Juneau Couple Harnesses Geothermal Energy


Add to that the environmental benefits, they would no longer need diesel fuel, there would be no carbon emissions, and as Bednarski said, a geothermal system is just more efficient, it was a clear choice.

“Heat pumps are more efficient than an electric boiler,” Bednarski said. “With a heat pump you can get twice as much to 4.5 times as much heat energy. With an electric boiler you get only as much heat energy out as electricity used. So we were starting out from zero. We had to create all our own heat.

That’s what’s so great about (a geothermal system). You’re using energy that already exists.”

In an interview before the work had been initiated, Kajdan presented some of his calculations.

“If we replace the boiler with a new boiler, than the break even cost, the point below which it would be cost effective to do, is $10,506,” Kajdan said. “And that’s basically what our out of pocket costs would be with recouping the rebate and tax credit. One of the problems we’re having is that electrical energy is
cheaper than burning diesel, so as people’s systems age, they’ll likely replace them with an electrical system, which will burden the system more. By using (a geothermal system) you reduce the electrical demand.”

The main idea is that the temperature remains constant under the ground year round. The downside, Kajdan said, is that there is a specific order to installing the system, which can make the process cumbersome and lengthy.

“The learning curve is pretty tough,” he said. “If you were putting in a new boiler, you’d just go to (a store).”

First, the couple had an initial energy audit, where their house’s heat efficiency was graded. This gave them a base point. Their house was graded low enough that if they installed the system they could be eligible for the entire $10,000 state rebate.

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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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