Information About Geothermal Energy
Until recently, fossil fuels were basically the only solution to rely on, when thinking about heating for your home. This has changed, with the introduction of renewable energy sources. The use of geothermal energy is a great alternative, whether you are planning to build an energy efficient home or change your current source of heat. Using geothermal energy you can get heating in winter, cooling in summer and a hot water throughout. All thanks to the geothermal potential hidden in the ground. Moreover, the use of geothermal energy can contribute to great savings on monthly heating bills. Solutions using geothermal power are proved to be cost-effective for individual households as well as for commercial buildings.
Looking into the topic and the process of harnessing geothermal energy, there are a few basic things you need to be aware of.
What Is Geothermal Energy?
Geothermal energy is energy provided by the natural warmth of the Earth. With geothermal power, it is not a question of producing heat, but simply moving it from within the Earth and into your household. The heat is hidden below the frost line, where the temperature always stays at around 10 degrees Celsius. This is due to the fact that up to 46% of the energy from the sun is absorbed and stored in the ground as geothermal energy. When using it for heating, it is possible for you to reduce your heating bills by 50%. With the use of geothermal energy, you can also get cooling, ventilation and hot water, depending on your ground source heat pump. Furthermore, the use of geothermal energy is an environmentally friendly solution and it represents the most reliable and consistent source of green energy, as the geothermal energy source stays steady and never varies.
The steady temperature of the ground, its geothermal potential, can be harnessed by using one of the two kinds of ground loop systems:
- HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning).
- GSHP (ground source heat pump).
These systems harness the Earth’s geothermal resources by using closed-loop systems: horizontal,vertical and pond (installed in the water); and open-loop systems. The length and complexity of the loops depend on the amount of energy required. Common households will have smaller and less complicated loops, while industrial buildings will need more complex loops in order to harness enough geothermal energy.
Read More: The Future of Geothermal Energy.
Geothermal Energy Through HVAC
This system is found in chillers, boilers, etc., that transfer the geothermal energy via air or water to air distribution systems. This provides the household with heating and cooling methods, hot water supply and air conditioning.
Geothermal Energy Through GSHP
This method uses pipes buried in the ground to extract geothermal energy, and this solution can be used to both heating and cooling. Some GSHP installations can cut the monthly heating bill in half. The initial cost of this system is higher than that of a conventional one, but the return in investment is quicker and maintenance costs are lower.
The Cost of Geothermal Energy Solutions
The price of each solution for harnessing geothermal energy vary depending on the loop system installed. Typically, installation prices vary between £9,000 and £15,000 on different installations. It is important to remember, however, that the return on investment by using geothermal power is quite fast.
What Is the Return of Investment With Geothermal Energy?
It is reasonable to expect the return of investment in 7 to 10 years. What is important to note, is that the bigger the building harnessing and using geothermal energy, the shorter the return of investment time will be.
How Much Land Do I Need to Install a Geothermal Energy Solution?
There are different ways of harnessing geothermal energy, depending on your needs and possibilities. Horizontal loop pumps are shallow and need a vast amount of land in order to be efficient, therefore this way of harnessing geothermal energy is intended mainly for the industrial sector. Individual households with small backyards are advised to use vertical loop systems, as those do not need as much land-space. Consult your installer about your needs and options in order to get the most out of the installation.
Do Geothermal Energy Need Electricity?
Yes, harnessing geothermal resources is not possible without a source of electricity. However, this solution is still cost-efficient and environmentally friendly as for every one unit of electricity, geothermal energy provides four units of free energy generated from the ground.
Benefits of Geothermal Energy
The use of geothermal energy is cost and energy efficient, quiet and comfortable. The installation of ground source heat pumps does not require any noisy, outdoor equipment and provides you with very consistent heating and cooling temperatures. Furthermore, the use of geothermal power do not require chimneys, venting, and do not produce any harmful gas emissions, like the use of fossil fuels do. The use of this type of energy provides you with pure and environmentally friendly energy.
Am I Eligible For Incentives?
Some utilities provide grants and incentives to their customers that install ground source heat pumps that harness geothermal energy. Ask your supplier whether you are eligible for receiving these kinds of refunds.
Read More: Renewable Heat Incentive.
How Reliable Is Geothermal Energy?
Solutions based on harnessing geothermal energy are very reliable. Not only do the ground source heat pumps provide consistent heating and cooling, they are also very durable. The components for heat pumps are made with the best materials to maximise the efficiency and most components have a lifetime warranty.