furnaces use organic waste, plant material, and vegetation such as corn, wood dust, and cherry pits to heat homes. Biomass fuel is renewable, readily available, and extremely cost effective.

Geothermal heat pumps are another green heating system that relies mainly on renewable resources to heat the home. Geothermal heat pumps use the heat that is below the surface of the earth to warm a home. A very small amount of electricity is required to run the system, but even with the use of electricity, geothermal heating systems can cost as little as $.03 per kilowatt hour to run. Geothermal systems also qualify for a 30% federal tax credit, if newly installed in 2009.

Solar energy systems have great possibilities as green heating systems. Solar energy is abundant, free, and clean. And it’s true that passive solar energy can warm a home for absolutely no cost at all – just open the curtains. However, colder climates require an active solar heating system, which consists of collectors to collect sunlight, a pump to distribute the solar energy as heat, and a storage system to store energy for periods when the sun doesn’t shine.

This is a complicated system, and as such, initial costs are very high. Commercially available systems cost $30 to $80 per sq ft of collector area, installed. The larger the area, the less per sq ft. As green heating, active solar heating systems also qualify for a 30% tax credit from the government.

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