Geo-exchange heat pumps operate at efficiencies of 400% or more in heating and are twice as efficient as the best air conditioners.
Coupled with a solar pv system this offers the best solution to reduce fossil fuel use in residential and commercial buildings. Nothing else comes close. In temperate climates anything that reduces summer AC demand by the grid is a welcome thing. In winter, there is usually plenty of electricity to drive the compressor in a heat pump that upgrades the ground source heat, which is an inexhaustible source. Imagine, demand for natural gas would plumment if all new building construction REQUIRED geo-exchange heating and cooling. In the long term (10+ years), this is the most economical way to heat and cooling any conditioned space. A solar PV system could provide all or a considerable amount of power to allow the system to function. Clean, renewable power all around! This works well- I know- I have this system. Of course it goes without saying that the building envelope should be as efficient as possible and appliances and electrical use should be fully controllable and operate at peak efficiencies. There is simply no realistic alternative to conventional heating and cooling that exists that comes close to this solution. Period. Nor is there any emerging technology that can be as easily and quickly adopted to do the job. Geo-exchange is a PROVEN technology that works reliably and extremely well. Other benefits include the fact that gas (and its inherent dangers) is no longer an essential element of the building (unless owners want it for cooking or for fireplaces). Since the only "fuel" required is a small amount of electricity (for every one watt of heating cost, the earth gives up four watts free), sourcing this electricity to "greener" more sustainable forms completes this highly desireable sytem.
Category of the action
Building efficiency, Social Action
What actions do you propose?
I propose these simple steps for action:
1) Contact your government representatives and tell them you want incentives for retrofitting homes to geo-exchange. This worked in Canada a few years ago under the Enercan program. Ontario matched the federal grant money which totalled almost $9,000. This had the added benefit of injecting millions of dollars into the economy with no real cost to the taxpayer since the grant money was essentially recouped in the taxes collected by the two levels of government. Instead of bailing out traditional industries in which we are losing our competitiveness (like automobile manufacturing) which should essentially be left to Asia to manufacture we should be promoting green industries- wind, tide, solar, geothermal EGS and geo-exchange.
2) Insist that governments include property tax breaks sales tax breaks, low/no interest loans (through mandates to local Hydro suppliers) and other incentives for all new construction using geo-exchange and for all retrofits as well.
3) Insist that governments give incentives for solar PV installations as they have done in Europe and as they are now doing in Ontario (under the MicroFIT program).
Who will take these actions?
Governments at all levels must realize that any incentives they offer come back to them in tax dollars and in a growing and robust new economy. It is the job of ordinary citizens like ourselves to insist on this course of action from our elected representatives. Once government leads the way, industry will follow. WE MUST, AT THE SAME TIME, INSIST THAT THE GOVERNMENT STOP ALL INCENTIVES TO THE OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY.
Where will these actions be taken?
Around the world. In almost every country. Poor countries in the equatorial areas with no real need for heating may only benefit from cooling. This would mean that realistically, this would be limited to institutional (schools, universities, churches), commercial and government buildings.
How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?
If the electricity required for the heat pump is generated from clean renewable sources, then emissions would essentially be zero.
What are other key benefits?
1) No carbon emissions
2) Cheapest form of heating and air conditioning.
3)No carbon monoxide threat
4) No possibility of explosions (harm to humans and infrastructure).
5) No transportation of oil or gas through pipelines, so no possibility of environmental catastrophe.
What are the proposal’s costs?
With the right incentives, no real costs that cannot be recouped through savings on energy and traditional infrastructure upgrades that those older systems require. It's a win-win-win on costs.
Immediate. Technology is already in place and tens of thousands of installations of all sizes exist throughout the world.
Tom Rand- Kick the Fossil Fuel Habit.
Eric Dickie- Geothermal Exchange and Beyond- Design and Installation Guide