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Keeping Glass Rooms Comfortable with Hydronic Heating and Cooling

Posted by Christina B. Farnsworth

Aug 5, 2015 9:28:06 AM

More natural light in commercial buildings improves worker productivity and decreases absenteeism and turnover. However, all that glass can be a challenge when it comes to keeping building comfortable.

In Seattle at Chihuly Garden and Glass, a low-temperature hydronic system has been combined with radiant floor heating to maintain a comfortable environment.

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How to Warm Your Home During a Power Outage

Posted by RESNET

Dec 30, 2014 1:15:00 PM

When the power goes out this winter, don’t panic. With a little planning, you can stay warm and keep pipes from freezing.

Fireplace or Wood Stove
A wood fireplace or wood stove is a great way of heating your home when you have no electricity, many people maximize their use of fireplaces during the colder months while minimizing the use of heaters and furnaces. This saves energy and money while providing effective heating. For an open hearth fireplace, however, make sure you install glass fireplace doors (Schott makes some) Otherwise that hearth will waste energy whenever the fireplace is not in use. If you go with a woodstove, get a cleaner burning model with a fresh air intake.

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Where Have All the "Hot Water Generators" Gone?

Posted by Jay Egg

Nov 6, 2014 5:48:15 PM

Next to heating and cooling, a household’s second largest consumer of energy may be Domestic Hot Water (DHW) needs.


There is a device that is sometimes referred to as desuperheater, Energy Conservation Unit (ECU), or for our purposes, a “domestic hot-water generator”.  A “hot water generator” is a great way to provide domestic hot water or other hot-water needs while at the same time improving the efficiency of the heat pump to which they are connected. Desuperheaters are simple, but if misapplied, they can cause problems.

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Heating/Cooling: A Home's Biggest Energy Users

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Sep 5, 2014 4:37:00 PM

Know the Lingo

  • Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE): The percentage of a fuel’s potential energy that a furnace or boiler converts to usable heat. Government standards that take effect in 2015 require AFUE levels of 82% for gas boilers, 83% for oil boilers, 80% for gas furnaces and 82% for oil furnaces.
  • Air Handler: In a forced-air heating or cooling system, the air handler unit moves heated or cooled air through the home’s ductwork.
  • British Thermal Unit (BTU): The unit of measurement for heat, whether it’s the heat given off by burning fuel or extracted from a home for cooling. Technically, one BTU is the energy required to raise one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit.
  • Combustion Chamber: The part of a furnace or boiler where the fuel is burned.
  • Compressor: That part of the air conditioner or heat pump that compresses and pumps refrigerant.
  • Condenser Coil: The part of an air conditioner or heat pump that releases heat from the surrounding air in cooling mode and collects it in heating mode.
  • Distribution System: The network of air ducts or hot water pipes that delivers heat from a furnace, boiler or heat pump to the home’s rooms.
  • Evaporator Coil: The part of an air conditioner or heat pump that exchanges heat with the air in the home.
  • Heat Exchanger: Located in the furnace or boiler, it transfers heat from the combustion chamber to the air or water in the heat distribution system.
  • Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF): The heating efficiency of a heat pump. It’s a ratio of the heat it generates over the heating season, in BTUs, to the watt-hours of electricity it consumes. Heat pumps manufactured after 2006 have to have an HSPF of at least 7.7, but the best units have ratings as high as 10.
  • Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER): The cooling efficiency of an air conditioner or heat pump. It’s the ratio of cooling output to electricity used. The minimum SEER requirement for units manufactured beginning in 2006 is 13.
  • Zoning: A method of partitioning a home’s hydronic or forced-air distribution system into independently controlled comfort zones.



AT THE HEART OF MOST HOMES' HEATING SYSTEMS is a furnace, a boiler or a heat pump. A furnace burns fossil fuel to heat air that’s forced by a blower fan through a series of ducts to the living spaces; a boiler heats water that’s then pumped to a hydronic, or water-based, distribution system. Most heat pumps run on electricity. They don’t create heat, but rather extract it from the air or the ground. Heat pumps are available for use with forced-air and hydronic distribution systems. If you want to minimize your fuel bill, an Energy Star rating is a minimum standard for these appliances.

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Heating Energy Assessment Tool by AREVS

Posted by RESNET

Jul 16, 2014 12:25:19 PM

Understanding home heating energy performance just got easier. The new Heating Energy Assessment Tool (HEAT) from AREVS is a RESNET Approved, easy-to-use web-based application that tells home energy professionals, homeowners, and renters whether or not a home is in need of energy retrofits or upgrades. Using patented algorithms that are normalized for house size and geographical location, and information from its utility bill, HEAT provides a heating energy audit for a home in less than 5 minutes. A simple A+ through F grade range gives instant understanding of home heating performance.

Advantages for Professionals:

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