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Sustainable Construction Practices Provide Opportunity for Manufacturers

The green building movement is turning into a boon for domestic manufacturers.

These growing American companies make a wide range of products, from heat-blocking window shades to floor heating systems to office furniture.

Unico Inc., a St. Louis manufacturer of small-duct, -velocity heating and cooling systems, is typical of suppliers that are seeing increased interest from green builders.

Joe and Sharon Intagliata launched the company in 1985 to make heating and cooling systems for houses built before the advent of central air conditioning. With a small heating and cooling unit that could operate in a horizontal or vertical configuration and ducts that were about one-fourth the size of conventional ducts, the Unico system was designed to fit more easily into spaces available in older homes.

Unico thrived by targeting the historic home market. Its products were endorsed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and featured on nearly two dozen home renovation projects on the TV show “This Old House.” The company grew rapidly and began attracting the attention of custom homebuilders in the early 2000s.

The recession knocked sales down in 2009, but the growth of green building has helped the company recover and opened a new market.

“We’re seeing a broadening of our market to high velocity air conditioner homes and even commercial projects, such as restaurants and retail stores,” said Scott Intagliata, director of marketing and son of the company’s founders. “Everywhere we go, we’re seeing a continual drumbeat of interest on the part of end users who want energy efficiency.”

The Unico system is compact and efficient, but not cheap. It generally costs about 25 percent more than a conventional heating and cooling system, Intagliata said, but it also qualifies for some incentives.

One customer, who combined a Unico system inside the house with a ground source heat pump, received a 30 percent federal tax credit on the entire package, Intagliata said.

“It is not something we have pursued before,” he said, “but in March, we’re going to start making presentations to utilities and government agencies to get pre-qualified for rebates and incentives,” he said.

Unico has more than 100 employees and 200,000 square feet of manufacturing space spread across two facilities. Intagliata said the company commands more than 60 percent of the market for small-duct, high velocity heating and cooling systems.

Last year, the company was named a “choice supplier” of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning products for the Greenbuild LivingHome and declared the “Best of Greenbuild” by US Builders Review.

With an emphasis on environmentally responsible and sustainable practices, the green building movement has swept through the U.S. construction industry like a tsunami.

Industry analysts estimate that green building accounted for 44 to 48 percent of nonresidential construction in 2014, a market share worth roughly $140 billion. In 2005, it accounted for only 2 percent of nonresidential construction.

Green building had a slower start in home construction but still accounted for 23 percent of all new homes built in 2013, according to McGraw-Hill Construction. The No. 1 reason customers give for going green, according to the U.S. Green Building Council, is energy efficiency.

Green building, which encourages builders to minimize shipping distances when sourcing materials, also helps to promote local manufacturing.

Electro Plastics Inc. is the kind of local manufacturer that benefits.

Founded in Norway in 1981 to make car seat heaters, Electro Plastics moved to St. Louis in 1994 and later expanded into the building market. It has a 35,000-square-foot factory outside the city. “We manufacture all of our products here,” said Monica Irgens, company president.

The company initially had difficulty in getting people to understand the advantages of their heating systems, which fits underneath the floor, but the green building movement is changing that. Green building principles encourage floor level heat, because, as hot air rises, it puts the heat where people feel it, which is more efficient than putting heat near the ceiling. And radiant heat is more constant than forced air, and does away with drafts, Irgens said.

Another beneficiary of green building is Halcyon Shades, which makes heat-blocking window shades in a St. Louis factory. President Richard Goellner said the company uses technology that Monsanto developed for the U.S. space program, which went to Solutia when Monsanto spun off its chemical business. While Solutia was in bankruptcy in 2007, local investors bought the business unit that was making residential shades and moved production from Mexico to St. Louis.

“It was a really good technology, but it wasn’t marketed correctly,” Goellner said. The transparent shades block UV light, eliminate glare and reflect heat back toward the source. Last year, Halcyon began marketing to government and business customers and added five employees to keep up with the increased business.

