In this podcast, Mike Cappuccio from N.E.T.R., Inc talks with John Maher about going green with ductless heating and cooling. He explains why people are going green and how ductless HVAC can help with this process.
John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher, and I’m here today with Mike Cappuccio, founder of N.E.T.R., Inc. a heating and cooling company in Massachusetts, with a focus on Mitsubishi ductless heating and cooling products. Today, we’re talking about the Green New Deal and going green with ductless. Welcome Mike.
Mike Cappuccio: Good morning, John. How are you?
John: Good, thanks. So Mike, the Green New Deal proposals call for the country to address climate change, as well as having other social aims, such as job creation and reducing economic inequality. And although this really hasn’t passed through Congress yet, it does signal some real attempts to continue to make changes away from fossil fuels and toward cleaner energy. Are there communities in the United States that are passing regulations on installing new fossil fuel heating systems?
Mike: Oh, yeah, I’ve seen it in Massachusetts, in some towns and cities. I’ve seen it in New York, in the Westchester, Hudson Valley area where you cannot install natural gas systems, and air source heat pumps are taking over those actual installations.
I mean, in Brookline, Massachusetts, you can’t install in new construction, a natural gas heating system or an oil heating system. You have to install an air source heat pump, whether that’s ducted or ductless, or whatever it is. But, they’re very, very concerned about the carbon in the air. And I mean, you look at what’s going on. I mean, times are just changing very, very fast right now with this. I mean, look at the automobile industry. I mean, almost 50% of the ads you see on TV are for electric cars now, and solar and things like that. I mean, I’m a firm believer that there is going to be changes in what’s going to be happening.
John: So, what’s the reason for not installing natural gas heating? Is it more, just that they don’t want the fossil fuels to be burned, or is it a supply chain issue?
Mike: I think in New York, it’s a little bit of a supply and a little bit of the carbon in the air, what’s going on in those areas. And Massachusetts, it’s carbon. They just don’t want the carbon.
John: They’re just going green.
Mike: Yeah. They are just going green. I mean, look at the Mass Save program that was put out this year. I mean, for air source heat pumps for whole-home, the rebates are ridiculous. I mean, $10,000… maybe ridiculous probably isn’t the word, but it’s very high. I mean, you can get up to $10,000 to do a whole-home air source heat pump replacement in your home, to heat your home through Mass Save.
Mike: I mean, they’ve got goals that they want to hit in regards to installing these air source heat pumps in people’s homes. And, I saw a report just yesterday that came out that, out of the gate, the first three months from January to March, that $7 million in rebates had been given out to homeowners, to go green in their homes with air source heat pumps.
And, that’s upwards of just 2,500 installations in three months, of air source heat pumps in Massachusetts. I mean, that’s pretty good for right out of the gate… for the beginning of this program, and I mean, it’s being pushed very heavily, advertised very heavily. I’m going to say 50% of the in-home consultations that we’re running right now are to change a heating system to an air source heat pump, where that was never like that before. If I was to roll the clock back three to five years ago, it was nothing even close to that.
John: Right. In terms of, actually replacing your heating system with an air source heat pump system?
John: Before it was more like, “Hey, put it in this room, or that room,” or, “This part of the house, or that part of the house,” but not changing your entire house to an air source heat pump.
Mike: Now it’s, “Hey, how do I go about taking my furnace out of my home? How do I go about taking my boiler out of my home?” Obviously, some of it is with gas. Some of it is with oil.
Mike: I mean, when we look at the price of oil today, I mean, it’s doubled, tripled. I’m not sure where it is today, but it’s not low.
With home heating oil where it was a year ago, it wasn’t as expensive to heat with home heating oil. But, when comparing natural gas and an air source heat pumps, when you look at the cost to run them, I mean, sometimes it can actually be more money to run an air source heat pump than natural gas. It will heat the home, but it could cost you a little bit more.
I mean, there’s a cost calculator on Mass Save’s website that we’ve done some podcasts on, that we’ve gone on and we’ve compared the cost. I mean, sometimes it’s equal, sometimes it’s a little bit more, but the carbon reducage is very, very high. Very high. And, that’s where everyone is trying to get right now, is to reduce the carbon in the air because it’s just not good. I mean, even the carbon in your home, when you’re in your own home, some people don’t even realize that… how much carbon’s in your actual home, when you’re burning these fuels in your home.
John: Right. So talk a little bit more about that. For people that are really interested in going green and trying to reduce their own carbon footprint of their house, how does ductless heating and cooling help with that?
