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    Geothermal Heat Pump

    Why Go Geothermal? 

    Geothermal energy encourages conservation of natural resources. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, geothermal systems can save homeowners 30-70 percent in heating costs, and 20-50 percent in cooling costs, compared to conventional systems. Geothermal systems also save money because they require much less maintenance, are highly reliable and are built to last for decades.

    Geothermal heat pump systems are extremely safe and quiet. There is no exposed outdoor equipment, such as fuel tanks or gas lines, and no combustion. With no direct emission and fewer moving parts, these systems are reliable, low maintenance and environmentally friendly.

    Substantial rebates make now the perfect time to increase your energy savings with a geothermal heating and cooling system. Homeowners who install a system may be eligible for rebate incentives from the Energize Connecticut and other incentive programs. Geothermal heat pump systems are eligible for the Energy Efficiency Fund incentive of up to $1,500. Your savings can really add up when further combining this rebate with federal tax credits for qualifying ENERGY STAR ® equipment and other programs based on eligibility.

    How Do Geothermal Systems Work? 

    A geothermal heat pump takes advantage of the earth’s constant temperature to provide efficient heating and cooling. A few feet beneath the earth’s surface, the ground temperature remains fairly stable throughout the year, ranging from 45°F in northern latitudes to 70°F in the Deep South. Like a cave, this ground temperature is warmer than the air above it during the winter and cooler during the summer. Geothermal heat pumps take advantage of these conditions by exchanging energy through a fluid-filled series (or loops) of pipes made of copper or plastic that are installed below the surface of the ground. This allows the geothermal heat pump to heat or cool, and in some instances, heat hot water.

    Geothermal heat pump systems consist of:

    1. A closed loop that circulates fluid or refrigerant through an underground field. The loop is enclosed in either vertical and/or horizontal trenches.
    2. Single or multiple pumps, fans and compressors that provide heating and cooling.
    3. A distribution system (typically ducts) to provide even temperatures throughout the heated zone(s).

    In the winter, fluid circulating in the pipes carries the earth’s heat to the home where it is concentrated to provide warmth. In the summer the process is reversed and heat from the home is returned back to the earth through the pipes to provide cooling.

    Installation 

    One of the key benefits of installing a geothermal heating pump is the long-term expenditure payback. Although geothermal systems are more costly than conventional fuel systems, they have demonstrated to save an average of 30 to 70 percent on heating costs over the life of the heat pump. In addition, according to the EPA, homeowners can save an estimated 20 to 50 percent on cooling costs. Over time, this can prove to be a considerable amount of money and many homeowners realize that they are able to receive a return on their investment relatively quickly after installing a geothermal heat pump system.

    A geothermal system requires both an indoor and outdoor installation. The outdoor installation is the system that taps into the geothermal heat below-ground and requires digging either a horizontal or vertical hole several feet below the surface of the ground.

    The indoor installation is the system that heats the inside of the house and the home water system. Geothermal heat pump systems can be installed in both existing homes or in new construction. However, a building permit may be required to install this system in an existing home.

    Proven Technology 

    Geothermal heat pumps are a reliable and proven technology that has been widely used for more than 30 years. Millions of geothermal heat pumps are in operation worldwide, keeping people comfortable in homes, schools, hospitals, military facilities and many other buildings. If you want a reliable, efficient, environmentally sensitive technology, it is indeed the perfect time to consider a geothermal heating and cooling system.

    Q: How does it work?
    A: Geothermal heat pumps take advantage of the earth’s constant temperature to provide efficient heating and cooling. A few feet beneath the earth’s surface, the temperature of the ground remains fairly stable year-round, ranging from 45◦F (northern latitudes) to 70◦F (deep south). Like a cave, this ground temperature is warmer than the air above it during the winter and cooler than the air during the summer. Geothermal heat pumps take advantage of these conditions by exchanging heat with the earth. This allows the GHP to heat, cool, and if so equipped, supply the home with hot water.

    A GHP system collects the earth’s natural heat through a fluid-filled series or loop of pipes made of copper or plastic that is installed below the surface of the ground. The pipes can also be submersed in a body of water such as a lake or pond. Fluid circulating in the pipes carries the earth’s heat to the home. In the winter, an electric compressor and heat exchanger concentrates the earth’s heat and releases it into the home at a higher temperature and then distributes it through ductwork or pipes. In the summer, the process is reversed so that excess heat is drawn from the home, expelled to the pipes and absorbed by the earth.

    Geothermal heat pumps are efficient because they are using electricity to remove heat from the ground rather than converting electricity directly to heat. During the summer, geothermal heat pumps take advantage of the cool earth to provide efficient air conditioning. Geothermal heat pumps can also use the waste heat from air conditioning to provide “free” hot water heating in the summer.

    Q: What are the benefits?
    A: Because geothermal systems do not rely on fossil fuels to operate, they do not rely upon combustion. Therefore, there are no direct emissions, fuel tanks, or chimneys. With few moving parts, these systems are reliable and have low maintenance costs.

    Q: How expensive are geothermal systems?
    A: Geothermal Heat Pumps have a higher installed cost compare to traditional systems due to the ground coupling. However, the low-operating cost can save money over the life of the system.

    Q: Do geothermal systems provide free heating? How much can I expect to save with a geothermal system?
    A: Geothermal systems do not provide free heat. Rather, they use electricity to operate single or multiple pumps, fans and compressors. Depending on the size and design of the system, the electricity consumption can be significant. However, since the systems are taking advantage of the earth’s constant temperature, they are an efficient heating system and may save anywhere from 20 percent to 70 percent compared to a conventional heating and cooling system.

    Q: Are they safe?
    A: Geothermal systems are extremely safe. There isn’t any exposed outdoor equipment, and geothermal units do not rely on combustion so there isn’t a need for fuel tanks or gas lines.

    Q: How quiet are geothermal units?
    A: Units are extremely quiet. Since there isn’t any visible outdoor equipment, outdoor activities are not disrupted by the cycling of a fan.

    Q: How is heat transferred between the ground and the home?
    A: The most common type of geothermal system relies upon a closed loop which circulates fluid or refrigerant through the ground. These fields are either vertical and/or consist of horizontal trenches, and can run several hundred feet or more.

    Q: Does it only provide heat?
    A: Geothermal Heat Pumps have the ability to provide both heating and cooling with the simple flick of a switch on the indoor thermostat. In winter, heat pumps extract heat from the ground and distribute it throughout the home. In summer, the process is reversed and heated air is drawn from the home and allowed to be absorbed into the ground.

    Q: How can I find out more about the rebates?
    A: Additional information is also available on the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority website.

    Qualifying Equipment 

    The Geothermal Heat Pump qualifying equipment is closed water loop, water-to-water system and direct expansion type.

    Equipment must be a matched assembly which is a model combination that is listed in the AHRI Directory of Certified Equipment at: www.ahridirectory.org or for which the manufacturer has published energy efficiency data that includes rated SEER, EER, Watts and COP levels. When multiple sections are installed simultaneously, a matched assembly shall also include the air handler, furnace, or other component that is used to determine the rating according to ARI/ISO/ASHRAE 13256-1/2 or ARI 370 published current standards. Equipment also must be ENERGY STAR ® qualified for 2012 Tier 3 requirements and listed at www.energystar.gov.

    Installers 

    To choose an approved geothermal installer, please go to the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority site at www.ctcleanenergy.com.

    Geothermal Heat Pump Systems Rebate