Every home depends on energy production to keep the lights on and to maintain a comfortable temperature. We have all heard about the sociopolitical and environmental problems with conventional fossil fuels, not to mention the ever-increasing prices. We believe a home that does not depend on dirty fuel is the only kind that should be built in this day and age. There are a number of different renewable energy technologies that can be incorporated to produce a home’s energy.
Geo-exchange or Geothermal systems for heating, cooling, & hot water
Geo-thermal Heat Pumps heat and cool your home for big energy savings
All of our homes have a ground source heat pump, or geothermal system for heating, cooling, and hot water. The “geo” system can be installed as either a vertical or horizontal system buried in the yard of your home. Horizontal systems are less expensive but some lots require a vertical system.
How does a geoexchange system work?
The geothermal or geoexchange system takes advantage of the relatively constant temperature within the ground. In the winter, the Earth’s natural heat is transferred to loops of piping installed either horizontally or vertically in the yard. Propylene glycol circulating in the pipes carries the heat to the air handler inside your home. There the geoexchange unit uses electrically-driven compressors and heat exchangers in a vapor compression cycle to concentrate the heat and release it at a higher temperature through your duct work.
In the summer, the process is reversed to create cool air. Excess heat is taken from your home and expelled into the ground.
Geoexchange systems also provide domestic hot water for further savings.
For more detailed information please visit geoexchange.org.
What are the costs of a geoexchange system?
With the current available government incentives, installing a geoexchange system is less expensive than the combined costs of an oil burning furnace and central air conditioning system so you are saving money right away. Even if you were planning to forgo the air conditioner, which would make the up-front cost more competitive, the long term operating costs, including reduced maintenence make the geothermal system the obvious choice from a cost perspective. The electricity required to power the geothermal system is far less expensive than the combination of electricity and oil or natural gas required for a conventional furnace and air conditioner. Combining a geoexchange system with solar panels can only multiply your savings.
Other benefits of Geoexchange
Beyond the major benefit of saving money and reducing carbon emissions, geothermal systems also offer piece of mind and quiet operation. They require little maintenance and no fuel that has to be ordered providing you stress free energy. They are also very quiet when operating. Homeowners report high levels of satisfaction compared with other systems.
Everyone pictures solar panels when they think of clean energy. It seems like a no-brainer to make use of the ever abundant, free energy provided by the sun.
While the initial cost can seem high, solar panels are certainly cost effective over time. Solar panels allow a home to produce its own electricity and even sell off excess to the power company for a profit. With new loan programs to finance the initial costs, you essentially trade high electric bills for a loan payment. Over time, you will pay much less for the solar panels than you would for conventional electricity. Payback time depends on the size of your system, your energy use, and the price of buying electricity from the electric company.
As with all renewable energy, you can free yourself from price fluctuations for the life of your system. It’s like locking into a fixed energy cost for the next 20 + years.
Not ready for solar, but would like the option open in the future? We can install the wiring and plan the roofline for a solar installation so that when you can afford it, it will be easier.
Solar hot water
Another option is to install solar hot water heating. Water is collected in a tank that is warmed by the sun, thereby pre-heating the water so your water heater doesn’t have to do as much work.