These days it seems as if everybody is looking for ways to save money without sacrificing too much comfort while the Great Recession looms over us all. Some ways are more sensible than others; learning to cook and removing fast food from the diet are very sensible ways to save money, while cutting back on health care should only be done as a last resort measure. And, with winter and its freezing cold and summer and its blistering heat on the horizon, many people around the northern hemisphere are looking for ways to save money on heating and cooling without destroying their banks. Fortunately, this is more than possible, through the technology of geothermal heating and cooling.
A geothermal heating and cooling system is a type of central heating and cooling device that moves heat either out of the earth into a building (in the winter when increased heat is needed) or moves heat from the building into the earth itself, using the ground as a heat sink (in the summer when cooler temperatures are preferred). These systems operate on the basic earth science principle that holds that the earth containers a great deal of heat from eons of solar heating and heat retained beneath the earth’s crust, as well as the principle that the earth itself is very good at absorbing heat from the sun of the type that batters the land during the height of the summer season. The relatively moderate amount of heat in the ground is used to supplement an ordinary heating and cooling system to increase efficiency by a good bit and lower the cost of keeping a heating and cooling system active. While only geothermal system is the most geologically active regions, such as Iceland, can hope to be a singular heat source, tapping into the power of the earth is a good way to make indoor climate control systems more effective for less money than they would cost otherwise. These systems are not to be confused with geothermal power systems, which use the high temperatures deep beneath the earth to extract energy. Thus these systems are also known as earth coupled, geoexchange and earth energy systems to avoid confusion with industrial grade geothermal power system.
These systems work by attached a heat pump and cooling system to a point 20 feet (around 6 m) beneath the earth’s surface beneath the building and use a heat pump, similar to the one in an ordinary air conditioner or refrigerator in principle but still quite different, to force the heat either into or away from a specific space. While these systems are somewhat complex, they are rapidly growing in popularity as they are incredibly efficient and save money better than most other forms of indoor climate control. Further, they are far better for the environment as they do not burn fuel or require excessive chemical coolants in either capacity, allowing them to do their work in a far less environmentally destructive way. And, with a working life estimate at a quarter century, these systems are built to last.