Six advantages geothermal energy has over propane in Canada
Canadians are concerned about the environment, and for that reason look for and choose greener solutions for many aspects of life including travel, power generation and heating and cooling for homes and businesses.
For energy generation, 89% of electricity generation comes from burning fossil fuels, either coal or natural gas. While cleaner than coal or fuel oil, natural gas or propane still releases carbon into the environment.
For heating and cooling, one greener solution is making the switch from fossil fuel-based heating and cooling to geothermal. Geothermal heat pumps use the ground to tap a source of cool energy during the summer, while storing heat energy for use during colder months. But that’s not the only advantage of geothermal energy. Here are six reasons why geothermal is better than propane for heating and cooling a home or business:
One of the ways to measure efficiency in Heating and Cooling systems is to measure how many units of heating energy are produced with 1 unit of electricity. When compared to a standard fully electric heating system, propane looks pretty good, with an efficiency level of 70%. A Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP) delivers 300% to 500% electricity-to-heat energy efficiency. That level of efficiency translates into lower monthly operating costs.
2. Rising or inconsistent propane costs
Over the years, propane costs have had a roller coaster ride, but remained an economically sound choice. Today, with global demand for natural gas and propane skyrocketing, the costs for Canadians will go up…and up…and up. The price of propane is expected to increase by 300% in the near-term. Because of this, residential heating bills could be 50% higher over the colder months. A GSHP on the other hand, uses renewable energy from the ground so there is no change in the cost from month to month.
3. Inconvenient Deliveries
Propane is delivered via train and truck. Those deliveries are not immune to issues in the transportation sector. Beginning with the pandemic and continuing today, the trucking industry has been understaffed and because of it, delays have become common. There have also been disruptions of the country’s rail system that have directly impacted propane delivery. And home or business owners using a GSHP never are in danger of running out of fuel because a delivery was late.
4. System Lifespan
There are variables in how long a furnace will last before replacement is necessary. For a propane system, it works out to a 15-20 year lifespan. For both the gas and the GSHP furnaces, climate variations at the location the unit is installed will play a role. Still, the range for the lifespan of a GSHP is 25 to 50 years. The underground piping used for a GSHP will last at least that long if not longer.
5. Combined heating and cooling
This is a pretty obvious one: Propane is mainly used for heating, so if you want year-round temperature control, a separate air conditioning system is required. With a geothermal system, heating and cooling tasks are combined into one unit. This provides obvious efficiencies, and reduced monthly A/C costs (mostly due to reduced electricity usage). Maintenance costs are less because of the combined nature of the system.
Because they don’t burn fossil fuels, a heat pump is the cleaner, more ecologically friendly system. Propane is a fossil fuel and as such releases carbon into the atmosphere when burned. While propane is “cleaner” than fuel oil or coal, it isn’t entirely without ecological impact, to be fair, using a heat pump isn’t completely without impact. A heat pump uses electricity as part of its operation. It was mentioned earlier that in Alberta, 89% of electricity generation uses fossil fuels. Unless the electricity consumed comes completely from renewable sources, such as wind or hydroelectric power, there is some carbon impact. A GSHP still has an advantage here, as it uses less electricity than either propane or an electric system.
When making decisions about building or renovating a home or business location, it is important to do side-by-side long-term comparisons between heating and cooling systems. For these six reasons and a few others, geothermal systems have significant advantages over propane.
Envirotech Geothermal proudly serves the Lakeland, Calgary, and Edmonton, Alberta regions including Canmore and Rockyview helping homeowners and builders to discover the benefits and features of geothermal heating and cooling. Contact us today to learn how you can save up to 70% on your heating and cooling bills by utilizing geothermal heating and cooling in your home. Call us at 780.220.0842 or request a Geothermal Consultation for more information.