Looking to create a green, energy-efficient home? There are a variety of options such as installing solar panels, using roofing materials that reflect the sun’s energy away from the roof, and installing Energy Star windows but have you considered harnessing a geothermal system? Geothermal systems save energy and are also known as ground source heat pumps (GSHP) which reduce your heating, cooling, and hot water costs.
What are they?
Geothermal systems are a central heating and/or cooling system that takes advantage of the moderate temperatures in the ground to boost efficiency by transferring heat to or from the ground using the earth as a heat source in the winter or a heat sink in the summer.
How do they work?
The inside of the Earth is full of heat which is called geothermal energy and there are two ways people can capture this energy: through power plants or heat pumps. A geothermal power plant uses heat from the deep core of Earth to generate steam to make electricity. A geothermal heat pump, on the other hand, taps into heat close to the Earth’s surface to heat water and provide heat for commercial or residential structures. The U.S. Department of Energy published this great video about it here.
How long do they last?
Quite a long time. There are different components such as the indoor heat pump and ground loop to consider. The heat pump can last about 25 years and the ground loops around double that timeframe.
Can I install it in my home?
If your home has an existing forced-air system powered by propane, heating oil or natural gas, a geothermal system can use existing ductwork and mechanical spaces. However, if your furnace or boiler is 20 years old or more, it may make sense to replace it with a new geothermal system.
Since geothermal systems save energy, they are a wonderful option for going green. To find out more information about costs and benefits, we found a great article in Home Advisor. If you’re in the Maryland or Washington D.C area, we’re happy to help design and build a green home for you. It’s not only a long-term investment but a great way to give back to Mother Earth. Thanks for doing your part and saving energy, and our planet!
Photo credit: Paulo Simões Mendes