Geothermal Energy: Why DFW Homeowners Should Consider It
In the last 20 years, DFW homeowners, environmentalists, scientists, and the world at large have become increasingly concerned with energy conservation. Now Metroplex homeowners can tap into a clean, renewable energy resource right under their feet.
In the last 20 years, Dallas-Fort Worth homeowners, environmentalists, scientists, and the world at large have become increasingly concerned with energy conservation. As fossil fuel supplies dwindle, and pollution and population increase, it is becoming incredibly important for individuals to lower their energy footprint. Now Dallas homeowners can tap into a clean, renewable energy resource right under their feet, using geothermal energy.
Geothermal Energy: What Is It?
Geothermal — a term derived from the Greek words for earth (geo) and heat (therme) — is a method of using the earth’s temperature as a way to heat and cool your home and water year-round. Best of all, generating this energy requires no fossil fuels: Even as little as 10 feet below the earth’s surface, the ground is a constant 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit, which can be used to adjust the termperature of your home through natural heat exchange.
Reykjavik, Iceland exemplifies successful geothermal energy usage. Deemed “one of the cleanest cities in the world,” geothermal energy accounts for 26.5 percent of their electricity usage and 87 percent of its heating, thereby reducing the city’s carbon dioxide emissions by 2.5-4 million tons annually. Closer to home, since 1990, many US school districts have been replacing conventional heat pumps with geothermal heat pumps. Even former president George W. Bush uses geothermal technology to heat and cool his Crawford, Texas ranch.
Why Choose Geothermal Heating & Cooling
Energy Star, part of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), reports geothermal pumps to be at least 45 percent more energy efficient than conventional options. Federal tax incentives for homeowners allow up to a 30 percent tax credit, depending on the products chosen. Currently, these incentives are expected to expire at the end of 2016. There are also various incentives offered through cities, municipalities, and even utilities. Texas homeowners can find additional rebates and incentives through the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE), where you can see whether a local utility is offering any energy efficiency rebates.
Benefits of Geothermal Energy Systems
There are many long-term benefits for installing a geothermal system.
- First and foremost, it’s great for the environment.
- Geothermal systems require no fossil fuels and reduce your home’s carbon footprint.
- Geothermal systems don’t actually create and use energy (unlike conventional systems); they’re simply redirecting resources that are already generated in nature.
- These systems are quieter than a conventional system because much of the equipment is underground. The rest of the equipment is about as noisy as your refrigerator.
- Geothermal components last for up to 25–50 years because of fewer moving parts.
- Outdoor elements are protected from weather and disasters because they are buried deep underground.
- Geothermal systems cost less to operate long term; they can reduce your monthly utility bills by up to 70 percent.
- A geothermal system can be used in conjunction with other energy efficient systems like solar energy.
Who Should Consider Geothermal Energy
If you’re planning new construction of a home or are looking to replace an outdated system requiring major upgrades, a geothermal heating pump is definitely worth considering. While doing the cost-benefit analysis on your own can be complicated, a qualified installer should be able to show you the advantages and make comparisons to other systems. This helpful guide from Energy.gov can help you determine the basics of a geothermal system.