A common heating system in a certified Green home is often a Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pump. The Green feature of this particular product is that it is Ductless thereby reducing the amount of allergen triggers that get blown around a house using forced air ducts. Less dust blowing around means better indoor air quality; especially for sufferers of Asthma, patients with multiple chemical sensitivity and other respiratory aliments. Additionally, less duct work equals less heat loss due to the law of thermodynamics and whenever we cut down heat loss, we increase energy-efficiency.
Builders and contractors who remodel and flip homes especially love these systems because they are small and flexible. For older homes that use electric baseboard heat or massive remodel projects that don’t lend room to duct-work a ductless mini-split heat pump provides a means of heating a home that’s a lot less expensive than radiant heat and a lot more energy-efficient than baseboard or inset wall heaters.
I’ve actually recently installed a mini-split myself and if you have questions about how this worked as part of a remodel project I can share with you my experience. I was lucky enough to have input from one of my great clients who said the mini-split in their townhouse worked better than the builder expected and it heated both the main and upper level, meaning they never needed to use the small electrical wall heaters upstairs.
The downside of these units is that some people feel that they are not particular attractive although I think if they are placed with that in mind, you can minimize the impact. Also the system must be sized correctly. If you are looking at a new construction you may want to ask some of the other buyers in the community how their system is operating as well as make sure your inspector is well versed in these systems.
The upside is that all you need to install this system is basically power, so older homes that don’t have natural gas or those that don’t have duct-work can have this system installed and save money heating the home. Be sure to check with your utility company about rebates, as of this writing, Puget Sound Energy is offering up to $1,200 in rebates on a qualifying system.
When buying a home make sure your REALTOR is Green Certified for tips on these types of systems as well as green housing features.