The best in heat pumps just got better: Water Furnace and the next generation of geo

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Geothermal (or ground source) heat pumps offer reliable heating and cooling while being energy efficient, quiet and virtually maintenance free. In addition to these more apparent benefits, the systems are also versatile. They provide a level of design freedom unmatched by other heating and cooling systems. Just ask Vaughn Murphie, owner of Vaughn Mechanical located in Tumwater, Wash.

“Geothermal heat pumps extract the heat when we need it in the winter, and supply us with the cooling relief we need in the summer by dumping the heat in the soil using the consistent temperature of the earth’s thermal mass,” he says. “This means low, low bills and a long operating life cycle.”

Vaughn Mechanical has a reputation for being the best, most knowledgeable geothermal (or ground-source) heat pump installer in the south Puget Sound region. It’s been proven time and again that geothermal heating and cooling is a great fit for people this climate—to save money on bills, to save on energy usage and to enjoy a more even, consistent comfort in their homes.

Vaughn Mechanical is thrilled to now offer Water Furnace 7 Series geothermal heat pumps with InfiniSpeed Technology. The 7 Series signifies groundbreaking innovations on multiple fronts—the industry’s first variable capacity residential unit that surpasses the 41 EER and 5.3 COP efficiency barriers. These ratings are vastly greater than ordinary conditioning systems and 30% higher than current two-stage geothermal heat pumps. The variable capacity compressor is a BIG DEAL! While other conditioning systems run at one or possibly two capacities (high and low) the 7 Series scales compressor output and airflow to exactly the level needed for any heating or cooling situation. The 7 Series can ramp down to 20% of normal operation for the ultimate in efficiency, or scale up to 130% output using SuperBoost cooling, for those periods when extra conditioning is needed.

And that’s not the only new developments from Water Furnace. The company recently upgraded the controls in both the 5 Series and 7 Series models. Aurora Controls offer full two-way communication between components, advanced operating logic and robust troubleshooting capabilities. It carries support for true energy monitoring via the Symphony Home Energy Management system, extended hot water generation control and integration with the new IntelliZone2 zone control system. The upcoming Aurora Web Link (AWL) module also will extend communication protocols to include the internet, smart grids, home automation networks and more.

Water Furnace also has a new beautiful color touch-screen thermostat, variable speed circulator pumps, and other great new products available including an equipment energy monitoring dashboard that allows the customer full details about energy usage.

Case Study

Vaughn Mechanical recently installed the first Water Furnace 7 Series geothermal heat pump at a newly constructed rural home on the Cowlitz River, outside of Toledo, Wash. The owner wanted the ultimate in high-efficiency geothermal heat pumps, so Vaughn knew the 7 Series would be a good decision. The customer had additional requests for 4 forced air zones (including a sun room), and naturally a desuperheater for domestic hot water.

Increasingly, homebuilders are turning to geothermal heat pumps to get away from heating with propane gas, which is often the only other option if natural gas service is not available. Propane-heated houses are costly to operate, last only half of the lifespan of a geothermal heat pump, and also do not provide cooling. Traditional air-source heat pumps are an alternative, but also have restrictions and drawbacks, such as the inability to pull heat from the air at cold temperatures, and accelerated weathering from the outdoor environment.

“I wanted a geothermal heat pump because I was building a green home—something very economical,” the homeowner says. “Yes, it is more expensive upfront, but in the lifetime of the house the geo heat pump will pay for itself. Traditional air-source heat pumps freeze over and need a secondary system of heat in cold weather.”

During the initial survey, Vaughn Mechanical measured the house and the surrounding area to determine the feasibility and placement of the ground loop that exchanges heat with the earth. Vaughn Mechanical performed a heat loss calculation of the house to determine the size of the system needed, and also to model the annual heat pump operating costs for the customer.

