Northeast Utilities in Hartford,
Connecticut, promotes a program
it calls the "Energy Crafted Home"
A shining example of such an
Energy Crafted Home is the Palmer
residence in East Hampton,
It is a two-story colonial with
2,987 square feet of conditioned
space and 3,537 square feet total.
Wall insulation is sprayed foam
with an R-value of 20.
Based on the heat load calculation of 49,614 Btu per hour for heating, and a cooling
load of 30,568 Btu per hour, the system required a 4.2 ton geothermal heat pump - or
approximately 1 ton of capacity for every 700 sq ft of living space to be heated and
The system is the closed-loop type using two vertical 250-foot wells and 1,000 feet of
polyethylene tubing - 500 feet in each well.
In the event of an electrical power outage, the circulating pump for the coil, air handler
blower, and controls are connected to an emergency generator.
The Palmer's system also includes a desuperheater. A desuperheater produces
domestic hot water using a small heat exchanger and water pump located in the
compressor compartment. Superheated refrigerant gas from the compressor, which
would otherwise be wasted, is used to heat water.
This reduces the amount of additional energy required to heat water and it may
eliminate the requirement for separate water heating equipment.
Geothermal System Cost
The geothermal equipment and ductwork cost the Palmer's $10,541, and the ground
loop ran $8,742. The total system cost of $19,283 reflects the high prices experienced
in the northeast U.S. However, competing HVAC systems are also more expensive than
in other areas of the country. The Palmer's received a quote of $16,200 for an oil-fired
furnace and electric central air conditioning system.
The Palmer residence qualified for two rebates under the Energy Crafted Home
program. The insulation, air-sealing, and window measures earned the Palmer's $1 per
square foot of conditioned space or $2,987. The rebate for the GeoExchange system
was $713 per ton for a total of $2,971.
The Palmer's total rebate of $5,958 results in a net geothermal system cost of $13,325
which is $2,875 less than the cost of the competing oil-fired system which would not
have earned any rebates under the electric utility's ECH program.
Most states now have some type of incentive program similar to Connecticut's Energy
Crafted Home program. If your state does not offer a rebate for geothermal heating
and cooling systems you are still eligible for a 30% tax credit from the Federal
government. The tax credit covers installation and there is no ceiling on total project