“Our shades provide pretty dramatic energy savings by reflecting Heat Service Salem NH. They keep outside heat out in the summer and keep inside heat in the winter,” Goellner said. The company has no direct competitor, he said, because no other transparent shade reflects heat.

The green building movement, he said, gives the company the opportunity to grow sales to a $50 million a year level in the next decade from $3 million last year. A Missouri resident or business owner, he said, will save enough from reduced energy costs in 2 1/2 years to recover the cost of buying and installing Halcyon shades. In states with higher energy costs, the payback is quicker.

From finding new applications for space technology to reinventing heating equipment, the green building movement also boosts domestic manufacturing by encouraging innovation.

HOK, St. Louis’s largest architectural firm, placed a bet in 2009 that the green building movement would open building-related industries to more innovative products. That’s when the company launched HOK Product Design to develop and market product ideas from HOK employees. HOK Product Design develops employee ideas and licenses them to manufacturers. Last year, the enterprise turned its first profit, said product manager Nicole Walden.

HOK licensed the Freno Rain Garden, for example, to Midwest Products Group. The Freno product line consists of precast concrete wall and curb segments designed to make it cheaper and easier for municipalities and businesses to install rain gardens to catch and process storm water. Rain gardens reduce water pollution from run-off and decrease the load on a sewer system, Walden said.

Another HOK-designed product is the Victor2 Recycling System from Steelcase, a Michigan company. Walden described the Victor2 Recycling System as “recycling units that look more like stylish furniture pieces than industrial strength garbage bins.”

Heat Pumps Provide Less Expensive Heating and Cooling

The name “heat pump” is misleading. This appliance actually does an efficient job of both heating and cooling your home. Unlike conventional HVAC systems, a heat pump functions by moving heat, rather than generating hot or cold air. This heat may be sourced from the air (the most common type, also known as “air-to-air”), water, or earth (geothermal). In winter, your heat pump will transfer warm air into your home, while in the summer, it will move warm air out. Whether used alone or in conjunction with your existing HVAC system, a heat pump will reduce your energy consumption and save you money on utility bills.

Why a Heat Pump is Greener — and Cheaper

Because a heat pump does not need to use any energy to actually warm or cool the ambient air, it is more energy-efficient than conventional HVAC Company Salem NH methods. Generally, a heat pump can generate 3-5 kilowatts of heat for every unit of energy it consumes. In addition, it is not powered by fossil fuels but rather by electricity. Electricity has the advantage of being a renewable resource, and is extra environmentally friendly when obtained from the sun, as with photovoltaic solar panels. What is more, you don’t have to worry about off-gassing of carbon monoxide in your home, as you would with any type of fuel burning system.

Where to Use

Heat pumps are ideal for homes in locations with relatively moderate climates. In areas like Minnesota which experience very cold winters, generally a heat pump should be supplemented with a conventional furnace or other heat source. For summer, the cooling mode of your heat pump should be combined with dehumidification to afford maximum comfort, especially if you live in a state with high humidity, such as Florida.

Which Heat Pump is Right for You

You can choose a heat pump to install in your house from a variety of sizes. The right one for your family will depend on a number of factors, including the size of your home, the number and square footage of windows, and the amount of insulation. The size you choose will in turn determine the heat pump installation cost, which is also affected by the quality of the unit and what, if any, work will be required to retrofit. Consider also the model’s winter heating season performance factor(HSPF) — the amount of space heating needed, divided by the pump’s electricity use — and summer seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) — the amount of heat removed from the home, once again divided by electricity usage.

How to Save Money

Federal tax credits are being offered on the purchase and installation of a geothermal heat pump through December 31, 2016, as part of the Energy Star program. Although the documentation does not need to be submitted with your income tax return, keep your receipts for parts and labor, together with the manufacturer’s signed certification statement, attesting that your purchase is eligible for the tax credit. Additional incentives may be available on new installation or upgrade of an old heat pump. Check with your HVAC contractor.

