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Ground source or geothermal heat pumps (GSHPs) are another way to save money when it comes to heating and cooling your home but are not a well-known option. A GSHP is a heat pump that uses the constant temperature of the earth to transfer heat to and from your home. Technically, GSHPs can be considered a renewable energy source. While GSHPs don’t generate heat the way a solar panel does, they do draw from the heat that’s already collected within the earth.

So how does a GSHP work? To heat your home or business, the GSHP uses a loop system installed in the ground to move heat energy from the ground through piping connected to and powered by a heat exchange unit inside. In the summer, this process is reversed to transfer heat from the home or business into the ground. GSHPs can also be used for water heating at no or very little additional cost.

There are many benefits of GSHPs over traditional heating/cooling systems, but they are not ideal for everyone. CREC encourages members to research GSHPs thoroughly to determine if one may be a fit for you before investing in a system.

Here are just a few good reasons to go with a GSHP:
They use 25-50% less electricity than a traditional HVAC system.
Rebates are available, and this year (2021) is the last year to get a federal tax credit of 22% on GSHPs.

They provide great “zone” space conditioning, allowing different parts of your home to be heated or cooled to different temperatures.

They’re highly reliable, using the earth’s stored heat 100% of the time, and completely immune to weather conditions.

They contain no toxic materials.

Perhaps the only challenge of purchasing a GSHP is that you will need adequate space to install the ground loops. While they can be installed vertically or horizontally, both of these methods require room to accommodate the heavy machinery needed for installation. For example, if your home or building resides on a ¼ acre lot, you may not have enough room.  

GSHPs do have higher installation costs when compared to traditional HVAC systems but with the 22% tax credit and the $750 per ton rebate from CREC, those costs start to become comparable.

For more information, visit CREC’s webpage on GSHPs at, the Take Control and Save website ( or call CREC’s member services department (800-392-3709) to speak with someone about GSHPs.  

How ground source heat pumps can help you save