Energy is a hot topic these days. It seems like we are always talking about how high the cost of living is and how nice it would be if we could find alternate sources of energy. Well, now we have the technology for at least one more option for energy in our homes. According to WaterFurnace International Inc., geothermal energy (stored solar energy in the ground) is available to millions of homeowners; all homeowners need is a little “earth” to work with, such as their backyard. Geothermal systems can even be bought off the shelf. It does cost twice as much to install a geothermal unit instead of conventional heating and cooling systems, but the geothermal units are four times more energy-efficient. This renewable resource can cut your energy bill significantly, and homeowners are not the only ones noticing. In August, Google announced that it was investing $10 million in “enhanced” geothermal systems, which it labeled as one of the most promising forms of renewable energy. The same day, New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced an alternative energy plan for New York City.
Interested in saving 25 to 60 percent on your energy bill this year? I bet you are. According to this New York Times article, savings like these have created a surge of interest in geothermal heating and cooling systems. System manufacturers have a backlog of orders and one small business owner is forecasting his company will grow by 40 percent this year. It's easy to see why; in terms of savings, geothermal heating and cooling systems deliver the most bang for your buck, typically paying for themselves in three to eight years, even without financial incentives from government and energy companies.