If you're considering installing a GCHP system in you home, congratulations...it's one of the most efficient systems you can find to heat and cool your home. It can also provide domestic hot water or heat a swimming pool. But before you start asking for estimates or quotations, it's in your best interest to ensure your home is as efficient as possible.
By improving the energy efficiency of your home, the size of heat pump and, more importantly, the size and cost of the ground heat exchanger (GHX) may be reduced significantly. The cost savings realized in the size of the GHX and equipment will help offset the cost of the improvements of your home.
And by reducing the capacity of the heat pump you need, the cost of ductwork and/or the hydronic heating system you need should be reduced as well. Overall energy costs for your home will be reduced, first because the home is more efficient to start with, and the heat pump will reduce the lower costs by an additional 65% to 75%.
Another major benefit you will realize by tightening up your home is that the home will be more comfortable. There will be fewer drafts and cold spots. The home will be quieter.
By making your home more efficient you will increase the value of your home. In many regions, utilities and government agencies offer incentives to install a GCHP system. This can help defray the upfront cost of installing a system. When you ask a contractor for a quotation or estimate, ask for a detailed heat loss / heat gain calculation...and ask him or her what will happen if you make improvements to your home. They should be able to provide detailed calculations for the size of your system and GHX before and after you make improvements to your home.
In my blog I'll be expressing my opinions about what I've the learned about ground coupled heat pump (GCHP) systems over the last 30 years. I've been very fortunate to work with many interesting people who are passionate about this technology...engineers, geologists, mechanical contractors, drillers, excavation contractors...in different parts of the world. I've learned a lot from them and will be using this forum to pass on some of the things I've learned and feel are important. Please feel free to use this information if you feel it's worthwhile...hopefully you can avoid some of the same mistakes I've learned from.