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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    171
    We are in the process of planning a new home in Central NJ. Initially, we had planned a Geothermal system, and we expected to pay around $20K over a standard system. We started looking into solar power as well, and a system large enough to power our home would be about $20K after rebates and sale of greentags. We don't have the money to spend on both, but I figure we'll do better with solar in the long run because we can supplement our heat with a pellet stove or electric heaters (taking into account the solar power), and the solar power will cover the electricity to run the AC in the summer. Am I leaving something out in my analysis?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Posts
    1,874
    Not being from your area, and not being there to see the load results.

    I'd say your going to spend more months heating then cooling, So if thats true your going to need to focus on the better heating system.

    Prices are not allowed here, but 20k over a typical systems seems high.
    I'm not that up on solar, but I've heard people heating and cooling their homes around here for $800 to $1200 a yr. with geo.
    Thats not bad at all.

    Are looking into loops or wells if you try Geo ?



    [Edited by Toolpusher on 11-26-2005 at 08:11 PM]
    If you try to fail, and succeed.
    Which have you done ?



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    SW FL
    Posts
    6,287

    Realistically

    How does solar system perform when days are short (< 9 hours) and sky is overcast for 3 weeks or more?

    [Edited by dan sw fl on 11-27-2005 at 04:20 AM]
    Designer Dan
    It's Not Rocket Science, But It is SCIENCE with "Some Art". ___ ___ K EEP I T S IMPLE & S INCERE

    Define the Building Envelope and Perform a Detailed Load Calc: It's ALL About Windows and Make-up Air Requirements. Know Your Equipment Capabilities

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    66
    I would think you are going to need a lot of solar cells
    and batteries to take care of any a/c, even 3 tons.Batteries don't last for ever,more maintenance than geo.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    On Tour or Central FL or Michigan
    Posts
    49
    I doubt you can get that good with solar at that price.

    Remember that with Geothermal some of the elements that are needed would also be needed for any regular HVAC system, like ductwork. The geothermal would also be a good choice for cooling to go with a solar house since it won't use as much electricity as normal AC.

    Solar is something you may more easily be able to add at a later date whereas with the geothermal, there are likely more cost savings to putting it in from the start (like radiant heat is best put in from the start so you arn't dealing with changing floor hights later) or get all the excavation done at once instead of tearing up your property again later.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Vancouver, BC
    Posts
    125

    What's the envelope?

    If you spend $$ on the envelope, you can save/downsize the potential geo-exchange or solar system. In lieu of thinking "conventional" look at a "total comfort system" made up of a water to water geo-exchange system with radiant heating/cooling and a small HRV/ERV setup. Minimize the loads first, then select the best fit mechanical plant. The most energy efficient "system" is the home envelope design and construction.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    171
    The system is $80K, but with $50K in rebates from the state and around $10K in greentags, solar comes in around that price (these are rough numbers). Our heating and cooling numbers are about the same. Comparing our gas bills and electric bills, they are approximately the same. We are quoting our house to be built to energy star standards, and that will help on the load. I'll look into geothermal a little more. The point about adding solar later is a good one, and I can lower a significant part of my electric bill by going geothermal. The cost to go radiant heating versus forced air is too far out of reach for us, unless I am missing something. My understanding is that to add geothermal forced air above a standard system is around $20K, and we dropped plans for radiant heating when we saw the cost difference versus forced air.

    [Edited by bydabeach on 11-27-2005 at 03:07 PM]

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    SW FL
    Posts
    6,287

    Unhappy Nice of NJ to foot the Big Bill

    Originally posted by bydabeach
    The system is $20K, but with $50K in rebates from the state and around $10K in greentags, solar comes in around that price (these are rough numbers).
    NJ will be ALL Solar or geothermal SOON with
    That Size $tate rebate.
    Designer Dan
    It's Not Rocket Science, But It is SCIENCE with "Some Art". ___ ___ K EEP I T S IMPLE & S INCERE

    Define the Building Envelope and Perform a Detailed Load Calc: It's ALL About Windows and Make-up Air Requirements. Know Your Equipment Capabilities

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    NE PA
    Posts
    698
    The price you quoted as an adder for qeothermal sounds about right for a geothermal system in total, not an adder.

    paul

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    On Tour or Central FL or Michigan
    Posts
    49
    Do research geothermal a bit more. And the radiant heat too. Radiant heat does mean addiing the loops in the floor but since it is new construction (so long as it isn't actually started yet) it shouldnt be unreasonable. The drawback on radiant is the added system of loops etc with the up front cost.
    The benefite is it takes less energy to heat the home and I am told it is far more comfortable than forced air heating. Ths should lower the energy needs in the winter when the solar energy will be at it's poorest.

    As for the rebates, WOW, I wish FL would step up and provide something useful like that!!!!!! The only things I found will probably help out to the tune of $3000 but only if I spend like $20,000 and do it within the year or something like that.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    52
    Originally posted by tecman
    The price you quoted as an adder for qeothermal sounds about right for a geothermal system in total, not an adder.

    paul
    I'd have to agree. I looked a lot onto geo & a 3 ton system with new ductwork would be about $13-14k for my 2000 sqft house.
    In floor radiant is nice but you still have to have ductwork for a/c in the summer, so geo seems the better choice IMO. The idea of adding solar later sounds good. If you can, get some of the wiring & such intalled while the home is being built so it makes it easier & cheaper to add it later.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    North Richland Hills, Texas
    Posts
    14,914
    Originally posted by tclynx
    As for the rebates, WOW, I wish FL would step up and provide something useful like that!!!!!!
    Don't wish to hard, you may not like what you get.
    For more insight on how NJ finds the money for stuff like that, check out this thread.
    http://hvac-talk.com/vbb/showthread.php?threadid=90624

    Personally, I would rather not have the soul crushing tax rates.
    If more government is the answer, then it's a really stupid question.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    On Tour or Central FL or Michigan
    Posts
    49
    You have a point Mark.

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