It was determined that the house would need a 4-ton NVV049 Water Furnace variable speed heat pump, with the Intellizone II for the ducted air zones; and 80 gallon domestic hot water tank for the desuperheater. After the 7 Series geo heat pump is commissioned, this 2,735 sq. ft. home is projected to cost $561 per year to heat; $32 per year to cool; and $116 per year to heat the domestic hot water. The same house heated with propane is projected to cost $3,553 per year to heat; $76 per year to cool with a traditional air conditioner; and $662 per year to heat the hot water (see below).

The geothermal system also outlasts other traditional HVAC systems—the system comes with a 10 year parts & labor warranty and is expected to need only minimal maintenance over the 30 years of its life due to the compressor being installed indoors and the HDPE ground loop being installed underground. Traditional heat pump systems are only expected to last 15 years due to weathering from the outdoor environment.

Geothermal heat pumps are more expensive to buy and install, but because of their long life, increased comfort and reliability they are a better value than traditional heating systems. Plus, geothermal heat pumps are considered a renewable energy by the federal government, which gives customers a 30% tax credit off the total installed cost of their geothermal system. This gives them a final cost often very close to that of a traditional system when factoring in all of the accessories and ductwork any system (geo or not) will need (see below). The payback on this particular system is about 9 years, and other more simple systems can reach payback periods of 6 years or less.

Basic Propane Furnace / Air Conditioner Water Furnace 7-Series Geothermal Heat Pump
Heating

$3,553

$561

Cooling

$76

$32

Hot Water

$662

$116

Total

$4,291

$709

Difference

$3,582

Price of system

$20,000.00

$47,764.00

Price with incentives

$33,434.80

Years until Breakeven

9.3

 

In the future, as fossil fuels become more costly to power our home heating systems, this and other geothermal heat pump systems will offer an even more compelling value proposition for rural homeowners. If you are interested in learning more about a geothermal system for you own home, contact Vaughn Mechanical at (800) 303-9973; or email v.murphie@vaughnmechanical.com.

 

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Geothermal for Wineries

Geothermal Case Studies

 

Ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) provide a number of obvious benefits. The systems offer reliable heating and cooling while being energy efficient, quiet and virtually maintenance free. In addition to these more apparent benefits, the systems are also versatile. They provide a level of design freedom unmatched by other heating and cooling systems. Just ask Matt Keck, owner of Prairie Berry Winery located in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Keck and a team from Skyline Engineering in Rapid City, S.D., designed a GSHP system that not only heats and cools Prairie Berry Winery but also controls the sensitive winemaking process. The system consists of two
water-to-water heat pumps that regulate wine production, two water-to-air heat pumps that serve the rest of the facility and radiant floor heating that helps dry the
production floors after washings and warms the outdoor patio.

“Winemaking is a fairly energy-intensive operation with large cooling requirements,” Keck said. “My thoughts were geared to minimizing the operating costs of the cooling plant.”

A chemical reaction known as fermentation is required for wine production. Fermentation uses yeast to convert sugar to alcohol and creates two byproducts: heat and carbon dioxide. Temperature plays a major role in the process because fermentation must proceed slowly. The higher the temperature, the faster fermentation will progress. During one of the final stages of winemaking, known as cold stabilization, the wine must remain at 30 F for two weeks. According to Keck, the loss of temperature control can ruin an entire batch of wine and generate a costly loss.

Keck said his wife is the winemaker. When asked what type of temperature control she needed for the wine-processing tanks she said the tanks should be individually controlled with the ability to be heated, cooled and sub-cooled.

“As a professional mechanical engineer with 10 years experience in the heating, ventilation and cooling industry, I had a firm knowledge of all the types of systems that were possible for our application,” Keck said.

The engineers designed a water-to-water system that produces three temperatures of water: 110 F, 45 F and 20 F. There are three storage tanks for each temperature of water and a control system that alternates the heat pumps to maintain each temperature. Each tank is covered by a jacket and valves are used to manually select which water temperature is fed into the jackets.

Prairie Berry not only produces wines from domestic fruits such as: apples, rhubarb, raspberries and strawberries but it also uses fruits native only to the Black Hills region. These include: chokecherries, buffaloberries, wild plums and wild grapes. Keck said most of the fruit arrives frozen so they have the ability
to ferment wine all year.

