In May, officials at Pius X Central High
School in Lincoln got a generally good-to-excellent report
card on their building and its air quality thanks to a
federal effort targeted to locating pollution problems
and energy efficiency opportunities in schools.
The effort brought together administrators, engineers and architects,
maintenance staff, teachers, students and others, and went further
than the federal model effort, Tools for Schools, on which
it was patterned.
Looking for a Team
One of the first uses of Tools for Schools materials in
Nebraska didn't just happen. First, the regional office the
Environmental Protection Agency wanted a guinea pig to test
integrating energy efficiency improvements and indoor air
quality issues in the state - to get the ball rolling, if you
will. The Nebraska Energy Office stepped up for the task.
As an inducement, the federal agency offered a small grant and
access to an air quality expert, Bruce Snead, from Kansas State
University. Finding other team members, including a school, was
the next task. Technical partners also included Lincoln Electric
System, Peoples Natural Gas, Nebraska Departments of Health and
Human Services and Environmental
Quality and the Lincoln/Lancaster County Health Department.
The professional team was in place, but one key player --
a school -- was missing. The Energy Office thought the best
candidate would be a private school with a large facility
located near Lincoln. That's when Father Michael Morin of Pius
got a call.
Father Morin expressed an interest and, when EPA reviewed the
team and the project specifics, the project got a go-ahead.
At the Tool Team's first meeting, an idea surfaced that was
not a part of the Tools for Schools model: a survey
of teachers and staff to get their thoughts about energy issues
such as heating and cooling as well as the air quality where
they study and work. Within a month, the results from the
questionnaires were in hand and the school's building plans
had been reviewed.
Over the next two months, professionals conducted on-site
reviews of the building and its various systems. They
collected information on the building envelope, heating,
cooling, lighting and ventilation as well as energy using
equipment such as computers and motors.
A Look at Air Quality and Energy Issues... continued...
A Nebraska High School... continued...
Getting the Results
An early review of the data confirmed the school was
a miser when it came to using energy and only minor
adjustments needed to be made in this area. Based on the
study, Pius X Central High School energy use is 40
percent below the national average for facilities of
its size and type.
The Team ranked the report findings according to importance,
making it easier for building officials to prioritize any
needed changes. Air quality issues generally focused on
lowering air intakes so existing ventilation systems
could function properly and implementing dust collection
in the wood shop. Among the recommendations to reduce energy
converting exit light fixtures to ones with light
turning off furnace pilot lights in little-used
facilities such as stadiums and locker rooms,
sealing abandoned roof exhaust fan openings, and
converting fluorescent fixtures to more efficient
models using T-8 lamps and electronic ballasts.
The Team estimated the total cost of the improvements at
$55,200. The improvements that focused on reducing energy
use were estimated to save $4,000 a year. The cost of some
of the recommended improvements could be recovered in as
little as four months, others might take 16 years.
The Team also recommended such changes as turning off
computers when the building was unoccupied and installing
motion-detecting light switches in locker rooms, restrooms
and storage areas.
Try Tools in Your School
An estimated one-quarter of America's population spend
their days in elementary and secondary schools. A recent
study, Condition of America's Schools by the
Government Accounting Office, indicated that up to half
of the 115,000 schools have at least one environmental
problem that affects indoor air quality.
Students tend to be at greater risk because of the hours
spent in schools and because they are more susceptible to
pollution. Health and comfort are also factors that contribute
to learning and productivity in the classroom.
The Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Kit shows
schools how to carry out a practical plan of action to improve
indoor air problems, at little or no cost, using straightforward
activities and in-house staff. Free materials can be
downloaded or ordered at Environmental Protection Agency's
web site at Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools
The Kit includes a coordinator's guide and forms, nine different
indoor air quality checklists and problem solving materials.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Indoor Air Quality
Tools for Schools is co-sponsored by the National PTA, National
Education Association, Council for American Private Education,
Association of School Business Officials, American
Federation of Teachers and the American Lung Association.
For more information
A complete copy of the Tools for Schools report, including
detailed specifics about recommended improvements, can be found at the
Energy Office's web site at Tools for Schools
Lincoln Middle School is Regional Excellence Winner
Taking a semi-annual, self-help approach
Lincoln's Scott Middle School to walk away with a
regional 2001 Excellence Award in a national Tools
for Schools competition.
This program is sponsored
nationwide by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Modifying the Tools for Schools kit, Scott
Middle School staff and teachers formed not
one, but five management teams of teachers.
