Union of Concerned Scientists: Geothermal Heat Pumps are the Most Efficient Heating and Cooling Systems
May 12, 2015 – It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see why geothermal heat pumps are the best way to provide heating and cooling.
But in an online article on geothermal, the Union of Concerned Scientists say that geothermal heat pumps are the “most energy-efficient and environmentally clean heating and cooling systems available.”
The article, “How Geothermal Works”, describes two kinds of geothermal: geothermal hot water springs for power plants (which doesn’t have anything to do with us) and ground-source heat pumps (also known as geothermal heat pumps).
The article does a good job of explaining how geothermal heat pumps work. It then describes the pros and cons of geothermal. One of the many pros of geothermal is efficiency.
Far more efficient than electric heating and cooling, these systems can circulate as much as 3 to 5 times the energy they use in the process. The U.S. Department of Energy found that heat pumps can save a typical home hundreds of dollars in energy costs each year, with the system typically paying for itself in 8 to 12 years. Tax credits and other incentives can reduce the payback period to 5 years or less.
The article also correctly notes that geothermal is much less expensive than heating and cooling with propane and electricity. We would also like to add it is also much less expensive than heating with fuel oil and is a great way to lower energy bills.
When it comes to installation, the UCS says that installing geothermal systems in existing homes and business can be difficult due to installing the geothermal loop.
However, the article misses that geothermal drilling has advanced a lot in the past 15 years. Being able to install vertical and directional loops make geothermal installation much easier and quicker.
Another thing that the article gets right is that there has never been a better time to install a geothermal system. A 30 percent federal geothermal tax credit is available through 2016 and makes the return on your investment even quicker.
You can read the geothermal article here. The portion about geothermal heat pumps is about halfway down the page.