Source – State Senator Andrew Maynard Newsletter – January 2014

Senator Maynard with Jonathan Dunklee, owner of Duncklee Cooling & Heating in Stonington, has long felt that people need to make an effort every day to be environmentally conscious.  He recently partnered with Brian Bonner of Bonner Electric in Norwich to back up that sentiment, and install solar panels on his business’s roof.  I visited his business to check them out and talk about the state program that incentivized him to “go green.”

Under the program, businesses that install new, qualifying renewable energy projects, such as rooftop solar panels and fuel cells, have the opportunity to sell the qualified Connecticut Class I renewable energy credits (RECs) created from their projects to CL&P under a 15-year contract.  The program falls within Jonathan’s clean environment philosophy, and empowered him to improve his bottom line by taking advantage of rebates for energy-saving as well as renewable energy improvements.

Jonathan and Brian epitomize the best in our small businesses. By taking advantage of the state’s support, these local businesses will be greener and more profitable. It’s a win for the businesses their customer and the entire state.

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What does tonnage mean for an air conditioner?


The tonnage of an air conditioner measures how much heat it can remove from an area in the course of one hour. It’s based on the word “ton,” but has nothing to do with the weight or mass of the a/c itself. Instead, one “ton” here can remove 12,000 British Thermal Units, or BTU’s, every hour.
A Btu is a measure of heat. Specifically, it’s the amount of heat that’s needed to increase the temperature of a pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.
Understanding this can help you choose a new central air system. You want one with tonnage that matches the square footage of your home. Too little and the system won’t cool your house properly. In fact, it might even break down quickly if it’s always working too hard. Meanwhile, too much and you’re wasting energy.
The average home requires one ton of air conditioning per 400 to 1,000 square feet. That’s a lot of variation, but the need is affected by how many windows are in your home, the height of the ceiling and how easily air flows through the house.

What is an air conditioner SEER rating?

SEER stands for “Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio.” It’s a measure of how much energy an air conditioner uses to operate over one year. The ratings range from 13 to 25 for central air units. The higher the rating, the less energy they use.
The main components of this rating are Btu’s and kilowatt hours — kWh for short. For the SEER rating, we combine the amount of heat the system removes with the amount of energy the unit uses.
That energy is the electricity running the a/c. Electricity in the home is measured in kWh. To get the rating, you look at the Btu’s the unit can remove over the entire cooling season. Then, divide that by the number of kWh it takes to do so.
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