Checklists are used to scour the building twice a
year searching for pollution problems. When high
levels of formaldehyde were detected, additional
fresh air was brought in. Indoor air problems were
caused by a nearby illegal construction site fire
that was quickly brought under control. Since the
Tools effort began at Scott Middle School, students'
respiratory system complaints have been eliminated.
Geothermal Heat Pump Installations Likely to Increase
A portion of the geothermal design workshop
was devoted to having participants gain experience in
utilizing geothermal heat pumps in building designs.
Attendees, pictured here, learn that a software
program makes the job a lot easier.
One of the barriers to the use of geothermal heat pumps in
Nebraska has been a lack of people who knew how to install the
systems or how to use these systems in buildings. Because of
a recent series of workshops, those days are over.
During the past two years, the Energy Office has provided
a series of training sessions to remove some of the barriers
to geothermal heat pump use in the state. The state's three
largest utilities -- Lincoln Electric System, Nebraska Public
Power District and Omaha Public Power District -- have provided
critical support for the endeavor.
Sixty-seven engineers and other professionals gained
experience in heat pump design and cost containment
issues at the most recent session held in Millard in
August. One of the nation's leading experts on geothermal
heat pump design and training software, Dr. Steven
Kavanaugh of Energy Information Services in
Tuscaloosa, Alabama, led the one-day session.
Previous geothermal heat pump workshops provided well
drillers and others with International Ground Source Heat
Pump certification courses. Taught by another national
leading expert, Dr. Charles Remund of the Geothermal
Support Center in Brookings, South Dakota, these courses
featured practical applications of the technology so
Nebraska well drillers could become proficient in
The Nebraska workshops were made possible with a
$50,000 State Energy Project grant from the U.S.
Department of Energy.
A quick glance at how much Nebraskans
spent for energy
over nearly three decades, provides a snapshot of the
impact energy use and prices have had on our lives.
In 1970, Americans gathered for the first Earth Day --
called the First National Environmental Teach-In then.
"Bridge Over Troubled Water" topped the charts
and bread cost 24 cents a loaf, eggs were $1.23 a dozen
and a quart of milk was 33 cents. That year, Nebraskans'
total energy bill was $667 million. Sixty percent of the
bill was spent on oil-based products such as gasoline and
By 1976, and after the first of the oil price shocks,
Nebraskans' total energy bill had doubled to more than
$1.4 billion. Five years later the bill had doubled again
to $2.7 billion, after the second price shock. While the
cost of petroleum products had soared to nearly $1.7
billion, oil's share of the total energy bill was 62
percent, not much different than in 1970. By 1997, energy
expenditures hit $3.8 billion, nearly six times the amount
spent in 1970.
A 40-year look at energy use in Nebraska is also one of
the newly updated series that is now on the Internet. In
1960, Nebraskans used a little more than 308 trillion
British thermal units. Nearly four decades later in 1999,
Nebraskans had doubled their energy consumption to 602
trillion British thermal units. (A British thermal unit is
a standard measure of heat energy.) Surprisingly, Nebraskans'
energy expenditures in 1970 were 11.8 percent of personal income,
but by 1997 expenditures had declined to just 9.4 percent of
At the Energy Office's Energy Statistics page. The screen
lists all of the data series maintained by the agency. At
the time of publication, the State Totals, Petroleum and
Motor Vehicle information have been updated. Data in the
remaining sections is based on Nebraska Energy Statistics,
The date of the last modification and the next major update
is listed at the bottom of each data series.
All dollar amounts in the database have not been adjusted
The slowing national economy has re-focused
energy efficiency, especially in larger commercial and industrial
buildings. But, some plant managers believe up-front costs for
making improvements in steam plants in large facilities may be
A workshop scheduled for October 24 and 25 in Omaha will offer
methods to recognize cost-saving potential areas in steam plants
and to make the necessary changes so savings can be realized.
Among the areas covered in the workshop will be operating and
maintenance procedures, fast payback heat recovery and cogeneration
projects. Attendees will also learn the latest techniques for
measurement instrumentation, safety equipment and testing,
cleaning and storage options.
The Boiler Efficiency Institute, which is conducting the workshops,
is the nationally recognized leader in training for optimizing
facility systems to minimize costs. Instructors from the Institute
have presented several hundred cost-reduction workshops on
boiler efficiency and heating, ventilating and air conditioning
plant operation improvement over the last 17 years.
