Materials & Technology

Examining geothermal heating: Warm from the ground up

Fri, 06/15/2012 - 14:22

While there has been an increased emphasis placed on green energy sources like solar panels, geothermal pumps are less talked about but no less effective than the more popular sun-reliant products.These green energy sources provide homeowners with a way to limit the negative impact that their home has on the environment, while also cutting energy costs and limiting the waste that is associated with more traditional heating systems.The Edmonton Journal reported that there are more than 100,000 ground source heat pumps in Canada, and these homeowners have likely benefited from reduced heating and cooling bills due to the combination of this energy source with an efficient system for the delivery of heat or air conditioning.Students across the country have examined the geothermal energy sources as a way to learn about potential savings and the benefits of efficient products. Geoexchange is not only efficient and sustainable, but it also uses energy that would otherwise be wasted."It just blew my mind how effective it is – you take energy just sitting there in the ground and you can use it for cooling and heating – it amazes my mind," Preetpau Atwal, a student taking the Alternative Energy Program at NAIT in Edmonton, told the news source.If this type of energy source is hooked up to an efficient heating system, the cost of keeping a home warm during the cold winter months is cut dramatically.A radiant heating system works best with the geothermal pump, as it uses the least amount of energy possible to provide warmth to a family. This is accomplished because of the design of the system, which uses warm water pumped through a series of tubing and paneling under the floor in a residence.