Climate Progress scoops N.Y. Times on geothermal heat pumps

Okay, “scoops” may be a tad strong. But is it just a coincidence that the NYT published a long piece on the $2.5 billion geothermal heat pump industry, “With Energy in Focus, Ground-Source Heat Pumps Win Fans,” just a week after my post on “The ‘other’ geothermal grew 33% in 2006”?

Also, my GHP diagram was considerably more informative, though much less eye-grabbing, than the NYT photo:

For those interested in building such a system, the NYT piece does provide a nice link to all the government and utility incentives available around the country incentives for renewable energy installations — The piece also answer some questions that readers posed here — namely what is the payback for GHPs?

And even without financial incentives from the government or energy utilities, says John Shonder of the Energy Department’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, “ground-source heat pumps have the lowest life-cycle costs in several cost studies that I’ve done” of heating and air-conditioning systems….


The systems pay for themselves in three to eight years, depending on “location and energy prices,” Mr. Shonder said.

In fact, heat pump systems may offer the greatest savings to the owners of commercial buildings, says John W. Lund, director of the Geo-Heat Center at the Oregon Institute of Technology. “For commercial buildings, where you have a fairly large heating and cooling load, the payback period could be two to three years.”

As electricity rates and concern about global warming rise, we can expect a lot more stories about this important technology.