The Boiler Efficiency workshop will be held at the Embassy
Suites in downtown Omaha at 555 South 10th Street. The Energy
Office is a co-sponsor of the session.
The registration fee for the two day workshop is $695, which
includes two textbooks, program materials, computer software,
lunch and refreshments. Lodging expenses are not included.
Attendees must make their own hotel reservations.
For more information, contact the Boiler Efficiency
Institute by phone at 800-669-6948, and by email at
More information about the Boiler Efficiency Institute can be
found at Boiler
The Energy Information Administration, which is part of
the U.S. Department of Energy, has recently revised a portion
of its web site devoted to state-based energy information.
In addition to expanding the content available, the data series
have been updated to 1999 in many areas.
Among the sections modified and improved include:
Petroleum -- product prices, sales and stocks
Natural gas -- prices, production and sales, restructuring
plans and data summaries
Electricity -- sales and revenue for residential, commercial,
industrial and all sectors, restructuring plans and data summaries
Nuclear -- information on the state's two nuclear reactors
Coal -- data summaries
Total energy -- prices and consumption
The revised Nebraska section also includes an energy infrastructure
map as well as links to other state-based resources such as wind
and other types of alternative energy resources. The map of regional
energy markets includes electricity plants greater than 100 megawatts
and the type of fuel used and energy processing and transmission systems
for electricity, natural gas and petroleum.
An Easy Way to Slash Your Energy Bill by 5 to 15%...
Automatic and Programmable Thermostats
In our modern, high-tech society,
we don't think much
about some of the electronic gadgets in our homes. Take,
for example, the ever-present thermostat - a staple of
American households for decades.
This modest device
controls the comfort of your family on the coldest day
in January and the hottest day in July.
You can easily save energy in the winter by setting
the thermostat to 68℉ (20℃) when you're
at home and
awake, and lowering it when you are asleep or away.
This strategy is effective and inexpensive if you are
willing to adjust the thermostat by hand and wake up
in a chilly house. In the summer, you can follow the
same strategy with central air conditioning, too, by
keeping your house warmer than normal when you are
away, and lowering the thermostat setting to 78℉
when you are at home and need cooling.
Heating and Cooling Myths
A common misconception associated with thermostats
is that a furnace works harder than normal to warm
the space back to a comfortable temperature after
the thermostat has been set back, resulting in little
or no savings. This misconception has been dispelled
by years of research and numerous studies. The fuel
required to reheat a building to a comfortable
temperature is roughly equal to the fuel saved as
the building drops to the lower temperature. You
save fuel between the time that the temperature
stabilizes at the lower level and the next time
heat is needed. So, the longer your house remains
at the lower temperature, the more energy you save.
Another misconception is that the higher you raise
a thermostat, the more heat the furnace will put out,
or that the house will warm up faster if the thermostat
is raised higher. Furnaces put out the same amount of
heat no matter how high the thermostat is set - the
variable is how long it must stay on to reach the set
In the winter, significant savings can be obtained
by manually or automatically reducing your thermostat's
temperature setting for as little as four hours per
day. These savings can be attributed to a building's
heat loss in the winter, which depends greatly on the
difference between the inside and outside temperatures.
For example, if you set the temperature back on your
thermostat for an entire night, your energy savings
will be substantial. By turning your thermostat back 10°
to 15° for 8 hours, you can save about 5 percent to 15
percent a year on your heating bill -- a savings of as
much as 1 percent for each degree if the setback period
is eight hours long. The percentage of savings from
setback is greater for buildings in milder climates
than for those in more severe climates. In the summer,
you can achieve similar savings by keeping the indoor
temperature a bit higher when you're away than you do
when you're at home.
But there is a certain amount of inconvenience that
results from manually controlling the temperature on
your thermostat. This includes waking up in a cooler
than normal house in the winter and possibly forgetting
to adjust the thermostat when you leave the house or go
Let The Thermostat Do It For You
To maximize your energy savings without sacrificing
comfort, you can install an automatic setback or
programmable thermostat. It will adjust the temperature
setting for you. While you might forget to turn down the
heat before you leave for work in the morning, a
programmable thermostat will not. By maintaining the
highest or lowest required temperatures for four or
five hours a day instead of 24 hours, a programmable
thermostat can pay for itself in energy saved within
Programmable thermostats have features with which
you may be unfamiliar. The newest generation of
residential thermostat technologies is based on
microprocessors and thermistor sensors. Most of these
programmable thermostats perform one or more of the
following energy control functions:
Store and repeat multiple daily settings, which you
can manually override without affecting the rest of
the daily or weekly program.
