What is Geothermal Energy?
Geothermal energy is energy that comes from the natural heat of the earth. The earth’s underground temperature varies widely, and geothermal energy is usable for a wide range of purposes. One thing that most people don’t realize is that Geothermal Energy is actually Solar Energy. The ground acts like a heat sink for almost half of all the Sun’s radiation that hits the earth. The underground temperature in North Carolina ranges between 57F (mountains) and 67F (coastal). This temperature is much warmer than the air in the winter, and cooler than the air in the summer.
What is a Geothermal Heat Pump?
Geothermal heat pumps use the constant temperature of the groundwater as a heat source or heat sink depending on which mode they are in.
Why are they more efficient?
When compared to air source heat pumps (ASHP), the water source heat pumps (WSHP) are more efficient because they use the constant temperature of the groundwater to either cool or heat your home. For instance, if the groundwater temperature is 62F and the air temperature is 35F, an ASHP needs to heat the air from 35F to 70F inside your home. A WSHP is much more efficient because it only has to heat from 62F to 70F. The efficiency rates of WSHP’s are in the 50 % to 70% range compared to standard ASHP systems.
What are the environmental advantages to using Geothermal
- Reduces the electrical consumption in your home because of the higher efficiency ratings.
- Carbon Dioxide emissions are much lower on GSHP’s than standard HVAC units.
- Reduces or eliminates the need for natural gas or propane for heating.
- WSHP’s utilize the groundwater, a renewable resource, reducing the strain on coal, oil and other non-renewable resources used by electric companies.
What are the economic benefits of Geothermal?
- Lower energy bills. See savings of 30% to over 70% on your monthly power bill.
- Tax Credits. Right now the Federal government is offering a 30% tax credit on costs to install a Geothermal system through 2016, while North Carolina is offering an additional 35% credit through 2015. That’s up to 65% of your cost back!
- Eliminate the need for natural gas or propane costs.
- Most people will see a total recuperation of their cost within 3 years.