Energy Efficiency

RosenfelEffect_ssjm1227rosenfeld90_300The efficiency of electricity use in California is a 40-year journey that has led the rest of our nation. Since the mid-1970s, our use of electric per capita has remained flat, while the rest of the nation has grown by 50% over the same period.

Title-24 standards have served us well, but California’s not done yet; with new codes calling for Zero Net Energy residential buildings by 2020 and for commercial buildings by 2030. With California’s greenhouse gas reduction law of 2006, we are also striving to reduce atmospheric CO2 to 1990 levels by 2020. This calls for reductions in natural gas combustion on the way to a possibly all-electric economy. Electrolyzed Hydrogen on a large scale might play an increasing role, but geothermal heat pumps are ready today to lead the way in handling thermal loads with clean electricity.

When you combine California’s 33% renewable share of generated electricity for 2020 with the governor’s call for 50% by 2030, you get the double-whammy of reduced fossil combustion and cleaner air. What equipment makes the most efficient use of our state’s increasingly renewable electricity? It’s geothermal heat pumps, which can move three to four times the amount of thermal energy that they consume in electricity. When you use the shallow earth for your thermal battery, nothing is more efficient (or cleaner) than these units.

Geothermal heat pumps contribute perfectly to Zero Net Energy buildings of all types, and they provide the lowest life cycle costs of any heating and cooling technology available for buildings.