Welcome to Montgomery Green Bank’s Green Homeowners series, highlighting homeowners in the community that have completed a renewable energy or energy efficiency project using Montgomery County Green Bank partner financing programs.
They talked with Maryland State Delegate, Lorig Charkoudian, to learn about why she decided to install a geothermal renewable energy system for her home here in Montgomery County.
Delegate Charkoudian [DC]: I am committed to shifting my home, and the State of Maryland, to 100% clean energy
as quickly as possible! I work on the State policy as a member of the Maryland General Assembly. I work on switching my own home to clean energy by making investments and shifts when I can pull together the funds and financing. The Green Bank makes this more of a reality for me and others in Montgomery County by helping secure financing for these renewable energy and energy efficiency projects!
DC: I recently had a ground source heat pump installed at my house to provide for my heating and cooling needs. This was a crucial part of my plan to move away from fracked gas usage. It is very important that we move towards electrifying everything that we can while we also move to clean up the electric grid by switching over to renewable energy sources. Ground source heat pumps also help reduce our peak electricity usage, or the amount of electricity pulled from the grid during peak use times, like in the evening when more people are using electricity. Peak energy is usually provided by fossil fuel plant “peakers” and is usually the dirtiest and most expensive energy. While there are several solutions we need to incorporate to respond to peak energy usage, such as more battery storage and offshore wind, deploying more peak-shaving technology such as geothermal heat pumps is an important tool in that toolbox.
This geothermal heat pump helps with my transition away from natural gas, decreases my energy usage overall, and decreases my peak usage. My electricity comes from solar panels on my roof, a subscription to community solar, and clean energy from Clean Choice!
DC: I had been saving for a new air conditioning unit because I knew that the one that I had would need to be replaced soon. A combination of the money that I had saved, and the Montgomery County Green Bank’s Clean Energy Advantage program allowed me to get this project done.
DC: I had been following the development of the Green Bank and I was pleased to see more funds directed toward financing clean energy projects. For my project, the Green Bank’s option of having two separate loan terms was important. The current renewable energy federal tax credit is very helpful to make the project affordable, but it does not arrive for almost a year after I pay for the project. The Green Bank offered a short-term loan to cover the amount of the tax credit and a second, longer term loan for the rest of the funds needed.
Also, as I think about what efforts I want my money to support, I know that I want my loan payments to go toward additional financing of green energy projects. Had I gone with a loan from a traditional bank, my interest payments would be going into some larger fund in Wall Street, which might be financing any number of things, including possibly fossil fuels.
DC: I am so warm and cozy right now with my ground source geothermal system! And I was so nice and cool this summer! I like to think of my warmth as Mother Earth wrapping her arms around me to keep me warm, since the warmth in my home is coming from the earth! I am also almost completely off using any fracked gas. Once I replace my stove and dryer, I will be able to disconnect completely from the fracked gas system!
DC: Absolutely! They are very easy to work with and they were very supportive throughout the project.
4 comments on "Delegate Lorig Charkoudian – Why I Installed Geothermal For My Home."
It would be really nice to know how much yard space is needed for this and how much interior piping there is. I’m assuming advances have been made since the early days of heat pumps when people froze during the winter and had to add other sources of heat.
Thank you for this question, you can always find more information at https://montgomeryenergyconnection.org/switch-to-clean-energy/
Here is what we have listed so far:
Installing a geothermal or geoexchange pump is another option for switching to clean energy. (https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/heat-and-cool/heat-pump-systems/geothermal-heat-pumps)
This system takes advantage of the stable temperatures of the soil by transferring heat stored in the Earth into your home during the winter, and transferring it out of your home and back into the ground during summer.
Geothermal systems can be initially expensive to install but typically pay off within 10 years. They are also quieter, have fewer maintenance issues, and last longer than traditional air conditioners. (https://www.energy.gov/eere/articles/5-things-you-should-know-about-geothermal-heat-pumps)
Visit the Maryland Energy Administration to learn how to learn more about geothermal heating and cooling systems. (https://energy.maryland.gov/Pages/Info/renewable/geothermal.aspx)
Read about the success story of one Montgomery County resident’s conversion to renewable energy sources, including geothermal, at My Green Montgomery. (https://mygreenmontgomery.org/2016/retirement/)
Love this. Yay Delegate Charkoudian & Green Bank
We love it too Joyce!!! Thank you for your kudos!!!