A few years ago, the water heater at my house gave out. I had recently installed a 1.8 kW solar PV system on my rooftop, and was really excited about the possibility of breaking my fossil fuel dependency by replacing my water heater with an electric one, which would have been powered by the sun. I still had forced air heating that was powered by a natural gas furnace, but knew, too, that that appliance was only a few years from needing to be replaced, at which point, hypothetically, I could have powered my entire house on clean, renewable energy. After some thorough research, I found the electric water heaters at the time to be lacking in efficiency savings, durability, and affordability.
If only GE’s GeoSpring hybrid hot water heater had been developed at that point, I would have been enjoying $300+ in annual savings, and a highly satisfying break of my dependency on fossil fuels. The GeoSpring is an incredibly innovative device. Like the Dewpoint DH9 that pulls water vapor out of the air and makes pure drinking water out of it, what really sets the GeoSpring apart is that it derives heat from its surroundings, and uses it to heat water in its porcelain tank. This process is complemented by electric heating coil elements, somewhat like a hybrid car.
Unlike a hybrid car, though, the GeoSpring has the capability for user control of its settings that allow it to really maximize efficiency….or to really maximize its ability to produce hot water.By setting the control to the energy saving setting, a user can allow the GeoSpring to fully utilize the ambient heating of water. The drawback is that hot water is not replaced as quickly. Conversely, if hot water needs are higher during a certain period, the user can set the heater to high volume production, wherein the electric heating elements are more engaged.
GE’s calculations show a $320 annual savings for an average American. Adding in a 30% Federal Tax Credit (actual credit dependent on household income) means the GeoSpring can help contribute to a healthy bottom line for small businesses and homeowners.
Perhaps more important, however, is the change from natural gas to electricity as the source fuel. What this simple shift does is allow America to shift away from imports of compressed natural gas, and as the infrastructure of clean, renewable energy continues to grow, the future is looking brighter and brighter all the time for an energy independent America.
Scott Cooney is the Principal of GreenBusinessOwner.com, and author of Build a Green Small Business (McGraw-Hill). For other ways to reduce your heating bills consider more efficient space heaters.