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Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

Efficiency Vermont’s Efficiency Excellence Network Contractor Spotlight:

GSK Climate Control, Inc. of East Dorset, VT

Taylor Kristiansen, Secretary and Technician for GSK Climate Control, Inc. of East Dorset, VT. Courtesy photo.

Interview with Taylor Kristiansen, Secretary and Technician

What is your area of expertise?

GSK is a full-service mechanical contractor that serves both commercial and residential customers. We specialize in design-build heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, plumbing, commercial refrigeration, and custom sheet metal fabrication.

What projects do people try to do themselves that really should be done professionally?

Any project that involves installing, wiring, or servicing a HVAC system should be left to certified professionals. There’s a lot that can go wrong when homeowners attempt to DIY electrical work, combustion appliances, refrigerant handling, refrigeration systems and controls. It is not safe and puts building occupants’ lives, comfort, and health at risk.

If you could only choose one type of project to reduce someone’s carbon footprint or improve efficiency, what would it be and why?

Here in New England everyone needs heat. Upgrade your home or building’s heating system to a 95-98% Annualized Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) appliance and add a smart programmable thermostat. Even just adding a programable thermostat can save between 10-15% on energy consumption. We’ve also been installing a lot of cold-climate heat pumps. These eliminate a homeowner’s dependence on heating fuels, onsite fuel storage, and the carbon emissions combustion appliances produce.

What is it in your field of specialty that is most valuable (related to energy efficiency or the EEN) that our readers ought to know about?

As an HVAC/R and plumbing contractor, everything we do directly correlates to energy efficiency. From reducing water consumption with low-flow plumbing fixtures, hot water recirculation systems, and leak-detecting devices, to reducing fuel consumption and carbon footprint with energy-efficient HVAC appliances and controls, to creating a cost-effective environmentally-friendly refrigeration system with state-of-the-art compressors, defrost management, and remote control/alarms. Everything we touch directly impacts the environment and the comfort of building occupants.

Why should people use an EEN member over someone else?

EEN members are committed to providing the highest quality energy-efficient services to their communities. The EEN network vets all their contractors and requires annual continuing education to keep the EEN contractor status. EEN also provides quality resources and support, as well as rebate incentives and even custom rebates for our commercial clients. EEN members are also able to provide the added benefit of project financing through state initiatives.

What are the best ways to finance projects (or what incentives are available) for residential or commercial projects?

Efficiencyvermont.com/rebates lists all the current rebates in the state. Efficiency VT and Green Mountain Power are currently offering rebate incentives for both commercial and residential heat pumps. Although the heat pump rebates were recently reduced at the end of August this year, they are still sizeable. Efficiency VT currently offers rebates on commercial and residential ventilation systems, centrally-ducted heat pumps, heat pump hot water heaters, smart thermostats, variable frequency drives (VFD’s), high-efficiency circulators, efficient evaporator fan motors, and high efficiency evaporators for commercial refrigeration applications – to name a few. [Editor’s note: see the Incentives section on page 14 and 15 for more details.]

What are some questions you recommend customers ask when selecting someone to do work to meet energy efficiency goals?

Ask your friends and neighbors about reputable contractors in the area – almost all of our referral business is word-of-mouth. Determine how long the contractor has been in business and how experienced they are with the scope of your work. Keep system manuals and documentation, including blueprints, in a neat binder, booklet, or easy to share USB. Ask about creating a preventative maintenance plan on the new equipment you’re having installed. Preventative maintenance is so important, as regular cleaning and inspection will prolong the life of your equipment and optimize the efficiency of your system. In most cases neglecting to follow through with preventative maintenance will void the warranty on your equipment. Lastly, ask your HVAC contractor if there are any improvements you could make to the building envelope that will help minimize the heating and cooling load, in turn, decreasing energy usage and possibly the size and cost of your HVAC system.

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