Juneau Couple Harnesses Geothermal Energy


There are a couple of types of geothermal energy. High-grade geothermal energy is the heat formed from the pressure of the earth. Water is turned to steam, and its energy can be harnessed. Around Fairbanks for example, green houses are powered by high-grade geothermal energy.

Then there’s low-grade geothermal energy, subsurface heat. Using the temperature of the ground as energy for residential or commercial heating purposes is what people are generally referring to when they talk about geothermal heating systems.

Bednarski and Kajdan had an old boiler. They had to replace it. They went to the annual Juneau Home Show in March 2012 to look for some leads on replacements. This is where they were introduced to the possibility of upgrading their boiler and baseboard heating system to geothermal.

They returned with various brochures, demeaning the intellect of the average pamphlet reader with fluffy verbiage like, “Isn’t it good to know that all the energy you need to heat and cool your home is beneath your feet?,” “Choosing geothermal becomes the right choice!,” and photos of mullet-sporting blue-uniformed men with stitched name tags accompanied with captions like, “In our state-of-the-art production facility, highly trained workers assemble every unit with care,” and “All in all, you can’t buy a better engineered heat pump.”

But Bednarski and Kajdan aren’t fools. Kajdan’s an engineer and Bednarski is a fisheries biologist. They began doing their own research, which turned out to be one of the biggest parts of the process to replace their boiler. Money was a key factor.

The state offered a rebate up to $10,000 for home energy improvements. On top of that, there is 30 percent federal tax credit on the total cost of purchasing and installing a geothermal heating system.

Those two financial incentives, combined with the fact they had to replace their boiler anyhow, made the project feasible. Kajdan also estimated that their total annual savings could be around $3,000.

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Posted by on May 1st, 2013 and filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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