When the frozen fruit arrives it is put into a tank and heated. As fermentation begins and heat is released, the valve on the tank is switched to cool, removing the heat inside the tank and recycling it back into the GSHP system.

Keck said one of his favorite aspects of the design is its ability to provide free process cooling in the winter.
The winery’s system employs a manual crossover that uses geothermal condenser water as a replacement
for the 45 F water that would otherwise have to be produced by the system. As part of a traditional GSHP system, a desuperheater can provide a similar benefit by recycling waste heat to produce hot water in the summer.The winery’s condenser water runs at about 35 to 40 F. The heat of fermentation is then added to the condenser water and extracted for use in the tasting room’s water-to-air pumps.

“The system performance is certainly improved by this free cooling,” Keck said. “In theory, we are able to operate a closed loop scenario without the need for the loop field.”

The design also features redundant loop pumps that increase the reliability of the system. Three separate manifolds operate with seven wells on each. If damage occurs to one of the manifolds, it can be isolated and the winemaking process can continue with reduced capacity using the two remaining manifolds. There are also provisions for the addition of a back-up generator, which is a great defense against heavy snowfalls that could cause power outages and impede the winemaking process.

“It is difficult and costly to obtain the same level of redundancy with a cooling tower or dry cooler,” Keck said. “In addition, these devices are subject to failure and vandalism.”

Groundbreaking for the winery took place in November 2003. The 18-ton system uses Florida Heat Pumps, which were installed by Action Mechanical of South Dakota. The installation required 20 wells dug to a depth of 200 feet. Black Hills Power, a local utility, offered incentives to the winery for the installation and use of a GSHP system.

“The intent of our customer incentives for geothermal systems is to encourage the installation of energy efficient electrical equipment, help offset the cost of loop fields and better use our generating capacity,” said Jim Keck of Black Hills Power.

Black Hills Power also bills the winery based on an energy storage rate. This rate was created for customers who operate systems that promote off-peak energy use. Off-peak times are defined as overnight, early morning, weekends and major holidays. A GSHP system makes better use of generating capacity because it reduces the utility’s on-peak energy demand, J. Keck said. Typical energy storage applications include: ice storage, heat storage and pumped water storage. Energy storage equipment is metered separately from a facility’s general electric loads.

“Although geothermal systems use both on-peak and off-peak energy, Black Hills Power qualifies them for our energy storage rate,” J. Keck said. “We do not penalize them for on-peak energy use because of their benefits to Black Hills Power and the fact that these applications are energy storage in nature.”

Based on billing records, Black Hills Power approximates the winery’s first year operating costs were $0.76 per square foot. Compared to the cost of propane, the area’s only heating competitor, the winery has saved over $5,000 in its first year by installing a GSHP system. M. Keck estimates the total cost of the installation to be $30,000.

These figures project that the system will begin payback in as soon as six years. M. Keck also said the GSHP system runs exceptionally well with little supervision.

“The operational cost savings alone are a great benefit and our electricity bill is amazingly low,” M. Keck said. “Additionally, the system is quiet, there are no outdoor units and maintenance is minimal.”

The winery’s tasting room opened in June 2004 and wine production began in November 2004. It is a 13,000 square foot facility and is open six days a week for wine tasting. Tours of the production areas are offered only during special events or on a pre-arranged basis, however, part of the production area can be seen through large windows in the tasting room. M. Keck said the winery is also currently working on a display explaining how the facility utilizes geothermal heating and cooling.

