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High-Efficiency and Integrated Heating Systems

A wide range of high-efficiency heating systems are used in R-2000 homes. All provide great comfort and low heating costs and help protect indoor air quality. Following are some of the systems that R-2000 builders commonly use:

Heat Pump Systems

These devices draw heat either from outside air or through fluid-filled coils buried in the ground. Heat pumps run on electricity but use far less of it than conventional electric heaters. An added advantage of heat pumps is that they can run "in reverse," providing air conditioning in the summer.

High-Efficiency Gas Furnaces

The most efficient gas furnace units achieve around 95 percent efficiency, compared with 78 to 82 percent for conventional furnaces. All combustion-based heating equipment installed in R-2000 homes must draw combustion air from outside and have a sealed venting system that prevents combustion gases from leaking into the home.

Most high-efficiency furnaces don't need a chimney. Their exhaust gases are relatively cool and can be vented through a plastic pipe that passes through the foundation wall. A few furnaces selected by R-2000 builders also have high-efficiency electric blower motors that need far less electricity to operate. This can reduce electric consumption of the furnace by half. Such blowers are also much quieter than conventional furnace blowers.

Integrated Gas Heating Systems

Space and water heating are combined in one piece of equipment, saving space and energy. Many integrated systems are on the market. Most are based on a high-efficiency water heater or boiler that supplies domestic hot water and space heating. Heat can be distributed using either radiant in-floor heating or forced air via a heat exchanger. Integrated heating systems typically achieve efficiencies of greater than 90 percent.

Demand Water Heaters

Demand water-heating systems have no tank and don't store heated water. Instead, a fast-acting, high-efficiency heater is activated when you turn taps on. The result is instant hot water and lower water-heating costs. Both electrical and gas-powered demand heaters are in use.

Radiant In-Floor Hydronic Heating

A network of tubing embedded in the floor, most often in a concrete slab or top layer, is the basis for radiant in-floor hydronic heating systems. Warm water pumped through the tubing gently heats the floor, which then radiates the warmth upwards. There are no heat vents or return-air ducts.

Hot water is produced by a boiler or water heater. Gas, oil or electric boilers can be used, depending on your fuel preference. These systems, which are much smaller than conventional furnaces, use no fans or blowers, so in-floor radiant heating is silent.

R-2000 is an official mark of Natural Resources Canada.