Mike: Well, I mean, you can remove your existing furnace that’s there. You can integrate with a ductless system. You can put in a ducted system. If you already have ductwork in your home, you can put in an air handler in your home that will heat at those low temperatures. It really all depends on the footprint of your home and how it lays out. What’s the best situation for you? Whether it’s an integrated system or a whole home, I do highly recommend getting weatherization done on your home, tightening it up.
And then, look at solar. I’ve got customers that have solar in their homes, that have basically net zero set ups. I mean, they don’t pay for heating. The sun is what’s creating the stored energy to run the heating and cooling systems in a nice tight home. With a well-insulated home with solar, sometimes you don’t pay anything for your heat. So, you have to look at all of the options of what’s out there.
And I think that’s the way things are going. I mean, it’s going to change. I mean, go on, you look at solar now. Even where solar was years ago, and you look at where it is now. I mean, I saw something the other day where they actually made a little shingle that is a little solar panel, and you don’t have these big gigantic panels on your roof anymore. I mean, this industry is changing fast. Very, very fast.
Even the heat pumps are changing fast. I mean, we had heat pumps that couldn’t heat down below five degrees. Now we have them down below five, we have them to -13. And, we thought five was good. Now they’re making them so they could heat even at lower temperatures for the real cold environments. Where you have colder environments in the United States that get down to -20, -30. In some areas, a five degree heat pump wasn’t good in those areas. Good in these areas, in the Boston area, but not in other areas. So the manufacturers are constantly improving on these.
And, I heard the other day that Mitsubishi Electric grew 100% this year as a company. What is driving this growth? I mean, I don’t think it’s all coming from cooling. A lot of it is coming from heating, and new construction and new homes, and net zero homes. And, we call them high performance homes. I mean, with the high performance team that’s out there and, talking to builders and the way things are being built today, I mean, there’s standards of the way homes need to be built. You can’t build them like you used to build them. And the tighter the home, the less energy it uses.
John: If a house doesn’t have solar, and so that they’re just running the air source heat pump with electricity, what would you say to those people who say, “Well, I’m using electricity, right? And that electricity is being generated with fossil fuels. So, is it really any help? Is it really a big difference in terms of my carbon footprint, if I install a ductless heating system? Because isn’t it just, electricity’s just coming from fossil fuels anyway.” What would you say to those people?
Mike: Well, I’d say that’s a myth, because a lot of that is now being created by solar. There’s a lot of solar farms out there. There’s a lot of wind farms. I mean, you go out in the Midwest and there’s a lot of wind farms. I mean, they’re offshore in Massachusetts. There’s going to be one going out there that’s been approved, and there’s going to be hundreds of windmills out there that are going to be creating power. I think, if you roll the clock fast forward 20 years, I think a lot of the energy isn’t going to be being burned from fossil fuels.
John: Right. So, by jumping on board now and installing that air source heat pump system in your home, you’re on the right track. Maybe some of that energy is coming from the burning of fossil fuels now, but that will be less and less as we move forward through the years.
Mike: Oh, yeah.
John: Speaking of the future, if we kind of look forward into the next five or 10 years, do you see that ductless heating and cooling systems, heat pump systems, do you see that there’ll be more of a part of homes in the US moving forward?
Mike: Oh, yeah. Yeah. I see more and more of it every day. I think the builders are all aware of it now, people that are building new homes, and additions and stuff now. When people are looking at additions, and remodeling their homes and stuff like that, I think you’re going to see that traditional heating and air conditioning systems with ductwork are going to start to become a thing of the past.
I mean, if you go overseas and you look at how they do things. It’s totally different from how we do things here. And that technology, and the way that they do things over there is now being more adopted over here.
When I roll the clock back five years ago, it was maybe 5 or 6%. I’ll bet you, it’s probably closer to 15 to 20% now, of homes that are heated and cooled by ductless heating and air conditioning systems. And, I think it’s just going to keep increasing. Right now, there’s companies that can’t even keep up with the demand for products because of … We all know we have supply chain issues, but I think a lot of it is the demand, too. They just can’t keep up with the demand of what’s being sold. I mean, our sales have doubled in one year.
John: Yeah. That’s amazing. Yeah.
John: All right. Well, that’s really great information, Mike. Thanks again for speaking with me today.
Mike: Thanks, John.John: And for more information, you can visit the N.E.T.R. website at netrinc.com, or call 781-933-NETR. That’s 781-933-6387.