Geothermal Energy FAQ
If you are new to geothermal energy and are searching for an energy efficient and eco-friendly heating and cooling alternative to your home or commercial space, please take some time to read through the frequently asked questions below. If you still have questions, we’d love to connect and chat with you about your project. Please give us a call at 604.897.3411
In winter a water solution circulating through pipes buried in the ground absorbs heat from the earth and carries it into the home. The system inside the home uses a heat pump to concentrate the earth’s thermal energy and then to transfer it to air circulated through standard ductwork to fill the interior space with warmth.
In the summer the process is reversed—heat is extracted from the air in the house and transferred through the heat pump to the ground loop piping. The water solution in the ground loop then carries the excess heat back to the earth. The only external energy needed for GeoExchange is the small amount of electricity needed to operate the ground loop pump and fan.
In recent years many improvements have been made in the materials used, the installation methods and the efficiencies of the compressors, pumps and other equipment.
Since a geoexchange system burns no fossil fuel to produce heat, it generates far fewer greenhouse gas emissions than a conventional furnace and completely eliminates a potential source of poisonous carbon monoxide within the home or building. Even factoring in its share of the emissions from the power plant that produces electricity to operate the system, total emissions are far lower than for conventional systems.
Source: Environmental and Energy Benefits of Geothermal Heat Pumps
A typical 3-ton residential geoexchange system produces an average of about one pound less carbon dioxide (CO2) per hour of use than a conventional system. To put that in perspective, over an average 20-year lifespan 100,000 units of nominally-sized residential geoexchange systems will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by almost 1.1 million metric tons of carbon equivalents. That would be the equivalent of converting about 58,700 cars to zero-emission vehicles or planting more than 120,000 acres of trees.
The waste heat removed from the home’s interior during the cooling season can be used to provide virtually free hot water—resulting in a total savings in hot water costs of about 30% annually and lowering emissions even further.
Download our Geoexchange Fact Sheet to read more about the benefits a system can bring to your home. <Need Link, or delete text>
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), schools are a particularly attractive place for the use of technology. Across the country, schools are saving an estimated $25,000,000 in energy costs—which can be used instead for better educational equipment and more teachers. These schools also save a half-billion pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per year.
Should all of the nation’s schools convert to geoexchange, the EPA has estimated that we could reduce oil imports by 61 million barrels annually and provide the same environmental benefits as planting 8 million acres of trees or converting nearly 4 million cars to zero-emission vehicles.
If the same comparison were made across all commercial and residential segments, the potential for environmental benefit would be staggering.
Installation costs have also declined substantially in recent years and are expected to continue to fall as more builders and contractors offer geoexchange systems and as the industry develops innovative ways to install the systems faster and more efficiently.
Altogether geoexchange systems are a sound investment. The amount they save the homeowner every month in energy costs is more than enough to offset their higher installation cost. They also provide extra savings on repair, maintenance and hot water bills.
The energy efficiency of the system adds value to the home. The National Association of Realtors relies on the Appraisal Journal to help you determine the total value of your home. An October 1998 article printed in the Journal states that a home’s value increases by $10 to $25 for every $1 reduction in utility bills. That’s a lot of equity to build just by choosing geoexchange.
To find out how much it would cost to add a geoexchange system into your home or business, contact GeoForce Energy Solutions for an estimate. <Link!>