The earth is suffering from the population’s carbon footprint. You can feel it in the heat of the summer. You can see it in the natural disasters clogging up the news. Between 1990 and 2003, Statistics Canada reported greenhouse gas emissions increased by 24 per cent.
Many would like to make a difference in their own household through the use of green energy. Popular choices are solar or geothermal energy.
But the question on the minds of homeowners is whether the benefits are worth the costs. Geothermal energy systems use the earth’s constant temperature of approximately 15 degrees Celcius to heat and cool homes. According to the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association, a geothermal system can cut your household energy consumption by 20 to 50 per cent and create a 50 to 70 per cent more efficient energy.
The high cost of geothermal deters many homeowners as the unit, drilling and installation can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000, depending on the home’s size and needs. However, low operational costs of approximately 60 per cent less yearly make up for this initial cost when the system pays for itself within five to 10 years.
Solar power harnesses the power of the sun and uses it to run your home.
To power a modest-sized home, solar systems can cost between $30,000 and $60,000 for the materials and installation. However, over the life of the system, you will be able to recoup those costs in energy savings. Some utility companies even offer to buy your excess power.
Programs across the country have been created to help homeowners cover the high installation costs of green energy systems. The Ontario government is offering rebates of up to $5,000 with the Ontario Home Energy Savings Program on home energy renovations. Homeowners qualify for these after home energy audits have been conducted.
In the end, it’s a personal choice. Inform yourself before you decide whether short-term pain for long-term gain is worth the benefits to your conscience and the planet.
For more information on greening up your home, check out Green 3D Home.