The winery is located near popular South Dakota tourist attractions such as Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial. M. Keck says the winery sees most of its visitors during summer vacation and the winter holiday season. So to witness true energy efficiency and experience the benefits of geothermal versatility, visit Prairie Berry Winery in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Volume 2, Number 4 Geo Outlook
©2006 International Ground Source Heat Pump Association

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The best in heat pumps just got better: Water Furnace and the next generation of geo

Here at Vaughn Mechanical we have a reputation for being the best, most knowledgeable geothermal (or ground-source) heat pump installer in the south Puget Sound region. We’ve proven time and again that geothermal heating and cooling is a great fit for people this climate—to save money on bills, to save on energy usage and to enjoy a more even, consistent comfort in their homes.
Because we know the value of geo, we are thrilled to now offer Water Furnace 7 Series geothermal heat pumps with InfiniSpeed Technology. The 7 Series signifies groundbreaking innovations on multiple fronts—the industry’s first variable capacity residential unit that surpasses the 41 EER and 5.3 COP efficiency barriers. These ratings are vastly greater than ordinary conditioning systems and 30% higher than current two-stage geothermal heat pumps. The variable capacity compressor is a BIG DEAL! While other conditioning systems run at one or possibly two capacities (high and low) the 7 Series scales compressor output and airflow to exactly the level needed for any heating or cooling situation. The 7 Series can ramp down to 20% of normal operation for the ultimate in efficiency, or scale up to 130% output using SuperBoost cooling, for those periods when extra conditioning is needed.
And that’s not the only new news from Water Furnace. The company recently upgraded the controls in both the 5 Series and 7 Series models. Aurora Controls offer full two-way communication between components, advanced operating logic and robust troubleshooting capabilities. It carries support for true energy monitoring via the Symphony Home Energy Management system, extended hot water generation control and integration with the new IntelliZone2 zone control system. The upcoming Aurora Web Link (AWL) module also will extend communication protocols to include the internet, smart grids, home automation networks and more.
Water Furnace also has a new beautiful color touch-screen thermostat, variable speed circulator pumps, and other great new products available including an equipment energy monitoring dashboard that allows the customer full details about energy usage.
It’s a great time to choose a Water Furnace geothermal heat pump. The technology is mature and will be the last heating system you ever install. Contact us for all of the details (800) 303-9973.

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South Sound Solar Tour (Olympia area) Oct. 1, 2011

Join us for the South Sound Solar Tour sponsored by the NW Ecobuilders Guild. We will have a stop on the tour, highlighting our innovative renewable energy design that blends solar hot water collectors with a high-efficiency geothermal heat pump for radiant floor heating. The tour stop is located at Percival and Decatur (223 Decatur St.Olympia, WA 98502) on the west side of town. This passive solar house utilizes many principles of green building with state of the art renewable energy systems. Vaughn Mechanical staff will be on hand to talk about the various systems and to talk to the public about their own homes.

The fun kicks off at 10am on Oct. 1, 2011. We hope to see you all there!

 

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Behold the Gorgeous Solar Farms of Le Mées, France

The energy company Efinity opened two new solar-power farms in Le Mées in north-central France this month. They’re huge. Together they occupy 89 acres, generating enough electricity for 9,000 families. They were also designed with the landscape in mind. The panels were installed without concrete foundations, which means when their 20-year lifespan is over and they’re removed, there will be healthy land left behind, and grasses are being planted so sheep can graze among them.

But what’s most remarkable about these solar farms is that they’re really aesthetically pleasing. Set on the rolling hills, they look like some sort of Frank Gehry installation. Carbon aside, they’re just much nicer to look at than a coal plant.

Originally posted at http://www.good.is/post/behold-the-gorgeous-solar-farms-of-le-mees-france/

 

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Integrating solar and geothermal systems


ST. LOUIS — When a group of progressive design professionals reclaimed an old structure in the Grove District of St. Louis, they vaulted beyond their comfort zone when choosing energy systems. Mechanically speaking, what they chose is everything under the sun.

SPACE Architecture + Design is an architectural firm that has recommended use of renewable energy sources for indoor comfort. So, when they designed and crafted their very own space, they decided to install a geothermal system and rooftop solar arrays as the source of space and domestic water heating, with ample cooling, too.

