Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) geothermal heat pumps are the most energy efficient, environmentally clean and cost-effective systems for heating and cooling buildings. All types of buildings, including homes, office buildings, schools and hospitals, can use geothermal heat pumps. The geothermal heat pump, also known as a ground-based heat pump, is a highly efficient renewable energy technology that is gaining wide acceptance in both residential and commercial buildings. Geothermal heat pumps are used to heat and cool spaces, as well as to heat water.
The advantage of terrestrial heat pumps is that they concentrate existing heat naturally, instead of producing heat through the combustion of fossil fuels. Super-efficient geothermal heat pumps provide clean and quiet heating and cooling, while reducing utility bills by up to 70 percent. With this technology, everyone could take advantage of their lifelong energy supply, says Richard Trethewey, an expert in plumbing and heating at TOH. The loops are connected to a geothermal heat pump in your home, which acts as an oven and air conditioner.
This most likely means that you currently use propane, oil, or electricity for geothermal heating and cooling. Heated water is hotter and cold water is usually colder, which is called delta temperature for distribution in urban heating and cooling systems that serve several buildings. Because this temperature remains more constant than air temperature throughout the seasons, ground-based heat pumps operate much more efficiently during extreme air temperatures than air conditioners and air-source heat pumps. The West Philadelphia Enterprise Center uses a geothermal heat pump system for more than 31,000 square feet of space.
The size of radiators designed for the higher temperatures reached by boilers may be too small for use with heat pumps, making it necessary to replace them with larger radiators when modernizing a house from boiler to heat pump. Heat pumps also reduce the peak load during the summer due to the greater efficiency of heat pumps, which avoids the costly construction of new power plants. With a geothermal heat pump, there is no on-site combustion and, therefore, there are no emissions of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, or other greenhouse gases. The ARI 210 and 240 standards define the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) and the seasonal heating performance factors (HSPF) to take into account the impact of seasonal variations in air-source heat pumps.
The heat pump circulates a heat-carrying fluid, sometimes water, through pipes to move heat from one point to another. In addition to space conditioning, geothermal heat pumps can be used to provide domestic hot water when the system is operating. Some geothermal heat pumps can be connected to an existing air controller, other units come with their own integral air controller. Based on recent prices, land-based heat pumps currently have lower operating costs than any other conventional heating source almost everywhere in the world.
Efficient compressors, variable speed compressors and larger heat exchangers contribute to the efficiency of the heat pump.