Looking for more great stuff for kids?  Visit Energy Kids by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Blog

Whats so hot about Geothermal Energy?




Illustration by Sarah Cheyney

Submitted by Jay Egg, Egg Geothermal


Geothermal heat pump systems bring your family's home in harmony with nature, while providing the unmatched energy efficiency. They do this by working in concert with the stable Earth temperatures to provide heating in the winter, hot water, and cooling in the summer.

Much like the way the way the roots of a tree exchange nutrients with their leaves and branches, a geothermal system provides comfort, tranquility, and efficiency to your home and family. A geothermal system saves energy for generations to come.

Outside, temperatures fluctuate with the changing seasons, but underground temperatures don't change nearly as dramatically, thanks to the mass of the earth. Four to six feet below the ground, the temperature remains relatively constant year round. A geothermal system capitalizes on these constant temperatures to provide "free" energy. This system typically consists of an indoor heat pump and a buried system of pipes called an Earth loop, and/or a pump to reinjection well. This system is able to provide comfortable temperature in heating AND cooling season.

Winter

In winter time, fluid circulating through an Earth loop (or well), absorbs stored heat from the ground and carries it indoors. The geothermal heat pump compresses the heat from the fluid, brings it to a higher temperature, and distributes it throughout the home or creates hot water.

Summer

In summer time, the process reverses, and the cooler Earth absorbs the heat from the home, returning cooler fluid to the geothermal heat pump. This fluid is typically cooler than the outside temperatures, providing a reduced load for air conditioning the home.
Just like trees and plants have different root systems, there are several earth coupling options to fit different climates, geologies, and lifestyles. Geothermal can be cost effective, too! A geothermal heat pump often costs about the same as a normal heat pump. The heat exchange system is only a one-time cost. Ask your local geothermal expert how geothermal can work best for you. For more information about the costs associated with Geothermal Energy, check out this great article from National Geographic. And, as always, don’t forget NEED’s Energy Infobooks for all the basics on geothermal energy!




Contributors