Oklahoma builder breaks through geothermal pricing barrier
As often as Ideal Homes clears home-building hurdles, don’t confuse the company for being a track star. It’s just that when the Oklahoma builder encounters a feat too difficult to pull off, like installing a geothermal heating and cooling system that doesn’t quite fit into a homeowner’s budget, Ideal finds a way to succeed.
It’s long been that installing geothermal systems came with a hefty price tag that typically puts it out of reach for many first-time homebuyers. Ideal Homes has managed to lower the financial barrier and making the energy-efficient systems a standard part of the homes its builds, thanks to a program facilitated by ClimateMaster.
The world’s largest maker of geothermal pumps negotiated with Caddo Electric Cooperative, the local utility, to allow homeowners in two Oklahoma City neighborhoods – Somer’s Pointe and The Springs at Settlers Ridge – to forgo upfront costs associated with ground loop field installation and maintenance in exchange for payment of a monthly thermal energy fee.
The way it works, Caddo takes responsibility for installing and maintaining the system while charging customers a permanent fixed monthly fee of $15 to $24. The fee gets offset by the energy savings.
From Ideal’s perspective, the program enables the company to make geothermal systems a standard feature for even its least-expensive homes.
“When someone walks through our doors, one of the first things we try to talk about is cost of ownership,” said Steve Shoemaker, director of marketing for Ideal Homes. “We remind them that in addition to a mortgage payment, they also have to pay to operate that home.
“So when someone tells us that they can buy a home of the same square footage that is $10,000 less, we’re able to show them that if they look at the total cost of ownership, our homes are actually a better value.