Now that most of the outside work is complete on our new home construction, a lot is going on inside the house. That one item that is happening outside is the beginning of work on the Geothermal heating and cooling system that is being installed in this home.
Geothermal heat is the direct use of thermal energy that is generated and stored in the earth. Geothermal energy originates from the heat retained within the Earth since the original formation of the planet, from radioactive decay of minerals and from solar energy absorbed at the surface.
Most high temperature geothermal heat is harvested in regions where volcanic activity rises close to the Earth’s surface. However, even cold ground contains heat, below 20 feet the undisturbed ground temperature is consistently at the Mean Annual Air Temperature and can be extracted with a heat pump. For this home, we are using an electric forced air heat pump.
A series of holes are drilled at a designated area on the property. Then, a series of pipes, commonly called a “loop,” connect the geothermal system’s heat pump to the earth. There are two basic types of loops: closed and open. Open loop systems are the simplest and have been used successfully for decades. Closed loop systems have become the most common of geothermal heating. When properly installed, the closed loop system is economical, efficient and reliable.
Water (or a water and antifreeze solution) is circulated through a continuous buried pipe. The length of loop piping will vary depending on ground temperature, thermal conductivity of the ground, soil moisture and the geothermal system design.
Geothermal heat pumps are among the most cost and energy efficient heating and cooling systems available today. They use less electricity and produce fewer emissions than conventional systems. They also provide a comfortable indoor environment for your home.