City of Seattle – Home heating fuel costs


City of Seattle – Fuel Costs

Notice the oil and electrical resistance heating systems. Even with a newer 80% efficient oil furnace, the cost of fuel is still more than double the cost of an older natural gas furnace. If I had a house with oil or resistance heat, buying a new gas furnace would be a no brainer. When paying $1,000 extra per year, it doesn’t take long to pay for a more efficient heating system.

But look at that high efficiency heat pump! It costs only $350/yr to heat the house. Because it’s a heat pump, it’s also an air conditioner. By switching to a heat pump,  A/C is included.

Using a heat pump is also the best choice for our environment. Here in Seattle, the vast majority (91% – http://www.seattle.gov/light/FuelMix/) of our electricity is generated from hydro. An electrical powered solution burns almost no fossil fuels and contributes almost zero pollutants to the environment.

If that still isn’t enough reason to choose a heat pump, consider the rapidly declining costs of solar power generation. The installed costs declined from 2009 to 2010 by 17%.  Costs have further declined by 11% in the first half of 2011. Solar now costs less than $6/W installed. Germany and Japan are further ahead, and installed costs there are under $4/W. In a few more years, residential solar will be the cheapest way to purchase energy. Having all electric appliances is preparation for that future.

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