Geothermal Heat Pumps – A Unique Energy and Environmental Solution
- A Renewable Energy Source WITHOUT Power Plants or Transmission Lines
- They are available NOW, with a Proven Record of Efficiency and Energy Savings
- Widespread Adoption Will create 1,000s of Jobs While Slashing CO2 Emissions
Geothermal heat pumps harness on-site renewable energy from the Earth and are a readily available technology that can be used everywhere. Geothermal heat pumps are truly a “50-State” renewable energy technology that can easily secure huge energy savings and environmental benefits when used in both new construction and retrofits to existing buildings.
Good for Consumers Geothermal heat pumps effectively reduce fossil fuel use by one of the largest components of U.S. energy consumption—buildings. In fact, buildings dominate U.S. energy use, devouring ~70% of our electricity and ~50% of our natural gas. The typical single-family home consumes over 50% of its energy just to meet heating and cooling needs (including hot water).
Geothermal heat pumps can slash that energy use by 50% and more!
Good for Electric Utilities Energy efficiency is twice as effective in reducing emissions as sources of renewable power such as wind or biofuels, or power plant efficiency measures and switching from coal to natural gas. For utilities, energy savings from geothermal heat pumps at residences and businesses in their customer bases level out annual power demand by shaving peak loads on hot summer afternoons and establishing more baseload power consumption in the winter months.
Good for the Environment Energy use in buildings produces ~43% of America’s total carbon emissions. The carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction benefits of geothermal heat pumps are substantial compared to air-source heat pumps or traditional natural gas heating with electric air-conditioning. For the typical 2,000 square-foot home, the average reduction in CO2 emissions is nearly 50%.
Good for America! Geothermal heat pump installations not only save energy and the environment, they create jobs by the thousands. From equipment manufacture by an innovative industry—through system design, distribution and installation using U.S. manufactured pipe and parts—the geothermal heat pump industry is an economic engine. Geothermal heat pumps spell creation of well-paid jobs across America with an environmentally friendly product that is “Made in the USA.”
Current geothermal heat pump sales total ~85,000 units per year nationwide, or only 1-2% of the total Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) market. Achieving the U.S. Department of Energy’s goal of 1 million unit sales per year would result in 100,000 new skilled and high-paid jobs for America.
How Can We Gain More Benefits from Geothermal Heat Pumps?
Government can help grow geothermal heat pump sales, making it easier for Americans to enjoy their energy, economic and environmental advantages
- Support for language to add thermal technologies (including geothermal heat pumps) to the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and any future Renewable Energy Standard, Energy Efficiency Standard, or Climate Change legislation, that recognizes and credits the technology’s contributions to fossil-fuel and emissions reductions.
- Protection and extension of continuing consumer residential and commercial tax incentives for geothermal heat pumps, as well as other business tax benefits (including accelerated depreciation) that are beneficial to the industry but have expired or are nearing expiration.
- Support for utility and climate policy initiatives that incentivize geothermal heat pump deployment. Such efforts should include influencing carbon abatement policies set forth by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for power plants. It must be recognized that geothermal heat pumps can be deployed as an efficient and renewable source of thermal energy that can offset power plant emissions.
- Activism for helpful legislative provisions including on-bill financing, measures for retrofit financing, building energy labeling, and stronger HVAC efficiency standards.
- Continued recognition of geothermal heat pump efficiency benefits in such programs as EPA/DOE’s Energy Star and any future energy efficiency initiatives.
- Support for an Office of Geothermal Heat Pump Technologies at the U.S. Department of Energy, (DOE) including annual authorization of funds for its maintenance, staffing and research activities to increase geothermal heat pump efficiencies and reduce the upfront cost of installation. Assis-tance is needed to ramp up qualified design and installation infrastructure for the technology nationwide. A DOE-led campaign of information distribution and educational outreach would raise consumer awareness and consumer confidence in the technology.