PSREC offers incentives to encourage the installation of GeoExchange heating and cooling systems!
The Plumas-Sierra GeoExchange Program is designed to encourage PSREC members to install the single-most energy-efficient heating and cooling system on the market today--a ground source heat pump.
What is GeoExchange?
GeoExchange is the world’s most advanced, cost-effective, environmentally friendly heating and cooling system on the market today, offering significant energy savings when compared to traditional systems.
GeoExchange takes advantage of the earth's relatively constant temperature to provide efficient heating, cooling, and hot water for homes and businesses.
Whether you are building a new home or considering a new heating and cooling system for your existing residence or business, you may want to consider the economical and environmental advantages of GeoExchange technology.
How does GeoExchange work?
This simple technology taps the earth’s renewable, stored energy from the sun through electrically powered ground source heat pumps.
A network of sealed pipes or “ground loops” are hidden under a lawn or other landscape. Loops can be installed horizontally or vertically. The available land area and its geological makeup will help determine the most economical choice for installation.
The GeoExchange ground source heat pump unit pumps a nontoxic water/refrigerant mixture through a closed loop system that never comes in contact with the earth. This solution carries heat between the ground and the heat pump.
During the winter, the system draws heat from the ground and transfers it into the home or commercial building. During the summer, the process reverses, extracting heat from the home or building and transferring it to the ground.
How is GeoExchange different from other heating and cooling systems?
There isn't a single more efficient heating and cooling technology than GeoExchange. Air to air heat pumps, air conditioners and refrigerators all operate similarly in that they use a refrigerant to help move rather than create heat. The GeoExchange ground source heat pump takes this technology to the next level by using the earth itself as a heat source and heat sink, rather than the outside air.
The GeoExchange system draws up to two-thirds or more of the energy needed to warm a home or commercial building from the earth. One-third or less of the energy used by the system is purchased power, which is primarily used to run the compressor. Additionally, GeoExchange provides both heating and cooling with one system. Oil and propane systems require fuel for heat and a separate air conditioning system for cooling.
Some people add “de-superheaters” to the GeoExchange system to supplement a conventional water heater for added savings on water-heating costs. During the summer, the heat exchanger extracts heat from the building interior and transfers it to the hot-water supply.
Unlike traditional technologies such as gas, oil and propane, GeoExchange produces no combustion or smoke, which lowers greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. It also eliminates pollution concerns over storage tanks in-ground. GeoExchange systems significantly reduce our dependence on the earth's finite supply of fossil fuels and help keep our skies blue.
Will GeoExchange work in our climate?
Plumas, Lassen, Sierra and Washoe counties are ideal climates for GeoExchange technology. The liquid mixture in the ground loops helps the GeoExchange system take advantage of two primary principles of heat transfer:
- Heat energy always flows from areas of higher temperature to areas of lower temperature; and
- The greater the difference in temperature between two adjacent areas, the higher the rate of heat-transfer between them.
With that in mind, the difference between the liquid's temperature in the loops and the ground temperature remains relatively high in the Sierra Nevada in both winter and summer, creating good heat transfer rates. The ground below the frost line (about 3 to 5 feet below the surface) remains at a nearly constant earth temperature ranging between 45°F and 50°F in our area. This relatively constant temperature allows ground source heat pumps to operate more efficiently than other heating systems.
What does it feel like?
Most conventional heat pumps circulate air through ducts at about 92°F—too cold and drafty for many people. Air that a furnace system sends through the ducts is heated to as high as 130°F, and may feel too hot or dry. With good construction and proper duct design, GeoExchange systems circulate air heated to about 105°F-110°F—just right for almost everyone.
Additionally, GeoExchange systems provide the added comfort of cooling during the summer months. If you were previously using an air conditioner in your home, your new GeoExchange system will be much more efficient and affordable to operate. If you do not need air conditioning, you can choose to save money by switching your system off during a mild summer.
What about maintenance?
Homeowners can look forward to saving money in maintenance, repair, and replacement costs. Properly installed GeoExchange systems need minimal servicing each year to keep them operating at peak performance. The underground loop piping that carries heat to and from the earth is made of high-density polyethylene—typically guaranteed for 25 years and expected to last 50 years or more.
The only routine maintenance chores are having the system serviced yearly by a specialist, and changing the air filter each month. Using electrostatic filters that are rinsed and re-used can further decrease maintenance costs.
Why choose GeoExchange?
GeoExchange technology offers you cost-savings, greater levels of comfort and control, less maintenance and enhanced resale value. Providing an added measure of confidence, GeoExchange systems have earned ENERGY STAR® certification and endorsements by the U. S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.
As you learn more about GeoExchange, you will see that it provides more comfort, cost-savings and is more environmentally conscious than any other system on the market today!
I am a PSREC member. How can I get GeoExchange for my home or business?
More than 450 of your friends and neighbors have installed this technology with the assistance of Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative.
PSREC makes it more affordable to install GeoExchange with its loop loan program, offering a 15-year interest-free, non-transferable loan—added to your monthly electric bill, and based on the size of the GeoExchange system you install.
Careful design of your GeoExchange heating and cooling system is critical in order to minimize costs and maximize efficiencies. There are many factors to consider including design, construction, size and orientation of your home; the climate where you live; the geology in your area; and the amount of land available. It is therefore important to discuss your heating and cooling system during your initial conversations with your General Contractor when building a new home or business.
For specific information on the PSREC GeoExchange program, including heating fuel cost comparisons, financial incentives, loop loan costs, tips on choosing an installer, a list of accredited International Ground Source Heat Pump Association contractors in your area and useful questions to ask your contractor, call or email Donna at PSREC today, (530) 832-6032 or email@example.com.
Other helpful information
Visit www.GeoExchange.org or the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association if you are interested in learning more about GeoExchange technology.