Scandia Contractors

John-David Thulin
       Southampton, New York
           (631) 259-3374
    info@geothermalsystems.net

News

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the United States federal government has approved a 30% tax credit for homeowners installing a qualified geothermal system from 2008 to 2016. Unlike prior legislation, there is no maximum credit amount. There truly has never been a better time to install a geothermal heating and cooling system.

Welcome to Scandia Contractors 

 

Every Long Islander wants to save money on their heating and cooling bills.  With energy costs on our minds, today's consumers demand more efficient technology in their equipment.  Technological breakthroughs have made geothermal systems some of the most efficient, reliable, and affordable heating and cooling systems on the market today.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, homes with geothermal systems can expect to save between 50-70% on their heating bills and 20-30% on their cooling bills annually.

Just a few feet under your yard is an abundant, clean and free source of energy.  The energy underground is called Geothermal.  Simply put, Geo (earth) + thermal (energy) = Geothermal aka Earth energy.  Our planets constant surface temperature is the free renewable energy source that these systems capitalize on. 

A geothermal system is designed to gather this energy to heat and cool your home for much less than oil, propane or natural gas with no combustion, no outside equipment, give you better indoor comfort, and is environmentally friendly. Millions of Americans are not only helping to save our planet and get off foreign oil, but are creating new jobs here in America. Indirect vs. Direct

Although geothermal technology is often overlooked by the mainstream "green" movement due to its lack of a visual effect, these systems often provide a faster return on investment compared to solar and wind.  Geothermal, Solar, and Wind technologies all do the same thing, they gather a renewable energy source. Since Solar and Wind create electricity and geothermal systems use electricity to gather the Earth's energy, they all work well together. Combining a geothermal system with other renewable energy technologies will further reduce your energy bills.  

-By using a super efficient electric heat pump, (geothermal heat pump), and capturing the earths energy using an earth heat exchanger is how it's done.

-Installations costs here on Long Island benefit from the help of today's Federal Income Tax credit (in effect until 2016) and Long Island Power Authority rebates, which now makes it comparable in cost to conventional (oil, propane, natural gas) heating and cooling systems.

-Operating costs are significantly less due to the fact that we are not consuming carbon -based fuels to provide heat, we simply move the heat from where it already exists, from underground.   It's economically more feasible to move existing energy than it is to create heat energy. Compare your fuel costs using this Department of Energy spreadsheet The operating costs for the geothermal system is just the cost to run the equipment.

-Maintenance costs are much lower due to reliability of the heat pump, which has less parts than conventional systems, needs no cleaning like oil equipment because it creates no toxic by-products/gases and one unit both heats and cools.

-The geothermal system delivers exceptional heating and cooling to your home through conventional methods like duct work or radiant heat.  Distribution System.

-A unique feature only available to the geothermal system is hot water generation whereby the excess heat energy from the geothermal heat pump is transferred into your hot water system saving more money on hot water costs.

With a geothermal system, you'll be able to harvest the energy under your home and slash your energy bills, get better comfort, eliminate the outside air conditioning equipment in your yard, and increase the value of your home while doing something positive for the environment.  

Please call or email us today to discuss how we can help you and your family enjoy the benefits of a geothermal system.  To this link to learn more about us, Scandia Contractors    




Free Renewable Energy

It's a fact that the sun heats the earth everyday it shines; solar energy is absorbed into the earth as thermal energy. Nearly half the solar energy our planet receives is absorbed into the earth.  Everyone knows it's always warm under ground.  Man has known this fact since the beginning of time. The biggest "solar collector" on earth is the earth.  There already exists a massive, never ending amount of earth energy.  If you own your home, you already own the energy under your home.  

The basic principle behind geothermal technology is that heat always wants to move to a colder place.  It's a type of capillary action, opposites always attract each other.    

We live in a climate where outdoor temperatures range from 10 F to 90 F degrees; remember the earth's temperature is constant 52F degrees, right in the middle.   The difference in temperatures gives us the ability to transfer the heat energy to and from, wherever we want it and don't want it.

