Ground Source Geothermal Energy is a highly efficient and renewable heating system, which, despite its 75 year history is actually very rare, and low key.
It is based on the dynamics of underground geothermal energy, where by just 12 feet down the temperature remains the same all year round. With the use of a fan, heat pump, and compressor, a ground source geothermal heat pump can exploit the underground geothermal gradient to extract heat energy from the earth during winter, and pump heat energy from the surface down into the earth during summer, to deliver an efficient and effective heating or cooling system.
Eric Woodroof, the CEO of Profitable Green Solutions (an energy efficiency consultancy), explainedthat “Ground Source Geothermal is a more reliable and efficient way of doing air conditioning. It’s easier to reject heat to 60 degrees than it is to 100. And in the winter, it’s a heck of a lot easier to absorb energy from 60 degrees than 32 degrees.”
The current US market for ground source geothermal heat pumps currently sees an estimated 100,000 installed every year.
Garen Ewbank, the owner of Ewbank Geo Testing in Oklahoma, said that “ground source geothermal energy is one of the best renewables, even though it took a while for people to consider it a renewable energy source. It’s renewable because of the constant temperature due to the earth’s geothermal gradient. About 1 percent actually comes from solar; the rest is geothermal.”
Currently costs for such systems are still high, with a three bedroom house expecting to pay almost double the price of a conventional heating system. However, with tax credits the homeowners can expect to recover their investment within five years, and then receive free energy after that.
Ewbank suggests that the heat pump systems should be left for utility scale installations first, and that the public should wait until utilities invest sufficiently in the technology, leading to improvements and lower costs.
By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com
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