Many will say that it’s not worth looking back into the past of 2010, and for the most part I would agree. However, I think after this year we should take a step back into our own professional and personal lives so we can hopefully look forward to a brighter 2011. After all, as the saying goes, we are supposed to have a “happy and healthy new year.”
In 2010 we heard all the news pertaining to the economy as it continually spiraled downward. In some areas companies have shut down or cut back, while unemployment in many states reached 9 percent or higher. Home owners saw their real estate values drop and on the commercial side—notice how many buildings remain unoccupied. Bank interest rates and 401K values declined, as some seniors were preparing for retirement. Many found the need to readjust their plans based on a loss in investment revenue.
However, there are some good 2010 experiences to talk about. As an example, Rhode Island and other states have offered cash rebates for newly installed energy efficient heating equipment. This Rhode Island rebate paid back directly to the consumer 25 percent of the new equipment cost up to a maximum of $2,500. Let’s not forget about the Energy Star appliances that qualified for rebates also in 2010. These programs in many ways along with others have helped companies both large and small survive.
We also saw more emphasis on green technology in the areas of geo-thermo, solar along with the new efficient clothing washers and driers that require less water and energy consumption.
Wind farms have been a topic that has attracted attention in many states, and as you look around, you may see a newly erected wind turbine in your own area.
This year many companies have actually diversified into other areas of business, a few examples being LP gas, water purification, solar systems, A/C, plumbing and many more. Condensing type heating equipment seems to becoming a hot topic, due to the high level of efficiency ratings that qualify for the federal tax allowance of $1,500. However, by the time you read this article, the existing federally supported program will have expired.
The real issue on the oil side is there are not enough oil heating products manufactured that meet this federal efficiency standard requirement of 90 percent. Presently, I hear there are only three oil units that meet this efficiency requirement that compete with many of the gas heating products that both meet and exceed this 90 percent efficiency requirement.
Many consumers and company owners have asked what will Uncle Sam do next as an incentive for 2011 and the best answer is, “We’ll see.” However, for my money I would never remove any incentive program that supported less fuel consumption, a cleaner environment and provide much needed business that encourages the equipment upgrade.
Biofuel has become another hot topic this year and some companies are making the switch while others have taken a wait and see attitude.
In 2010 more boiler management controls have been introduced. Some will electronically record the burner run cycle history a trouble shooting device and others will monitor a boilers low water condition, react to burner run cycle and outdoor temperature and condensed into one unit. If you haven’t done so, take a look at the new inventory reducing interchangeable hydronic controls as well. You will find this to be a real money saver.
The best to you all in 2011!