The Benefits and Savings of Geothermal Heat PumpsThis well-established technology offers benefits that range from increased comfort to significant dollar savings in energy, operation, and maintenance costs.
Nationwide surveys of geothermal users conducted by utility companies, along with surveys of our clients, indicate extremely higher levels of consumer satisfaction for geothermal heat pump system than for conventional furnace, boiler, or chiller systems. This high level of consumer satisfaction is due to the many benefits that geothermal heat pump systems provide. Below are just a few of the major benefits that come with installing geothermal:
Lower Your Operating CostsAs many businesses realize that it is important to keep fixed costs as low as possible, a geothermal system will substantially lower a business' fixed costs, thus giving the business a long term competitive advantage.
Since one unit of electricity is used to move at least four units of heat from or to the Earth, geothermal heat pump system efficiencies often surpass 500%! This incredible energy efficiency equates to drastic reductions in energy consumption, making geothermal systems the most cost-effective in operating costs. Most business owners see ongoing monthly savings of 30 - 80% versus conventional heating and cooling systems.
Being all electric, geothermal systems eliminate multiple utility services and fees while eliminating the worries about the volatile price increase of fossil fuels that plague owners of conventional HVAC systems.
Colorado's 50 year historical energy inflation rates (1962 – 2012):1
Natural Gas 6.93%
Lower Your Maintenance CostsBecause geothermal ground source heat pump systems have fewer mechanical components (only 3 moving parts), and because those parts are sheltered inside a building, they are more reliable, easier and cheaper to service, and less prone to failure versus a standard furnace, boiler, chiller or refrigeration system. Also, no weather-related maintenance is required since a geothermal heat pump is not subject to freezing like exterior units.
Solid-state circuitry, factory sealed refrigerant, and rigorous manufacturing standards ensure smooth operation and years of trouble-free service. In fact, it is not uncommon to find geothermal heat pump systems that were installed 30 to 40 years ago still operating efficiently and effectively today.
Periodic checks and filter changes are the only required maintenance.
The other half of the operation, the HDPE ground loop, is 100% maintenance free, will never freeze or break, and is expected to last 200+ years.
LEED Certification Points
LEED is the gold standard rating system in the building industry. Certification is based on a system of points. The building project must earn sufficient points covering aspects from material selection to indoor air quality to energy efficiency. This is where geothermal systems are an ideal fit. Geothermal heat pumps can provide up to 20 points towards LEED certification, which is a significant percentage of the amount of points needed to achieve project totals.
Increase Your Comfort and SafetyStudies show that a more pleasant work environment leads to increased employee satisfaction and production. Geothermal heat pump systems provide a pleasant work environment by keeping the air at a more consistent temperature throughout the building, thus eliminating the hot and cold spots common with ordinary heating and cooling systems.
Systems can be set up with multiple zones that can simultaneously heat & cool different parts of the same building. When properly integrated, these systems recover excess heat from one zone of the building and use it in another zone where it is needed. As an example, reclaimed waste heat from freezers and ice machines can be used for water heating and snow melt systems.
Variable-speed compressors, fans, and circulators make geothermal heat pump systems extremely quiet and by maintaining around 45% relative indoor humidity, they provide air conditioning with enhanced comfort since they don't dry out the air as much as conventional A/C systems.
Since geothermal heat pump systems are electrically powered dangers are eliminated from carbon monoxide, flames, flammable fuels, storage tanks, odors, and indoor air pollutants.
A Significant Return on Your Investment (ROI)More and more commercial geothermal applications are being done throughout the United States simply for the economic and financial gain they provide.
From the moment your geothermal heat pump system is installed, it is affording you a positive return on your investment. Often it is possible to result in an immediate net positive cash flow from day one due to the fact that monthly energy savings usually exceed credit payments or the additional monthly cost in the mortgage.
Furthermore, a geothermal heat pump system can significantly increase property and resale values by offering an increase in market value of $20 for every $1 of annual utility bill savings.2
Versatile, Flexible Installation OptionsWith geothermal heat pump systems, overall external building aesthetics are improved by eliminating outdoor heating and cooling equipment. Since the entire geothermal heat pump system can be contained indoors there is no worry of vandalism or damage to exterior units, and by eliminating roof-mounted equipment, the roof lasts longer and the structural steel can often be downsized.
Geothermal heat pumps also allow more design freedom by requiring 50-80% less mechanical room space since in most design scenarios the boiler, chiller, cooling towers, and supporting equipment are eliminated.
A variety of configurations and outputs are available and the system can be installed in any type of structure of any size, anywhere. The ground loop portion of the system can be installed in any size lot under landscaped areas, septic fields, or parking lots.
Existing buildings can be retrofitted with a geothermal heat pump system using the ductwork or piping already in place; there is often no need to change the delivery system.
Environmentally FriendlyGeothermal heat pumps emit no carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, or other greenhouse gasses, and have the lowest emissions among all heating and cooling technologies. Geothermal heat pump systems conserve energy and because they merely transfer heat energy, rather than burn natural gas to create heat energy, they reduce the amount of toxic emissions in the atmosphere.
Geothermal heat pump system do not contain any chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which are suspected to be a major cause of ozone depletion, use far less refrigerant in the unit than air-source heat pumps or air conditioners, and are factory-sealed to prevent leakage.
Geothermal heat pump systems minimize the threats of air pollution, acid rain, the greenhouse effect, and global warming.
They also help electric utilities achieve significant reductions in their peak demand loads along with reducing the need for new power plants, which typically are powered by coal or natural gas.3/4
Currently installed geothermal heat pump systems are making a huge difference in our environment!
Leading Green TechnologyTo acccurately compare costs of HVAC systems, you need to consider the following:
- Installation costs
- Operating costs
- Maintenance costs
- System reliability
- Payback. Break even for most geothermal heat pump system systems runs two to eight years.
- Energy efficiency of the system. (To get an accurate picture, make sure efficiency claims are substantiated).
- Energy costs and availability - Both present and future
- System lifespan
1 U.S. Energy Information Administration
2 Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Example, $10,000.00 saved in annual utility bills, increases your property value $200,000.00)
3 Fort Wayne, Indian, WaterFurnace International Inc.
4 Environmental Protection Agency, Space Conditioning: The Next Frontier, Office of Air and Radiation, 430-R-93-004 (4/93)