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Geothermal Heating and Cooling: Sharing Energy with Mother Earth

Posted by Jay Egg

Jan 8, 2014 8:31:07 PM

 

Geothermal heat pump systems bring your home in harmony with nature, while providing the unmatched energy efficiency. They do that by working in concert with the stable earth temperatures to provide heating in the winter, and cooling in the summer.

Much like the way the way the roots of a tree exchange the essentials of life with their leaves and branches, a geothermal system provides unmatched comfort and tranquility to your home and family. You experience peace and quiet, contentment and efficiency while your geothermal system saves energy for generations to come.

Outside, temperatures fluctuate with the changing seasons, but underground temperatures don't change nearly as dramatically, thanks to the mass of the earth. 4 to 6 feet below the ground, the temperature remains relatively constant year round. A geothermal system, which typically consists of an indoor heat pump and a buried system of pipes called an earth loop, and/or a pump to reinjection well, capitalizes on these constant temperatures to provide "free" energy.  Here’s a quick explanation:geothermal heating and cooling

Winter

In winter time, fluid circulating through the Earth loop or well absorbs stored heat from the ground and carries it indoors. The geothermal heat pump compresses the heat to a higher temperature and distributes it throughout the home.

Summer

In summer time, the process reverses, and the cooler earth absorbs the heat from the home, returning cooler fluid to the geothermal heat pump. This fluid is typically cooler than the outside temperatures, providing a reduced load for air conditioning home.

Earth Coupling Options

Just like trees and plants have different root systems, there are several earth coupling options to fit different climates, geologies, and lifestyles.  Your local geothermal expert will know which works best for you.

There’s More; a Lot More

Geothermal HVAC technologies provide many impressive and tangible benefits, most of which have not been marketed in a way that sticks with us. For example, geothermal is among the only "invisible and out of sight" sustainable and renewable technologies employed in home and business today. When the neighbors have a "beautiful and impressive" array of solar PV cells on their roof, an uninformed buyer might reconsider investing roughly the same amount into a geothermal HVAC system, even though financially, the geothermal system makes darn good sense.  So, here are some of those tangible benefits that you only get with geothermal:

  1. Elimination of outdoor equipment (and related noise)
  2. Storm proofing (geothermal equipment is sheltered from storm events)
  3. Longevity of system (a result of all indoor equipment)
  4. Elimination of fossil fuel consumption (on-site)
  5. Superior comfort in heating and cooling modes
  6. Enabling thermal load sharing (pool, DHW, air-conditioning)
  7. Efficiency of system (up to 40 EER)
  8. Impressive incentives and financing (30% federal tax credit)

 It's going to take me a while to get through all of this good information. The good news is that I want you to tell me what it is that interests you most. So go ahead, tell me; which one of the benefits of geothermal systems is most likely to convince you that it's time to go geothermal?

Jay Egg is a geothermal consultant, writer, and the owner of EggGeothermal. He has co-authored two textbooks on geothermal HVAC systems published by McGraw-Hill Professional. He can be reached at jayegg.geo@gmail.com .


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