Efficiency Ratings for Heating & Cooling Systems

Posted on: February 24th, 2015

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How is the efficiency of heating and cooling systems measured across the entire HVAC industry?

Each type of heating and cooling system has its own measurement standard. Fossil fuel furnaces, for example, use the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). Its ability to convert fuel to energy is measured by comparing the amount of heat actually delivered to your home with the amount of fuel supplied to the furnace. You may be more familiar with the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER), the method in which traditional air conditioners measure productivity. SEER ratings are the cooling output for a typical cooling season divided by the total electric energy input during that time period. Just as those sub-industries have their own units of measurement, so too does geothermal heating and cooling.

The geothermal industry uses two formulas to assess the results and calculate ratings. To measure the energy efficiency of the heating performance, we use the Coefficient of Performance (COP). These numbers are determined based on how much energy the system produces versus how much it uses. To measure the energy efficiency of the cooling performance, we use the Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER). This is a measure of the instantaneous energy efficiency of cooling equipment, representing the ratio of total cooling capacity to electrical energy input.

How do system ratings affect my bill?

For every dollar you spend to run your EarthLinked heat pump, you’re getting $4 to $5 of heat benefits. That means you’re saving 400-500% when you run your heat pump with an EarthLinked Renewable Energy System.

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