SPACE principal Tom Niemeier wanted building systems to be a reflection of the firm’s own forward-thinking perspective, so they dug deeper, and sought additional tax incentives to help fund building-wide use of radiant floor heat and suspended, exposed chilled beams for cooling, solar heat to drive desiccant dehumidification, and integration of fresh air.

System integration

Two system needs were quickly apparent. Given the plan for substantial use of geothermal energy, SPACE would need a geoexchange field. Heat load calculations showed that the building’s cooling system would require 15 grouted boreholes, each 200-ft. deep.

Next up: how to put the systems together in a way that would successfully integrate all functions and components? Neimeier tapped the resources and expertise of Uli Altvater, P.E., chief technology officer of Naples, Fla.-based FutureWorld Energy Inc., and Ron Oliver, vice president of Masters Equipment, based in St. Louis.

Together they began to map out a renewable energy strategy. Oliver then traveled to the AHR Expo in 2010 to research a controls strategy that could integrate all system components.

“I left there knowing exactly what we needed to bring Neimeier’s dream into reality,” said Oliver. “I was introduced to Taco‘s just-introduced, modular iWorx controls and was amazed by the simplicity, scalability and the affordability of the technology. We were also glad to learn that it would soon be available through Behrmann Co., our local Taco rep in St. Louis.”

Through Walt Steiner, P.E., president of St. Louis-based Behrmann Co., the long-time manufacturer’s rep for Taco, Oliver quickly learned that their use of the control platform at SPACE would become the very first commercial application of the technology.

“One of our top sales engineers, Dave Westbrook, worked with Ron Oliver to design a relatively simple control strategy that would meet the needs at SPACE,” said Steiner. “With so many pieces to the mechanical puzzle there, we needed exactly what iWorx offered, and yet with no need for fixed-cost firmware.”

“The project was very interesting for us from the outset,” said Steiner. “The mechanical recipe that Tom Neimeier wanted to use was not a cost-driven one. Up front, they developed a plan that entailed the integration of many systems, knowing clearly that they would spend more on it than what would be required for a traditional HVAC approach. They made it clear that energy efficiency, then comfort, were more important than overall cost.”

The primary source of heat for the water that flows through the building’s radiant heat system are the 15 solar thermal vacuum tube arrays mounted on the roof of the one-story building. Heat from the rooftop arrays is transported below to an insulated, 3,000-gal. storage tank buried below the parking lot.

“The primary use of solar heat was a good concept from the beginning,” Ron Oliver added. “Then, with that as the foundation, the plan grew to include geothermal. With geo producing both hot and cold water, the plan could include radiant cooling with exposed cooling fins suspended throughout the building’s interior spaces, something the SPACE pros enjoyed because they became intriguing design elements.”

The plan then grew to include integration of fresh air intake and desiccant wheel technology to control interior moisture, then using warmth from the solar thermal arrays to remove moisture from the desiccant wheel.

Chillin’ in Missouri

The radiator-like, chilled plates are part of an innovative heating and cooling system that now helps SPACE use 51% less energy than a similar facility built to code standards. During the summer, the solar arrays provide heat for the desiccant wheel to dehumidify building air. Coupled with the geothermal system’s ability to produce chilled water to cool the air, it will keep occupants comfortable on hot, humid days.

The cooling system works by taking heat out of the air rather than pushing cool air into the room. Cold water running through the pipes absorbs heat from air that flows by the fins. Designers relied on the chimney effect that keeps warmer air rising to flow through the fins. The water then carries heat back to the geothermal wells under the parking lot where heat is dispersed.

“We achieved very high system efficiency levels because of the influence of all the systems,” Altvater explained. “With radiant floor circulation temperatures of only 89F-94F, tied to outdoor reset, the mechanical systems at SPACE run at optimal efficiency.”

The geothermal system is operating consistently at heating and cooling COPs of 7 to 9. For cooling, Altvater explained that 55F-58F water is circulated through the fins, just above dewpoint. Dehumidification is accomplished with the NovelAire desiccant wheel with two heat exchangers sandwiched on either side of the wheel. Super-heated water from the solar arrays is circulated within one of the heat exchangers to dry trapped moisture within the wheel. The other heat exchanger, which circulates chilled water to extract latent heat, is activated whenever necessary to maintain a zero-energy gain within the building envelope.

