Roanoke Rapids music teacher Kim Terpening never lives for the moment, and her new music studio is going to reflect that.

“Everything I do now impacts me in the future,” Terpening said. “I’m always living in the future.”

To benefit that future, Terpening has always looked, throughout her life, toward environmentally-friendly living. As she builds her music studio on Riverside Trail in Roanoke Rapids, she has chosen an alternative energy source for the heating and cooling unit, a geothermal heating and cooling system.

Geothermal heat pumps, sometimes called GeoExchange or earth-coupled pumps, utilize the constant temperature of the earth to provide the heat and coolness, as opposed to using the outside air, as with a conventional system. Terpening had a 350-feet well dug in the ground and had two 700-feet loops of pipes with glycol put into the well. In hot weather, the unit exchanges with cool air, and with cool weather, it takes heat out of the ground.

The result, Terpening said, is a 300-600 percent efficiency system, as opposed to the traditional 175-250 percent for a conventional system. Terpening also said it benefits everybody by taking her studio off the power grid for heating and air.

Terpening got the idea to pursue this avenue at April’s Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Expo, where one of the displays discussed geothermal exchange units. After researching the option, Terpening moved forward with the installation, which, she said, fit into her environmental sensibilities and will allow her to educate her music students on how the facility is being heated.

“The building will be used for a lot of kids,” Terpening said. “Kids are curious. If I can educate children on green energy and save money, it’s a win-win.”

As for her savings, Terpening will be getting a 35-percent tax rebate from North Carolina and a 30-percent rebate off federal taxes for installing the green unit.

With those rebates, she said, the unit will cost $1,500 less than a conventional heat pump would have cost, and will lower her electric bill by 75 percent.

In another bit of environmental consciousness, Terpening is using the wood from a pine tree she had to cut down for flooring in the studio. All of this, she said, promotes the idea of harmony.

“We build something from trees, and it comes from the earth,” Terpening said.

“So why not complete the circle and get the energy that brings the project to life from the earth?”