Geothermal energy—naturally derived heat from the earth’s interior—is nothing new, but it could become a mainstay in how nursing homes increase their energy efficiency as more are looking to harness it as a cost-cutting alternative to other heat sources, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Among the most common users of the technology are nursing home facilities that require a constant rate of ventilation. Owners of these buildings would rather spend more money upfront for the geothermal systems, which use underground temperatures to heat and cool buildings, than wear out traditional HVAC systems. Plus, going geothermal can result in significant savings over time.
“The last four nursing homes I’ve been working on are all looking at it,” said Don Hoover of Shakopee-based Associated Mechanical Contractors.
Benson-Orth President Mike Monson said geothermal well fields are becoming more popular as more becomes known about them and as building owners continue to strive to reduce their carbon footprints.
“I think today that even most private, for-profit developers are looking at them,” Monson said. “One big advantage of them is you don’t need a rebate or a subsidy to make them economically feasible, whereas with solar energy you have to.”
Another plus is that unlike wind or solar, which are intermittent in nature, with geothermal “there’s a calculable payback for these owners who use it and put it in. That’s the biggest difference … and that’s why it’s cool,” he added.
While installing geothermal systems can be a hefty up-front cost, manufacturers say that for each $30,000 spent to install them, providers can save $3,000 a year in energy costs, according to case studies—meaning they pay for themselves in about a decade, the article says.
Read the full article at the Star Tribune.
Written by Alyssa Gerace