Detroit home saved from demo, going off the grid

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One of Detroit's historical homes is being transformed this Earth Day from a condemned home to an energy-efficient masterpiece.

The home on Horton Street was built in the 1800s, but it is getting a very futuristic upgrade thanks to the installation of Earthlinked Technologies, a geothermal renewable energy system.

"I want my house to be eventually off the grid, so the only way I think I can do it is by using geothermal for my heating and cooling," says homeowner Jarmila Senkyrikova. She recently purchased the home, saving it from Detroit's demo list. With the energy-efficient upgrades she's making to the house, one day she will no longer have to rely on utility companies.

Scott Roberts of Roberts Service Company explains how the technology works.

"The heat pump's just a piece of equipment that transports or moves the free energy of the Earth. So, we're not producing any heat, or creating any heat. We're simply moving it from an area's that its unwanted to an area that it's wanted," he says.

The pumps not only produce heat -- they can also provide cooling, making it the best of both worlds in one system.

"Come summertime, the unit will do a real nice job of pulling the heat back out of the house and also pulling the humidity out of the house in the summertime," says Roberts.

And during the cold winter months -- how do heated floors sound?

"The homeowner has decided to put radiant floor heat throughout the entire structure, making the house extremely comfortable in the winter because now your toes are nice and warm when you're walking across the floor," says Roberts.

You're not just saving energy using geothermal technologies -- you're also saving cash. The system costs more up front, but down the road?

"I calculated that the payback period is about seven years," says Senkyrikova. "So, after seven years my heating and cooling will be free."

"For every dollar you put into them, you're going to get $4 to $6 worth of heat out of them," says Roberts.

There's more savings available, too. A 30 percent federal tax credit is offered to people who install a geothermal renewable energy system to their home.

Geothermal renewable energy used to be available only to people living on a large piece of land, but it can now be installed for people living in urban areas, too.