VRF Air Source Heat Pumps Set to Capitalize on Geothermal’s Loss

Heat Pump Slaes Volume By Country By 2020

Heat Pump Sales Volume By Country By 2020

As we have written previously, the Federal Renewable Energy Tax Credit for geothermal HVAC systems has sunset (as of 12/31/16). The 30% Federal Tax Credit for residential and 10% for commercial systems is now part of history, unless a Republican Congress and Executive branch happens to see the green light, which is obviously doubtful. In essence, this makes geothermal HVAC installations no longer economically viable for short term life cycle costs versus fossil fuels. Consumers have short memories and tend to be cost driven rather than conscience driven. It is therefor a likelihood that the US geothermal market will take a nosedive in the first quarter of 2017. The question is, what form of HVAC will benefit from this geothermal market downturn? Locally, The New York/Long Island Metropolitan market is still primarily oil based and there are many suburban areas with no access to natural gas. So what is the next best alternative for someone who no longer wants a buried oil tank acting as an environmental Sword of Damocles?

Variable Refrigerant heat pumps and ductless heat pumps are poised as the next best alternative to geothermal to replace fossil fuel heating systems. Although they do not qualify for federal incentives, they do qualify for rebate programs available from NYSERDA, Con-Edison and PSEG. They have been proven to provide consistent heating down to sub-zero temperatures. They have also proven to be one of the most maintenance free of all available alternatives. Consumers want a reliable, low cost heating and air conditioning system. Although the initial installation cost of these systems is higher than a standard cooling only system, the gap is closing between VRF and combined forced-air heating and cooling systems.
The only thing that could derail market penetration of VRF at this point is if a new government decided to significantly increase tariffs on imported HVAC equipment. The vast majority of VRF products are still manufactured in foreign markets (primarily Asia), including those that are name-branded by most American manufacturers. Although there are several VRF plants in the US, most of them are assembly lines for primary components that are manufactured elsewhere. It is only the finished product that rolls off the line here. So, until new trade agreements are put in place or new tariffs added, it is a good bet that VRF heat pump market share will continue to grow, especially in the wake of the fall-off of ground source heat pump demand.

As always, to keep up to date with what’s new in HVAC technology and energy, visit our website at airideal.com and follow us on Twitter @airideal , LinkedIn and at our Facebook page!

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The Death of Federal Geothermal Tax Credits?

Oil Stocks Soar After Donald Trump Victory, But Coal Is The Real Winner

Oil Stocks Soar After Donald Trump Victory, But Coal Is The Real Winner

“There has been a big push to develop alternative forms of energy–so-called green energy–from renewable sources. That’s a big mistake. To begin with, the whole push for renewable energy is being driven by the wrong motivation, the mistaken belief that global climate change is being caused by carbon emissions. If you don’t buy that–and I don’t–then what we have is really just an expensive way of making the tree-huggers feel good about themselves.”  Crippled America – Donald Trump

Of course, it is only conjecture that a lame duck 2016 Congress and a 2017 Republican Congress and President will not renew the Federal Tax Credit on geothermal heat pumps  that was established in 2009 and sunsets on December 31st, 2016. However, if I was a betting man, I’d say that the geothermal HVAC manufacturer’s will be seeing sales dip significantly starting now. Without the 30% Federal Incentive, it will be very hard to convince residential consumers that geothermal will make sense based purely upon economics. We can tout the environmental benefits all that we want, but most consumers are driven by their pocketbooks first and their conscience second.

“Among all the gifts that God gave to America was an abundant supply of natural energy. According to the Department of Energy, the natural gas reserves we have in the ground could supply our energy needs for centuries.” Crippled America – Donald Trump

The Donald believes in energy independence by drilling for oil and natural gas everywhere and anywhere first and then figuring out the rest later. In a now famous Tweet, Trump said that the concept of climate change was created by the Chinese to suppress the U.S. economy, so clearly his administration does not believe that geothermal heating and cooling is an essential component to becoming energy independent while reducing carbon gases. Why then would he push for the renewal of Federal Tax incentives?

Unfortunately, the people have spoken with their vote and they have resoundingly responded that correcting climate change should not be a priority over increased economic growth and a conservative world order.  This will cost many who have built their businesses upon geothermal HVAC manufacturing and contracting solely in the wake of what they hoped would be an increasingly renewable energy conscious world.

Perhaps the pendulum will swing back after 4 or 8 years, but the market for geothermal HVAC and even higher efficiency conventional HVAC would appear to be in hiatus for the near future.

Please note that these are my personal speculations and that I would be happy to be proven incorrect.

As always, to keep up to date with what’s new in HVAC technology and energy, visit our website at airideal.com and follow us on Twitter @airideal , LinkedIn and at our Facebook page!