Store six or more temperature settings a day.
Adjust heating or air conditioning turn-on times as
the outside temperature changes.
Most programmable thermostats have liquid crystal
temperature displays. Some have back-up battery packs
that eliminate the need to reprogram the time or clock
in case of a power failure. New programmable thermostats
can be programmed to accommodate life style and control
heating and cooling systems as needed.
A Quintet of Choices
There are five basic types of automatic and programmable
thermostats: electromechanical, digital, hybrid, occupancy
and light sensing. Most range in price from $30 to $100,
except for occupancy and light sensing thermostats, which
cost around $200.
Electromechanical thermostats, usually the easiest
devices to operate, typically have manual controls
such as movable tabs to set a rotary timer and sliding
levers for night and day temperature settings. These
thermostats work with most conventional heating and
cooling systems, except heat pumps. These controls
have limited flexibility and can store only the same
settings for each day, although at least one manufacturer
has a model with separate settings for each day of the
week. These thermostats are best suited for people with
Automatic and Programmable Thermostats... continued...
Digital thermostats are identified by their LED
or LCD digital readout and data entry pads or buttons.
They offer the widest range of features and flexibility,
and digital thermostats can be used with most heating and
cooling systems. They provide precise temperature control,
and they permit custom scheduling. Programming some models
can be fairly complicated. Make sure you are comfortable
with the functions and operation of the thermostat you
choose. Remember, you will not save energy if you do not
set the controls or you set them incorrectly.
Hybrid systems combine the technology of digital controls
with manual slides and knobs to simplify use and maintain
flexibility. Hybrid models are available for most systems,
including heat pumps.
Occupancy thermostats maintain the setback temperature until
someone presses a button to call for heating or cooling. They
do not rely on the time of day. The ensuing preset "comfort
period" lasts from 30 minutes to 12 hours, depending on how
you set the thermostat. Then, the temperature returns to the
setback level. These units offer the ultimate in simplicity,
but lack flexibility. Occupancy thermostats are best suited
for spaces that remain unoccupied for long periods of time.
Light sensing heat thermostats rely on the lighting level
preset by the owner to activate heating systems. When lighting
is reduced, a photocell inside the thermostat senses unoccupied
conditions and allows space temperatures to fall 10ø below the
occupied temperature setting. When lighting levels increase to
normal, temperatures automatically adjust to comfort conditions.
These units do not require batteries or programming and reset
themselves after power failures. Light sensing thermostats are
designed primarily for stores and offices where occupancy
determines lighting requirements, and therefore heating
Choosing a Programmable Thermostat
Because programmable thermostats are a relatively new technology,
you should learn as much as you can before selecting a unit.
When shopping for a thermostat, take information with you about
your current unit, including the brand and model number.
Also, ask these questions before buying a thermostat:
Does the unit's clock draw its power from the heating
systems' low-voltage electrical control circuit instead
of a battery? If so, is the clock disrupted when the
furnace cycles on and off? Many homeowners prefer
battery-operated back-up thermostats.
Is the thermostat compatible with the electrical wiring
found in your current unit?
Are you able to install it yourself, or should you hire
an electrician or a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning
How precise is the thermostat?
Are the programming instructions easy to understand and
remember? Some thermostats have the instructions printed
on the cover or inside the housing box. Otherwise, will
you have to consult the instruction booklet every time you
want to change the setback times?
Most automatic and programmable thermostats completely
replace existing units. These types are preferred by many
Before you buy a programmable thermostat, chart your weekly
habits including wake up and departure times, return home times,
and bedtimes, and the temperatures that are comfortable during
those times. This will help you decide what type of thermostat
will best serve your needs.
The following table shows an example of how to chart your
- - -
- - -
Location, Location and Location
The location of your thermostat can affect its performance
and efficiency. Read the manufacturer's installation
instructions to prevent "ghost readings" or unnecessary furnace
or air conditioner cycling. Place thermostats away from direct
sunlight, drafts, doorways, skylights and windows. Also make sure
your thermostat is conveniently located for programming.
Some modern heating and cooling systems require special
Heat pumps are the most common and usually require special
setback thermostats. These thermostats typically use special
algorithms to minimize the use of backup electric resistance
heat systems. Electric resistance systems, such as electric
baseboard heating, also require thermostats capable of directly
controlling 120 volt or 240 volt line-voltage circuits.
