The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has identified geothermal heat pumps as a technology that significantly reduces greenhouse gas and other air emissions associated with heating, cooling and water heating residential buildings, while saving consumers money, compared to conventional technologies.
For every 100,000 units of typically sized residential geothermal heat pumps installed, more than 37.5 trillion BTU’s of energy used for space conditioning and water heating can be saved. This corresponds to an emissions reduction of about 2.18 million metric tons of carbon equivalents and a cost savings to consumers of about $750 million over the 20-year-life of the equipment.
WHAT IS GEOTHERMAL HEATING AND COOLING?
Geothermal heating and cooling relies on an energy exchange between ambient air and the ground. The earth absorbs nearly half of all solar energy, producing more than 500 times the energy mankind needs in a year. As a result, the Earth remains at a consistent 50 F.
During the summer, geothermal heating and cooling systems absorb heat from your home and transfer it to the underground loop where it is then absorbed by the cooler earth. The geothermal heat pump uses the cool water returning from the ground to create the cool, dehumidified air conditioning for your home.
GEOTHERMAL HEAT PUMPS
Geothermal heat pumps use the earth as a heat source in the winter and as a heat storage source in the summer. The ground loop components of a geothermal heating and cooling system can last up to 50 years! This is how How Geothermal Heat Pumps use the Earth to Heat and Cool Your Home.
GROUND AND WATER TEMPERATURES
Ground and water temperatures, 6 feet below the earth’s surface, stay relatively constant throughout the year. This allows the system to provide extremely efficient heating or cooling all year long in virtually any climate. Sometimes the term “environmental comfort system” is used to describe a geothermal heat pump. This happens because a heat pump absorbs or rejects heat from the earth and has absolutely no impact on the environment.
HOW DOES GEOTHERMAL HEATING WORK?
During the day, the Sun naturally heats up the Earth. The surface and underneath becomes heated directly from the solar heat. A geothermal system can harness the Earth’s temperature and distribute heat and air conditioning throughout your home. Geothermal heating systems have their pros and cons, but in the end, becomes one of the most ideal heating systems of the lot. So how does geothermal heating work?
HOW ENERGY EFFICIENT IS IT?
A geothermal system is, on average, about 4 times as efficient as a traditional HVAC system. Depending on whether or not your home is insulated, you may notice a significant difference in your energy bill in the first month of use. If your home is not insulated, then the geothermal system will only reduce your bill by a little bit; however, if your home is insulated, then you’ll notice a significant drop. Some homeowners see about $50 less on their bill in the first few months. As one would expect, this means that the geothermal system actually pays for itself over the course of about 5-10 years in most cases. The life expectancy can go upwards of 25-30 years, making your investment costs nearly insignificant.
While geothermal installations can be costly, once the system is installed, homeowners see a 40-60 percent reduction in their annual energy/utility bill on average. In fact, a geothermal HVAC system typically pays for itself in two to ten years.