Will investing in eco-friendly geothermal energy for your home lower energy bills? Is this source of renewable energy a viable solution to your ever-increasing fuel bills? Certainly, the benefits of swapping to a renewable energy source that is considered “green energy” is enough to entice consumers, but the lower energy bills and the many other benefits, including work-at-home career opportunities, are even more reasons for you to pay closer attention to the geothermal energy trend.
There are two important things that forward-thinking homeowners who are planning major improvements on their homes want to know:
1) Will it be a worthwhile investment? Will there be a long wait for the return on investment or will the rewards be reaped immediately?
2) Will this be the best choice for our future in this house, our children’s futures, and the future of our planet? Is it an eco-friendly choice?
What Exactly Is Geothermal Energy?
A concept that was born in the 1940’s, the geothermal energy trend is introduced to potential purchasers as a “green” home improvement, both in heating and in cooling. Currently, fossil fuels are burned for the majority of the world’s electricity generation. The word “geothermal” when broken down into the words “geo” and “therme” and then translated to Greek, means “earth” and “heat”, respectively.
In a nutshell, geothermal energy uses a tubing system that is usually installed in the backyard of the home. The installation of these systems is quite rigorous compared to conventional heating and cooling systems, hence the higher installation costs. Trenches are excavated to hold the piping, which leads from the home to a spot below the Earth’s surface. This piping is networked underground and transports a fluid that is either water or water and antifreeze mixed together. The geothermal heat pump, which is in charge of heating or cooling the fluid that circulates through the piping, needs to be installed as well. Duct work, which transports the cooled or heated air through the house, also needs to be created.
“To truly transform our economy, protect our security, and save our planet from the ravages of climate change, we need to ultimately make clean, renewable energy the profitable kind of energy.” -President Barack Obama
Benefits of Geothermal Energy
The lower costs and the eco-friendliness of geothermal systems are enticing for many consumers. Let’s take a more in-depth look at the benefits.
- Uses renewable & “clean” energy. No fossil fuels, no harmful gas emissions.
- It’s cost effective. Consider that $5 of geo thermal energy equals $1 of conventional electrical energy.
- It’s quiet. There are no loud AC units and furnaces.
- Reduces heating/cooling bill. Heating, cooling, and water all together, should cost around $1000 annually.
- Is comfy. Rather than a “dry” air from a furnace or woodstove, the heating and cooling is derived from the Earth’s ground that also has moisture in it, which dehumidifies the house.
- Is reliable. These systems come with lifetime warranties, but are predicted to last hundreds of years.
- May come with incentives. Some companies offer rebates to consumers who choose to install a new system. Also, the government is offering incentives in the form of grants and tax breaks.
- Reduces our dependence on oil importation. By using geothermal techniques, the dependence on other countries for this type of oil is reduced.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s John Lund, who is the Principal Engineer of the Geothermal Program, uses a geothermal exchange pump in his home. FoxNews.com reported John Lunds’ statement about his home energy bills, “To heat my house, my hot water, my hot tub, everything, (for) ten dollars a month.”
Additionally, by replacing current systems with this type of energy source, we are preserving our natural resources while controlling climates. Furthermore, the refrigerant that is used for the heat pump for geo thermal energy has no known ozone layer depletion.
This eco-friendly heating and cooling system also brings with it several opportunities for work-at-home careers, a benefit that most people are not aware of yet. While the most obvious career opportunity that has been introduced is for installers, however there are many other career options related to this fossil-fuel free energy possibility. This information is further expanded upon in Geothermal Energy Trends, Part 2, so stay tuned for that update in about a week.
Return On Investment
With a cost of somewhere between $11,000 and $30,000 installed, consumers are surely going to be interested in how fast the benefits of this energy system are reaped.
AJ Manson, Geothermal Consultant and author of the study, “Are Geothermal Energy Returns on Investment High Enough?” concludes that this type of energy system outperforms conventional heating and cooling options. Regarding cooling, geothermal pumps that worked on the cooling cycle offered 13 times the effectiveness of conventional systems, while the heat operation offered between 3.5 and 22 times more effectiveness than its traditional alternatives.
Essentially, the cost savings will immediately start happening once the system is completely installed. The very next cycle of energy bills should reflect a savings when compared to the prior month’s bill, and it should occur every month thereafter. For example, NPR highlighted a couple with a home that measured 1900 square feet. This couple spent about $20,000 on the installation of their geothermal system. To shave some of the cost of installation, they excavated the trench themselves with a rented backhoe. They said that their energy bills were reduced to $100 per month from a whopping $600 per month. Therefore, they calculated that it would take about seven years for their investment to pay off, which they agreed was not a long time since the savings would continue long after that.
Check Out Possible Incentives
Even President Obama has endorsed geothermal power with his speech that included his announcement about the $350M stimulus funding he approved for geothermal endeavors.
According to The Green Economy Post, President Obama said this during his speech: “We have a choice. We can remain the world’s leading importer of oil, or we can become the world’s leading exporter of clean energy. We can hand over the jobs of the future to our competitors, or we can confront what they have already recognized as the great opportunity of our time: the nation that leads the world in creating new sources of clean energy will be the nation that leads the 21st century global economy. That’s the nation I want America to be.”
Be sure to look into the available government grants and tax breaks, as well as possible rebates and other incentives, if you are considering upgrading to a geothermal energy system for your home or business.
If you are interested in the different types of work-at-home careers that the geothermal energy trends opens the doors to, continue to read Part 2, Geothermal Energy Trends: Help Others Save on Energy Bills AND Make a Living. It will be posted on February 9th.