According to Altvater, the solar thermal arrays are producing 35-kW of power, equivalent to 120,000 Btuh for building heat as the primary source, with the geothermal heat pump as the back-up system. During the summer months, solar heat at 150F-200F is sent directly to the 3,000-gal. thermal mass tank, then on to the desiccant wheel heat exchanger to remove moisture suspended in the wheel at a rate of up to 18-lbs./hr.

“Clearly, we needed to remove sensible heat,” said Oliver. “Yet, there was no moisture removal with the fins. With the desiccant wheel sandwiched between the hot water and chilled water coils, we could remove moisture and regenerate the wheel.”

According to Oliver, the chilled water coil cools the discharge air going back to the building envelope to achieve a net-zero energy gain.

“The chilled fins, unlike a fan coil unit, provide no latent removal of moisture, so this became a viable way to condition the space,” added Oliver.

Controls to the rescue

The key challenges to optimizing operation of the multiple SPACE systems were the needs to sensibly integrate all components, and to do so in a way that maximized operational efficiency.

“The owners wanted complete Internet access without complex gateways or PCs and iWorx fit the application perfectly,” said Oliver.

“The fact that we could use a standard controller to control the chilled fin ceiling as well as the geothermal equipment was a huge, cost advantage. What makes it so cost effective is that there are no control sequences to write and all the software is already built into the controls. It worked perfectly right out of the box and at a small fraction of the cost of other BAS products.”

“What surprised me was how easily it tied so many system components together,” said Steiner. “We see opportunities every day to design projects with solar heat, geothermal or chilled beam cooling, but the uniqueness of the SPACE application was to incorporate them all.”

SPACE’s radiant heating and cooling zones are individually controlled by electronically operated mixing valves for both cooling and heating. The control system is capable of taking multiple temperature inputs and controlling each zone’s electronically operated valve, satisfying individual setpoints. It also aggregates zone demands to eliminate equipment short cycling. Load inputs include individual zone response to setpoint, supply temperature and outdoor temperature. Precise zone control assures that radiant heating and cooling systems provide comfort under any climatic condition.

Injection mixing

Taco’s mixing control module provides injection mixing for both heating and cooling with individual reset curves for heating and cooling modes. In addition, the unit provides dew point control to prevent condensation during cooling periods in the summer months.

“By precisely adjusting the voltage output to the mixing valve, we were able to provide a very short stroke range to control supply temperatures within 10ths of a degree,” said Oliver.

Monitoring system performance assures proper system operation and control. Operation of the solar array and other critical system functions are monitored by the control system, which provides up to eight inputs and also constant monitoring of the measured points, and alarms.

Important to system performance is the control of geothermal system components. The controller responds to indoor and outdoor temperatures to control the radiant heating system. Since the heating system also has a solar thermal array, heat input from the solar thermal arrays is also calculated and controlled.

© 2008 Penton Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Utility Energy Efficiency Rebates

So, what is up with the big push by utilities such as Puget Sound Energy to offer big rebates for energy-efficient heating and cooling systems? It’s simple: it’s easier to reduce consumer demand than it is to increase supply. Check out the supply/demand projections by Puget Sound Energy below.

Using PSE’s own predictions, we can come to a few conclusions.

  • Electricity rates are sure to increase as the wedge between supply and demand grows.
  • The population is expected to increase by at least 1.5 million people.
  • Investing in an energy-efficient heating and cooling system (and possibly solar) is and will be a great investment that will return a positive investment.
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Heat Pump Comparisons: Air-source vs Ground-source

Here is a comparison of the total life-cycle cost of geothermal heat pumps vs air-source heat pumps that would be needed to heat and cool your residence. To compare as closely as possible, here are estimates for an air-source heat pump system that matches a geothermal heat pump. This heat pump model is the two-stage variable speed. The heat pumps are backed up by a variable speed electric air handler to move the air and for backup heat.