How to Get the Most from Your Heat Pump

Before you install your heat pump, take the opportunity to make sure that your ductwork is well sealed and insulated, to minimize potential heat loss. You can take care of routine maintenance yourself: protect the unit from snow, change the filters once a month, and clean the outdoor coils and fan as necessary. In addition, schedule an annual professional inspection from New Age Heating and repair any heat pump problems promptly.

Carrier Unveils Innovative Solution to Preserve Michelangelo’s Frescoes in the Sistine Chapel

Carrier announced Wednesday the completed installation of an innovative heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) solution for the Sistine Chapel, developed to help preserve Michelangelo’s masterpieces against deterioration caused by increasing numbers of visitors.

The new Carrier HVAC system design will be presented over the next two days to an international audience specializing in cultural heritage preservation at a Vatican Museums event, “The Sistine Chapel 20 Years Later: New Breath, New Light,” in Rome. Carrier, the world’s leader in high-technology heating, ventilating and air-conditioning solutions, is a part of UTC Building & Industrial Systems, a unit of United Technologies Corp.

The new system uses two Carrier AquaForce® 30XWV water-cooled chillers with Greenspeed® intelligence, each with 580 kilowatts of capacity. It leverages specially designed software and components, as well as patented, energy-saving technologies to maintain optimal climate conditions for the protection of the paintings within the chapel. An intelligent system of controls, linked with an advanced video application from UTC Building & Industrial Systems, enables the HVAC system to anticipate visitor levels and adjust its performance intuitively. The new system delivers twice the efficiency and three times the capacity of the former system, which was built and installed by Carrier in the early 1990s. To ensure the smooth operation of the new system, the Vatican has chosen to enter into a five-year maintenance contract with Carrier Distribution Italy SpA.

“Our aim now is not restoration, but conservation. This is why we have chosen Carrier, because a masterpiece like the Sistine Chapel needs a comparable masterpiece of technology,” said Antonio Paolucci, director of the Vatican Museums.

The company’s expert global team of AdvanTE3C engineers developed the solution, working in close collaboration with the Vatican’s technical teams and using leading-edge computer modeling and simulation techniques. The engineering team overcame several challenges to meet the chapel’s unique requirements. The system carefully manages the flow, humidity, quality and temperature of the air; maintains sound at “church-quiet” levels; is virtually invisible to visitors; and uses pre-existing duct openings in a protected, historic landmark setting. It was also designed to be adaptable to future needs.

“Supporting the Vatican with our advanced technologies to preserve the extraordinary heritage of the Sistine Chapel was a remarkable opportunity,” said Geraud Darnis, President and CEO, UTC Building & Industrial Systems. “We put our world-class engineering and design resources into this project and are exceptionally proud of the outcome.”

In 1993, Carrier designed and installed the Sistine Chapel’s first air-conditioning system to accommodate a maximum load of 700 simultaneous visitors. Today, with daily visitor traffic of approximately 20,000 people, the new system is designed to accommodate up to 2,000 visitors at one time in nearly any weather condition.

In addition, the Governatorate of the Vatican City State and United Technologies Corp. have entered into an agreement to ensure the protection and safety of the Vatican Museums’ artwork, spaces and visitors through the deployment of building technologies from UTC companies. According to the terms of the agreement, the parties will work together on integrated solutions spanning HVAC, elevators and escalators, fire detection and alarm, fire suppression and safety, electronic security, access control, video surveillance services and related software solutions, from brands such as Carrier, Otis, Lenel, Kidde, Chubb and Marioff.

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Furnace Repair

Taking care of tasks like NH furnace repair is one of those responsibilities that comes with home-ownership. It may not be fun to think about but what’s really not fun is not having heat during the cold New Hampshire winters. So if you have this type of task on your to do list it is time to address it before you need up needing emergency repairs.

The first thing you should be doing is getting an annual inspection. The best way to make sure everything is in proper working order and take care of any minor fixes that need it. And if you already know you need any repairs then you need to take care of them before they become something a lot worse.

The Do It Yourself Checklist

Let’s be honest, your HVAC system is the most important system in your home. And you probably aren’t really trained to give a fair analysis of the condition it is in. In order to keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer you really should leave that to a professional.

