Are We Thinking Green?

I have read and watched several programs about going green, and I often wonder which side of the green the focus is on. Of course, in my trade, the heating side of the industry, our contribution is in trying to reduce the amount of CO2 that we are adding into the atmosphere. I must say, from what I see, our boiler, furnace and burner manufacturers are doing their best to answer the call.

However, I now see many who have been in the heating business for several years looking at other sources of business as possibly a way to expand their market and profitability during these already difficult times.

One such area is the solar heating market. Yes, I know many will say that this, like geothermal (geo means Earth and thermal means heat = energy or heat removed from the Earth), has been around for many years. I also know this to be true because there were a few companies that installed the flat solar panels on the roof for supporting hot water demands in the 70s. Many of these same system panels can be seen today as we travel and look at the roofs of these older homes. One of the reasons for the solar attraction in the 70s was the rebates, which by the way were in the several thousand dollar range. There are still several states that offer attractive rebates for those who purchase Energy Star rated heating equipment also. I would suggest contacting your local energy office to verify the amount allotted, as this can be a good selling point when you’re offering an Energy Star rated equipment upgrade. This can apply to many areas such as boilers, water heating, furnaces and A/C as well. It is not unusual for the dollar-stretched customer to be unaware of these financial advantages. If I were quoting a new system, I would put the rebate allowance on the quote as this may be what helps to close the sale. I recently attended a solar seminar and was very impressed with both the presenter and how different the systems of today are. I was most impressed with the vacuum tube method, as it seemed very serviceable and versatile as it provided for space heating, domestic hot water and support for heating a swimming pool. I was also impressed that most of the parts used were off the shelf items. As we constantly hear customers complain about energy costs, we must be looking for better ways to answer their energy concerns, and some of these energy concerns can be reduced without big expenses. For example, for every 10 degree reduction in hot water temperature, the savings is between 3 to 7 percent. Sealing hot air duct joints, installing water saver faucets, installing new energy saver lighting, and installing the new Energy Star rated boilers and furnaces can all lead to thinking green and saving energy dollars. Don’t think negative when a customer asks about solar, as it’s back and even more attractive in cost than ever before. Make sure that your customers know that you are installing Energy Star rated equipment also!

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