Don’t miss this opportunity! Without a doubt, the economics of a geothermal heating & cooling system are the best when planned and incorporated into new construction:
You need an HVAC system anyway, why not the solution that offers superior comfort and the lowest cost of ownership.
You have an excavator on site to dig the basement. Why not redirect it to dig a few trenches, bury some pipe, fuse together a loop, and create your own renewable utility!
In this scenario, the investment decision is based on the incremental cost of installing a geothermal system versus the alternative. And, the financing (incorporated into the home mortgage) is generally under far better terms than you’ll get if installed into an existing home.
Let’s take a detailed look at a typical situation:
The new home that you’re having built for your family of four will be two stories – 2600sf – with a full basement, sealed and insulated to current energy codes and sits on at least a half acre lot. The builder’s standard HVAC system is a forced-air gas furnace and a central air conditioning unit distributed through a duct system – efficiency ratings are 95% and SEER 12, respectively. A gas hot water tank or on-demand unit provides domestic hot water. The total budgeted costs (excluding the duct system) are ~$10K… and, on average, they’ll all need to be replaced in 10 to 20 years.
You opt, instead, to upgrade to a geothermal system (heating efficiency ~375%, SEER 24). In addition to space heating and cooling (via the standard duct system), the geo heat pump will also handle ~50% of your domestic hot water demand. (You could also add some radiant heating zones to the house, but that’s a story for another blog.) The entire system will cost ~$13K more than the standard fossil-fueled system and, on average, you’ll need to replace the heat pump and other interior equipment in 25 to 30 years; you’ll likely never need to replace or repair the exterior ground loop – your renewable utility. But hold on… NYSERDA will rebate you ~$7K (for installing a 5-ton ground-sourced heat pump aka geothermal system ), so the incremental increase in your mortgage is ~$6K (or less if geo enables you to avoid the cost of installing natural gas service altogether).
What does that incremental cost do to your monthly mortgage payments? If a 30-year fixed at 4.2% APR or a 15-year fixed at 3.25%… that’s $29 or $42 a month, respectively.
Now let’s estimate how much you’ll save in utility costs. For a typical year in the Rochester and Finger Lakes regions, a house like yours will require approximately 65MBtu to heat and 5MBtu to air condition. If we assume energy rates of $1.11/therm for natural gas and $0.10/kwh for electricity, you can expect an average annual energy savings ~$540 – ~$45 a month.
BOTTOM LINE: Opting for the superior HVAC system – geothermal – in your new house will likely lower your net monthly payments versus a standard gas furnace / central air system… and you’ll enjoy the added benefits of improved comfort and safety, lower maintenance costs, longer life, increased flexibility, and much smaller carbon footprint.
If your alternative heating fuel were propane or oil, you can expect the energy savings to exceed $1000 a year.
If you have questions or would like us to do the math for your specific situation, contact us today.
Lake Country Geothermal, Inc. services the Finger Lakes and Greater Rochester NY areas, including Albion, Auburn, Avon, Batavia, Bloomfield, Branchport, Brighton, Bristol, Brockport, Caledonia, Canandaigua, Clifton Springs, Clyde, Cohocton, Conesus, Churchville, Dansville, Fairport, Farmington, Gates, Geneseo, Greece, Groveland, Hamlin, Hemlock, Henrietta, Hilton, Honeoye, Honeoye Falls, Ionia, Interlaken, Irondequiot, Kendall, Keuka Park, Leroy, Lima, Livonia, Lodi, Lyons, Macedon, Marion, Macedon, Mendon, Mount Morris, Mumford, Newark, North Rose, Ontario, Ovid, Palmyra, Pavilion, Penfield, Penn Yan, Pittsford, Port Byron, Prattsbugh, Pultneyville, Red Creek, Riga, Rush, Savannah, Scottsville, Seneca Falls, Sodus, Shortsville, Spencerport, Springwater, Victor, Walworth, Wayland, Webster, Weedsport, Williamson, Wolcott, Wyoming.