After the winter we’ve had, and some of the recent summers, you may be looking for an alternative way to heat and cool your home. If so, in many cases geothermal heating and cooling is a viable option that’s friendly on the environment, and your budget, over time.

Geothermal systems work by using the sun’s energy, stored within the earth, to keep your home at a comfortable temperature year-round. Using a renewable resource, geothermal systems are efficient and non-polluting. They cut household energy emissions by 50 per cent and as such, our federal and provincial governments offer rebate programs to facilitate the installation of geothermal systems.

A geothermal system can be installed by your local heating and cooling contractor. They’ll install a geothermal unit in your house and bury a series of pipes below the ground. An ethanol solution is then circulated through the pipes to pump the earth’s consistent 10 to 15 degree Celsius temperature through your house year-round.

In the winter the ethanol absorbs the ground’s heat and pumps it into the house, while in the summer the ethanol leaves the house warm and is cooled by the earth, providing your home with the most consistent climate possible and can also be used to heat your water and even a pool.

Over the long term, a geothermal system will also provide incredible energy savings. Because you’re using a renewable resource found right below the surface of your home, you won’t ever be subject to rising costs.

If you’re considering installing an earth-energy system, the provincial government offers rebates of  $4,375 to do so, providing it conforms to the CAN/CSA-C448 Standard from the Canadian Standards Association and is installed by a company qualified by the Canadian GeoExchange Coalition, which must also certify the system after installation. For a complete list of qualified companies, visit Canadian GeoExchange Coalition.

If you already have a geothermal system and simply require the replacement of a heat pump, the provincial government will provide a rebate of $1,750 to do so, following the same rules of a new installation. These rebates can be very beneficial when it comes to the costly installation of a geothermal system. But keep in mind that it will pay for itself over the course of a standard system’s 20-year life expectancy by reducing your monthly energy costs by 50 to 80 per cent.

For a list of case studies on a various sized homes in different locations, I recommend visiting the Link Climate Care website where you can learn more about how geothermal can be a viable heating and cooling solution for any home- small or large, old or new.

Photo: ponsulak freedigitalphotos.net

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