Which are better, geothermal heating systems or geothermal cooling systems for the environment?
Geothermal Heating Systems: How they work
Geo-exchange systems harness the earth’s energy for heat and cooling
How does geothermal technology work? Temperatures fluctuate as the seasons change. The temperature below the surface remains the same. The temperature of the water is maintained at a minimum depth of a few feet. It can be anywhere from 42 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (or 5.56 to 26.67 Celsius) year-round, depending on your location. This powerful energy can be used to heat or cool any building by a geo-exchange system.
Geothermal systems don’t directly tap into the heat of the earth. Geothermal heat pumps are used to extract the constant temperature from the geothermal wells below the world. These heat pumps can be placed inside or outside a building Heat pumps, which run on electricity, are simple devices that move heat from below ground to home. The heat pump can cool or warm home in summer and winter.
Closed-loop systems are the most common type of geothermal system. A secure loop system is made up of underground pipes that are filled with refrigerant. This fluid absorbs heat from the warm water and brings it inside. The fluid heats the air by absorbing the earth’s heat and then bringing it inside when it gets cold. The heat exchange reverses in the summertime and cools the house. Open-loop systems use ponds or healthy water as the refrigerant. Heat pumps heat the water to heat or cool houses. The water is then returned to its source. An electric fan circulates warm and cool air through standard ductwork in closed-loop or open-loop systems.
Geothermal Heating & Cooling System Advantages
Geothermal systems produce fewer greenhouse gases than conventional heating and cooling systems. Each year, the systems remove more than 3,000,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This is equivalent to taking 650,000 cars off the road [source Oklahoma State University].
A geothermal heating system uses three to six kilowatts to heat or cool a building for every kilowatt of electricity it consumes [source: Open Energy]. Geothermal heating systems work 70% better than traditional oil and gas heating systems. Source: U.S. Department of Energy.
Geothermal heating and cooling are superior at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Geothermal energy homeowners can save 70% on their home heating bills and 50% on their cooling bills.
Geothermal heat pumps consume 25 to 50% less electricity than conventional heating and cooling systems. A heat pump can transfer three units of heat per unit of electricity it uses. Geothermal heat pumps can reduce energy consumption by up to 72 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 72% compared to conventional air-conditioning equipment. Department of Energy.
The U.S. Department of Energy states that installing a geothermal heating and cooling system can be several times more costly than installing conventional heating and cooling systems. But, your money would be back in 5-10 years [source: U.S. Department of Energy].