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The Green Lifestyle
Home Design

Green Alternative in Home Energy

by Affluent Magazine

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Green Alternative in Home Energy

Following the Three R’s while heating a home may seem like a challenge, but a new technology from ECR International has made the process simple. Using micro-combined heat and power technology (micro-CHP), the freewatt home heating system allows mindful consumers to live in greener and yet comfortably heated homes.

The freewatt system operates by marrying an ENERGY STAR-rated, high-efficiency gas furnace or boiler to a Honda generator. With a focus on reusing fuel energy, freewatt has a dual approach of generating electricity while heating a home, which allows homes essentially to use fuel twice.

“With freewatt, the fuel first drives the generator to produce electric power,” said Michael Paparone, ECR president and chief executive officer. “Then, freewatt reuses the energy not converted to electricity to supply home heat, or homeowners can sell the extra power back to the ‘grid.’” Through this process, freewatt can produce nearly 5,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year.

Efficient in recycling fuel energy, freewatt uses 95 percent of its fuel energy supply to provide heat and electricity for the home. Power plants, on the other hand, discharge about two-thirds of the fuel energy supplied to them as wasted heat. Although power plants strive for efficiency, they don’t repurpose heat like freewatt can.

Reducing harmful carbon dioxide emissions, freewatt’s dual energy approach and efficiency can reduce a home’s annual carbon footprint by up to 6,000 pounds of greenhouse gases. In fact, using freewatt for one year is equivalent to not driving your car for six months.

“For consumers who are interested in greening their homes to the tee, freewatt provides an environmentally friendly home energy solution,” Paparone said. “After consumers install freewatt in new or existing homes, they can significantly reduce their energy use and electric bills. Depending on where the freewatt homeowner lives, they may even be eligible to participate in a net metering program.”

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, net metering enables customers to use their electricity generation to offset their consumption over a billing period by allowing the electric meters to turn backward when they generate electricity in excess of their demand.

Although net metering is only offered in 35 states, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Climate Choice program may influence the remaining states to adopt net metering programs.

Climate Choice is a new partnership program that recognizes emerging technologies that have the potential to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions once they are more widely adopted. micro-CHP has been identified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as one of two technologies designated as a Climate Choice technology.

According to the EPA, using energy more efficiently through more efficient end-uses or generation, such as combined heat and power, reduces the amount of fuel required to produce a unit of energy output and decreases the corresponding emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases.

Electricity from renewable resources, such as solar, geothermal and wind technologies, generally does not contribute to climate change or local air pollution since no fuels are combusted in these processes.
Thrift in fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions doesn’t mean a cold home, however. freewatt provides enhanced thermal comfort during the heating season by delivering continuous, low-level heat to a home. Therefore, with a freewatt system, homeowners can save money and reduce their carbon footprints without lowering their thermostats.

“Unlike typical home heating appliances, freewatt reduces temperature swings and cycling,” Paparone said. “Not only is freewatt a green product, but it is a revolutionary concept because it puts the consumer in control.”

Consumer control even extends to occasions when the homeowners aren’t at home. freewatt is Internet-enabled, so a homeowner can monitor electric savings and adjust the thermostat while away from home.

When compared to other energy-producing alternatives, freewatt is easier to install than solar panels or wind turbines, and is more cost-effective than solar or wind power. Convenient and reliable, freewatt supplies consistent power and can be utilized anytime, day or night. freewatt is also more visually inconspicuous within the home setting. Sound-wise, freewatt’s ultra-quiet Honda generator produces less noise than a typical gas water heater.

Boosting the value of homes in which it is installed, a freewatt system can add about $5,000 to $20,000 in home value, according to the National Appraiser’s Institute. Utilizing freewatt might also help residential projects qualify for points under the LEED for Homes Rating System. 

Backed by a five-year parts and labor warranty, freewatt’s Internet connection also automatically relays service messages to a dealer who can quickly attend to any issues with the system.

ECR, a full-service provider of American-engineered and -manufactured hydronic and forced air products, manufactures freewatt. For more information about freewatt or ECR, please call (315) 797-1310 or visit www.ecrinternational.com or www.freewatt.com.



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