Geothermal Home Achieves Top Energy Rating
PUEBLO, CO - When Bob Adams moved from his 1,700-sq-ft home into a new home here more than double in size, he naturally expected his utility costs to double, too. And they would have, had he stuck to his initial plan of using a propane furnace and propane hot water heater.
Instead, Adams decided to make his new home all-electric and install a geothermal heating and cooling system. Not only is it saving him close to $1,000 a year on his utility bills, but it also helped the home earn a 96-plus energy rating, making it one of the highest energy rated homes in Colorado.
“With a brand-new, all-electric home that’s twice the size of my previous home, I figured I’d pay well over $100 a month for electricity,” explained Adams. “I was wrong. With a WaterFurnace geo-thermal system and a demand controller, I’m averaging less than $100 per month and that includes the heating, cooling, and hot water.”
CONSIDERING GEOAdams wasn’t sold on geothermal at first. In fact, when Rod Ham of West Plains Energy, Pueblo, CO, asked if he had considered using a geothermal system, he laughed. Once he learned about all of its benefits, he started to take Ham’s suggestion more seriously.
Geothermal’s high COP and EER ratings determined by Energy Rated Homes of Colorado (ERHC) also helped convince him to take a closer look. “This system sounded so good that I started researching it and talking to people about it,” Adams stated. He discovered geothermal equipment manufacturer WaterFurnace International, Inc. of Fort Wayne, IN, and liked the firm’s experience and large number of geothermal installations done throughout the country.
Indoor Climate Control Systems, Inc., Pueblo, CO, installed a 5-ton, two-speed Premier system with a desuperheater and Intell-izone four-zone duct system in the new 4,050-sq-ft home. A demand controller was also installed to help lower energy costs by turning off major energy users when the demand reaches a predetermined peak level. Now instead of paying 6.7 cents/kW, Adams pays 2.3 cents/kW.
Other energy-saving features of the home are blown-in insulation (including the garage), insulated basement foundation, and low-e windows.
E-STAR BENEFITSAccording to Ron Mriglott of Indoor Climate Control, the E-Star rating program by ERHC is beneficial to everyone involved. “It helps builders and dealers maintain a reputation for quality and efficiency. It gives utilities a turnkey consumer services program, and homeowners benefit from increased energy savings, comfort, durability, and better resale value.”
Because of larger monthly savings, homeowners also qualify for a bigger mortgage loan.
After living in the home for three years now, Adams says he’s a satisfied customer. “The Water-Furnace system delivers better comfort. And because it operates at a lower temperature, it doesn’t have the temperature swings that natural gas furnaces do. It’s a better system and it has saved me a lot of money.”
Publication date: 01/29/2001