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:
to $6,000 for an open-loop water system
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,
1995 publication "Heating & Cooling with a Heat Pump,"
a comparison for energy costs between various earth energy systems and
conventional electric heating:
residential run-off rates as of 1993, which range from 5c/kWh in
to 8c/kWh in central Ontario. Costs are for space heating only; a
would reduce operating cost by an additional $100 to $200 per year.
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