Digging into the heating and cooling efficiency of the geothermal heat pump can result in the reduction of your carbon footprint as well as long-term savings on your energy bill.

Businesses all around the world are tapping into the economical and environmental benefits of the geothermal heat pump system — from Africa’s greenest hotel to Ikea stores.

What is a geothermal heat pump?

Geothermal technology uses a ground source to pump the stable heat found in the earth to produce heating, cooling and sometimes even hot water for inside your building.

While most people are familiar with HVAC (heating, ventilation, air-conditioning) systems and the furnace (that requires the burning of fuels) — the geothermal heat pump is actually more energy efficient.

See, the geothermal heat pump works with the environment. In the winter, it will take heat from the ground and bring it inside your building — and in the summer, it will send the heat back into the ground.

The geothermal heat pump runs off a loop system — and there are many kinds. Basically, the loop system is underground and made of plastic pipes that have an environmentally safe antifreeze solution that gets transferred throughout — carrying heat around the loop, according to Consumer Energy Center.

If you’re planning on installing a system, it’s advised you find a solid contractor to do the job. Last year, Ontario strengthened drilling regulations for geothermal energy systems, reported The Toronto Star.

The green benefits

While the geothermal heat pump technology isn’t a new concept, only recently have more folks been opting for ground-source heat bandwagon. The ground produces more heat than winter air — this makes heating from the ground way more energy efficient.

There are no fossil fuels needed to generate heat with this system. The geothermal heat system, when set up properly, is a great form of renewable energy for commercial, industrial and residential buildings.

Whether people opt to have a lake or pond, horizontal or vertical loop — they are all using the natural environment as a source. These loops are an energy efficient way for both the heating and cooling of a building.

Horizontal loops are probably the most environmentally friendly, followed by vertical loops often used for urban settings, according to Green Living Online. Pond/lake loops should be installed very carefully because the piping can affect fragile ecosystems.

Is this economical?

While it initially costs less to purchase a new furnace — ground-source heating and cooling costs will drop significantly on your energy bill.

With an estimate of roughly $25,000 to install, geothermal heating costs more because of the dig, the intensive infrastructure and the drilling. In the long term, though, you’ll experience savings on energy, your energy bill and qualify for incentives and rebates from energy companies. There’s also less maintenance and lower maintenance costs involved in the investment of a geothermal heat pump system.

The average life span, according to the Geothermal Heat Pump Resource, is 22 years. In the long term, you will experience savings.

 

Image credit: laverick