Only a few companies manufacture line-voltage setback
The best thermostat for you will depend on your life style
and comfort level in varying house temperatures. While
automatic and programmable thermostats save energy, a manual
unit can be equally effective if you diligently regulate its
setting -- and if you do not mind a chilly house on winter
The Nebraska Energy Quarterly features
questions asked about 6% Dollar and Energy Saving Loans.
Loan forms may be obtained from participating
lenders or the Energy Office.
Loans as of June 30, 2001: 18,391 loans for $140 million
Questions and Answers...
5% Dollar and Energy Saving Loans
Can Dollar and Energy Saving Loans finance
improvements in public schools?
No. Under the guidelines, "only legal residents of Nebraska
may apply for loans and mortgages. A legal resident is a
Nebraska taxpayer, a Nebraska-chartered corporation, a
subdivision of Nebraska government except schools
and state government or a person who has maintained
a permanent residence and lived in the state for more than
six months." Private schools, categorized as a business or
nonprofit, are eligible for a loan of up to $100,000.
I have heard the Energy Office has eliminated
loans for Climate Wise partners. Is this true?
Climate Wise was an effort by the U.S.
Department of Energy
designed to encourage manufacturers and industries to chart
a course for reducing pollution and energy waste in their
facilities. Recently, Climate Wise was replaced with EnergyStarr,
a joint endeavor by the energy agency and the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency, which is a broader-based, but similar effort
targeting pollution and energy use reductions.
If a business, institution, or manufacturer becomes a
voluntary EnergyStar partner or already is a Climate
Wise partner, the company can borrow up to $150,000
through a Dollar and Energy Saving Loan for making
energy efficiency and pollution reduction improvements
in their buildings and systems. The maximum amount of
money businesses that are not EnergyStar partners can
borrow is $100,000.
I've heard there are some costs for
and Energy Saving Loans. What are these costs?
The only fees a participating lender may charge are
out-of-pocket expenses, a physical inspection fee of
up to $50, a loan documentation fee to cover indirect
or overhead costs up to $50, and a 2 percent origination
fee if the term of the loan is for the maximum length
of time -- ten years for home building and system
improvements, five years of appliance replacements --
and the simple payback period for projects requiring an
Is the Energy Office still financing new
The agency is putting new home construction temporarily
on hold while new standards are being developed to include
upgraded energy efficiency standards, construction waste
reduction and incorporation of recycled content materials.
Through June 2001, the agency has financed 89 new homes
with a total project cost of more than $21 million.
Additional homes were conditionally approved for
financing before the temporary hold was implemented.
What must be done to qualify for a
Dollar and Energy
Saving Loan when furnaces fail in the winter or are
"red-tagged" as unsafe to operate?
In situations such as these, the lender needs
the Energy Office with an explanation of the emergency furnace
problem and the specifics on the new equipment to be installed.
As soon as this information is received from the lender, the
Energy Office verifies the new equipment meets the requirements
for a Dollar and Energy Saving Loan, then notifies the lender
that the borrower may proceed with the replacement furnace.
However, the lender still needs to submit
all the applicable
loan paperwork to obtain a commitment of Energy Office funds
for the furnace.
Replacement equipment must not be installed
prior to the lender receiving notification from the Energy
Office that the replacement equipment qualifies.
emergency situation arise when the Energy Office is closed,
the replacement may be installed, but the lender needs to contact
the Energy Office as soon as the Office opens to verify the
equipment that was installed meets loan criteria. Extreme
caution should be used by lenders in these cases to make
certain that equipment meeting Energy Office standards has
been installed and the replacement was a
justified emergency -- the equipment was
"red-tagged," emitting carbon monoxide,
or the heat exchanger was cracked -- that could not be postponed
until the Office re-opened.
Questions and Answers... continued...
Will the Energy Office finance the purchase
of clothes dryers?
It seems like they use more energy than a dishwasher.
The criteria for financing the purchase of certain types
of appliances, such as dishwashers are based on a simple
premise: some appliance models are substantially more energy
efficient than others and have a probable payback of five
years or less.
In other types of appliances there are few differences in
the amount of energy used from model to model. That is the
case with clothes dryers. The technology in clothes dryers
varies little from model to model, so substantial energy savings
are not possible. A second factor is that energy guide labels
are not required for clothes dryers and few companies rate their
If you are seeking the most energy efficient clothes dryer,
select one with moisture sensors, followed by temperature
control and, lastly, simple timers. You can also find more
information on this topic under "product information" at
Energy Star which
is a federal government web site that identifies the most
energy-efficient appliances, products and materials.
