Reduce Your Energy Costs with a Heat Pump

There are many ways that people can reduce their carbon footprint. They can buy an electric or hybrid car. They can generate their electricity from a renewable source like solar or wind. They can tighten up their homes to make them more efficient. They can also live in a smaller house! Recently there has been a lot of hype around heat pumps. Despite the hype and excitement about this evolving technology most people are still unaware of what exactly a heat pump is.

Heat pumps are very simply, a source of heating and cooling. They act as heat transporters, constantly moving warm air from one place to another, to where it’s needed, or not needed, depending on the season. Even in air that’s seems too cold, heat energy is present. When it’s cold outside heat pumps extract this outside heat and transfer it inside. When it’s warm outside, they reverse directions and act like an air conditioner, removing heat from your home. There are typically two parts of a heat pump, an indoor air handling unit and an outdoor unit that looks like a central air conditioner and contains the compressor.

This technology has been around for a while and heat generated from electricity isn’t new, so what’s difference about these you might ask? Because heat pumps move heat instead of generating it, they are much more energy efficient. Homeowners can lower energy bills by switching from electric resistance, propane, and oil to heat pumps. This is of course very important for those people that would like to stop consuming oil and gas for heating to reduce their carbon footprint, because it is now affordable enough to do.

The reason people are talking about heat pumps more today is because of improvements in technology over the last couple years. As a result they can be used in colder climates like Vermont that have extended subzero temperatures. While effective in cold weather, an air-source heat pump may require supplemental heat on subzero days.

For the homeowner looking to get themselves off of fossil fuels this is a great and economical approach. For a homeowner who would like to go completely fossil fuel free they can combine a heat pump with a renewable energy source like solar for their home to get their home closer to carbon neutral. For this reason Catamount Solar is offering extra financial incentives for heat pumps for people who participate in the upcoming Solarize 2016 initiative being organized by Sustainable Woodstock and area energy activists. With a heat pump and solar combination a homeowner is responsible for paying the installation costs, but after that heating and electricity are free!

Even if reducing a carbon footprint isn’t the reason for getting a heat pump they still are great for saving homeowners money. As mentioned above heat pumps can reduce energy consumption by 30%-40%, which makes the cost of heating with a heat pump competitive or cheaper than fossil fuels. The state and federal government also offers financial incentives for heat pumps. The Federal government offers a 10% credit, which expires at the end of 2016. Efficiency Vermont is also offering a $400 off of the purchase price which expires at the end of June 2016.

Sustainable Woodstock is excited about the potential of heat pumps to help people reduce their energy consumption and carbon footprint. We will be hosting several information sessions on heat pumps over the next couple of months in conjunction with the Solarize 2016 initiative. Contact info@sustainablewoodstock.org for more information.

Take Action: Reduce your energy consumption with a heat pump!

Zach Ralph on the outdoor component of the home's mini split Heat Pump.

Zach Ralph on the outdoor component of the home’s mini split Heat Pump.

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