In the Loop with Geothermal Energy
Geothermal energy uses the heat below the earth’s surface to heat and cool homes, businesses, school districts and whole towns with an efficient source of free and clean energy. By harnessing the consistent underground temperature, a geothermal system can provide users with continuous and cost effective heating and cooling.
How does geothermal work?
Most geothermal systems utilize a closed-loop system configuration. In this type of system, water, with or without an environmentally-friendly anti-freeze mixture, circulates through the loop transferring the consistent ground temperature to the building for heating and cooling purposes.
Other geothermal systems utilize an open-loop system configuration that requires a reliable water source.
There are two basic types of open-loop systems: surface water systems and groundwater systems.
Surface Water Systems
Surface water systems can employ various water sources – oceans, lakes, ponds or stream/rivers. These systems typically employ an “isolating” heat exchanger between the wource water and the system water loop and provide exceptional performance at very attractive costs. Due to environmental considerations, open-loop geothermal surface water systems are uncommon.
An open-loop groundwater system presents a viable alternative to a closed-loop or surface water system. With these systems, the water is pumped from the ground water source to the heat pumps where it is used for heating and cooling. Open-loop groundwater systems can employ an extraction well and re-injection well or discharge water directly through surface drainage.
It is important to research the local environmental regulations and codes to determine the most efficient and effective geothermal heat pump source for your property. For example, before installing an open-loop system, determine through the authority having jurisdiction if there an sufficient water resources available to supply your geothermal heat pump system without depleting or contaminating the water source.
If these criteria are met, you can take full advantage of very cost effective and efficient open-loop geothermal system.