Let’s face it. We would all love to use wind or solar energy to power our homes, but neither one comes inexpensively! But, until they’re made more affordable and easy to own, geothermal makes an advantageous alternative to the conventional energy sources we use now. Geothermal heat pumps work in a similar manner to regular heat pumps; but, instead of using heat from the air outside, geothermal pumps capture heat found beneath the ground. And, because the first 10 feet below the earth’s surface maintains a steady temperature of 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit, it can be installed just about anywhere!
The source lies right beneath our feet, keeping energy local, and lowering our dependence on foreign oil. And, studies report that about 70 percent of the energy used in geothermal heat pumps is renewable energy, so greenhouse gas emissions are kept low. Although, they may be more costly to install initially ($2500 per ton of capacity) than ordinary heat pumps, they can cut your energy bills by over half! According to the EPA, the average energy bill for a household of two people is about $105 per month. Now, that’s a whole lotta savings when added up over the years! But, it doesn’t stop there.
Since October 3, 2008, homeowners and business owners can earn up to $2000 in federal tax credits when they install a geothermal heat pump. So, not only can you save on energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint, you can also put some money back into your pocket! In fact, surveys indicate that 95 percent of people that own geothermal heat pumps would recommend the system to their friends and family.
Want to know where you can get one? Check out TerraSource for a do-it-yourself geothermal system package. Or, go to geoexchange.org to find a professional near you.
graphics: (top) consumerenergycenter.org