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Direct v. Indirect Geothermal

Here in the United States, we currently use both direct and indirect methods to capture the earth's energy.  In the West, large scale direct geothermal facilities use wells drilled deep (3-5 mile) into the earth to tap into the super heated lavers of the earth.  The pressure is so high that injected water boils thereby turning huge electrical generating turbines.  The indirect geothermal method focuses on the energy that exists in the outer layer of the earth which is just a few feet below the surface.  Four feet down, no matter how cold it is on the surface, the ground doesn't freeze. 

Both the Direct and Indirect Geothermal industries here in America also contribute to providing new jobs in manufacturing, distribution, training, service and installations on national, state and local levels.

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Heat Pump

The heat pump is a reliable technology we've been using for over 80 years. We use heat pump type devices in our every day appliances such as the kitchen refrigerator, a/c window unit, freezers, etc.  A heat pump is an electrical device that moves heat energy from one place to another; they don't create heat energy and require no fossil fuels.  If you own a refrigerator, you already own a heat pump.

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Geothermal System

A well designed/installed geothermal system has 4 components that work together and provide years of excellent performance and comfort.  In order for the system to work properly, the energy needed to be moved away from one place must be absorbed into another place.  

A Geothermal system has 4 major components:

1.      The geothermal heat pump

2.      The distribution system

3.      The domestic hot water generation

4.      The earth heat exchanger


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Geothermal Heat Pump

What makes a geothermal heat pump different from other heat pumps is how the unit interfaces with the ground energy. 
In the winter months, the geothermal system uses the earth's energy as a heat source.  In the summer months, it removes the unwanted heat and humidity form your home, transferring that energy underground and the result is cooling/air conditioning.  When providing air conditioning, the unit automatically reverses itself and removes the heat from your home. One unit for heating and cooling.

Here's where we can get technical - a "heat pump" is a vapor compression machine that uses a refrigerant to move heat from one place to another.  It has the same components contained in your refrigerator has; it has a compressor, condenser, an expansion valve, and an evaporator.

In simplest terms, the unit begins to heat once the compressor has been energized and it starts the flow of refrigerant throughout the system in a continuous circle.   The refrigerant leaves the compressor as a superheated, high pressure vapor rich with energy.  Then to the reversing valve which directs the refrigerant where we want it.

While in the heating mode, the super heated vapor heads to the fan coil (condensing coil) and the fan pushes all the heat energy out of the gas right into your home.  The gas is now is so void of heat; it is actually in the state of sub cooling.  The sub cooled fluid heads to the ground water coil (evaporator) where it picks up the warmer earth temperature, then back to the compressor to become super hot again and the cycle repeats itself. The process continues until enough heat energy is put into your house to satisfy the thermostat.  In the summer, the process is reversed; the heated gas leaving the compressor heads over to the water coil (now the condenser) and rejects its energy to the earth loop.  The refrigerant is now very cold and is moving to the air coil (now the evaporator) and the fan now blows dry, cool air.  Dehumidification levels are superior due to the combination of the units oversized fan coil and the variable speed motor which can lower the air speed, drawing more water out of the air than compared to the smaller fan coil sizes in conventional air conditioning equipment.

Here where the higher efficiencies come in.  Since a geothermal system does not create energy, it just moves it.The geothermal unit is 300-400% efficient, it makes more energy than it consumes. It's like paying for one "unit"of electrical energy from the power company and getting three "units" for free.    Since the units create no combustion and cause no threat of carbon monoxide gases because they don't burn a fuel like oil or gas.   Indoor air comfort is superior to conventional systems because the equipment runs longer, distributing the heat (or cool) more evenly, and moves more air flow per hour which helps eliminate the cold areas.   


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Distribution Systems


The term "distribution systems" refers to the method of transferring the heat or cool into your home. The geothermal heat pump distributes heating and cooling like most conventional heating and cooling system you are already familiar, primarily with duct work or radiant in-floor heat tubes. Current energy codes require a higher standard of installation for new homes.  Thankfully, installation standards for duct work have also been raised in an effort to save energy.

For existing homes wanting to convert to geothermal, in most cases the existing duct work in your home can be used, however, modifications to duct work such as resealing,  re-insulating, etc. may be needed.  Keep in mind that homes' whose duct work was designed for heating only, will have smaller than required duct work.  Homes with existing central air conditioning have larger size ducts and can hold the necessary volume of air required to heat and cool.  However, base board radiators require high levels of heat energy; a geothermal heat pump cannot provide the higher water temperatures (180 F) alone, but can be added to assist an existing conventional boiler system.


