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Green Grows the Air Conditioner

greenbacksIt would seem to be a conundrum. You want to leave a light footprint, go green, be eco-conscious and all that. But you surely don’t want to live without air conditioning!

Fortunately, the industry is on your side. Air conditioners have been steadily gaining in efficiency and environmentally friendly technology for the past few decades. Today’s refrigerants do less damage to the ozone layer, and use much less energy than the ones from 30 years ago.

Which is why it makes sense to replace your AC as soon as it starts to get long in the tooth. You’ll probably save more in operating expenses within the first few years than you’ll spend on the new unit. That said, how can you stay cool and guiltless?

Here are a few simple rules to keep in mind:

1. Don’t buy an AC that is too large for your space;

2. Choose a variable-speed compressor;

3. Check out a heat pump;

4. Have your system serviced regularly;

5. Buy— and use— a programmable thermostat.

SEER and Energy Star

Other tips: When you shop for an AC, pay attention to the SEER rating. This is a gauge of energy efficiency; the higher the number, the more energy you’ll save.

The Carrier Infinity air conditioner, for instance, has a SEER rating of 21. The Gree Crown mini-split heat pump is rated 30.5-SEER.

Also, look for an appliance that’s Energy Star-certified. This means that it meets certain government standards for efficiency. Mitsubishi makes a 26-SEER mini-split.

Now that you’ve done a little homework, you will feel more comfortable talking with a couple of contractors. If your HVAC guy understands that you want to be green, he or she may have other suggestions– like a custom system that’s designed specifically for your home, climate, family and needs.

Hey! It doesn’t have to hurt to be green. In fact, conserving energy just might add a more little green– spinach, lettuce, whatever– to your wallet.

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