Frequently Asked Questions


Geoexchange


  • 1) What is geoexchange technology ?
    • ANSWER: Geoexchange systems use the earth's renewable energy, just below the surface, to heat or cool a home or building. Hot water for domestic use can also be provided with most systems. Geoexchange is sometimes referred to as a geothermal heat pump, or a ground source heat pump. Geoexchange systems are a great investment in your property and also great for the environment. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said geoexchange systems are, "the most energy-efficient, environmentally clean, and cost-effective space conditioning systems available today."
  • 2) How does closed loop geoexchange work ?
    • ANSWER: At 6 ft - 8 ft beneath the surface, the earth's temperature remains fairly constant at around 53° or so in the Pacific Northwest. Geoexchange takes advantage of this constant temperature to provide extremely efficient heating and cooling for your home or business.
    • In the winter, a water and glycol solution circulating through pipes buried in the ground absorbs heat from the earth and carries it into the home. The geoexchange unit inside the home uses a heat pump to concentrate the earth's thermal energy and then transfers it as forced heat through standard ductwork or hydronically through radiant floors.
    • In the summer, the process is reversed: heat is extracted from the air in the house and transferred through the heat pump to the ground loop piping. The water and glycol solution in the ground loop then carries the excess heat back to the earth. Geoexchange uses only a small amount of electricity to operate the ground loop pump and fan. Thus there is no combustion going on in the system at any time like you have with any gas type heating and cooling systems.
  • 3) How does open loop geoexchange work ?
    • ANSWER: The system generally works the same way, except instead of closed piping doing the thermal transfer, you have two wells sitting approximately 100 ft apart on your property. The supply well will bring up water and send it through supply piping into the building or house. There the geoexchange unit does the same thing as in a closed loop system. Once through the system the water is taken outside the home or building in return piping and the water is re-injected back down into the aquifer where it came from. Even though water temp does vary in different areas, generally there is enough heat in well water to extract some thermal properties and transfer these in the heat pump.
  • 4) How much can a geoexchange system save me annually in heating and cooling costs ?
    • ANSWER: Generally these systems should save you 40% - 70% per year on your combined heating and cooling costs.
  • 5) How popular is geoexchange?
    • ANSWER: Geoexchange has been around since the mid 1940's. Today there are more than one million installations in the United States alone. As more consumers become aware of the numerable economic and environmental benefits, geoexchange has seen growth in excess of 20% in recent years.
  • 6) Can I power my geoexchange system with either solar or wind power ?
    • ANSWER: Yes ! Some very dedicated renewable energy consumers choose to make their heating and cooling systems completely green and completely free ! They do this by installing enough solar or wind power (or both), to cover the electricity required by a ground source heat pump.

Solar Power


  • 1) Do the panels need to be mounted on my roof?
    • ANSWER: Panels are often mounted on the roof, but can also be mounted on the ground. Ground mounts are great if the house is shaded, or if dormers or other obstructions limit available space on the roof.
  • 2) Do the panels need to face south?
    • ANSWER: Panels installed facing south to southwest are best.
  • 3) How much solar electric power do I need to power my home?
    • ANSWER: Each home is different, and the amount of electricity you use is very dependent upon your lifestyle, how your home was built, and your appliances. As part of our services, we work with you to reduce your electrical consumption in easy ways. We also will take a look at your most recent power bill and explain how much energy you are using and discuss how much you wish to offset using Solar PV.
  • 4) How long will the system last?
    • ANSWER: Most solar panels have a 20-25 year power warranty from the manufacturer. The rest of the system generally has a 5 year warranty in most areas. Inverters can have warranties up to 10 years. Renewable Energy Resources, Inc. offers a 1 year warranty on the installation portion of the system. We are also available after this time period to assist with any warranty issues between the owner and the manufacturer.
  • 5) What is Net Metering?
    • ANSWER: Net Metering is the regulatory ability to get credit for electricity you generate with solar energy and send backwards through your utility meter. Exact provisions vary with each utility company, but the effect is to allow you to generate excess power during the day, and use it at night, without needing batteries.
  • 6) What happens if the panels are shaded?
    • ANSWER: PV panels should be installed in areas where they get significant shade-free sun every day. Even small amounts of shade can very significantly reduce the output. Our designs and installations also seek to minimize the impact of any shade issues through selection of the proper equipment and good engineering.
  • 7) How does a solar system installed on my home or property effect my homes resale value ?
    • ANSWER: Energy conservation and renewable generation adds value to any home or business. Surveys have shown that for every $1,000 saved per year, approximately $21,000 is added to a home's or building's value. Solar energy can be one of the best home improvement investments you make.

Wind Power


  • 1) What size turbine would I need for my home?
    • ANSWER: This is really best answered based on a homeowner's budget and how much electricity they wish to generate. As a baseline for comparison, an average home uses approximately 9,400 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year (about 780 kWh per month). Depending upon the average wind speed in the area, a wind turbine rated in the range of 5 to 15 kilowatts would be required to make a significant contribution to meet this demand.
  • 2) How tall is a tower for a typical residential or light commercial wind turbine ?
    • ANSWER: Tower heights range from 35 ft up to about 160 ft in this category. The taller the tower, the more energy that can be created. Although many areas have restrictions on how high you can place a tower on your property so it is best to check with your local planning and zoning board before anything else.
  • 3) Is Idaho considered a good state for generating wind power ?
    • ANSWER: Yes ! Idaho is currently considered the 13th best state in the country for wind power.
  • 4) How long do wind turbines last?
    • ANSWER: A wind turbine typically lasts around 20-25 years. During this time, as with a car, some of the moving parts may get worn and need replacing. Our company offers a complete service program for your installed wind turbines.

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