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Geothermal Building Techniques -

Geothermal heat pumps are a relatively new technology that can save homeowners a substantial amount of money in utility bills. This amazing technology relies primarily on the earth’s natural thermal energy, a renewable resource, to heat or cool a house. The only additional energy geothermal systems require is a small amount of electricity to circulate the high-quality heating and cooling throughout the home.

The application of geothermal heating/cooling, also known as ground source heat pumps, has been named “the most energy-efficient and environmentally sensitive of all space conditioning systems” by the Environmental Protection Agency and carries the EPA’s Energy Star Label. It is more than three times as efficient as traditional fossil fuel furnaces.

The ductwork is no different than that of a conventional forced-air system. The difference is found in the temperature of the air flowing from the registers in the winter. With a conventional air source heat pump, the air flow is seldom warmer than 80 degrees. But because water transfers a greater volume of heat than air, the ground source heat pump is able to deliver warmer air—typically about 110 degrees F.

In the summer, the process is reversed in order to cool the home. Excess heat is drawn from the home, expelled to the loop, and absorbed by the earth. Geothermal systems provide cooling in the same way that a refrigerator keeps its contents cool—by drawing heat from the interior, not by injecting cold air.

There are many advantages to having a geothermal system. All components of the unit are compact and housed inside the home, reducing wear and tear. They are highly reliable, require little maintenance, and are built to last for decades. They are so quiet homeowners don’t even realize they’re on. Additionally, geothermal systems do not require a flue, and since there is no on-site combustion, there’s less chance of fire, and no chance of carbon monoxide infiltrating the home. Because it meets the EPA’s Energy Star requirements, homeowners may find tax benefits, lower mortgages, or utility rebates.

Geothermal systems are a smart investment for consumers who want a system that provides a high level of comfort and low monthly energy bills for as long as they own their home.

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