Fuel Prices: Energy Information Agency (EIA), Dept. of Energy averages for the North-East for 12 months ended January, 2013 except as noted below. (PADD district 1A includes states CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT). Reporting from the Energy Information Agency does not include non-heating months for fuel oil or propane and some weekly heating season data was not available; averages represent available EIA data and market based survey for fuel oil and propane.
Pollutants: Pollutant level measured in particulates (pounds per million BTU of heat delivered). Data from Dept. of Energy, Energy Information Agency, and Pace University "Environmental Cost of Electricity", U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Emissions Characteristics of Residential Gas, Oil and Wood Pellet Fueled Heating Systems Brookhaven National Laboratories (2008). Heat pump and electric heat based on generating plant emissions.
1Geothermal heat pumps, in this case are ground source heat pumps (GSHP) that use moderate earth temperatures in the winter to boost efficiency in the heating cycle. These calculations reflect a published coefficient of performance (COP) of 4.0 adjusted down to 2.9 to compensate for pump energy for the geoexchange loop which is not included in the COP calculation method. Some utilities offer lower electric rates for GSHP applications. Field installation conditions can contribute to further wide variations in actual COP vs. published values. Due to low electricity generation and distribution efficiency, GSHPs deliver net fuel use efficiency that is comparable to high efficiency furnaces. Note: "After accounting for differences in source energy, [GSHP efficiency] is comparable to the rated performance of a high-efficiency (90+% annual fuel utilization efficiency) furnace." US Dept. of Energy EERE Report "Residential Ground Source Heat Pumps with Integrated Domestic Hot Water Generation: Performance Results from Long-Term Monitoring" November 2012.
2When electric resistance is used to supplement the heat pumps output in cold weather, heating costs will increase toward "Electric Heat" figures above. High efficiency Heat Pump heating seasonal performance factor of 8.2 in Hartford Connecticut indicates efficiency of 1.73 from the Energy Information Agency spreadsheet.
3MiniSplit performance referenced from on Dept. of Energy EERE report “Laboratory Test Report for…Mini-Split Heat Pumps” November, 2011. Calculations based on coefficient of performance of 2.0 for weather consistent with winter months in New England. Anecdotal energy bill reductions based on limited space heating and maintaining lower temperatures throughout the balance of the conditioned space, reducing heat loss.
Data used in table: Fuel Oil ($3.31/gallon with 138,700 BTU/gallon and .0027 lbs./MMBTU particulates) November 2014; Natural Gas ($1.97/therm with 100,000 BTU/therm and .0030 lbs./MMBTU particulates) September 2014; Propane ($3.08/gallon with 92,000 BTU/gallon and .0040 lbs./MMBTU particulates) November 2014; Wood Pellets ($271/ton with 7450 BTU/lb and .0582 lbs./MMBTU particulates low ash premium dry hardwood); Heat Pump ($0.177/Kilowatt hour with 3,413BTU/kWh and .0168 lbs./MMBTU particulates) and Electric Heat ($.177/kWh with 3,413 BTU/kWh and .0290 lbs./MMBTU particulates) September 2014.
Notes: Wood Pellet data is limited and not centrally reported. Averages are approximate for the time stated.