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Energy Efficient Construction
Environmental Design Consulting
Green Building and Development Techniques
Energy Efficient Construction
Environmental Design Consulting
Green Building and Development Techniques
Water Heating
Hot water heating is typically done with electric, gas and solar with the option of tank heating or on demand water heating. Tank water heating can be accomplished with electric, gas or solar, but on demand hot water heating can only be done with either gas or electric.

Heating water with gas is at least 1/3 more efficient than electric and is the best choice if you are already using or plan to use other gas appliances in the home. Using gas only to heat water becomes a lot more expensive as you still have to pay a monthly meter charge, and thus depending on the monthly charge, it becomes just as efficient to use electric.

On demand water heaters (both electric and gas) do not require a storage tank but rather heat the water immediately when it senses water movement in the pipes. These units will save up to 34% if 40 gallons or less of hot water is used per day, but decrease in savings to only 8% for 80 gallons used (www.eere.energy.gov). Since the average person uses 20 gallons of hot water a day this type of unit would be a choice if your household is two persons. Another issue with types of units is that they need serviced yearly (around $125) to flush out mineral deposits to maintain performance. Thus, by the time you add up the expensive purchase price, diminishing savings with over two people in the household and the regular need of maintenance these units are not a good choice for large households.

Solar water heating has come a long way and is finally becoming reliable with solid state controllers and pumps. These systems should last around 20 years with proper maintenance with a payoff of around 10 years on initial investment. Depending on location a solar hot water heater will provide from 75 to 100 percent of your water heating needs as solar water heating systems are hybrid systems that depend on supplemental heating from either gas or electric. There are many reliable systems on the market today and the initial equipment costs are usually subsidized with tax credits. Solar hot water heating provides the greatest return on investment in renewable energies. So if your looking to lower your carbon footprint solar water heating is a great start.

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