Geothermal Energy: The World’s Greenest Heating and Cooling System
Looking for an efficient, cost effective, and environmentally friendly heating/cooling system? A geothermal heat pump is the greenest way to go. Learn the facts about geothermal energy.
•An EPA study of energy efficiency concluded geothermal energy is the most environmentally friendly heating/cooling system.
•The United States National Renewable Energy Laboratory concluded that geothermal energy is more efficient and cost-effective compared with conventional residential systems.
•Available everywhere in the United States, geothermal energy can be found underground virtually anywhere.
•Geothermal cost savings can be increased by geothermal energy incentives, available from federal, state, local, and utility sources.
Geothermal Versus Conventional Cost Comparison
How much can you save in energy costs with a geothermal system? Calculate your home’s potential geothermal system cost savings.
Who Says Geothermal Energy is the Best Choice
Geothermal energy is recognized as the most efficient and greenest heating/cooling method by opinion leaders in government and private sectors.
See what the U.S. Department of Energy and EnergyStar are saying about geothermal systems.
•EnergyStar has compiled a listing of approved geothermal products including a wide range of products that carry the EnergyStar emblem of approval.
•The Department of Energy Consumer’s Energy Guide has data on geothermal system return on investment.
The EPA’s State and Local Climate Change program is focused on helping consumers take advantage of the high energy efficiency and low environmental impact of geothermal systems.
Consumer, industry, and scientific organizations
The California-based Consumer Energy Center praises versatile geothermal energy.
The Geothermal Energy Association discusses the benefits of renewable geothermal energy.
Find out what the Union of Concerned Scientists has to say. Even major energy producers (power plants) recognize geothermal energy advantages as a renewable source of power.
What Do Owners of Geothermal Systems Think?
Up to 95% of geothermal system owners would recommend installing such a system in the home. That’s reflected in a number of online users’ and owners’ forums, including GeoExchange where you can experience the viewpoints of geothermal system owners.
Create a Greener, More Energy-Efficient Home
Governmental agencies like the EPA and Department of Energy, consumer and industry groups, and geothermal system owners all agree: geothermal heating and cooling is considered the world’s greenest and most energy-efficient.
Lower Operating Cost
A geothermal heat pump system operates more efficiently than ordinary heating and air conditioning systems because it can deliver an astounding five units of energy for every one unit of electrical energy used. By combining stored earth energy with safe electric power, many geothermal owners realize savings up to 70% for heating, cooling, and hot water.
Geothermal systems provide precise distribution of comfortable air all year long, eliminating hot spots and cold spots. During heating, you’ll experience warm air without the hot blasts associated with ordinary gas furnaces, or the cooler air of an air source heat pump. Additionally, when cooling, a geothermal unit delivers cool, dehumidified air.
Unlike ordinary air conditioners or heat pumps, there is no noisy outdoor unit to disturb your outdoor environment or your neighbors. Geothermal units are designed and constructed for “whisper quiet” operation, similar to your refrigerator.
Unlike air conditioners and heat pumps, geothermal units are installed indoors (like your refrigerator), so they are not subject to wear and tear caused by rain, snow, ice, debris, extreme temperatures or vandalism. Geothermal units have proven to be very reliable and require less maintenance.
According to the Department of Energy and the EPA, geothermal systems are the most environmentally friendly way.
Geothermal Heat Pumps
No matter what climate you live in, the temperature throughout the year varies. For some climates that means blazing summers that cool to frigid winters. What many people don’t realize is that the temperature below ground (regardless of climate or season) stays fairly consistent all year.
The ground is able to maintain a higher rate of temperature consistency because it absorbs 47% of the suns energy (heat) as it hits the Earth’s surface. Geothermal systems are able to tap into this free energy. This technology is then used to provide your home or office with central heating and cooling.
During the heating cycle, a geothermal heat pump uses an earth loop to extract heat from the ground. As the system pulls heat from the loop it distributes it through a conventional duct system as warm air. The same heat energy can also be used for a radiant floor system or domestic hot water heating.
In the cooling mode, the heating process is reversed – creating cool, conditioned air throughout the home. Instead of extracting heat from the ground, heat is extracted from the air in your home and either moved back into the earth loop, or used to preheat the water in your hot water tank.
Geothermal Tax Credits
An exciting new tax credit is now available for home and commercial building owners who install geothermal heating and cooling systems through the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 (H.R. 1424). H.R. 1424 offers a onetime tax credit of 30% of the total investment for homeowners who install residential ground loop or ground water geothermal heat pumps… A credit of 10% of the total investment is also available (no maximum) for a commercial system installation.
To qualify, the systems must meet or exceed EnergyStar requirements and be installed after December 31, 2007. While units installed in 2008 are subject to a $2,000 cap on the credit, units installed from 2009 through 2016 can take advantage of the full credit. Owners can file for the credit by completing the Renewable Energy Credits subsection on their tax return forms for 2008. For taxpayers that are subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax, they can claim the credit on their taxes for the following year. No proof of purchase will be required; however, in case of an audit, owners are encouraged to keep a detailed invoice of their purchase on file. The contractor who sold and installed the product should list the purchase as a “Geothermal Heat Pump” on the invoice and that it “Exceeds requirements of Energy Star program currently in effect”.
The tax credit is available through December 31, 2016. Consult your local tax professional for advice on taking advantage of the tax credit, as this announcement is not intended as a recommendation or endorsement of any financial strategy.
•IRS tax code summarized – United States Code Title 26
•More information about the “Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit”
•Find additional tax incentives that may be available in your state: www.dsireusa.org
•Federal tax credit detail: Energy Star requirements
Growing Consumer Use Makes Geothermal Heating/Cooling a Hot Topic
Despite an uncertain economy, geothermal heat pump adoption is increasing in the United States. Over 1,000,000 geothermal (or ground-source) heat pumps are used in U.S. residential, commercial and government buildings. And each year, U.S. homeowners install approximately 50,000 more geothermal heat pumps. American homeowners are clearly warming up to the fact that green geothermal energy is available anywhere in the United States – literally in their own back yard, thanks to ground water heat pumps.
The big news: compared with other sources of energy, geothermal energy is only beginning to reach its potential – even though the history of geothermal energy in the U.S. dates back more than 10,000 years and first geothermal ground-source heat pump was installed in 1945.
The Geothermal Future
•The greenest heating/cooling system available, geothermal energy has the most potential of any known energy source.
•To further increase geothermal energy use, the U.S. government is offering tax credits for new installations
•You can also get information on state incentives for geothermal installation here.
Geothermal energy use and heat pump adoption has also been rapidly growing outside the U.S. and especially in Europe.