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Natural Awakenings Boston

Conserve, Update and Integrate for Smarter Heating

Dec 30, 2011 11:47AM ● By Edward Malloy

As energy costs continue to rise, conservation efforts and “greener” innovations become even more crucial for homeowners, business owners and the world at large. Smarter heating of homes and commercial buildings is now possible because of increased efficiency and combining among renewable and non-renewable energy technologies in the last few years. These advances help to conserve energy and reduce dependency on fossil fuels without completely abandoning non-renewable sources. In addition, government-driven incentives, such as federal and state tax credits, energy-efficiency rebates promoted by Mass Save and renewable energy rebates from the Mass Clean Energy Council,make this an affordable time to upgrade heating systems and adopt high-efficiency solutions.

Geothermal heating and cooling is one of the most energy-efficient options for homes and commercial buildings. As installation costs rapidly decrease, people can benefit significantly from the available rebates and credits, and the 30-percent federal tax credit can cover installation costs. Additional credits and rebates can help to offset any premiums over traditional energy system costs, making the up-front costs of adopting a geothermal energy system only a few thousand dollars more expensive. Most homeowners and commercial-building owners who switch to geothermal energy will see savings in heating and cooling costs within two to three years, depending on their circumstances.

While renewable technologies presentthe clear advantages of longer-term energy savings, sustainable resources and reduced pollution, they also offer morepredictable energy costs, and these new technologies can be integrated with high-efficiency, non-renewable solutions. For example, combining a high-efficiency gas or oil boiler with solar thermal energy can lower heating costs by more than 50 percent. Solar thermal energy can also augment heating systems by producing hot water even on cloudy days.

Such incentives, savings and personal and social benefits make upgrading home and commercial heating systems an attractive and intelligent option.Integrating old and new energy technologies makes sense economically and ecologically, and there are many financing solutions, including 0-percent financing through government and private programs, to make the up-front costs less daunting and more manageable.

Ed Malloy is director ofmarketing and business development at New England Renewable Energy Systems. For more information, call 855-637-3639 or 508-308-0119 or visit NERenewable.com.