Will energy efficient heat pumps save you money and build a sustainable future?
Often the reason a homeowner does not make a home sustainable is the cost. There is a widely held belief that a sustainable home that uses renewable energy systems, sustainable building products, and energy efficient designs costs significantly more to build and operate than a home built with conventional materials and systems. Whether or not that is true (and it is debatable) the operational costs for a conventional home are skyrocketing and renewable and sustainable systems, such as heating and cooling based on a Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP) could not only be the way to reduce a home’s carbon footprint but to beat the rising cost of energy in Canada.
For Albertans, the struggle to reduce energy usage is very real. Energy efficiency improvements such as more and better insulation, high-efficiency appliances, and lighting can help. Another improvement is to stop using natural gas completely, eliminating the need to pay those tariffs that keep coming, even in the months where you don’t consume any natural gas. For those in mixed source homes, just removing one of the utility bills altogether would be extremely beneficial. GSHP systems for example can replace a gas-fired furnace, omitting the gas bill entirely.
Is it bad and getting worse? In the near future, apparently so. The accounting firm Deloitte Canada is predicting energy prices will remain volatile for at least the rest of 2023. The major cause of the volatility according to Deloitte is the “ongoing geopolitical uncertainty”. Most analysts believe the war in Ukraine along with global price inflation concerns are driving spikes and steadily rising energy costs.. A change in either of those situations will take a while to be reflected in better energy prices, so increased efficiency and the use of technology that reduces the use of gas and electricity in the home are the first and best tools in this struggle. Because Alberta generates its own electric power, global events have a lower impact on prices here.
That’s where and why Geothermal makes so much more sense.
The logic path is pretty straightforward: Omit as many utility bills as possible. The largest user of both of those fuels in a home is the Heating, Venting and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system. A GSHP, utilizes the natural (and free) heat energy below ground for heating in the winter, and cooling in the summer. All of this while providing more consistent climate control, and higher air flow through a home.
It’s not just a little bit, either.
The reduction in energy usage that can be found through a GSHP is actually pretty astounding. These systems are as much as 400% more efficient than conventional HVAC systems. This translates into lower electric bills every month. Since no natural gas is involved, that bill (at least for heating) goes right to zero.
HVAC systems are rated on efficiency with a SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) number. The higher the number the better. New systems are required by law to have a SEER rating of 13. A rating of 14.5 will get a unit an EnergyStar designation, the international symbol for premium energy efficiency. A Ground Source Heat Pump’s SEER rating comes in at 30, just over twice what is required for an EnergyStar designation. There are other ratings that can be applied (e.g. an EER cooling rating) but regardless of the measure, GSHPs are more efficient, use less electricity, and consequently are cheaper to operate than conventional HVAC systems by a significant margin.
When you look just a little bit closer and include all the costs associated with an HVAC system, Geothermal continues to check off all the boxes. For larger acreages, the cost of running natural gas lines is taken out of the equation. The mere fact that a GHSP has fewer moving parts than a conventional GSHP means maintenance costs are lower. All of these factors can lead to a much quicker payback of initial installation costs, as well as a longer useful life for the system.
Sustainability is a lofty goal. Canada along with most of the rest of the world believes future planning must include carbon reduction. Geothermal units give homeowners and businesses another reason to be greener: It saves money.
Homeowners, builders, or developers, we can help guide you to apply for incentive programs. Envirotech Geothermal proudly serves the greater Edmonton and Calgary areas including Lakeland, Canmore, Devon, Grande Prairie, Red Deer, and Rockyview by 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 1-866-Go-Heats or request a Geothermal Consultation for more information.