heat from a geothermal heat pump warms my kitchen as I write this letter. For every dollar of electrical energy that goes
into the heat pump, I get 3.6 dollars of electrical heat. That’s 2.6 dollars of free heat. And by purchasing clean Green
Power from hydroelectric dams and wind power, it’s possible to heat one’s home without burning oil and without
generating global warming gasses.
idea of installing a geothermal heat pump began in 2004 when I read about how the polar ice caps are melting at a record pace
and how atmospheric carbon dioxide was at record levels and increasing dramatically. The possibility of peak oil production
occurring in this decade accompanied by increasing demand for oil in China has made oil prices skyrocket. I watched as Bush set up a string of permanent military bases in the oil producing regions
of Iraq. I watched as our own Maine National Reserve Troops were sent to oil-rich Iraq with the false goals of
fighting terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction. I watched as oil companies made obscene profits while people suffered.
Something had to be done. The freedom we should be fighting for today is freedom from Middle East Oil.
does one economically heat one’s home without oil and without pollution? Natural Gas is a clean-burning fuel but it
still increases carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and contributes to global warming. Solar is good, but there just isn’t
much sunlight available in January in Maine when we need the most heat. Geothermal Heating coupled with Green Power produced from hydroelectric,
wind and solar power met the requirements. Green Power does cost a little more than the standard offer. But even though electricity
is expensive in the Bangor area, my heating costs will be less than heating from oil. Some drawbacks are the high installation cost and that geothermal
heating is not well-established in Maine. To extract heat from the ground, one must bury a large amount of pipe in the ground. Still geothermal
heating is a well-established technology. 95% of new homes in Sweden have installed geothermal
heating. 500,000 units have been installed in Canada and the US.
the installation cost, I decided on a smaller hybrid system that I installed myself for about $3000. I estimated that this
system could produce about 75% of my yearly heating needs since maximum heat loads are only required on the coldest days.
My current oil furnace would provide the extra heat needed to warm the house on those days. As an added benefit the system
would provide low-cost air conditioning in the summer while providing domestic hot water and heat for my swimming pool.
weekends later, twice as long as planned and with a series of intense learning situations otherwise known as correcting my
own mistakes, I had a working geothermal heat pump. On January 1, 2006 warm air came from the register. Of course I am still
on a learning curve but the success I’ve had with this system so far makes me wonder why most new houses aren’t
built with a geothermal heat pump for heating and cooling?