In addition to clothes dryers, the Energy Office does not
consider gas or electric kitchen ranges and microwave ovens
as pre-qualified improvements because there are few
energy-saving differences among brands and models. A borrower
can demonstrate an appliance is eligible by submitting an energy
audit showing the new appliance will save enough in utility
costs to recover the cost of the new unit in five years or
less. The Energy Office's Technical Advisor will review the
energy audit and accept the calculations if they are deemed
to be reasonable. However, it is still unlikely that clothes
dryers, kitchen ranges and microwave ovens will meet this
test for the very reasons stated earlier.
Low-interest Dollar and Energy Saving Loans exist to provide
market-based incentives to direct Nebraska consumers to the most
This portal to the world of solar energy includes a wealth
of information on applications of solar energy, its use by
electric utilities, its role in distributed generation, and
the technology behind photovoltaic devices, including how
they are manufactured. Information about codes and standards,
a solar module price survey and a worldwide listing of solar
manufacturers are also available.
Global Solar Partners brings together teachers and students
from around the world to share ideas about energy in a sustainable
future. The site allows students to research solar energy in their
own communities and then exchange information and ideas with students
from other schools. The site's project showcase allows teachers and
students to see what schools in different countries have already
accomplished. A teaching and learning resources section, featuring
a hands-on photovoltaic kit and lesson plans, is also included.
This site is a project of the Association for Science Education.
Kids will enjoy this new site on the Energy Efficiency and
Renewable Energy Network, which rounds up the best web sites for them to learn
about energy efficiency and renewable energy. The site provides links to
information on wind, solar, geothermal and alternative fuels, as well as links
to general sites on renewable energy and energy efficiency. And to keep
the experience fun, an elastic trail of bouncy spheres follows your cursor
wherever it goes!
Information Services and Resources... continued...
One-Stop Auto Information for Consumers
A number of new features have been added to the U.S. Department
of Energy's fuel economy web site: Fuel
National and regional fuel price information. Data from the
American Automobile Association and the Energy Information
Administration on regional and national fuel prices is now
available as well as fuel pricing information and frequently
Vehicle safety ratings. This new feature is provided by
the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration and features methods of finding which
vehicles may perform best in frontal and side impact tests.
Air pollution emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency
has added a feature that calculates the amount of different
types of pollutants each vehicle model emits.
Information Services and Resources... continued...
A new renewable energy web site from the U.S. Department of Energy is
oriented to consumers who use smaller amounts of energy: Consumer
Guide to Renewable Energy for Your Home or Business.
This new web site on the Energy Efficiency and Renewable
Energy Network shows consumers how they can buy electricity
made from renewable sources in their state, evaluate the
environmental benefits of clean power and learn how clean
power is generated. In addition, the site helps you decide
if owning a renewable energy system is appropriate by
evaluating the available technologies, teaching about
connecting to the grid and sizing a system and presenting
the available incentives. A special section on powering a
home or small business with a small wind system is also
included. This site is provided by the Office of Power
Technologies at Office of Power Technologies.
Geothermal heat pumps use the relatively constant
temperature of soil or surface water as a heat source
and sink for a heat pump, which provides heating and
cooling for buildings. Geothermal heat pumps produce
heat more efficiently than furnaces, boilers and
air-source heat pumps. The higher cost of installation
of this type of heat pump is usually offset by low costs
for operation and maintenance.
When a heat pump is in its heating mode,
setting back a
conventional heat pump thermostat can cause the unit to
operate inefficiently, thereby canceling out any savings
achieved by lowering the temperature setting. Maintaining
a moderate setting is the most cost-effective practice.
Recently, however, some companies have begun selling
specially designed setback thermostats for heat
pumps, which make setting back the thermostat cost
effective. In its cooling mode, the heat pump operates
like an air conditioner; therefore, manually
turning up the thermostat will save you money.
In accordance with the American Disabilities
Act, the state will provide reasonable
accommodation to persons with disabilities. If
you need reasonable accommodation to participate
in any program or activity listed in this
publication, please contact the Energy Office
at 402-471-2186 to coordinate arrangements.
Upon request, this publication may be available
in alternative formats.
This material was prepared with the support of
the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Grant No.
DE-FG47-92CE60410. However, any opinions, findings,
conclusions, or recommendations expressed herein
are those of the author and do not necessarily
reflect the views of DOE.