Cooperative Update for December 2022
by: Thomas W. Howard, CEO/General Manager
At Callaway Electric, we are seeing an increased number of new home constructions for 2022 versus previous years. It is pleasing to see folks be able to build the ‘dream home’.
When visiting with members about new home plans and extending electric and Callabyte service, we also take the opportunity to visit about efficient building choices. If you are considering building a new home or updating your existing one, please keep us in mind if you have questions about heating and cooling, insulation, windows or water heaters. We can also help guide you when considering adding an electric vehicle (EV) charging station and what steps to take in pre-wiring for Callabyte service.
The choices you make for heating and cooling, along with insulation and windows can significantly impact your energy expenses down the road. With a little research and effort, the investment in your home can result in long-term energy savings. As your electric provider, we have a team here ready to help.
Harnessing the Earth’s power
One of the fastest-growing energy sources in the U.S. today is renewable energy. When you think of it, you likely think of wind or solar. However, there is another renewable technology described by many sources as cost-effective, energy-efficient, proven, reliable, comfortable, safe and environmentally clean. It is known as geothermal or ground source energy. This technology, using a refrigeration process, transfers energy from the Earth, which can be considered a giant solar collector. Geothermal can be installed most anywhere and will save you money all the time - 24/7, not just when the wind is blowing, or the sun is shining.
Ground source heat pump units are similar in size to traditional units. Their exterior components are located underground. This protects them from outside conditions and relieves the need for a noisy outdoor fan and above-ground unit. There is also no flame or flammable fuel required.
Ground source heat pumps operate by taking advantage of the Earth’s constant temperature. A heat pump unit inside the home is coupled with a buried loop system. Using a refrigeration process, much like a traditional refrigerator or A/C unit, the unit makes the inside air warm or cool. The fluid absorbs heat from the Earth and carries it inside to warm the interior space. For cooling, the process is reversed. Heat is extracted from the inside air and transferred through the heat pump to the buried loops, back to the Earth.
The biggest factor to evaluate is cost. Ground source heat pumps, as shared above, have an inside heat pump unit similar in size and cost to traditional units. In addition, they have an underground vertical or horizontal loop system which adds to the up-front cost. That said, the amount saved in monthly operational costs more than offsets the higher installation expense. The larger upfront investment can be recovered in energy savings in 5-10 years or less. A more specific estimate can be calculated based on what other system you are considering. Several online tools are available to help estimate this.
Other benefits of ground source heat pumps include lower maintenance expenses and higher life expectancy when compared to traditional units. In addition, ground source heat pumps will help reduce your hot water expense by transferring latent heat available in the operation process.
Upfront investment evaluation
We recommend choosing a qualified contractor for your install and visiting with us before you start the process. Our team can help you with further evaluation of your investment. We are also equipped to assist in proper sizing of the unit, which can potentially save in the initial cost by avoiding the installation of an oversized unit.
Another offset to the upfront cost is available through a 30% tax credit for installations performed from the year 2022 through 2032. Learn more about this on Page 3 of this issue. The tax credit can be combined with an $850/ton rebate available through Callaway Electric for qualified ground source installations. Reach out to our member service team to ensure you meet the qualifications.
If you are considering building a new home or updating an existing one, I encourage you to research more about ground source heat pumps. The up-front investment will bring long-term benefits to your family’s comfort and your pocketbook. Keep in mind the member service team at Callaway Electric is here to help you further evaluate the ground source heat pump and other energy efficient building options.
Learn more about Ground Source Heat Pumps at callawayelectric.com/ground-source.