If the ground is about 52 degrees in Northern Nevada, how is that hot enough to heat my house in the winter?
In the summer, a conventional "air source" heat pump needs to cool hot refrigerant in its condensor (that big box with the fan in your yard), and it does this with the hot outside air. It is inefficient to cool hot refrigerant with hot air, and this takes a lot of energy. Geoexchange is so efficient because it is cooling the same hot refrigerant with 52 degree water, which uses much less energy.
In the winter, the process is simply reversed. It would be inefficient to attempt to warm up very cold refrigerant with cold outside air. By using the relatively warm water in your buried ground loop to heat the cold refrigerant, the heating cycle is much more efficient.To put it another way, by using a heat pump we are able to refine the heat energy in the ground to very hot or very cold temperatures to heat or cool your house or building.
The basic technology has been around for more than 50 years, and many homeowners and businesses have been enjoying the benefits of GeoExchange for much of that time.
In recent years, significant improvements have been made in the materials used, installation methods, electronic control systems, and the efficiencies of the compressors, pumps and other equipment to optimise this renewable energy.
Owners enjoy lower utility bills (up 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 on-site 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 GeoExchange system, total emissions are far lower than for conventional systems.
According to data supplied by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Geothermal Technologies, nearly 40% of all U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are the result of using energy to heat, cool and provide hot water for buildings. This is about the same amount of CO2 contributed by the transportation sector.
A typical 3-ton residential GeoExchange system produces an average of about one pound less Carbon Dioxide (CO2) per hour of use than a conventional system. To put that in perspective, over an average 20-year lifespan, 100,000 units of nominally sized residential GeoExchange systems will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by almost 1.1 million metric tons of carbon equivalents.
That would be the equivalent of converting about 58,700 cars to zero-emission vehicles, or planting more than 120,000 acres of trees.
And the waste heat removed from the home's interior during the cooling season can be used to provide virtually free hot water-resulting in a total savings in hot water costs of about 30% annually, and lowering emissions even further.
It is! However, you may be thinking about a different form of Geothermal renewable energy. In certain places in the world, Northern Nevada included, many factors combine to make it feasible to pull large amounts of heat energy from the ground to generate electricity in power plants. A portion of the electricity we use in Northern Nevada comes from this source. It is also possible to pull lower temperature (but still hot, think hot springs) water out of the ground and use it for heating, called Direct Use. We also have regions in Northern Nevada that use this. Geoexchange is yet a thind way to pull heat energy from the ground, only it works almost everywhere in the world. Plus, with a ground source heat pump we can both pull heat energy from the ground or reject it to the ground and use it for heating and cooling, not to mention heating your hot water!
There are more than one million installations in the U.S. today. Although this is a very small percentage of the total HVAC market, the number of people who are choosing to install GeoExchange is growing rapidly as more learn about the technology.
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 GeoExchange 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 using GeoExchange right now 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.
Yes, GeoExchange technology can be used in any part of the country. Why? Because it transfers heat to and from the earth, which remains at a relatively constant temperature, rather than the air, where temperatures can vary greatly. Geoexchange systems can be sized for any application. They have been used to keep ice rinks frozen in the summer and to heat the largest buildings in the coldest climates in the world. It is only a question of burying more pipe in the ground.
Not necessarily. It depends on how you measure cost. While they sometimes cost more to install in homes 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.
When you factor in the new tax credit for 30% of the final cost of the installation, payback periods are very attractive!
Moreover, installation costs have declined substantially in recent years, and they're 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.
Remember, too, that GeoExchange means extra savings on repair, maintenance, and hot water bills.
Furthermore, the energy efficiency of the system adds value to the home. The National Association of Realtors Appraisal Journal estimated 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 !
The prices have a wide range based on a number of variables, such as your home or building's size and design, the brand and model you choose, your location, etc., so it is difficult to estimate without considering those specific factors.
To find out how much it would cost to add a GeoExchange system into your home or business, please see our cost and savings calculator and/or request a formal assessment and quote.
The answer to this question depends on what it would have cost you if you were operating another heating and cooling system, and how much lower your bills will be when you're using the GeoExchange system. One of the best things about a GeoExchange system is that its savings target your houses largest bills: heating, Cooling, and hot water heating. These typically total 55% of all expendatures in your house and thus provide a very attractive payback time. Our goal is to finance the cost of the installation so that your utility bills plus your finance charge are equal to what you are paying currently. Then at the end of the short payback period, your utility bills drop significantly and remain there, no matter what the future price of comodities does. For a more accurate payback period, please use our cost and savings calculator. Remember, only after GBL Geothermal has accurately and completely assessed your house can we put an accurate estimate on the payback period.
See the financing section of this website for information on the GEOSmart Financing Program, backed by GE Money.
The Stimulus Bill offers 30% off the cost of the system!
In addition, there are both Federal and State incentives for installing a GeoExchange system, not to mention the HUGE savings for the life of the system. Please see the Financing section for more information on State and Federal Incentives. Please see the Cost and Savings tab to see the savings involved with the opetation of a GeoExchange system.
The size of the system depends on the size and design of your home or building. Just as with the previous question about cost estimation, sizing questions can only be accurately answered after a formal assessment by GBL Geothermal. For an estimate, please see our cost and savings calculator.