Using a well designed ground source heat pump system will have a dramatic effect on your home’s carbon footprint, and could help provide significant savings on your energy cost.


Ground-Source Heat Pumps are heating and cooling systems that transfer heat between the earth and your home. Ground-source heat pumps operate similarly to a refrigerator, but on a much larger scale. A refrigerator moves heat out of the refrigerator or freezer to an outside coil, which is warm to the touch due to the heat it has extracted. The GSHP uses a more sophisticated version of the same technology to pump heat from the ground into the house during heating, and from the house into the ground when cooling.

Ground-source heat pumps do not burn fossil fuels; they use electricity to run a compressor. Because they take advantage of the stable, underground temperature of the earth (about 50 degrees Fahrenheit in Massachusetts), ground-source heat pumps are the most efficient heating and cooling system available. They are much more efficient than electric resistance (electric baseboard), oil, propane, or natural gas heating. They also provide highly efficient air conditioning.


Provides whole-building heating and cooling in a single, efficient system.
Ground-source heat pumps can use ductwork that is already installed in homes.

Once installed, no equipment is visible from outside your home.


Use the Participating Contractor List to find qualified installers in your area.

Incentives for Ground Source Heat Pumps

Mass Save HEAT Loan

If you’re installing a ground source heat pump, you may be eligible for a 0% interest HEAT Loan from Mass Save. You can finance up to $25,000 over the course of 7 years for home energy efficiency upgrades. While fuel prices fluctuate for many projects the energy savings can often come close with covering the principle payments each month. Find out more about Mass Save’s HEAT Loan program.

Alternative Energy Credits

Ground source heat pump systems installations in Massachusetts qualify for the Alternative Energy Certificate (AEC) program. With this program, non-emitting renewable technologies generate certificates based on their energy production. These certificates are sellable to utility companies looking to meet state-mandated renewable energy goals. The revenue earned from these certificates will help you to further save on your solar hot water or air source heat pump installation. Learn more about AECs.

Rebates & Tax Credits

Massachusetts leads the nation in energy efficiency and has many incentives and rebates available to help make clean heating technologies affordable. Learn more about rebates available from Mass Save, or through the MassCEC. Mass Save heat pump rebates have increased starting in 2022, and eligible air source heat pump equipment could qualify for a rebate of up to $10,000. Learn more about Mass Save heat pump rebates.


The ground loops for ground-source heat pump systems can be installed in different configurations, depending on the amount of land available and whether there is a pond next to a home. The most common system type in Massachusetts is a closedloop vertical system. The system circulates an antifreeze mixture through pipes that extend around 500 feet into the ground within one or more boreholes that are at least 20 feet apart from each other.

The second most common type of ground-source heat pump in Massachusetts is an open loop system. This system exchanges water directly with an underground well. Ground water is returned to the well after passing through the heat pump.

Another ground-source heat pump configuration that is less common in Massachusetts due to space requirements is called a closed-loop horizontal system. Similar to the closed-loop vertical system, an anti-freeze solution is circulated through pipes that are laid out horizontally at a depth of about six or more feet underground. Horizontal loop systems require more yard space than vertical loop systems. Horizontal systems can cost less to install if the digging conditions are favorable. Closed-loop horizontal systems can be less efficient than vertical systems, due to the greater ground temperature fluctuations at shallower depths.

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Your Guide to Ground-Source Heat Pumps


Here are some helpful videos to get you started.