If you're building a new home and hoping to adhere to green building standards, then you'll need to think carefully about the type of heating system you choose. Heating uses a good portion of a home's energy, so if you can pick an eco-friendly, energy-efficient heating option that works well for your lifestyle, you'll have taken a huge first step towards meeting your green building goals. To that end, here are two green heating technologies to consider:
Biomass heaters run on organic matter rather than natural gas or another fuel. Wood pellet stoves are the most common type of biomass heater, but you can also find heaters that will burn yard waste, paper waste and more. Biomass heating systems cost less to use than standard, fuel-based heating systems, and you won't be contributing to the planet's depletion of fossil fuels when you choose this option. As biomass heaters are becoming more common, it is becoming quite easy to find wood pellets, which are typically made from wood that would otherwise have gone to waste, in home and garden stores.
The downfall to a biomass heater is that you have to be around to "feed" it. It might be a good solution if you live in an environment where temperatures don't drop too low in the winter and you only need to "turn on" the heat sometimes. In a colder climate, consider using a biomass heater as a supplemental heating unit and a different system for your main heating.
Ductless Heat Pumps
Heat pumps work by gathering the heat from the outdoor air (yes, even if it is chilly outside, there is some heat in the air), and transferring it to the inside of your home. Typically, they consist of an outdoor pump unit along with a air handling unit (or several) that is mounted on the wall inside. Ductless heat pumps take very little energy to run, since they are capturing heat from the air rather than creating heat. They can also be "reversed" in the summertime, allowing them to act as air conditioners.
Some ductless heat pumps are fitted with a backup burner, which kicks on to provide extra heat on the coldest of days. This allows them to be used in even the coldest of climates. Though this option will use a bit more energy, you'll still be saving energy in comparison to a complete fuel combustion system.
Both of the choices above are energy-efficient, green alternatives to a standard, fuel-based heating system. To learn more about these and other options, speak with an HVAC contractor, such as Dowe and Wagner.