There are plenty of things that can only be spotted by someone with a trained eye. However, if you would like to take a look for a quick inspection, here are a few things to check out:

  • Check for leaks – leaks, pooling or water around the system is a red flag
  • Clean and replace filters – clean monthly and replace when necessary
  • Examine ducts, coils, blower and filters for signs of obvious problems
  • Inspect for cracks – obviously cracks or broken sealants around the system are an indication you could use service
  • Don’t forget the outdoor handler – grass, twigs and other debris end up causing problems out here

Keep in mind, scheduling an annual inspection can help you prevent all of this. Let the pros at New Age Heating and Air Conditioning Heating Company NH take care of all of your heating and cooling needs.

Don’t put off taking care of something as important as your HVAC system. Let the pros at Two Amigos Heating & Air LLC take care of your furnace repairs or anything else to make your home comfortable all year long.

If you are looking for a New Hampshire heating and air conditioning contractor, then please call 603-571-0183 or complete our online request form.

5 Advantages of Ductless Heating / Air Conditioning Systems

NH Ductless Mini Split Installer

Split ductless heating is the best selection for businesses and homes where standard duct cooling systems cannot be installed due to architectural restrictions. Comprised of an outdoor compressor/condenser and an indoor air handler, ductless systems work in a similar way to central air systems but on a smaller scale.

Less Noise
A ductless system is much silent than a central heating system—an important consideration for those of us who have spent winter nights listening to loud central systems.

Green and Clean
Ductless systems help you breathe easy due to highly efficient filters that remove larger allergens and particles. These filters can also be cleaned and re-used creating much less waste.

Quick Install
Ductless heating systems / air conditioners are easier to install since they do not require the ductwork used in traditional central systems. New Age Heating and Air Conditioning are well experienced at setting up ductless systems, and we leave your home exactly the way we found it.

More Efficiency
Ductless heating systems / air conditioning systems are up to 40% more efficient than central systems, which means they heat your home faster. They also heat specific areas of your home at certain times that assist in cost savings.

Small Size
Ductless systems are much smaller in size than central systems. The indoor unit that delivers air is placed in a low visibility location and the outdoor unit is out of the home. All that is needed is a 3 inch opening to connect lines.

When choosing an installer for a split ductless heating /air conditioning systems, always use a qualified NH Ductless Mini Split Installer like New Age Heating and Air Conditioning. Contact us today for more information. We are a Heating Company Salem NH that is highly experienced with ductless systems.

Consider a High Efficiency Gas Heater

The inefficient use of energy can be very costly. When you look for ways to lower your monthly utility bills, your heating system is a good place to start. This requires a bit of an investment, but the long-range benefits are huge.

Air conditioners and heating devices are the biggest energy consumers in the home. Gas furnaces, just like other large in-home appliances, are now more energy-efficient than ever. The demand for energy efficiency has increased the incentive for manufacturers to build more efficient models. Consequently, most gas heaters on the market today are high-efficiency models.

Energy-efficient gas furnaces are generally more expensive than the older conventional models. There are a couple of reasons for this. One, Energy-efficient gas heaters are not as mass-produced as the conventional models – this means that there are still cost factors that have not been overcome. These costs are passed on to the consumer at the time of purchase and installation. Two, High-efficiency gas heaters employ the latest technology – as we all know, this drives up the manufacturing costs of any product. Typically, products that use the latest in technological innovation are not ‘cheap.’ The initial outlay of money is only a start-up cost and will eventually be recovered in lower utility bills.

Anytime you invest in a high-efficiency gas heater or other energy-efficient product, you are investing in the environment as well as your home. Ensure that the gas furnace you are purchasing and installing is an energy-efficient model, by making sure it is tagged with the Energy Star label. Keep the unit properly maintained and it will operate cost-effectively for many years all while reducing your carbon footprint.

New Age Heat is a residential heating company Salem NH specializing in Gas Heater Installation and Repair.