Geothermal – The Overlooked Renewable Energy Source

Published March 2013 by

Geothermal heat pumps (GHPs) are a source of renewable energy and efficiency that is often overlooked by HVAC contractors.  While a GHP may not come to mind right away, they are efficient and provide abundant renewable energy to any home or building.

A GHP uses the ground and its approximate 55 degree temperature to act as a heat sink in the summer and a source of renewable thermal energy in winter.  They draw this energy from the ground during winter to heat buildings and reject heat from buildings back into the ground in summer.  The moderate temperature creates efficiency in both heating and cooling when compared to the outdoor air temperature during the heating or cooling seasons.

GHPs are good for the environment, as well.  This is a key selling point for environmentally conscious customers.  GHPs reduce the kilowatt hours required for air conditioning and the fuel requirements for heating.  This means a lower demand on utility companies, therefore requiring less generation, fewer plants, and less pollution.

GHPs do have a higher installation cost than a traditional air to air heat pump.  The cost of drilling boreholes or establishing ground heat exchangers creates a higher initial investment.  They offer a significant return on investment, however.  Typically a GHP saves 40 – 70 percent on heating and cooling utility bills including hot water heating.

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