Diagram of typical geothermal systems.

According to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency, geothermal systems are “the most energy-efficient, environmentally clean, and cost-effective space conditioning systems available today.” The reason? Geothermal systems tap into the earth to capture free, renewable energy. 

The earth absorbs about 47% of the sun’s energy that reaches it, storing that energy in the ground. A geothermal system extracts that free energy for heating during winter. For cooling, the system removes heat from the home and dumps it into the cooler earth. This transfer of heat energy is done through a series of pipes buried in the ground, or sunk in a pond, or by using well water. Because a geothermal system simply moves heat instead of burning fossil fuels to generate it, it’s more energy-efficient. 

Why Choose Geothermal? 

-Savings: Generally, no other heating and cooling system offers lower operating costs, with savings up to 60% compared to ordinary systems. 

-Comfort: These systems provide even temperatures throughout the home year round, with excellent dehumidification during cooling. 

-Environmentally Friendly: Geothermal is a clean, green, and renewable technology to reduce your carbon footprint now and for future generations. 

-Reliable: Geothermal units last longer than ordinary air conditioners and heat pumps. Since the units contain few moving parts, they operate for years with little maintenance. 

-Quiet Operation: Unlike ordinary air conditioners and heat pumps, no outdoor unit is required. 

-Flexibility: Heating, cooling and supplemental water heating from a single unit. And a wide variety of models and options to fit most any application. 

-Free Hot Water: During unit operation, free excess heat is used to supplement the home’s water heater. 

-Energy Independence: Geothermal systems reduce our need to import fuel. 

-Safe and Clean: No flame, no flue, no odors. 

One of the main reasons many homeowners choose geothermal is the benefit of lower operating costs. In most homes, the cost of heating, cooling and hot water combine for about 70% of the total utility costs. 

In many scenarios, a geothermal system is significantly less expensive to operate than ordinary heating and cooling systems. Geothermal systems can save up to 70% in heating costs, up to 50% in cooling costs, and around 30-50% in hot water costs.

Geothermal systems are also good for the environment. According to the Geothermal Heat Pump Consortium, installing a geothermal system instead of an ordinary system is the equivalent (in emission reduction) of taking two cars off the road or planting an acre of trees. 

The kind of loop system that is best for an individual’s home depends on several factors. Homes on larger lots usually have horizontal loops installed. Smaller lots may require a vertical loop. A nearby pond can also be used. If you have a well water system, that may be an option. The smallest closed loop design, the vertical loop may require a space of only 15×15 feet, or a line of 3×45 feet, located 10 feet away from the home and property lines. Horizontal loops require considerably more space. In the case of a pond, the pond should have a surface area of at least a half-acre and a depth of 10 feet. Bigger is better. 

If radiant floor heating appeals to you, a geothermal system can be designed to provide warm water for radiant floor applications. 

Right now there are great incentives from the federal government. They are offering a 30% rebate on the cost of a geothermal system installed with no upper limit. This rebate expires December of 2016. For more information, go to www.energystar.gov

If you would like to learn more about geothermal systems and are interested in one for your home, please contact us at one of our three offices.

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