Going Green for Winter

Cold Winter Snow

It's October, which means we're stepping into the welcoming cool weather of autumn with winter in view. As you brainstorm your Halloween costume and prep for those seasonal trick or treat parties, the last thing on your mind is heating your home. But with winter on the horizon, those of us living in colder areas should be ensuring we're ready to brave whatever temperatures and flurries Mother Nature has to throw at us.

In previous years, heating the house was a fairly simple task. Nowadays we have new elements to consider, from seasonal maintenance to going green. The truth is turning to energy efficient heating methods, especially ones that don't depend heavily on unrenewable energy resources, can be an investment in savings. Wouldn't your wallet appreciate some savings so next year's holidays can be a bit more boisterous?

Residential Space Heating Skyrockets

According to Natural Resources Canada (NRC), approximately two thirds of the energy used in our homes is for heating. Our cold climate (unless you're enjoying the warm breezes off the Pacific coast) makes heating options highly important. Everything from baseboard heat to furnaces, heat pumps, and boilers are in use across the country. And in 2010, our space heating energy consumption accounted for 63 percent of residential energy use.

The NRC makes an extremely important point regarding heating options: Always consider the "second price tag." In essence, this means that the type of heating you select will come with a secondary cost—the cost involved in running the system itself.

Several elements factor into the overall cost of heating your home. The type of system used can either increase or decrease average heating costs. More importantly, the source of the device's heat can have a large bearing on just what your energy costs will become this winter and over winters to come.

Energy Efficiency Isn't Underrated

Did you know that heating and cooling accounts for a shocking 82 percent of household energy use in the UK? Although older homes are especially inefficient, even newer homes have room for improvement when it comes to heating and cooling. The fact is new homes are often built to budget with little forethought given to what energy expenses will follow for the homeowner.

What's the solution? How can you increase efficiency and put some green back in your pocket? One solution is to deck out your home with energy efficient appliances and units. When it comes to heating and cooling, ENERGY STAR® is the name to seek out. Your goal is to track down the most efficient heating system around, and there are a few things working in your favor:

  1. Due to Canada's Energy Efficiency Regulations, most heating products are required to meet set energy performance standards. If you're updating an older home, it's a good bet the heating products populating today's market are automatically more efficient.
  2. Thanks to the EnerGuide label present on select heating products—like furnaces, air-source heat pumps, and gas fireplaces—you can compare the model you're inspecting to similar models. The label shows how much energy a specific model uses in comparison to others.
  3. Units and models with the ENERGY STAR® symbol indicate those products are high efficiency.

Don't Discount Going Green

We don't really associate "green" with winter. Luckily, we're not talking about foliage. We're talking about the type of energy we use to heat our homes. Believe it or not, investing in energy efficient heating is a step toward going green. It decreases your utility bill and energy consumption while simultaneously reducing your carbon footprint. It's a win-win for you and the environment. But there's nothing wrong with taking it a step further.

Experts in the heating industry believe heat pumps are the future of green heat. These energy efficient devices are capable of delivering heat from other sources, natural sources like underground springs and the ground itself! Although not widely available or cost effective to purchase and install, these devices promise a greener energy future that reduces utility bills and energy usage over the long term.

If you're ready to make the investment in going green, hybrid systems are one of the most popular heating trends. These systems combine an energy efficient heat pump with the reliability of a gas-powered or electric system. It's not going off the grid, but it's certainly limiting your usage of the grid, which results in marked consumer savings.

The Future Outlook

There's no denying that green energy is rapidly becoming the way of the future. From heating and cooling units to solar paneled roofs for power supply, there are lots of ways to go green and put more green back in your wallet over the coming years. If you're thinking about upgrading or improving your heating system before winter hits, it will be in your best interests to speak to a qualified contractor today.

Posted by: TrustedPros
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