The Green Guide to Gas Packs 2011 offers insight into today’s most energy-efficient gas packaged unit and also provides tips for greener energy use at home. Installing energy-efficient HVAC equipment is only half the equation in reducing the use of non-renewable resources. The key is to adopt energy-conscious practices and also to outfit our homes to make better use of the energy created by the gas pack. Since gas packaged units don’t offer the same level of efficient operation that split systems do, taking the extra steps is a very important part of the equation.
This gas packs guide offers tips for greener heating and cooling and then we focus on 3 excellent choices in energy-efficient gas/electric packaged units.
Tips for a Greener Approach to Heating and Cooling
1. Choose the Highest Efficiency Gas Pack you can Afford: Having equipment that uses less energy is a good place to begin. If you aren’t in the market for a new gas pack right now, skip to tip 3. But if you’re searching for a green solution to heating and cooling, choose an Energy Star rated gas pack. Current Energy Star standards for gas packs require the condensing unit to be 14 SEER for air conditioning. If it is a heat pump, it must also achieve 8.0 HSPF for heating. These measurements detail how efficiently the system uses electricity to cool and heat. The higher the numbers are, the more efficient the unit is.
2. Have the Gas Pack Installed by a Qualified Contractor: All HVAC systems need to be properly installed and adjusted in order to achieve top efficiency. Even the most efficient gas pack can waste energy if it is not installed by a skilled HVAC professional with good experience installing and tuning gas/electric packages.
3. Maintain your Gas Pack Yearly: All HVAC systems, especially older ones, need regular maintenance in order to continue to operate efficiently. Components can fall out of adjustment and the burner and coils can become dirty, both of which will rob the system of efficiency. Ongoing maintenance pays for itself in energy savings and will definitely reduce greenhouse gas emissions when it operates more cleanly.
4. Support Gas Pack Efficiency By Creating an Energy Efficient Home: Bring you home’s insulation up to advised levels. Replace old windows and doors or at least add weather stripping to them. Use window treatments that reflect sun away from your home in summer and insulate to keep warmth in during the winter. Awnings over south-facing windows will also help reduce penetrating heat in the summer. The awnings can be removed or rolled back in winter.
5. Program your Gas Pack: Rather than having it set to the same temperature all season, or relying on a manual thermostat and your memory, choose a programmable thermostat. You can program the system to turn down when people are sleeping or gone and have it come back up in time to make the home comfortable when you need it.
These are some of the important steps you can take to ensure the greenest operation of your gas pack and to support a lifestyle that reduces carbon emissions throughout the year.
Energy-Efficient Gas Packs
These gas/electric systems are among the greenest available. Each one will significantly reduce your energy use when it replaces an older unit. In addition, they also use R-410A refrigerant. It goes by different names including Puron, but the key is that it does not contain ozone-depleting chlorine. Here are 3 gas packs that provide a good place to start your search for an energy-efficient heating and cooling solution.
Trane XL16c Gas Pack
This is a top-rated gas pack because it offers outstanding efficiency. The 16.6 SEER air conditioning is among the best available, an Energy Star gas pack. It runs at 50% capacity most of the time, using full capacity only to boost cooling when required. The Trane XL16c uses an aluminum-fin coil to quickly disperse heat and increase cooling efficiency. The 80% efficient furnace is about standard for gas/electric packaged units, though there are more efficient models on the market. Still, this gas pack will lower your energy use throughout the year and can be part of a greener approach to making your home more comfortable.
Bryant Evolution Packaged HYBRID HEAT Dual Fuel System Model: 677D
This packaged gas/electric unit makes the list because it is one of a new generation of dual fuel package units. The condensing unit is a heat pump so that it can provide air conditioning in the summer and heating in cool weather. Heat pumps are more efficient than gas furnaces for heating when temperatures are above about 45 degrees F. The Bryant Evolution 677D allows you to reduce energy use and still have a gas furnace to heat in the coldest weather. It offers Energy Star efficiency: 15 SEER, 8.0 HSPF and 81% AFUE. Expect to see more dual fuel gas packs offered as demand for an energy-conscious approach increases.
Ruud Ultra Series 16 SEER RRRL SERIES 2 – 5 Ton Package Gas Electric Featuring R-410A Refrigerant
Ruud has a reputation for making reliable, affordable products like this energy-efficient gas/electric packaged unit. This is an Energy Star product that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the use of non-renewable energy. The tubeless, stainless steel heat exchanger is corrosion-resistant and assists in making this one of the most efficient gas packs on the market.
While gas packs aren’t the most energy-efficient way to heat, if your home requires one, these models are a good place to begin your search for the right one. Keep in mind too, that the way you use your heat pump and energy-efficient changes you make to your home will go a long way toward greener heating and cooling in every season of the year.