Geothermal Cost Savings Study

Belman Homes just completed a full 1 year Study on a Geothermal Home Verses a Conventional Home.  Using actual data from We Energies tracking gas and electric usage from December 2008 to November 2009 we able see a pattern on energy savings over a course of a year.  Belman used a side by side condo located at 1129 and 1127 Woodland Hills Drive, Waukesha Wi.  for it’s comparison.  It was a near perfect example as both units faced the same direction were attached side by side and were the same square feet, floor plan, and construction.    The conventional home utilized a 92% efficient Lennox  Single Stage Furnace and 13 seer air conditioner.  The Geothermal Home included a Waterfurnace geothermal heat pump, a verticle loop system with 4 150′ deep wells.  The water heater was gas and supplimnented by the Geothermal system.

A few key differences were that the Geothermal System was set at a constant 70 degrees all year round whereas the conventional home was set at 65 degrees in the winter and 75 degrees during the summer.  The geothermal model also was open every weekend for open house and included additional appliances such as a computer, refrigerator, range, washer dryer, lamps and lights that had to be adjusted for.

  • The total utility costs for 2008-2009 on the conventional home were $2,199.15
  • The total utility costs for 2008-2009 on the geothermal home were $1,695.75
  • The total Natural Gas savings for one year on the geothermal system were $704.24

The savings on the Belman geothermal model would have been even larger had the homes been maintained at the same temperature.  One can only speculate on the the savings but $900 or more per year is not out of the question.

Average Natural Gas Prices in the United States Between 1999 and 2008, the national annual average residential natural gas price more than doubled, from $6.69 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) to $13.68 per Mcf. The national average price of natural gas is only part of the story, as the prices in individual States can differ greatly. Source: US Energy Information Administration

Now knowing how natural gas cost have risen in the last ten years we can figure roughly a 10% increase each year on heating and cooling costs.  Back in 2000 Natural Gas in Wisconsin was .4480 per therm.  In 2009 Natural Gas in Wisconsin was .9849 per therm or over double in less than 10 years.

This begs the question, “What is the pay back on a geothermal system?”

A verticle Geothermal System costs $25,657 plus $1000 for wiring the breaker panel.  We then deducted $11,135 for the furnace and air conditioner for a upgrade cost of $15, 522.  If you factor in a 30% federal tax credit for geothermal systems which is approximately $7,690.10 your net cost on the system is $7,824.90.  A horizontal system can be roughly $4,000 less for install but requires a larger field.

Factoring in the 10% annual gas increase the payback on a verticle system with the savings we obtained would be 7 years and 1 month.  For a horizontal system the payback would be 5 years.  After that time period homeowners would actually be making money on the systems.

If you would like more information please contact me and I would be happy to share the power point presentation will all the numbers and breakdowns.  In summation, I can honestly say that Geothermal heating and cooling does actually work, and will pay itself off in a rather short period of time. In addition to all the savings you are also treated with a more consistant enviornment inside the home as well as knowing that you reduced your carbon footprint by not consuming as much fossil fuel. It is a great option to consider if you are looking into green building or making an energy efficient home.

-David Belman, Vice President Belman Homes, Inc. ©2010 Belman Homes, Inc.  all rights reserved.  Do not copy or use this information in whole or part without prior authorization from the author.


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