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Hot Water Generation

A unique feature to the geothermal heat pump product is free supplemental hot water generation (also known as the desuperheater option).  Excess heat is moved from the geo unit into your hot water system saving money by causing your hot water system to cycle less often.  A separate heat exchanger in the geo unit moves heat from the refrigeration system safely into your water tank.  In the summer, the hot water generation option is even more efficient as it accumulates a portion of the heat removed from your house.  However, you will still need a primary source of hot water, (electric, gas, propane or oil) to provide hot water when the geo system is not running.   Energy conservation measures have caused manufacturers of hot water heaters to build more efficient units.  A popular European design is the tank less or point of use hot water heater.  These units store no water and have no tank.  As cold water enters the unit, a small boiler heats up the water

to the desired 120 F range.  This design makes sense because keeping a tank of hot water at 120F when no one is home is like keeping your car running in the driveway when you are not using it.  The geo unit's desuperheater will raise the incoming water temperature to the tank less unit thereby requiring less energy to achieve the desired 120F output.  


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The Earth Heat Exchanger

The Earth heat exchanger is the part that raises the most questions, how does it work?  Which one is right for my home?  How much of my yard is needed? Here is where the transfer of earth energy takes place, the most distinguishing factor that sets geothermal systems apart from all other heating and cooling systems. There are 6 types of earth heat exchangers we have used throughout the country. Divided into two broad categories- "Closed Loops" (4) and "Open Loops" (2) types.  (read more on Open and Closed loops here)

I. Open loop- ground water from standard water well is pumped directly to the geothermal heat pump. This system have the highest efficiency's compared any closed systems because the ground water is approx. 52 F all year.  However, water quality may be a maintenance issue. There are 2 types of Open loop systems:

1. Supply well/return well - uses two common water wells with a min. 50' of separation.      

The supply well pumps the ground water through the geothermal unit then into the second well back down to the aquifer.  Long Island is well suited for a geothermal system due to the ease of drilling and the abundance of ground water.  Open loop cost is generally one third the cost of a closed vertical loop, therefore the open loop method is often the first choice when evaluating projects on Long Island.  Closed vertical loop systems also work well here due to the ease of drilling in sandy soil but are more costly in materials and labor.

2. Standing columns- combine both open and closed system technologies.  They require a 6" or greater diameter well where water is pumped from the upper portion and recharged back down to the bottom of the casing.  Water is automatically bled off and fresh water is drawn into the column when temperatures are either too warm or too cold depending on the season and systems operating efficiencies.

II. Closed loop- plastic pipes use a non-toxic, water based solution that is circulated without direct physical contact with the earth, and therefore, it is considered closed. The plastic pipe used is the same quality the gas industry uses for underground gas lines.  In many cases, we can design and adjust the size and foot print of the loop field to accommodate future site improvements (secondary structures, pools, parking lots, etc.)  They aren't as efficient as open loops, but maintenance is quite low.  

          1. Vertical- then two plastic pipes, connected together at the bottom, is inserted into a 5" bore hole.  To remove unwanted voids, gaps and air spaces, a clay    based grout solution is pumped in to completely fill the hole.

          2. Horizontal - the same plastic pipe is laid out into backhoe trenches in various configurations depending on available land.   

          3. Slinky - are stretched out coils of plastic pipe tied together and laid into trenches.

          4. Lake loops - coils of plastic pipe that are submerged into a private lake or a manufactured flat plate heat exchanger is used.

The number of feet of underground pipe needed to work properly is a function of the systems calculated "heat of rejection/extraction" value.  In other words, over sizing the loop field is costly; the goal is to design the most efficient ground loop to support the proper comfort levels for the home.    

In the northeast, vertical loops are used for applications ranging from residential to commercial applications. However, one location may have an ample supply of acceptable quality/quantity ground water.  Additionally, that area may also have favorable soil conditions for trenching; in this case, a horizontal or Slinky loop may be used.  Conditions in Long Island are favorable for both open systems and closed vertical systems, but horizontal closed loops are impractical due to the sandy soil conditions.  

