HOW A GEOTHERMAL SYSTEM WORKS
The geothermal heat pump system consists of:
- a water-source heat pump
- a closed loop ground heat exchanger made of high density polyethylene pipe (guaranteed 25 years or more by most manufacturers)
- a low wattage circulating pump(s)
The ground absorbs nearly half of the solar energy our planet receives. As a result, the earth remains at a constant, moderate temperature just below its surface all year round. However, air temperature varies greatly from summer to winter, making air source (traditional) heating and cooling least efficient when you need it the most.
Geothermal systems take advantage of the stable temperature underground using a piping system, commonly referred to as a “loop.” Water circulates in the loop to exchange heat between your home, the ground source heat pump, and the earth, providing geothermal heating, cooling, and hot water at remarkably high efficiencies.
During the winter, geothermal systems absorb heat stored in the ground through the water that circulates in its underground loop. This heat is carried to the ground source heat pumps where it’s concentrated and then sent as warm, comfortable air throughout your home. When you need heating the most, the air outside is coldest. A geothermal system consumes less energy as it easily absorbs ground heat from the abundant supply stored below your home, making geothermal heating significantly more energy efficient.
During the summer, geothermal systems absorb heat from your home and transfer it to the underground loop where it is then absorbed by the cooler earth. The geothermal system uses the cool water returning from the ground to create cool, dehumidified air conditioning for your home. When you need cooling the most, the outside air is hottest. A geothermal heat pump consumes less energy as it easily rejects heat into the cool earth, making geothermal cooling significantly more energy efficient.
SOLAIRE HOME COMFORT INSTALLS TWO LINES OF GEOTHERMAL EQUIPMENT, CLIMATEMASTER AND COMMAND-AIRE.
Why Genesis By Climatemaster?
Genesis geothermal units are the latest in heating and cooling technology. Developed by the leading experts of the geothermal industry and produced by the world's largest manufacturer of water source heat pumps.
The Genesis product line is the most advanced geothermal technology available today. It is designed with the installer in mind to improve reliability and reduce installed costs.
The availability of unit sizes, configurations, and applications make the Genesis line the perfect match for nearly every installation.
BENEFITS OF GEOTHERMAL SYSTEMS
Geothermal systems are able to transfer heat to and from the ground with minimal use of electricity. When comparing a geothermal system to an ordinary system, a homeowner can save anywhere from 30% to 70% annually on utilities. Even with the higher initial costs of purchasing a geothermal system, the payback period is relatively short, typically between three and five years. Geothermal systems are recognized as one of the most efficient heating and cooling systems on the market.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has called geothermal the most energy-efficient, environmentally clean, and cost-effective space conditioning systems available. The life span of the system is longer than conventional heating and cooling systems. Most loop fields are warranted for 25 to 50 years and are expected to last at least 50 to 200 years. Geothermal systems use electricity for heating the house. The fluids used in loop fields are designed to be biodegradable, non-toxic, non-corrosive and have properties that will minimize pumping power needed.
Some electric companies will offer special rates to customers who install geothermal systems for heating/cooling their building. This is due to the fact that electrical plants have the largest loads during summer months and much of their capacity sits idle during winter months. This allows the electric company to use more of their facility during the winter months and sell more electricity. It also allows them to reduce peak usage during the summer (due to the increased efficiency of geothermal systems), thereby avoiding costly construction of new power plants. For the same reasons, other utility companies have started to pay for the installation of geothermal systems at customer residences. They lease the systems to their customers for a monthly fee, at a net overall savings to the customer.
Geothermal systems are especially well matched to underfloor heating systems which do not require extremely high temperatures (as compared with wall-mounted radiators). Thus they are ideal for open floor plans. Using large surfaces such as floors, as opposed to radiators, distributes the heat more uniformly and allows for a lower temperature heat transfer fluid; however, wood or carpet floor coverings dampen this effect because the thermal transfer efficiency of these materials is lower than that of masonry floors (tile, concrete).
Undisturbed earth below the frost line remains at a relatively constant temperature year round. This temperature equates roughly to the average annual air-temperature of the chosen location, so is usually 7-21 degrees Celsius (45-70 degrees Fahrenheit) depending on location. Because this temperature remains more constant than the air, geothermal heat pumps perform with far greater efficiency and in a far larger range of extreme temperatures than conventional air conditioners and furnaces, and even air-source heat pumps. A particular advantage is that they can use electricity to heat spaces and water much more efficiently than an electric heater.
Geothermal system technology is a Natural Building technique.
Today there are more than 1,000,000 geothermal system installations in the United States.
The current use of geothermal system technology has resulted in the following emissions reductions:
- Elimination of more than 5.8 million metric tons of CO2 annually
- Elimination of more than 1.6 million metric tons of carbon equivalent annually
These 1,000,000 installations have also resulted in the following energy consumption reductions:
- Annual savings of nearly 8,000 GWh
- Annual savings of nearly 40 trillion Btus of fossil fuels
- Reduced electricity demand by more than 2.6 GW
The impact of the current use of geothermal heat pumps is equivalent to:
- Taking close to 1,295,000 cars off the road
- Planting more than 385 million trees
- Reducing U.S. reliance on imported fuels by 21.5 million barrels (3,420,000 m³) of crude oil per year.
COSTS AND SAVINGS
The initial cost of installing a geothermal heat pump system can be two to three times that of a conventional heating system in most residential applications, new construction or existing. In retrofits, the cost of installation is affected by the size of living area, the home's age, insulation characteristics, the geology of the area, and location of the home/property. For new construction, proper duct system design and mechanical air exchange should be considered in initial system cost. These systems can save the average family from $400-1400/year, reducing the average heating/cooling costs by 30-70% per household.
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