 

Your Help Needed Now for Renewable Energy and Geothermal Tax Credit Extender

GEO has received information regarding the tax credits in regard to legislation. Please take action regarding this important industry legislation.

NOW is the time to act to help extend the federal tax credits for geothermal heat pumps!
Since Congress extended tax credits for solar technologies by five years last December, GEO has pushed hard for an amendment to correct that oversight for BOTH commercial AND residential geothermal heat pump installations.

That amendment for equal treatment with solar is now moving RAPIDLY in the Senate. GEO needs your help NOW to make sure the amendment is approved WITH FEDERAL TAX CREDITS FOR RESIDENTIAL GEOTHERMAL HEAT PUMP INSTALLATIONS UNDER 25D OF THE TAX CODE.

TIME IS SHORT! We have only a short window to make our voices heard, including today (Friday, April 8) and Monday (April 11).

CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE INSTRUCTIONS ON WHO TO CONTACT, WITH A SAMPLE MESSAGE AND DISCUSSION POINTS.

Rep Blackburn and Republicans look to quash Renewable Energy Tax Credits tied to FAA Bill. It is the House versus the Senate over Federal Renewable Tax Credit extensions. If you don’t make your voice heard today or Monday, these credits will disappear and geothermal heat pumps will be set back. Read about it here.

 

New 2016 Efficiency Standards Kick in for HVAC

Don’t buy that 13 SEER replacement unit you were thinking about. The 2015 New York State (and International) Energy Conservation Construction Code has 2016 efficiency standard increases built in. Minimum efficiency standard increases kicked in on 1/1/2016. You can’t replace that rooftop package unit with a bad heat exchanger with a 13 SEER anymore. As of 1/1/2016 it has to be 14 SEER.

You can view all of the minimum efficiency increases for commercial heating and air conditioning equipment here at the International Code Council.  You can find the new residential heating and air conditioning standards here. Most states have now adopted the International Energy Conservation Code.

As always, to keep up to date with what’s new in HVAC technology and energy, visit our website at airideal.com and follow us on Twitter @airideal , LinkedIn and at our Facebook page!

NY State Geothermal Tax Credit & Sales Tax Exemption Bills on Gov Cuomo’s Desk

The following comes from Bill Nowak, Executive Director of NY-Geo, Please Act:

Governor Cuomo has called the geothermal tax credit (S2905) and sales tax exemption (S4279) bills to his desk. He has until Friday, November 20th to sign them or veto them. It is our understanding that we probably won’t find out until the 20th.

WE DO NOT HAVE AN INDICATION OF WHAT HE’LL DO AND HE NEEDS TO HEAR FROM YOU TODAY.

These bills fit NY State’s needs perfectly as they give the state a tool to lower greenhouse gas emissions and peak demand while cutting heating and air conditioning bills for New Yorkers.  At the same time the Governor has often vetoed bills that may impact state revenues when they are passed after the budget has been set (as these were). That means YOUR CALL can make the difference between success and failure on this initiative.

I’ve attached a few items that explain these bills, list advantages of geothermal heating and cooling, and document that the bills will have A minimal revenue impact.

Here’s the lowdown on calling the Governor:

Please take a quick minute today to leave a message with Governor Cuomo at (518) 474-1041. Ask him to sign S2905 (geothermal tax credit) and S4279 (geo sales tax exemption), both of which were passed unanimously by the legislature. We CAN move away from burning fossil fuels to heat our homes and buildings!

THE CALL IS EASY – YOU’LL BE ASKED IF YOU WANT TO LEAVE A MESSAGE (press 2) OR TALK WITH AN AIDE (press 3) – IT’S YOUR CHOICE.

If you speak with an aide they’ll just listen politely and ask for your zip code.

As you are probably aware, the 2015 New York State Energy Plan notes that 35% of New York’s fossil fuel greenhouse gas emissions come from “on-site combustion” – mainly heating homes and buildings by burning  oil, gas and propane.  We can eliminate these emissions by switching to geothermal heating and cooling, which uses the ground beneath us as a heat source in the winter and as a cooling heat sink in the summer.

In this year’s legislative session both the NY Senate and Assembly UNANIMOUSLY passed these bills to give geothermal heat pumps the same tax treatment as solar panels.

PLEASE DON’T DELAY – CALL TODAY – YOUR VOICE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE !!!

Put your message in your own words or go with this suggestion  “Please tell Governor Cuomo to support renewable energy by signing S-2905, the geothermal tax credit and S-4279, the geothermal sales tax exemption.  Geothermal heating and cooling will cut greenhouse gas emissions, create jobs, lower utility bills and cut peak demand”.

As always, to keep up to date with what’s new in HVAC technology and energy, visit our website at airideal.com and follow us on Twitter @airideal , LinkedIn and at our Facebook page!

