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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 1/18/2006 7:17:47 AM EDT
According to this article from Popular Mechanics, they can pay for themselves in three years in Iowa. www.popularmechanics.com/blog/energyfamily/2217492.html

If so, that seems like a slam dunk project for all us patriots who want to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. I have looked at other alternative energy systems and found that, with tax credits and stuff, solar electrical can be profitable for the individual. (OK, don't give me a lecture about government handouts -- just telling you the financial facts as I determined them, without regard to the morality.)

Anybody have any info on something like geothermal systems in Iowa?
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 7:27:31 AM EDT
The only thing I know about them is that they service the one in my wife's office building daily. The front flower bed is perpetually dug up.
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 7:59:54 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/18/2006 8:03:06 AM EDT by Torf]
They cost a lot to install, and you run them off the electric grid.

Local electrical rates apply, and system and installation will probably run you 7-10k.

Even at 7k, over 3 years, that works out to saving $194 a month on electricity/gas. I doubt that is true for most people. My average electrical bill is $160/month.

Electrical production here is 97% coal, so no foreign oil involved.

All told, it is definately worth looking into, especially if you are building a house and are not near a gas line. A well built home will not waste energy through the insulation, so that is a priority. Then consider a geothermal unit. Expect a 10 year payback rather than 3, and look to replace parts in the interim.
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 8:17:20 AM EDT
Geothermal suffers from the mineral content of the water and disposal of said water, considering the Clean Water Act and local regulations on groundwater and its disposal. The minerals are the big problem as they foul the heat exchanger surfaces, leading to VERY high O&M costs. Even geothermal steam is highly fouling to heat exchanger surfaces.

Now a better system is called closed ground loop where a non-toxic fluid is circulated in buried piping, far below the frost line where ground temperatures are constant. In the winter, this can be as high as 70 F, making for serious energy savings when a heat pump is used. The problem is the size of this ground loop, given most soil heat conduction rates is really crappy, unless you have a shallow groundwater level. Then construction of the heat field is messy and difficult....

It works well for both winter heating and summer cooling, given the fact the soil temperature is very close to the desired sensible temperature. But capitalized costs are still too high compared to energy costs.
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 8:19:59 AM EDT
I had one in my last house - it was awesome. No gas bill in the winter to worry about. Our most expensive electric bill was $120 or so. Luckily it was in the house when we bought it. I hear they are quite expensive to install.
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 8:24:04 AM EDT

Originally Posted By wolfman97:
According to this article from Popular Mechanics, they can pay for themselves in three years in Iowa. www.popularmechanics.com/blog/energyfamily/2217492.html

If so, that seems like a slam dunk project for all us patriots who want to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. I have looked at other alternative energy systems and found that, with tax credits and stuff, solar electrical can be profitable for the individual. (OK, don't give me a lecture about government handouts -- just telling you the financial facts as I determined them, without regard to the morality.)

Anybody have any info on something like geothermal systems in Iowa?



FIrst off, a tax credit is NOT a handout! they are just not taking more of your money! Second, I dont know about Geo thermal, but i would assume you'd need a big hole dug into your yard somewhere? I attended a lecture on going Solar, It seems like a pay big now save big forever after! In fact you can sell your excess supply to the electrical company! But the initial investment is like 40K! depending on your house Etc. And the thing is not that coal is that good but most electricity comes from it and not oil. But i've started to realise that we really need alternatives to oil simply because we are going to run out eventually and we need alternatives. In fact I built myself as a pet project a Steam powered generator! Very cool! as long as you have water and something to burn you can get electricity. It just sits in my garage but hey you never know! Use Google to find various plans and models. Not to be mean, but i kinda laughed when i heard about "oil junkie" Bubbas running out of petrol during Katrina, and i was like DUUUH! Gas generators only last as long as you have gas. Unless you plan on going Mad max you're gonna need something more practical. Anyhew, this whole "peak oil" thing is real and i think it might come sooner than we think. Or at least if Iran boycotts the world we are in deep shisse.
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 8:28:22 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/18/2006 8:28:57 AM EDT by T-blaster]

Originally Posted By rcoers:
I had one in my last house - it was awesome. No gas bill in the winter to worry about. Our most expensive electric bill was $120 or so. Luckily it was in the house when we bought it. I hear they are quite expensive to install.



+1
We are rural and on an electric co-op. With geothermal our winter electric bill is never over $120-$130. Go with a closed loop system.
They are better air conditioners than heaters but it keeps our house very comfortable. It is a very even heat. If I were to build a house that is what I'd go with again.
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 8:28:47 AM EDT
Peak oil isn't real, it is imagined.

www.faqs.org/faqs/autos/gasoline-faq/part1/





The concern about "running out of oil" arises from misunderstanding the
significance of a petroleum industry measure called the Reserves/Production
ratio (R/P). This monitors the production and exploration interactions.
The R/P is based on the concept of "proved" reserves of fossil fuels.
Proved reserves are those quantities of fossil fuels that geological and
engineering information indicate with reasonable certainty can be recovered
in the future from known reservoirs under existing economic and operating
conditions. The Reserves/Production ratio is the proved reserves quantity
divided by the production in the last year, and the result will be the
length of time that those remaining proved reserves would last if production
were to continue at the current level [6]. It is important to note the
economic and technology component of the definitions, as the price of oil
increases ( or new technology becomes available ), marginal fields become
"proved reserves". We are unlikely to "run out" of oil, as more fields
become economic. Note that investment in exploration is also linked to the
R/P ratio, and the world crude oil R/P ratio typically moves between
20-40 years, however specific national incentives to discover oil can
extend that range upward.

Concerned people often refer to the " Hubbert curves" that predict fossil
fuel discovery rates would peak and decline rapidly. M. King Hubbert
calculated in 1982 that the ultimate resource base of the lower 48 states of
the USA was 163+-2 billion barrels of oil, and the ultimate production of
natural gas to be 24.6+-0.8 trillion cubic metres, with some additional
qualifiers. As production and proved resources were 147 billion barrels of
oil and 22.5 trillion cubic metres of gas, Hubbert was implying that volumes
yet to be developed could only be 16-49 billion barrels of oil and 2.1-4.5
trillion cubic metres. Technology has confounded those predictions for
natural gas [6a].


Link Posted: 1/18/2006 8:44:48 AM EDT
I was recently talking to someone who just replaced his three heat pumps with 3 new geothermal heat pumps. He said the cost of the installation was $18,000. That would be $6,000 per unit. I can't see anyone saving that much in 3 years.
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 8:51:13 AM EDT
Just got back from Iceland, most residents get hot water directly from the earth. Water had a high mineral content and smelled like sulphur. Cold tap water was from another source, and tasted incredible.
made sense over there.
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