Mullins / Sluss
Jerry Mullins (left) is introduced by Rotarian Stephen Sluss.

Jerry Mullins
New heating and cooling strategies boost efficiency, cut costs

May 24, 2016

Putnam Rotarians today heard Jerry Mullins advise on strategies for heating and cooling. "It's not new technology," he said. "It's how we're putting it together.

"I create," he said. ""I put together comfort-engineered and energy-saving heating and cooling systems.

"A lot of people think 'bigger is better,' but that's not true at all. The first thing that needs to happen is sizing of the equipment.

"We look at the building envelope -- how the walls are insulated. Ceiling. Windows. How many people. Residential or commercial. The type of internal heat gains. We run a load calculation."

His plans often combine two or more systems: A gas furnace and a heat pump, for example, use two energy fuels at the most efficient rate [for each].

"In mild weather," he said, "down to 35 degrees, the heat pump will transfer the heat that's needed very economically.

"But once the temperature gets below a balance point, then it needs to be supplemented. And if you have a gas furnace, then you're using a fuel that is more efficient down at the lower temperatures.

"A hybrid system combines a heat pump with a ground coil that makes it a geothermal unit. We also couple the system with a solar panel that will make the compressor run much more efficiently. About a 40 percent efficiency increase."

Rebates and tax credits are also available to encourage energy efficiency, he continued.

Appalachian Power rebate programs include HomeSMART. "If your contractors are putting in replacement or new equipment, you can get a rebate up to $400 a ton through Appalachian Power," said Mullins.

"Up through the end of this year," he added, "there is a 30 percent tax credit for a ground-source geothermal heat pump. It doesn't take a lot of energy to run the compressor, but you're able to transfer a tremendous amount of heat very efficiently.

"And that's not just the equipment: It's the whole system. The ductwork, Excavating. Labor. Everything goes into that 30 percent tax credit."

A 30 percent tax credit for a solar panel has been extended to 2022, Mullins said.

The REEP (Rural Energy for America Program) initiative through the US Department of Agriculture offers a 25 percent grant on the overall cost of energy-efficient systems. With an office and storage building, Mullins estimates a savings of about half of the $140,000 cost by combination of rebates and tax credits.



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