Can the US Become Energy Independent?

Despite whatever your views may be on the various topics of fossil fuels, fracking and renewable energy, it is obvious that the major US push towards developing energy production in all forms is bearing fruits in several ways. The US Energy Information Administration announced today that for the first time in nearly two decades the United States produced more oil than it imported from foreign sources.  There was a time when the thought of the US producing more crude oil than it imports was inconceivable, but the reduction of energy usage from demand-side programs and the uptick in the efficiency of vehicles, power production, appliances and heating systems has helped reduce demand. At the same time, hydro-fracturing techniques have opened up vast new reserves of both natural gas and oil that before were thought to be unrecoverable. Domestic oil production is at a 24 year high, but this does not mean that crude oil prices will fall very much. You have probably noticed that gas prices have fallen at the pump, but they are not expected to fall past $3.15 per gallon, according to an NPR report. US refining capabilities have their limitations and Americans are driving less often.

On the renewable side, the first major utility scale solar thermal power plants are just now coming on-line in the Southwest deserts. According to the EIA,  this will increase solar thermal production to 1257 MW and will more than double the US solar thermal electric generating capacity in 2014. A further 3.9 GW of utility-scale projects are currently under construction. This combined with the ongoing decrease in photo-voltaic cell production costs leads industry analysts to predict that “new annual installations of solar PV will double from 35.9 gigawatts (GW) new capacity in 2013 to 73.4GW in 2020” world wide. Since 2000, more than 1,460 megawatts of residential solar installations have been installed across the US, and more than 80 percent of that capacity was added in the past four years.

Does all of this mean that the US will gain energy independence in the near future?  That’s not likely, but we are becoming “energy secure”, meaning that we will be able to survive and prosper by consuming our own energy production and that imported from neighboring allies like Canada, Mexico and Brazil. By not relying on oil imports from the Middle East, our energy prices should become more stable and secure and less vulnerable to oil cartel manipulations. If current and future political administrations continue to support production and R&D for both domestic fuel sources and renewable energy, we will no longer be at the mercy of volatile foreign imports.

As always, to keep up to date with what’s new in HVAC technology and energy, visit our website at airideal.com and follow us on Twitter @airideal and at our Facebook page!

Sensible Rebuilding and HVAC Installation with Future Flooding in Mind

Proper elevation ofan air‑conditioningcondenser in afloodprone area;additional anchorage isrecommended

Proper elevation of
an air‑conditioning
condenser in a
floodprone area;
additional anchorage is
recommended

As most Long Island and New York homeowners are still waiting for insurance settlements to rebuild after Superstorm Sandy (see this Newsday article), it is imperative that planning for future storms be taken into consideration.  Once settlements have been made, it is prudent to avoid the mistakes that were made previously that caused the loss of mechanical and HVAC equipment to flood waters. Of the many homes and businesses we have inspected that experienced damaged HVAC equipment, most were within the flood zone, but still had mechanicals located at ground level or sub-grade in basements.  Although this may be standard policy for those residing inland, it can no longer be the norm for those who have decided to live within or near flood zones. Those who are merely replacing what they had in the same locations are asking to go through these losses all over again. This financial burden will continue to be borne by both homeowner and taxpayer until proper disaster planning and construction standards are required in all FEMA flood zones.

FEMA has a Coastal Construction Manual with guidelines for installing mechanical equipment and utilities. FEMA warns that “Minimizing flood damage to mechanical equipment requires elevating it above the DFE. Because of the uncertainty of wave heights and the probability of wave run-up, the designer should consider additional elevation above the DFE for this equipment.”  DFE refers to the design flood elevation. Condensing units should be installed on cantilevered platforms above the DFE with restraints to prevent wind damage.  Ductwork should not be located in sub-grade crawlspaces or basements and should be installed above the DFE or be made watertight in order to minimize damage.  “Many ductwork systems today are constructed with insulated board, which is destroyed by flood inundation.” 

Interior HVAC equipment including boilers, furnaces and air handlers should also be located above the DFE. The following methods of reducing flood damage to interior equipment are recommended:

“Elevate the equipment and the ductwork above the DFE by hanging the equipment from the existing first floor or placing it in the attic or another location above the DFE.  In areas other than Zone V (where enclosure of utilities below the BFE is not recommended), build a waterproof enclosure around the equipment, allowing access for maintenance and replacement of equipment parts.”

Coastal homes on barrier islands in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida have been built this way for sometime and continue to endure hurricanes. It is obviously time for Long Islanders and New Yorkers to follow suit in the wake of accelarating global climate anomalies.

As always, to keep up to date with what’s new in HVAC technology, visit our website at airideal.com and follow us on Twitter @airideal and at our Facebook page!