How Does Geothermal Energy Compare to Other Energy Sources?
In residential settings, geothermal energy offers the most dependable, renewable and affordable solution for home heating and cooling. Wind and solar power can also keep homes comfortable, but the amount of energy it takes to power an HVAC system usually exceeds the amount that either of these resources can generate. Heating and cooling a home requires a significant amount of energy. The most energy efficient HVAC systems available are geothermal heat pumps (GHPs).
These systems tap into thermal energy underground to extract heat during the winter and deposit it in the summer. Outside temperatures don’t make any difference in the performance of GHPs. Both wind and solar require favorable weather for power generation.
GHPs use measurably less energy than a standard air-source heat pump (ASHP) because the heat exchange process takes place in a thermally stable environment. It’s as capable of producing heat at 0 degrees F as it is at 50 degrees. Since a GHP uses less energy than an ASHP, it’s possible to supplement it with renewably generated power on site.
It would be difficult to power an ASHP or central air conditioner solely by solar or wind power, but it’s conceivable to do so with a GHP, as long as you have sufficient battery storage capacity. Other benefits of geothermal energy include:
- Its environmental impact is low. Once the underground loop field is complete, it doesn’t interfere with anything above ground. The loop field lasts 50 years or more, while the internal components can last 25 years with routine maintenance.
- It’s safe. Unlike wind generation and some solar applications, it won’t hurt wildlife, and there’s no risk associated with primary or secondary damage from strong winds or storms. A GHP doesn’t use an outdoor condenser that generates noise, unlike central air conditioners or ASHPs. Heating with a GHP poses no risk of carbon monoxide exposure as well.
At Sobieski Services, Inc., our goal is to help our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey learn more about energy and home comfort issues – especially HVAC and plumbing issues – so that they can save money and live in healthier, more comfortable homes.
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