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Investments to get excited about

Keeping home heating and cooling costs down is important to most homeowners, but GLE member Jason Dryja, who owns his own home and several rental properties through his business, Dream House Retreats, means keeping these costs down is even more of a priority.

When Jason realized he was burning through a lot of propane and relying on the propane company to deliver fuel, which is a hassle and costly, he started exploring alternative energy solutions for his heating and cooling needs.

Jason spoke with his heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) contractor to learn more about alternative energy options and the rebates available through GLE’s Energy Wise program to help offset the cost of purchasing more energy-efficient products.

With the guidance of his HVAC contractor, Jason chose to focus on the best-performing hybrid HVAC systems.

Heat pumps are a great energy-efficient option, even in Michigan’s erratic weather. Heat pumps use electricity to transfer heat into or out of a space, depending on the season. Because they transfer heat rather than generate it, heat pumps can efficiently provide comfortable temperatures for your home.

There are three main types of ducted heat pumps: air-, water-, and ground-source. Jason narrowed his choices down between air-source and geothermal ground-source heat pumps. 

The most common type of heat pump is the air-source heat pump, which transfers heat between your house and the outside air. The simpler design of the air-source heat pump was the top-selling feature for Jason because fewer things could go wrong with it, so he had one installed in his primary residence. He immediately saw a difference in energy use and said, “It pulls less energy than my old dryer, which is drawing the most energy now than anything else in the house.” Jason also recently replaced the kitchen appliances with new, energy-efficient models and is now considering replacing the old dryer to help reduce energy use and cut costs even more.

Jason also owns a rental property that used a 10-year-old air-source ductless system, which was extremely inefficient in the winter weather. Needing something more efficient, Jason went back to his HVAC contractor and requested the most efficient cold weather-performing mini-split system available. “It’s the most efficient thing I have in either home. It’s so efficient, even below freezing. I was shocked at how low the energy draw is.”

Jason said the GLE app on his mobile phone is also easy to navigate and has become part of his daily routine. Jason is an engineer, a real estate agent, and owns investment properties, so with his busy schedule, he explained, “I’m checking the energy usage at all my properties daily, and having all the features on the GLE app is convenient and critical.”

With the upgrades, Jason calls for propane refills much less often. Jason said he’s happy with his improvements adding: “I absolutely recommend upgrading your HVAC systems and taking advantage of the rebates offered through Energy Wise.”

HVAC Overview

Hybrid HVAC System

Made up of both an electric heat pump and a gas furnace, hybrid systems alternate between using each of the two units, depending on the season, temperature, and function needed to maximize efficiency and effectively heat and cool homes all year long.

Air-to-Air Heat Pump
(Air Source)

The most common type of heat pump, air-to-air transfers heat between your house and the outside air and can reduce your electricity use for heating by approximately 50%. High-efficiency heat pumps also dehumidify better than standard central A/C, resulting in less energy usage in summer months. 

Geothermal Heat Pump
(Ground & Water Source)

Geothermal (ground-source or water-source) heat pumps achieve higher efficiencies by transferring heat between your house and the ground or nearby water source. Although they cost more to install, geothermal heat pumps have low operating costs because they take advantage of relatively constant ground or water temperatures.

Mini-Split Heat Pump
(Ductless Air Source)

Mini-split heat pumps, or ductless heat pumps, are an alternative to radiator or baseboard heating, as well as a replacement for window units for cooling. No duct work is needed. Instead, a head unit, or multiple head units, are mounted on an interior wall or ceiling, with an accompanying unit outside. 

“The Energy Wise rebate was a significant factor in my decision to upgrade”
The GLE Energy Wise program rewards members for their energy optimization efforts with rebates to help offset the cost of purchasing energy-efficient products and systems.

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