8 Green Heating and Cooling Techniques For Your Home

8 Green Heating and Cooling Techniques For Your Home

Becoming eco-friendly involves more than just recycling paper and plastics. It is a lifestyle change where one should try and minimize the carbon footprint in every aspect of one's life and home. One of the big culprits that cause green house gasses is heating and cooling in homes and commercial buildings. So if you cannot live without your HVAC system, then it is best to look into green heating and cooling techniques. The line between comfort and eco-friendly can become overwhelming, but here are some great green heating and cooling methods that will help you make the right decision.

First, it is important to understand that there are two categories under which we can place green heating and cooling systems:

- Passive systems: This is a system that makes use of natural resources and construction components to turn natural energy into usable energy. In other words, the construction of a home can either help a house contain more heat during winter or stay cooler during summer.

- Active systems: This system makes use of energy to cool or heat through a mechanical system. Green energy sources are used to operate these systems for example, solar and geothermal power.

1. Geothermal Heating and cooling systems

A liquid, which is water with refrigerant mixed in, is pumped through a pipe under ground. The ground temperature, which naturally stays at 55 degrees Fahrenheit, absorbs heat or emits heat to the fluid, depending on the season, and is pumped through a heat pump in your home. During the winter the fluid will absorb the heat of the earth and pump warm air inside your home. When the summer comes, the heat inside your home will be absorbed by the liquid, transferred and pumped outside, leaving your home cooler.

2. Active Solar Heating Systems

When you have a home in an area exposed to enough sun during the year, then you can consider investing in an active solar heating system. This system captures the heat of the sun with a liquid fluid. The fluid it contains is in the form of water or a non-toxic glycol. Once the fluid is heated, the heat gets transferred to the home via a radiator, radiant floor heating, hot water baseboards or central forced air systems. The heat can also be stored in storage chambers when needed.

3. Pellet Stoves

It is easy to understand how this “heating system” works. As the temperature rises in a pellet stove so does the temperature in your home during those cold winter days. These stoves are renewable and easy to find and are even considered to be more efficient than wood stoves as their resources can be switchgrass and sawdust etc. Storing pellets does also not take as much space as wood does. The downside, however, is that pellet stoves are more efficient in smaller homes, homes that are less than 1.500 square feet. However, in a larger home you can always install two stoves instead of one, or just use it to heat a particular area in your home.

4. Biodiesel

Biofuels gets produced from natural, sustainable resources, also known as “energy crops,” which comes in the form of wheat, corn, soybeans, and sugarcane. The bio heat blends for heating homes can contain up to 20-percent of biofuel, which gets mixed with heating oil. These fuels can be burned in a conventional oil furnace and will release fewer pollutants into the atmosphere.

5. "Ice” cooling systems

The name comes from the company called Ice Energy who has developed a method that cools a home with an air conditioning unit that makes use of ice. The system involves a process that freezes water by circulating refrigerant through a system of copper coils, which turns the surrounding water to ice. The ice gets stored until the temperature rises. The ice compressor cools the hot refrigerant, while the AC stands down.  The buildings energy use can get cut by up to 30%.

6. Wind Power

Harnessing the power of wind to generate heat without the need of a big windmill is another green method for heating and cooling homes. A small wind turbine, created by students at Oregon State University, suitable for rooftops of a house where the wind is sufficient, is an excellent way to make use of wind power. The turbine will rotate during enough wind, which allows the magnets to warm a copper plate, followed by water pumped through a coil of copper tubing. The hot water can be used in the home and the heat produced can be pumped through the house raising the temperature of the home.

7. Passive Solar Heating

The collection of heat for passive solar heating does not require any mechanical system. The walls, windows, and floors of the home collects, stores and releases the energy of the sun. However, the releasing of the heated or cooled air does work with a mechanical system. There are different ways, and resources used to construct a home to make it more passive. For example, during a direct gain system, the sunlight will pass through the windows, and the light gets converted into thermal energy. The walls and floors work as absorbers of the heat energy which will help keep the home warm. For a cooler home, you might consider converting your roof into a cool roof, which absorbs less heat during the summer, keeping your home cooler.

8. Active Solar Heating and Cooling

By installing solar panels or solar shingle on your rooftop, you can make use of the power of the sun instead of making use of conventional energy. The electricity from a solar roof can offset the energy from the grid used to operate your HVAC system as well as other household appliances. With the proper set up, you can run your home off the grid.

The use of green energy over the year is slowly having an impact on the daily lives of people even though some green systems might be expensive, they pay off better in the long run. Converting to green energy also means that we are helping our planet, which is the reason for the green movement in the first place.


Topics: Building Green, Energy Audits, Geothermal Heating & Cooling, Heating & Cooling, Radiant Heat

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