Comfort is a large part of energy efficiency. We want to be warm during the winter and cool during the summer. In order to achieve this, we need heating and cooling systems that work efficiently.

What do you spend your energy budget on? Heating and cooling account for almost 50% of energy use in the average American’s home.

The Lowdown on Heating Systems

Boiler: Uses gas or electricity to generate heat, then transfers that heat through a heat exchanger to deliver hot water or steam throughout the home.

Furnace: Uses gas or electricity to generate heat, then transfers that heat through a heat exchanger to deliver hot air throughout the home through ductwork.

Electric Baseboard: Using electric resistance, electricity is converted to heat energy. It tis then transferred throughout the building via baseboard units typically found at the bottom of the wall. Homes heated primarily through electric baseboard are often referred to as “all-electric” buildings.

Heat Pumps: Working like a refrigerator, but in reverse, heat pumps move heat from outside to inside. They can be used as a space heater or cooler, and are sometimes called “reverse-cycle air conditioners”. Heat pumps can be up to 2-3 times more energy-efficient when compared to electric baseboards.

Explanation-of-Annual-Fuel-Utilization-Efficiency-AFUE
The Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) determines the efficiency of both boilers and furnaces. Homeowners interested in installing the most energy-efficient model should look for units with an AFUE of 95% or greater. Giveaways for efficient furnaces and boilers include condensing units, sealed combustion, and fan-assisted units.

The Lowdown on Heating Systems

We often focus on heating systems more than cooling systems here in the mountains. Our top tip for cooling your home would be to keep the windows open at night and close the windows and lower the insulated shades in the morning. But for those of you who need an energy-powered device, here are three cooling systems typically found in American homes.

Air Conditioning: Air Conditioners transfer the hot air from inside your home, to the outside. As a result, it cools the room to a comfortable temperature. These traditional “AC” units are not considered an energy-efficient method of cooling.

Evaporative Coolers: Evaporative coolers use technology based on the basic principles of evaporation. You might remember from science class. As the water pumped through the system turns into vapor, it removes the heat from the environment. This produces a chilling effect in your home. These units can be a fairly energy-efficient method for cooling in our climate.

Heat Pumps: Not just for heating! Heat pumps allow you to switch to a cooling mode in the summer — and they use roughly half the energy of a typical AC window unit.

HOW TO PAY FOR YOUR PROJECT

REBATES


Heat Pump (air or water source, central heating & cooling)

CORE Rebates: 25% of project cost up to $2,500.

Criteria:

  • Energy Assessment required
  • Eligible if the heat pump will be your primary heat source
  • Air sealing and insulation work must be completed before the heat pump is installed, unless you’re already at or below 0.35 Natural Air Changes per Hour (NACH) and at current energy code insulation levels
  • Insulation projects must conform to the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).
    • Air sealing must be completed prior to adding insulation, demonstrating a 10% reduction
    • Insulation projects must conform to the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC)
  • Must be cold climate rated
  • Must be ENERGY STAR certified

* If the heat pump is for cooling only or supplemental heating, you may still qualify for a rebate of 25% of project costs up to $500.

Utility rebates may be available:

Aspen Electric | Holy Cross Energy | Glenwood Springs Electric | Xcel Energy


Evaporative Coolers:

Utility rebates may be available:

Aspen Electric | Holy Cross Energy | Glenwood Springs Electric | Xcel Energy


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: