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Geothermal Can Fill the Gap Created by Moratorium on Gas Connections in Massachusetts

MEDFORD, Mass., Dec. 8, 2018 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- The owners of EnergySmart Alternatives, LLC of Medford have made it one of their missions for the past 8 years to fill a void created by local gas utilities. The Boston Business Journal recently reported that about 50% of Massachusetts has a moratorium on new gas connections leaving developers and builders with limited home heating options."There is no need to delay a construction project because a gas line can't be brought in. Geothermal can easily fill that gap and is cost competitive. Geothermal systems can be installed year round and only need electricity to operate," said Melanie Head, co-owner of EnergySmart. "We work for several developers who have opted out of installing gas lines altogether."Feasible for new and old houses alike, homeowners all over the Commonwealth are realizing cost savings and improved comfort with geothermal heating and cooling. There are thousands of homes throughout Massachusetts that heat and cool for less using geothermal heat pump technology. As an example, EnergySmart installed one geothermal heating and cooling system at a 1,600 square foot 1950s Garrison colonial, single family residence in Medford, Massachusetts five years ago. The home is now heated and cooled for between $600 to $1,000 annually. Before the geothermal installation, it was heated for over $3000 per year with a 40-year old oil boiler and steam radiators. Now, the home has hot air heating and is one of the few homes in the neighborhood with central air conditioning. There is no fossil fuel in the house whatsoever. Another notable geothermal installation completed by EnergySmart is the historic Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House in Concord, Massachusetts. Last spring the old heating system and air conditioning system was removed and replaced with a geothermal. Approximately $4,000 in electricity costs have been saved since the new system became operational in July 2018. The gas bill has been completely eliminated.Geothermal heating and cooling is possible through the use of heat pump technology. A geothermal heat pump moves heat from one location to another taking advantage of the constant temperature of the earth. In Massachusetts, the ground temperature is approximately 55 F degrees year round at depths greater than 6 to 8 feet below the surface. In the summer, a geothermal heat pump extracts heat from a building and discharges it into the ground. In the winter, heat is extracted from the ground and it is released into a building. Unlike air source heat pumps that work against highly variable air temperatures, geothermal heat pumps work with the constant temperature of the earth resulting in very high efficiency and low operating costs.Rebates and other incentives make the cost of geothermal installations in Massachusetts more attractive than ever. "We have found that for homes less than 2000 square feet with ductwork already in place, the incentives can cover most if not all of the cost of the geothermal heating and cooling system installation", said Head. "Many people that I speak with think the Massachusetts incentives are too good to be true and wonder why everyone doesn't install one."There are currently four incentives for which Massachusetts homeowners may qualify:
1.A A A A There is a Federal Tax Credit worth 30% of the geothermal system cost until the end of 2019. That credit decreases to 26% in 2020 and 22% in 2021.
2.A A A A There is a cash back rebate of up to $10,000 through the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. The value of the rebate depends on the capacity of the geothermal system. Additional rebates are available for projects with household incomes less than 120% of the state median income, public or non-profit projects, or affordable housing projects.A A A A 
3.A A A A Homeowners can earn Alternative Energy Credits (AECs) for installing a geothermal system through a new Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources program. Homeowners receive a check six to nine months after the geothermal system becomes operational. The value awarded is based on the square footage of heated space and the value of the AECs at the time of the geothermal system installation.
4.A A A A MassSave Heat Loans are available for homeowners looking to replace existing heating systems. The loans are for up to $25,000 at 0% financing for 7 years. To qualify for a loan, homeowners must complete a home energy assessment through Mass Save. If the application is completed ahead of time, the funds can be available before the geothermal installation begins. For more information about geothermal for new and existing homes and the available incentives in Massachusetts, contact your local geothermal heat pump installer or visit https://www.EnergySmartAlternatives.com.A SOURCE EnergySmart Alternatives, LLC
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