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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Understanding Alternatives in Commercial Green Energy

Understanding Alternatives in Commercial Green Energy

Owners of office, commercial, industrial, and apartment buildings are always interested in new ways to lower overhead or operating costs. While millions are thinking of automated lighting and other indoor building power saving devices, like using CFL (compact fluorescent light bulbs) wherever possible, and more efficient heating or airconditioning systems, there are property owners who are already moving to the latest green technologies like the solar heating system.

What is a solar heating system? It is actually a commercial green energy technology that can provide a large portion of a residential or commercial building’s hot water requirements by using heat from the sun. Although there are active and passive systems, some that use flat panels and some that use tubes, solar heating systems are mostly described as a panel or coil of metal or plastic, where water passes through and is heated by radiant or solar energy.

Looks too complex, doesn’t it? Actually it isn’t all that complex. Green technology is so beneficial that many organizations and government agencies are extending landlords and commercial property owners several financial incentives for investing in green energy. This demonstrates the viability of putting in a solar heating system right now for a large-scale property. These bonuses are intended to minimize installation and purchase cash outlays, and enable the payback of the solar heating system realizable in less than five years.

The first thing to keep in mind, however, is that implementation of commercial green energy requires the services of experts, and even thouhg you might have read that some people have constructed their own solar heating systems; these do-it-yourself projects are usually limited in capability or only built to cater to a single-family household. However, when you are talking about the hot water service for more than 20 residences, it will require specialized knowledge and high-level of technical experience to design the system.

Moreover, it is also critical to know that although the technologies behind any commercial green energy have advanced considerably in just a short period of time, it still doesn’t mean that they have totally replaced traditional energy sources: electricity, natural gas, or propanel for producing hot water all year round. But using green energy for most of your water heating needs will dramatically reduce the operating expenditures associated with the old electric hot water system.

Let’s just consider what this might mean financially. For example, if you have estimated that your bill for having hot water amount to sixty dollars per unit every month; then you are in fact disbursing that sum of cash each month. Once you have decided to have a solar heating system installed on the rooftop of your office or apartment building, you would be able to finance the solar water heating system, get a utility rebate, and take advantage a handful of state, local, and federal tax incentives available. This would include the option to use accelerated equipment depreciation and immediate tax incentives. In short, even though you are spending nearly the same amount or sixty dollars per unit per month; your payment is mostly for the solar water heating system, and not to utility payments. And after 2-5 years you would have paid-off the complete cost of the system. And you would then enjoy a considerable reduction on your monthly electric charges, and almost zero utilization cost of your water heating equipment for many years to come.

Craig Axelrod is a principal for Emmy Energy, a NY clean energy business delivering solar heating tubes & solar panels throughout the Northeast.


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