Geothermal Costs

How Much Does a Geothermal System Cost?

The simple answer is about half of what it is costing you now. This applies to most buildings in Alberta. Add up your gas and electrical bills for the year and divide by two.

There are really four cost factors to consider:

  • original purchase price - usually 3.5 to 4.5 times more than a natural gas system with air conditioning
  • loss/gain over timeoperating costs - usually half that of a natural gas system (simple answer above)
    • inside components may need replacement after 30 years (depreciating value)
    • outside pipe in the ground - replacement after 500 years (appreciating value)
  • maintenance costs - usually 30% lower than a natural gas system.

Good, Better, Best

Generally speaking the high original purchase price is offset by lower operating costs. In other words, unlike a natural gas system, purchasing a geothermal system can pay you a return on that investment. However, be careful, like many other products you can buy, there is a good, a better, and a best.

A Good geothermal system is one that works, but the operating costs are similar to those of a high efficiency natural gas system. Thus, no yearly savings are realized.

A Better system has been carefully designed to operate in an optimum fashion. Yearly savings are realized, but the useful life of components are short, affecting your overall savings.

The Best system has been designed and installed with extreme care. All components are top of the line. For our Alberta climate, the heat pump will be a heat dominant design and will have a stainless steel cabinet with a lifetime warranty. Contact us for a geothermal system purchase checklist in order to understand the features that differentiate the best systems from the rest.

Purchase Price Variables

There are many variables that must be considered in determining the price of a geothermal system.

  • How many cubic feet of space are you trying to heat and cool?
  • How is the building insulated (basement, walls, attic, under the slab)?
  • How many square inches of windows are there on each orientation (north, south, east, west)?
  • Do you want domestic hot water included?
  • Is there a hot tub to heat?
  • Do you want forced air, in-floor, or a combination?
  • Do you want an affidavit that the design and install accords with CSA 448 standards?

Approximating a Rough Cost

The table below is a very rough way of coming up with a cost. The prices are per cubic foot of space that you are trying to heat and cool. For example, if you have a 1 200 square foot bungalow with a full basement and 8 foot ceilings, the total would be 19 200 cubic feet. If you live in the city where the only way to install a system is with vertical boreholes and you want the best system available, the price would be 19 200 x $1.81 = $34,752.

Horizontal (trenches) $1.15 $1.30 $1.44
Vertical (boreholes) $1.28 $1.54 $1.81

Do not take these prices as absolute. Your house may require a system that is very different from the assumptions used in this chart, so we've developed a comprehensive quoting and payback analysis system designed to show you in detail how you will get a return on investment. Please contact us to obtain our estimating questionnaire.