Core Workout: Tapping Into Geothermal Energy

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Do you heat or cool your home or your hot water via natural gas, fuel oil or propane, and are tired of paying the rising cost of these fossil fuels? Perhaps a geothermal energy system would be a good fit for your home’s heating and cooling needs.

Tapping into the earth’s potential

Geothermal system

Geothermal system. Image courtesy of Erik Dunham.

Geothermal systems capitalize on the fact that the temperature underground remains fairly constant year round regardless of the season.

The system’s main component, placed deep into the ground, is an earth loop traditionally constructed of polyethylene pipes. For geothermal heating, heat from the ground is pulled up and used in the house.

For geothermal cooling, the opposite of geothermal heating is used as excess heat from the home is pushed into the ground, and the cooler ground temperatures are conveyed back up into the home.

An efficient earth

A geothermal system saves money on your heating and cooling bills.  For example;

  • Geothermal heating is 50-70 percent more efficient thus less costly than other heating methods mentioned at the beginning of this article.
  • Geothermal cooling is 20-40 percent more efficient than standard configuration AC units.

In addition to heating and cooling indoor air, geothermal systems can also be used in water heater applications as well.  Geothermal systems can usually be installed using existing duct work already present in your home. The systems are very quiet and no equipment exists on the exterior of the home to annoy neighbors.

ROI

System setup costs have traditionally been the biggest obstacle for most homeowners.  However, most systems have an ROI of 3 years. Your state may offer a rebate or an incentive program for using a geothermal system so check there first.  Geothermal may be more affordable than you first thought!

With the volatility of fossil fuel pricing, its inherent environmental benefits, efficiency and lifespan of systems, geothermal makes sense.

Would you consider installing one of these systems for your home? Let us know in the comments below.

Feature image courtesy of Sarah 

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Tori Wilson

Victoria (Tori) Wilson currently works at her home state's EPA.She graduated from the University of Dayton with a degree in Chemical Engineering and a minor in Environmental Engineering. Tori’s favorite activities include volleyball, 3D puzzles, reading, journaling, trying out new plant based whole food dish ideas, coloring, watching comedy or action movies, and hiking. She just welcomed a new puppy into her life as well!