Geothermal heat pump system – Using free solar energy stored in the earth.
Standard home air conditioners or heat pumps use electricity and or gas as their energy sources. Both are expensive and their production, use or combustion is harmful to the environment. A popular alternative for green homes is to use a heat pump system that uses natural geothermal energy.
What is geothermal energy? The word geothermal is made up of two separate words which roughly translate into “earth temperatures”.
Geothermal energy can be seen in the form of hot geysers that spew from deep under the earth. A second form is solar energy that has been stored in the ground, immediately below the surface of the earth.
A heat pump is a device that moves heat from one place to another in the same way as heat is moved from the inside to the outside of your fridge by the device that you hear humming at the back. This is why you can feel hot air coming from there.
A geothermal system consists of hundreds of feet of pipe that is buried below the surface of the earth, or in a large body of water, as well as a heat exchanger. The temperatures are transported in a liquid in the pipes from the earth to a heat exchanger inside a home and finally from the heat exchanger back to the earth.
During the summer, the heat exchanger performs the same function as a condenser, the noisy outside unit of a conventional heat pump. In the winter, it functions as an evaporator.
Once exchanged, and with the aid of a compressor, temperatures are transported via heated, cooled, condensed or vaporized refrigerant to or from an indoor condenser during winter, which becomes an evaporator during summer.
A variable speed fan blows return air from the central air duct system across the evaporator or condenser and completes the process to heat or cool the home.
Because the system does not have an outside condenser unit that would be exposed to the elements, a geothermal heat pump requires much less maintenance. As a result, it has a ten year longer lifespan, and homeowners enjoy the fact that there is no external noise.
Geothermal heat pumps also have the added benefit of being able heat water. The system moves hot refrigerant gasses through a heat exchanger that is shared by a water heater’s inlet, thereby heating the water before it enters the heating tank.
Because of the water heating energy saved and the fact that the energy harvested from the earth is free, geothermal heat pump systems can save more than 60% of a home’s regular energy consumption.
Using an additional heat exchanger and the warm temperatures being returned to the ground during the summer, the system is also able to heat swimming pool water. This saves even more energy for pool homes.
The energy savings and consequential environmental benefits of a geothermal heat pump system are indeed so significant, that the installation of one residential system has been equated with one acre of trees or two automobiles being taken from the road.
Although a geothermal heat pump system is more expensive than a conventional heat pump, purchasers are eligible for a 30% federal tax credit because of its phenomenal energy savings. Some states also provide reduced or deferred property improvement tax assessments periods. In Florida, the period is ten years.
Geothermal heat pump systems are optional in some of our green home models.
Our services are always FREE to Buyers, and we contribute $500 towards closing costs if you buy through us, as well as $250 toward our Switch to Green, Switch it Forward Fund, to help fight poverty and climate change.
Let us show you how we can be Your Green Dream Team to help you to Live in a High Performance Green Home, that will Save You Money and help you to Pay Your Mortgage Off Years Earlier, while at the same time, live in a home that is Healthier, More Comfortable, Safer and Kinder To The Earth.
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Marius J Smook – Licensed Real Estate Eco-Broker, LEED AP for HOMES, Home Energy Rater.