Are you tired of pricey heat and air conditioning bills? There could be an HVAC system in the future that can reduce your expenses to a miniscule amount – and it's all thanks to a few college students. Students from the University of Minnesota created a system for a Department of Energy contest that can heat and cool a home for only $320 dollars a year. Read on to learn more about this ground-breaking device and how it functions.
Zero Leakage in the Ducts
The DOE contest called for entries that could handle the heat and air conditioning requirements for a three bedroom, two bathroom home. The U of M students created their ultra-low-cost systems by combining a mix of advanced duct work, clever efficiencies and advanced technology. As a result, the heating costs are projected as low as $282 per year, while the air conditioning system would run a miniscule $38 annually.
One cost-saving strategy was to use strong, flexible ducts with plenty of insulation. The students actually achieved a system with zero leakage, no small feat considering that the average house loses 20 to 30 percent of its heat and air conditioning energy via duct leakage, according to Energy Star.
The unit is also exceptional at lowering humidity, so homeowners can keep the temperature a little higher while remaining comfortable. Furthermore, the air conditioning compressor never turns all the way off, avoiding inefficient spikes in energy consumption when the unit starts its cooling cycle.
Energy Costs Down to Nothing
The HVAC system is solar-ready, and is frugal enough that a few panels can drive the energy costs down to nothing, earning it the moniker of a DOE Zero Energy Ready Home. To fine-tune their design, the students worked with a heat and air conditioning manufacturing company called Unico.
“We are impressed with the university team members who were involved in this year’s competition, and we were honored to work with them on their Zero Energy Ready Home,” Shawn Intagliata, Unico’s director of sustainable business development, said in a press release. “The biggest energy expenditure in a home tends to be for heating and air conditioning, so specifying a high-efficiency system is important in designing a home with the lowest possible energy usage and costs.”
Wring Out Your Own Savings
If you can't wait for fancy new technologies to lower your energy bills, have an HVAC technician come provide heat and air conditioning maintenance to improve your efficiency, and consider getting an energy audit to find even more ways to save.