Air-source Geo
Installation cost $13,000 $28,000
Installation cost (after tax credit) $12,700 $18,100
Energy  cost per year $1,400 $660
Annual life expectancy 15 30
Cost of equipment per year $846 $600
Maintenance cost over lifetime $1,500 $750

In my comparison (above), the geo heat pump price is higher than the air-to-air, but the geo takes advantage of a 30% tax rebate and the air-source only receives a $1,500 tax rebate. Operating costs favor geothermal, of course. Geothermal heat pumps will last twice as long as conventional air-source heat pumps, and the associated maintenance of them over their lifetime is significantly lower—primarily because there are two pieces of machinery to service instead of one. Additionally, the value of the loop field will remain after the life of the hardware, which adds salvage value to the net worth of the geo. In 30 years, your loop field will be conservatively worth twice its installed cost. This is a significant investment, as well, and one that is not often discussed in ROI analyses. Geothermal heat pumps will provide about 50% of your domestic hot water production and definitely will give you more comfort in terms of operation and reliability.

So, it’s safe to say that your geo investment is better than the air-source investment.

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Geothermal Heat Pumps, Solar thermal, Solar PV … It’s All Here!

What if there was a contractor able to install all of your green needs–from geothermal heat pumps to solar thermal and pv systems? Look no further, we are your one-stop shop for the best in efficient and renewable energy systems.

Geothermal Heat Pumps

The Water Furnace brand of geothermal heat pump is our best-seller. This heat pump will produce about 99% of the heating for your whole house, plus half of your domestic hot water. They generally last 25-30 years and are 2 times as efficient as an air source heat pump, with an annual heating bill somewhere around $400-$450 for a moderately sized house (about 2,000 sq. ft). The upfront cost is (about $30k) but there is a 30% tax credit that can be applied toward all components of the heating system cost, including duct work. This puts the final cost at perhaps the same, or even less in some cases than the alternative. The loop field is rated at 200 year life span and can be considered to have salvage value even after the life of the heat pump.

Solar Power

We are also able to do other home systems such as vent fans, HRV/ERV systems, gas piping, and other HVAC needs, including solar. For solar hot water, we generally use the Heliodyne or Schuco brand of solar collectors, which also qualify for the 30% tax credit with no upper limit. For solar pv, we generally use the Silicon Energy brand of solar panel that qualifies for the 30% tax credit, no sales tax, and also for Washington State’s incredible production credit that gives the producer up to 54 cents/kWh of electricity generation. For solar hot water, a typical system will run you about $10,000 before the tax credit; solar pv will run you about $28,000-$45,000 before the tax credit.

With all of these system technologies, we can give you a detailed proposal and engineering report outlining the cost/benefit returns and the likely life span so you know exactly what to expect from your investment. To get an idea of what you will need, take a look at our online geo calculator.

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Explaination of a grid-tied solar photovoltaic system.

Ever wonder how one of these solar photovotaic systems work?  Check out this diagram and see for yourself.

  1. Solar Panels – Solar panels collect molecules of sunshine, which are little packets of energy, and converts
    them into an electric current.
  2. DC to AC Inverter – DC to AC inverters convert the DC current generated by a solar panel into AC current
    that can be used to power appliances in your home.
  3. Electrical Distribution Panel - This is the panel that feeds all of the homes circuits.
  4. AC Loads – Once your solar panels have converted the Sun’s light into an electric current and that current has
    been converted from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC), it can then be used to power your lights
    and appliances.
  5. Electric Meter – Your home solar power system can actually cause your electric meter to spin backwards as
    it feeds the electricity it generates into the main power grid and you earn credit on your electric bill.
  6. Main Power Grid – Once electricity generated by your residential solar power system is directed onto the
    power grid, it can then be used by someone else and adds to the overall total of kilowatt hours produced by a
    clean and renewable energy source—the Sun!

 

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