Hybrid offers better value over Geothermal

Location: Barrie, Ontario

Home size: 2500 sqft
Insulation: 2×6 with R-23 BIBS, R-50 attic, foam attic seals, foam box sills
Heat Load: 79,245 Btuh
Cooling Load: 53,400 Btuh
Electric Cost: $.15
Propane Cost: $0.70 / Titre

Conventional Electric Furnace & A/C
Lennox CBX26UH air handler with electric elements
Lennox 13 SEER air conditioner
Rebates $0
Purchase price $4,800
Total operating cost per year $3,932

Lennox Signature Hybrid Heat System
Lennox SLP98 Variable speed 98% AFUE
Lennox XP17 Heat pump COP 2.54
Rebates up to $2,690
Purchase price $10,500
Total operating cost per year $2,710

WaterFurnace Geothermal System
WaterFurnace Envision ND064 ECM w/ horizontal 2 pipe .75″ PE
7 foot depth and 200ft of trench/bore
Electric auxiliary internal duct heat 11kW
Rebates up to $4,375
Purchase price $34,626
Total operating cost per year $2,195

Although the purchase price of the electric furnace and air conditioner is much less than the two higher priced systems, the operating costs is astronomically higher. When you factor in the 45% increase we will be seeing in electricity prices, this option isn’t viable.

The hybrid system is very attractive. With the available rebates the purchase price can be as low as $6,810. This system also offers good performance. Since this system is equipped with a propane furnace, the set point in which the heat pump is utilized can be optimized to meet the increase in electricity cost which will maximize system efficiency.

While the geothermal system offers the lowest operating cost, the initial cost is quite expensive. Without factoring in the increase in electricity cost it would take 44 years to pay off the difference between a hybrid system and a geothermal.

In my opinion the best system of choice is a hybrid propane furnace and heat pump. The initial investment is affordable, the energy savings are significant and you can hedge your risk of rising utilities cost by having a duel fuel system. With the extra cash in hand, I would invest in an ETF and enjoy the 7% return on my investment.