A broken furnace is a costly problem that can't really wait to be fixed. A West Haven woman found herself with a failing furnace but wanted to look beyond a typical replacement. Gaye Hyre decided to research solar and geothermal as a way to heat her home and also produce some electricity.
Following the initial sticker shock, Hyre researched different ways to pay for it, and also just how beneficial these systems can be. "The more I looked into it, the more I realized it was the right thing to do."
The way geothermal heating and cooling works is through extracting heat from the earth which is at a constant temperature. In the winter it helps warm a house, while in the summer it helps cool the house. It's not new technology, but it's expensive technology. A geothermal and solar system like the one Hyre wanted to install retails for about $80,000, but that's not what she paid. "With everything I was able to get from one source or another, the liability to us is just shy of $30,000," she said.
How were the Hyres able to get such a massive discount? She says it was through a lot of research. The $50,000 in savings came from grants from utility companies, a break in the sales tax, breaks in local property taxes, huge federal tax incentives and monetary rebates from the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund.
"I was able to get a low-cost loan for it," Hyre said, "it's like a car but you don't drive it off the lot and it doesn't depreciate." The savings won't be realized until the loan is paid off, but the difference in utility bills was clear from the beginning. The monthly gas bill dropped from $400 to $40 and though her electric bill is more, the solar panels make up the difference.
The biggest savings, however, may be for the environment. "We've saved 8,185 pounds of carbon dioxide," Hyer exclaimed.