What is geothermal heating and cooling and how is it beneficial to me?
Geothermal energy technology relies primarily on the earth’s natural thermal energy to heat or cool a house or building. Other than the earth’s renewable resources, GeoExchange systems use a small amount of electricity to circulate heating or cooling. You can view our educational video called “Geothermal Energy – How it Works” for the technical details on the process of geothermal energy.
How is geothermal heating useful to me and what are the benefits to a homeowner?
Home-owners can enjoy lower utility bills (25% to 70% lower than with conventional systems), lower maintenance and higher levels of comfort year-round. They also have the peace of mind of knowing they’re being environmentally-responsible.
Since a GeoExchange system burns no fossil fuel to produce heat, it generates far fewer greenhouse gas emissions than a conventional furnace and completely eliminates a potential source of poisonous carbon monoxide within the home or building. Even factoring in its share of the emissions from the power plant that produces electricity to operate the system, total emissions are far lower than for conventional systems.
I hear geothermal heating is good for the environment. How?
Thanks to minimal equipment, a relatively small area of land is needed for injection and production wells. Geothermal generating stations are also located right on the site eliminating the need for space somewhere else. Also, you’re using the renewable green energy from the earth, the heat produced by the sun that’s stored in the ground. There are no emissions, no messy clean-ups or a chance of a toxic spill.
Is goethermal heating only used in a residential building like my house?
The short answer is no. While many homes have been fitted with geoexchange systems, a large number of commercial enterprises—including factories, retail stores, office buildings and schools—also use them to save energy and protect the environment. In fact, there are more than one million installations in the United States today.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), schools are a particularly attractive place for the use of technology. Across the country, schools are saving an estimated $25,000,000 in energy costs—which can be used instead for better educational equipment and more teachers. These schools also save a half-billion pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per year.
Should all of the nation’s schools convert to geoexchange, the EPA has estimated that we could reduce oil imports by 61 million barrels annually and provide the same environmental benefits as planting 8 million acres of trees or converting nearly 4 million cars to zero-emission vehicles.
If the same comparison were made across all commercial and residential segments, the potential for environmental benefit would be staggering.
This all sounds great, but how much will a geothermal heating system this cost me?
Good question. The answer is, it all depends on how you measure cost. While a geothermal energy system may sometimes cost more to install in a home than conventional systems because of the ground loop piping, GeoExchange systems typically have the lowest life-cycle cost of any heating and cooling system. Heating and cooling costs for a typical 2,000-sq.-ft. home can run as low as $1 a day.
Installation costs have also declined substantially in recent years and are expected to continue to fall as more builders and contractors offer geoexchange systems and as the industry develops innovative ways to install the systems faster and more efficiently.
Altogether, GeoExchange systems are a sound investment. The amount they save the homeowner every month in energy costs is more than enough to offset their higher installation cost. They also provide extra savings on repair, maintenance and hot water bills.
The energy efficiency of the system adds value to the home. The National Association of Realtors relies on the Appraisal Journal to help you determine the total value of your home. An October 1998 article printed in the Journal states that a home’s value increases by $10 to $25 for every $1 reduction in utility bills. That’s a lot of equity to build just by choosing GeoExchange.
If you still have more questions, please feel free to fill in our short form here or call us at 604.897.3411. We’d love to chat with you about your project.