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Geo. Heat Pumps


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Fossil-fueled Power
Non-Fossil Generation
End-Use Efficiency
Electricity T&D
Carbon Sequestration
Non-CO2 Reductions
Other GHG Reductions

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Conservation & DSM
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Geo. Heat Pumps


 Geothermal Heat Pumps



Note that this topic is limited to geothermal energy used to provide heating, air conditioning and/or hot water to end-users.  Geothermal energy as a source of electric power generation is discussed in the topic "Geothermal Energy."

Geothermal heat pumps, also known as the ground source heat pumps, are similar to ordinary heat pumps, but use the ground instead of outside air to provide heating, air conditioning and, in most cases, hot water.

The technology relies on the fact that beneath the surface, the Earth remains at a relatively constant temperature throughout the year –  warmer than the air above it during the winter and cooler in the summer, very much like a cave. The geothermal heat pump takes advantage of this by transferring heat stored in the Earth or in ground water into a building during the winter, and transferring it out of the building and back into the ground during the summer. The ground, in other words, acts as a heat source in winter and a heat sink in summer.

Because they use the earth's natural heat, they are among the most efficient and comfortable heating and cooling technologies currently available. ENERGY STAR qualified geothermal heat pumps use about 40-60 percent less energy than a standard heat pump; additionally they are quieter than conventional systems.

There are two primary technologies for geothermal heat pumps. Ground source heat pumps use a buried loop or coil of tubing to exchange heat with the soil in your yard. The tubing for ground source heat pumps can be installed in two configurations – horizontal loops and vertical loops. The other primary technology is water-source heat pumps, which use a loop of tubing submerged in a nearby lake or pond.

The higher initial cost of geothermal heat pumps is balanced by the low costs for maintenance and operation. In a new home, the additional payment on your mortgage for a geothermal heat pump is usually less than the savings on energy bills.

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 References, Sources, and Other Useful Data

Air Conditioning Contractors of America, “ENERGY STAR Resources for Contractors”

ACCA and the EPA's ENERGY STAR program work together to help contractors make high-end, high-efficiency equipment available to homeowners and building managers. ACCA’s website includes training materials and marketing resources for its members.

Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Star Program, “Geothermal Heat Pumps”

The Energy STAR program’s home page for geothermal heat pumps. The site includes links to qualified contractors. Earning the ENERGY STAR means products meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. ENERGY STAR qualified geothermal heat pumps use about 30% less energy than a standard heat pump, and are quieter than conventional systems.

Geothermal Heat Pump Consortium, “Geoexchange.org”

Geothermal and GeoExchange® heating and cooling use the relatively constant temperature of the earth to heat and cool homes and businesses with 40% to 70% less energy than conventional systems. While conventional furnaces and boilers burn a fuel to generate heat, geothermal heat pumps use electricity to simply move heat from the earth into buildings, allowing much higher efficiencies.

Geothermal Heat Pump Consortium, “Geothermal Heat Pump Consortium

For more than a decade, the Geothermal Heat Pump Consortium has been working to increase the awareness and use of geoexchange technology throughout the United States and the world. We believe that environmental stewardship and the responsible use of energy resources are crucial to the nation's economy and our quality of life. Toward that end, increasing the use of geoexchange technology will not only dramatically reduce our national energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, but also will also slash its users' energy costs, and our nation's dependence on fossil fuels. As a cooperative venture, the Consortium counts among its partners electric utilities, equipment manufacturers, architects, designers, engineers, contractors, builders, drillers, energy service companies, and other private sector companies that operate in the geoexchange market as well as national, state and local organizations and public agencies. The Geothermal Heat Pump Consortium acts as a resource for anyone wishing to know more about geoexchange technology. Its full time staff and industry allies can provide technical expertise, marketing research data and insight, and current industry activity status.

International Ground Source Heat Pump Association, "Down to Earth Energy"

The International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA) is a non-profit, member driven organization established in 1987 to advance geothermal heat pump (GHP) technology on local, state, national and international levels. The mission of IGSHPA and its membership is to promote the use of ground source heat pump technology worldwide through education and communication. Headquartered on the campus of Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma, IGSHPA utilizes state-of-the-art facilities for conducting GSHP system installation training and geothermal research. With its access to the most current advancements in the geothermal industry, IGSHPA is the ideal bridge between the latest technology and the people who benefit from these developments. At this website, one can search for local IGSHPA Accredited Installers, Trainers, and Certified Designers using their Business Directory.

U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, “Geothermal Energy Pumps”

Learn about different applications of Geothermal energy in power plants, direct use, and geothermal heat pumps.

U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, “Geothermal Heat Pumps”

DOE’s Geothermal Heat Pump Information Center. Includes several fact sheets on a variety of geothermal heating and cooling applications.

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