Geothermal, or ground-source, heat pumps (GHPs) are a way to hit two birds with one stone – they reduce energy demand while at the same time encourage the use of renewable energy sources. They help buildings reduce energy consumption by regulating heat through a concept called “geothermal exchange.” With GHPs, one is able to tap heat naturally stored in the earth’s crust where temperature is at 50°F (10°C) or so year round, depending on the latitude. Hence, during the winter, when the temperature drops below freezing, one can get heat from the earth. Conversely, during the summer when temperatures can shoot up to 90 °F (32 °C), you can cool down with the earth’s lower temperature.
This is significant in light of the fact that a lot of energy goes into heating and cooling. It doesn’t help that 3.2 quadrillion BTUs of electricity is used to satisfy the heating and cooling demand in the States.
And here is where GHPs come in. The EPA says that “Geothermal heat pumps are among the most efficient and comfortable heating and cooling technologies currently available.” EPA’s Energy Star Program website says that, “…qualified geothermal heat pumps are over 45 percent more energy efficient than standard options.”
The great thing about GHPs is that you just tap into the earth for the heat or cold you need, rather than burning coal or gas to make electricity to heat up or cool down. Sure, you need a bit of energy to run the pumps used to make the heat transfer possible, but that is waaay lower than burning more fuel for heat that could otherwise be derived from that stored in the earth.
As members of House Stark say, “Winter is Coming”, and it’s bound to be a cold one. So, do yourself and the environment a favour by reducing your carbon footprint with a GHP.