When considering energy efficiency in air conditioning and heating, take a “whole house” approach. The same concept works with climate control for commercial structures also. Your indoor comfort, satisfaction, and costs will depend mainly on two factors: the design, age, and condition of the equipment in place and the energy efficiency of the structure (known in the HVAC industry as “the envelope’). Features that affect energy efficiency of the envelope include the “R Factor” of the insulation in ceiling, walls, and under floors (where applicable); the number of panes and condition of the windows; the amount of heat the roof absorbs or reflects, proper attic ventilation; weather stripping around doors, solar screens, radiant barriers, and caulking.
As you weigh the costs and benefits of energy conservation efforts be sure to consider all related aspects-the equipment and the envelope. Why? Most owners will gain lower bills and more comfort from the installation of a new energy efficient air conditioning and heating system. However, these gains can be significantly enhanced through improvements to the envelope. If you have a specific budget you must adhere to for the entire project, you may want to optimize your spending to get the highest energy savings return on your spending between the these areas. Or plan the work in two stages, making sure both get optimum treatment.
Sources of energy conservation improvements in your local area – While working with one provider is more convenient for you, it is not critical for getting the job done well. Don’t forget to find out if your local utility company or others are offering energy rebates, incentives, or special financing for either type of work.
Energy rebates, incentives, and tax credits for energy conservation improvements
When you combine the various financial incentives that are available for new air conditioning and heating equipment with lower monthly energy bills and fewer repairs, you may be able to recover much, if not all of the cost of a new HVAC system in a reasonable amount of time.
To take advantage of most of the energy rebates and financial incentive programs, you will likely have to buy new air conditioning and heating equipment or have energy efficiency improvements made to your home or building. Energy rebates and financial incentives are rarely offered on repair of equipment. The following list gives some commonly available ways to save money:
Municipal or commercial utility energy rebates on new energy-efficient HVAC equipment or energy conservation improvements.
- IRS income
- tax credit
- No or low-interest loans from government programs: city, county, regional, state and federal
- Zero percent interest and deferred payment offers from equipment manufacturers.
Energy rebates for high efficiency furnaces, heat pumps and other equipment as well as energy conservation improvements can originate from several sources, including your local utility company or municipality, and the equipment manufacturer.
Other Discounts and Incentives
If you can plan to buy your air conditioning and heating system in the spring or fall, when demand for repairs and emergency service are lower, you will be more likely to receive an off-peak season discount.