October 27, 2010
Original story posted on Monster Commercial: http://www.monstercommercial.com/funeral-home-cuts-utility-bills-in-half-with-geothermal/
Monster Commercial learned that Randy Briercliffe, owner of Transcona Funeral Home in Winnipeg, had set up a GeoSmart geothermal system at his business. We contacted him to get some feedback on how the system was working out and how much money he has saved by putting in the system.
Transcona Funeral Home is a large A-Frame building that Randy’s father built. It looks like a church, and is not the most energy-efficient building by design. There is a thirty foot ceiling in the chapel area. With seating for 200 people, with a large crowd the temperature goes up drastically. The geothermal system reacts quickly enough that temperature doesn’t vary by more than 2 degrees. Even in winter, the air conditioning cuts in to keep everyone cool when there is a crowd, something that would have not been possible with their old system.
The Briercliffe’s did a geothermal installation at their house the year after, where Randy says it “made a world of difference”.
MC: When was your system installed?
RB: August 2008.
MC: What system did you end up purchasing?
RB: We installed the Premium G water to air geothermal unit, made by Geosmart. We did retrofits on one area that didn’t have heat, plus we dug a return well as it was an open system.
There are four heat pumps in total. Two six-ton, one four-ton, and one 2.5 ton heat pump, along with the plumbing that went along with everything in the system. Digging the well was big expense, but we didn’t want to tear up our parking lot to install a ground loop system.
MC: What tangible financial benefits did you realize as a result of the geothermal installation?
RB: We were watching the costs of natural gas rise eight to ten percent year over year for a period of four years, and were getting worried about the ongoing operating costs for the business with such huge increases. Given the potential long-term cost savings, we made the decision to proceed with the geothermal installation.
Since the installation, we’ve cut utility costs in half, which has made a huge difference. Before we installed the system, $8200 was our average annual cost for heating and cooling bills. They were averaging $700.00 a month. Now, with the geothermal system, those costs are averaging $340.00 per month. Air conditioning is everywhere, where before it was limited for capacity. Air conditioning is more efficient on geothermal.
We are using no more natural gas except for the hot water in our dishwasher. Now, we are just getting charged the basic charge of 30.00 per month.
The cost of installing the system and retrofitting the building with ventilation and plumbing was, in total, around $82,000. That is a twenty year payback assuming no cost increases on utilities and under current economic analysis. With the 8-10% increases that we were seeing year over year on those utilities, the payback time for the cost of the system may actually be less.
MC: Do you have anything else to add about your system that would be of interest to other business owners considering the same move?
RB: Research installers in your area. We talked to three, all had different ideas, and some couldn’t address certain areas of our building. We settled on the installer who could address our problem areas, and their quote was in the same ballpark as the others.
Be careful with your utility bills and notify the utility that you will be installing a geothermal system. The gas company estimated our billing based on previous use, so it took a while to get our utility bills straightened out to where they had to be. Make sure you’re getting billed what you should be getting billed.
Look carefully into incentives available from various levels of government. Installers may know about some of them, but not necessarily all. We got a grant for 10% of the value of the heat pump itself, which amounted to $4000-5000.
For more on Geothermal energy, visit the Canadian GeoExchange Coalition at http://www.geo-exchange.ca/en. Watch Monster Commercial for more articles on this exciting technology.
By Angela West, Editor, Monster Commercial. firstname.lastname@example.org.