Smart Choices for Winter Heating
By Gary Kraemer, Manager, Marketing and Communications, Dimplex North America Limited
Previously a peripheral topic, green building is a now mainstream way of doing business. Looking back a few years, we recognize that a combination of social, economic, and governmental factors precipitated this paradigm shift.
For residential and commercial owners alike, going green isn’t just about doing the right thing; it is about providing an economic solution to rising energy costs. According to the Canada Green Building Council, builders have recognized the demand; in a recent report, 70 percent of builders surveyed expected to be doing at least 60 percent green projects in 2017.
On the consumer front, builders now offer net-zero homes, including tract builders, which will fast-track growth in this segment. With rising energy costs, homeowner interest in energy-efficient homes and products is higher than ever before. As renewable energy alternatives approach price parity with traditional generation, their usage will certainly become more commonplace.
On the commercial side, we see a host of factors cementing this shift to green building, including interest in ecofriendly work places, lower operating costs, higher asset valuation, and, of course, compliance with building codes demanding specific energy performance levels.
Whether the motivation is sustainability, project differentiation, or lower costs, the positive impacts of green building go far beyond the confines of individual projects.
Electric Heat: A Green Solution
What type of energy best suits green building? Let’s begin with how energy is produced, transported, and consumed. In contrast to carbon-based fuels that have to be extracted from the ground and refined, electricity keeps getting cleaner as more renewable generation comes online. And with an existing transmission grid, there’s no environmental cost of transport via truck, train, or pipeline.
Electric heating provides an important part of the energy storage solution needed to maximize the effectiveness of renewable energies. In a low-carbon, green-building future, the marriage between renewables and electric is key.
- Agile, on-demand energy: In the green building world, smart energy usage is paramount. Today’s new generation of smart electric heaters include precision controls that provide improved efficiency and savings. A wide range of application-specific products target the heating needs of individual rooms and zones, allowing greater flexibility, which translates to better end-user comfort. And electric zone heating can provide energy savings in a central heating environment by lowering central heating usage, while maintaining comfort in high-occupancy areas.
- Clean and green for consumers: Electric heat is 100-percent efficient, producing no greenhouse gases or carbon monoxide. With no ducting, which can accumulate dust and allergens, electric heat also fosters better indoor air quality.
- Efficient and builder-friendly installation: Electric heaters involve easy, single-trade installation that requires no piping or venting that penetrates the building envelope, creating opportunities for air and moisture infiltration. They are also highly durable and require minimal maintenance, so there is less chance of issues and callbacks.
Not only is electric the key to a sustainable, low-carbon future, but it is also an essential component of green building. As residential and commercial builders continue to recognize and embrace this transformational opportunity, it’s clear that the future of electric heat is upon us, and it is bright.
This is the first of three installments in the Smart Choices for Winter Heating series. Originally published in the January 2016 issue of ei, the magazine of the electroindustry.