Pumping Up Efficiency: Builder Grounds Business on Geothermal Heat Pumps

advice, guidance, support, results

“Even with GHPs, energy-efficient HVAC, low-e windows, and R-45 cellulose insulation in the ceiling, I still came in as the low bidder.”

— David Ritchie


“A commercial builder had the bid to do the entire United Methodist project,” David Ritchie says. “The problem was that builder could not–with traditional commercial construction–build the duplexes at a price to fit in the overall complex’s budget.”

“The general contractor asked for additional bids from about half a dozen homebuilders in the Enid area. I indicated that I would like to do the first model home with geothermal. They said that was fine, but they weren’t going to give me any benefit in the bidding process. Believe it or not, even with GHPs, energy-efficient HVAC, low-e windows, R-45 blown cellulose insulation in the ceiling, and R-16 in the walls, I still came in as the low bidder.”

“I did this by taking a reduced profit on the model. It was a bit of a gamble, but I knew that once they experienced a couple months in the model and saw the energy bills, it would be easy to sell them on putting geothermal heat pumps in all of the units. As it turns out, that’s exactly what happened.”

“In July, August and September, the average utility bill for each side of the model duplex ran about $80 a month. United Methodist thought that was unbelievable, since a comparable home usually runs in the $120 to $150 range. When they started seeing the utility bills on our model home, they went absolutely bonkers, and we built the rest of the homes with geothermal. That’s also when I saw my profits.”

“I had Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co. (OG&E;) do a load calculation on the homespecs with and without the geothermal,” Ritchie says. “OG&E; said if we built the entire project with geothermal, the homeowners would save as much as $100 per month per unit.”

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, GHPs can save homeowners 30 to 70 percent on heating and 20 to 50 percent on cooling costs over conventional systems.

The initial cost of a GHP system varies greatly with local labor rates, lot geology and size, and the type of system installed. On average, a builder could expect to pay between $4,000 and $11,000 more for a 3-ton GHP system than for an air source heat pump system. Due to the investment, GHPs makes the most sense in areas where the temperatures are low in the winter and high in the summer.

Leading the way

Let's build a better world together

Project planning

Design expertise

Great qualifications

Nullam vestibulum finibus sapien, id consequat mauris tempus auctor.


90 Newport St., Natick, MA 01760

83 Taylor Street, Kings Mountain, NC 28086

22 Birch Hill St., Villa Rica, GA 30180

Support requests


Nullam scelerisque leo felis, quis congue mauris tristique in. Suspendisse pulvinar, felis eu facilisis mattis, turpis odio luctus nisi, et ultrices velit enim quis lacus.

Request a quote

[Insert your contact form here]


Vivamus vehicula dictum elit at bibendum. Etiam finibus eros ut urna auctor ullamcorper. Sed at erat eget nisl rutrum ultrices sed eu ex.


Sign up to receive the latest news and trends from our company.

More questions? Get in touch