EARTH ENERGY SOCIETY OF CANADA
Société canadienne de l'énergie du sol

 

SAVINGS

Earth energy technology may be more expensive to install than some natural gas, oil or electric heating units, but they are very competitive with any type of combination heating/cooling system. For this reason, heat pumps are most attractive for applications requiring both heating and cooling. 

An open-loop water-source system for an average residence may cost $10,000, while a closed-loop ground-source system may cost as much as $20,000. However, annual operating costs would be as low as $850 ... compared to $2,000 or more for conventional heating/cooling systems. 

The savings available with an EE heat pump will reflect the size of your house, its heat loss and level of insulation, as well as the sizing of the EE unit, its balance point, its COP, local climate and energy costs, your lifestyle habits, the efficiency of alternate heating systems, configuration of loop, interior temperature setting, ductwork (on retrofits), site accessibility for equipment, and the options selected. 

The following figures are provided as a guide only:

An average house of 2,000 square feet in central Canada would require a four-ton unit (50,000 BTU of heating capacity), which would represent $5,000 to $7,000 for the heat pump 'furnace' component; a desuperheater for water would add $1,000. To install the loop, the cost would be: 

  $4,000 to $6,000 for an open-loop water system
  $5,000 to $7,000 for a closed-loop lake system
  $7,000 to $10,000 for a closed-loop horizontal
  $10,000 to $15,000 for a vertical loop.

The simple payback (the period of years before the savings in annual operating costs exceed the initial premium of an installation) ranges from 5 to 12 years.

Natural Resources Canada, in its 1995 publication "Heating & Cooling with a Heat Pump," provides a comparison for energy costs between various earth energy systems and conventional electric heating:
 

Cost of EE compared with conventional electric baseboard / furnace heating
Location electric furnace air-source open-water EE closed-loop EE
Vancouver $465 - 925 $205 - 395 $175 - 340 $180 - 370
Calgary 1,155 - 2,310
500 - 1,000 580 - 1,190
Winnipeg 865 - 1,725
375 - 750 435 - 890
Sudbury 1,300 - 2,600 780 - 1,580 530 - 1,040 580 - 1,200
Toronto 740 - 1,295 380 - 660 285 - 480 295 - 525
Montreal 830 - 1,660 500 - 1,010 340 - 665 370 - 770
Halifax 785 - 1,370 400 - 700 300 - 510 310 - 555
(source: NRCan brochure: "Heating & Cooling with a Heat Pump")

* Electricity prices are residential run-off rates as of 1993, which range from 5c/kWh in Vancouver to 8c/kWh in central Ontario. Costs are for space heating only; a desuperheater would reduce operating cost by an additional $100 to $200 per year.
 




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