Renewable Energy Incentives make Down to Earth Sense
Attractive monetary incentives offered by Tri-State Generation and Transmission and United Power, combined with the many advantages of geoexchange comfort systems, are motivating home and business owners along Colorado's Front Range to consider geoexchange comfort systems over conventional heating and cooling.
Monte Schmidt of Valley Heating and Air Conditioning of Brighton, Colo., said, "Tri-State and United Power's proactive support of geoexchange heating and cooling technology and their consumer education programs have produced a groundswell of interest in the geoexchange alternative.
"By choosing geo-exchange, not only does the customer benefit from lowered operating costs, improved comfort and safety, the power industry--Tri-State and United Power--benefits from lowered power consumption and more evenly loaded power demand. As the number of geoexchange customers increases throughout the Front Range, so will the cumulative economic benefits to the power industry and, ultimately, to all power consumers.
"Last autumn we were selected by Valley Bank and Trust of Brighton to replace their fossil fuel system with a WaterFurnace® geoexchange system," Schmidt explained.
In a press release from Valley Heating and Air Conditioning, Donna J. O'Dell Petrocco, Valley Bank and Trust president and chief operating officer, said, "Our new system will provide a clean, safe, and comfortable environment for our staff and customers while conserving our precious energy resources and protecting our environment."
The magnitude of the bank's energy conservation is substantial. The first three months of its geoexchange system operation showed the bank's energy bills were reduced an average of 38 percent compared to the same period last year.
"We estimate that Valley Bank and Trust will have paid for its new geoexchange system in six years and at the end of the next 14 years will have saved $60,000 compared to a conventional heating and cooling system," Schmidt said.
Offering efficiencies up to 350 percent over conventional heating and cooling, geoexchange systems simply move heat from the ground to the living space during the winter heating period, and move heat from the living space to the ground during the summer cooling months.
Since there are no flames and, therefore, no corrosive and polluting combustion by-products, geoexchange system maintenance expenses are typically 40 to 60 percent less than conventional, fossil-fuel systems.
An economically and environmentally attractive alternative to geoexchange technology is the dual-fuel heating and cooling system. Dual-fuel uses two fuels to heat rather than one, by adding a high-efficiency heat pump to a fossil fuel source, such as natural gas or a propane furnace.
Air-source heat pumps extract and transfer heat from outside air to a liquid piped through a coil in the furnace. When the furnace fan comes on, it circulates clean, fresh warm air.
During the summer, the process automatically reverses, providing refreshingly cool, evenly distributed air using an existing duct system. Only when the outside temperature dips below a certain point will the fossil-fuel furnace come on to provide supplemental heating.
Schmidt said, "Both Tri-State and United Power offer attractive incentives to business and homeowners installing dual-fuel systems. United Power's Member Services Representative Ed Maycumber was a proponent of dual-fuel technology as early as 1993.
"His knowledge of the technology and its many benefits to all of us--the power industry, our customers, our neighbors living along the Front Range and fellow contractors, alike--helped convince Valley Heating and Air Conditioning to invest in technical training, equipment, and design services. We haven't looked back once. And now, 800 systems later, dual-fuel continues to be a very popular choice among our customers," he added.
Source: Western Area Power Administration An Agency of the U.S. Dept. of Energy