Geothermal Energy: The Heat Pump Solution

The geothermal heat pump doesn't create electricity—but it greatly reduces consumption of it. If you would like to reduce the cost of heating and your home, you might want to consider installing a geothermal heat pump, an economical and energy-efficient technology for and cooling and water heating. Nationwide, more than 350,000 of these systems are in operation in homes, , and businesses. And the geothermal heat pump industry expects to be installing 40,000 systems per year by 2000. 

In winter, heat pump systems draw thermal energy from the ambient temperature of the shallow ground, which ranges between 50° and 70°F (10° to 21°C ) depending on latitude. In summer, the process is reversed to a cooling mode, using the ground as a sink for the heat contained within the building. The system does not convert electricity to heat; rather, it uses electricity to move thermal energy between the building and the ground and condition it to a higher or lower temperature according to the heating or cooling requirements. Consumption of electricity is reduced 30% to 60% compared to traditional heating and cooling systems, allowing a payback of system installation in 2 to 10 years. And these low- systems have long lives of 30 years or more. Some systems are also capable of producing domestic hot water at no cost in summer and at small cost in winter. 

An analysis by the EPA found these systems to be among the most efficient space-conditioning technologies available—with the lowest cost of all that were analyzed. But this might be the most compelling statistic: Surveys show that the number of satisfied geothermal heat pump customers stands at 95% or higher.