You are sending a link to... 'Tis the Season for Geothermal
It used to be that if you had central heat, you had either a gas furnace or an electric heat pump. But with energy costs and environmental concerns playing a more prominent role in our energy choices, high-efficiency, clean or renewable energy sources have taken off. Geothermal or ground source heating meets all these concerns! So it comes as no surprise that from now (program was established in 2009) through December 31, 2016 (more than a year from now), homeowners who install EnergyStar-certified geothermal heat pumps are eligible for a 30% federal tax credit.
Geothermal heat pumps (GHPs) are among the most efficient and comfortable heating and cooling technologies currently available. EnergyStar-certified geothermal heat pumps are over 45% more energy efficient than standard furnace or heat pump options. Geothermal technology uses the earth's natural heat to provide heating, cooling, and often, water heating, too! GHPs equipped with a device called a "desuperheater" can heat household water. During the summer, the heat that is taken out of the house is used to heat the water for free. In the winter, water heating costs are reduced by about half.
Most importantly, geothermal is a clean energy technology you can feel good about. It does not burn fossil fuels, so it reduces our dependence on foreign oil. In fact, closed loop geothermal systems release essentially no emissions or toxic gases. Because there is an unlimited amount of heat generated by the Earth's core, it is a sustainable energy source.
Ways to Offset Costs
The costs for installing a geothermal system are pretty steep, so it's a good thing that Uncle Sam is willing to help out! But, a geothermal system can pay for itself in 3-8 years and add significant resale value to your home. It may also be possible to include the purchase of a geothermal system in an "energy-efficient mortgage" that would cover installation costs and other energy-saving improvements to the home. When included in a mortgage, your investment in geothermal will produce a positive cash flow from the beginning. For example, the installation cost of a geothermal system may add $30 per month to each mortgage payment, but the energy cost savings easily exceed that over the course of each year.
Besides the 30% federal tax credit, there are a multitude of other provisions and incentives available from federal, state, and local governments, power providers, and banks or mortgage companies. These include loan programs, rebates, property tax or sales tax incentives, and grants. Check these out at the DSIRE website, or on the EnergyStar website run by the U.S. Dept. of Energy. While you're at it, check out our other posts on geothermal:
The season for saving on geothermal goes through 2016. That means there are only about 270 shopping days left (excluding weekends and holidays)! Get your 30% federal tax credit now and start reaping the cost benefits and environmental benefits every day.