Soil conditions can also vary dramatically from region to region and state to state. For example, New Hampshire (the granite state) will see mainly standing columns and closed vertical loops will be the norm. Solid rock is a great conductor of heat is fairly easy to drill using the proper equipment. What works in one region of the country may not work in another region

There are many variables to consider when choosing a geothermal heat exchanger.  Your specific geographic location will dictate which one is best to use. Some locations may have more than one option; the decision will then be logistical or financial.


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Installation Cost

The initial cost for the geo equipment is comparable to high efficiency conventional equipment; however, the geothermal system cost is higher than conventional systems.  The additional cost is associated with the method of earth heat exchanger is being used.  

New Home Construction example: the installation cost for a new 2500 sqft home on Long Island, with 2 geo units, averages $27,000.  Add the average cost of the wells is $9000, In this case, the Fed Tax credit would be $10,800 and the LIPA rebate would be $2000.  The net cost of this system would be $23,200.

Existing home geothermal retrofit conversion example: The same 2500 sqft home average with properly sized, insulated duct work, installation costs average $20,000; add the average cost of the wells $9,000.  The Federal Tax credit would be $8,700 and the LIPA rebate would be $2000. The net cost of this example would be $18,300.

Existing home, geothermal retrofit conversion with water well example: If your home already has a drinking water well, it may be used for your geothermal system.  Using the same 2500 sqft house with 2 geo units, add the cost of the recharge well, approx. $4000.  The Federal Tax credit would be $7,200 and the LIPA rebate would be $2000.  The net cost of the system would be $14,800. 

With today's Federal Income Tax Credit and LIPA's rebate ($1000/unit), the complete system cost now becomes comparable to conventional system costs. 

An additional benefit for Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) customers is that LIPA will changes your power rate to the lower "883" rate -(Residential, water, and home heating with heat pump), which is lower than the standard "183" rate and gives a discount of approx.15.25% on All your electrical costs.   

 
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Operating Costs:

A 3200 sqft home in Southampton had a total electric bill for 12 months from March 08 to Feb 09 of $4420.41, this included heating, cooling, hot water, all the household usage (lights, refrigerator, TV's, etc.) and pool filter.   During the months when there was no heating or cooling needed, the house spent on average $208.68 month on normal household usage ($2503.77/year).  Subtract the normal household use average from the total bill equals the cost to heat and cool $1916.23 ($159.68/month).  ($4420 - $2503.77 = $1916.23) 

A 3200 sqft home using oil can typically spend $4500/year, (at $3.00/gal) not including any household electric costs.

Most projects see their return on investment for open loops in less than 3 years and less than 7 years for closed loops.  Financially, these systems are the best hedge against unpredictable energy costs.

 
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Maintenance Costs:

Routine maintenance for the homeowner involves simply changing (or washing) the air filters twice a year and replacing the batteries in the thermostat when it tells you to.          

For system maintenance, an annual check up once a year by the installing technician is recommended.  System reading are taken to ensure peak performance.   The Southampton home had 4 parts replaced totaling $75.00 dollars for 10 years of operation. Because the equipment is entirely installed in your home, its useful life expectancy is over 25 years. 

 
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Scandia Contractors:

Scandia Contractors has been providing sales and service to geothermal systems throughout Long Island for over 10 years.   We are Accredited Geothermal Installers, industry/product trainers, consultants, system application designers, we also provide forensic consulting and  remedy improperly installed systems.

Our company's primary focus is to design and install geothermal systems that will provide 100% of the building's heating and cooling requirements using geothermal heat pumps as the primary source of heating.  In addition to new construction installations, we specialize in retrofit conversions to existing homes and can incorporate existing gas or oil heating equipment.  Depending on the existing equipments' condition, we can create a dual fuel, hybrid geo system which can lower upfront installation costs.    We specialize in air distribution and hydronic/radiant systems installed to today's higher energy conservation standards using the most efficient equipment available today.  

We will complete and deliver to our customers their LIPA rebate application and Federal tax credit forms along with the necessary supporting documentation. 

To preview some of our projects, click this link to visit our projects page.  Client references are available upon request.

Call us at 631-259-3374 or send an email to us at info@geothermalsystems.net for a free consultation. 

We're so confident in this technology, we've been using a geothermal system in our home for over 10 years!

 

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