Geothermal Home Heating and Cooling
What is geothermal energy?
Geothermal is derived from the Greek word geo (earth) and therme (heat). So the essence of this technology is to take heat from the ground and heat your home or your business during winter months. Geothermal energy is a renewable resource which comes from the Earth's internal heat.
VI Geothermal installs green energy technology that utilizes the constant heat generated by the Earth. The core of the planet is the hottest with temperatures approaching 5000 degrees Celsius. This heat constantly radiates outward toward the surface where it is readily available for you to use.
In the winter months a heat pump fills your home or office with heat through a forced air system that is extracted from a pipe that is buried under ground. This "loop" is filled with fluid that absorbs the natural heat of the planet.
This technology can also be reversed to cool your home or your business during summer months by using the Earth's relatively cooler temperature.
Advantages of Geothermal Heating and Cooling Systems
Compared with conventional heating systems, geothermal heating systems substantially reduce heating costs and also save on cooling and hot water heating costs. Geothermal heat pumps cut space heating costs by up to two-thirds for a typical home, compared to an electric heat pump system.
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Efficient Heating - Geothermal home heating systems save money. By harnessing the Earth's thermal heat properties they deliver energy efficiency that is second to none because of the more effective use of power than conventional heating and air conditioning systems.
Every year Canadian home owners can expect to save anywhere from 35-70% while heating a home and 25-50% while cooling. For every kilowatt of energy the unit requires heating a home it gives back 3-4 units of geo thermal heat back. That is an increase in efficiency by 300-400%. Along with these obvious savings geothermal systems the energy security they provide against inflation will allow you to keep more money in your wallet.
Longest Equipment Life - According to the government of Canada systems from alternative energy sources have a 20% longer life combined with a life cycle cost that is the lowest.
Green Energy - Geothermal heating and cooling systems do away with 3/4 of the fossil fuels that need to be burned in your home resulting in a substantially reduced amount of emissions that form green house gasses.
* GHPC survey; user/owner satisfaction levels. Heating and cooling savings show the maximum savings. Utility savings displayed are the average.
Cozy Comfort - Since geothermal energy uses the stable temperature of the Earth as a source of energy the end result is that you will have a consistent heating in the winter months and more efficient control of humidity in the summer months. During all times of the year this comfortable home power is provided by a single system removing the need for openings in your house. As a result your home is in effect sealed off from the environment.
Flexibility - The design of your heating system is up to you. You can choose from any combination of forced air heating, radiant floor heating, hot water, and air conditioning all from one small unit. There is not an application you can think of that will not take advantage of these systems whether they are houses, or office buildings, small and large swimming pools, or any other structure that requires electricity.
Subtle Operation and Aesthetics - With all your heating and cooling being provided from one geothermal heat pump there is no longer the need for outside air conditioning or a chimney. Even though it is an interior system it is quiet, compact, and self contained. No longer will you have a noisy and rather unsightly condensor that is required by regular air conditioning. While you will barely know it is there but you will know it when you see your power bill.
Health Conscious Air - By eliminating the need to burn fossil fuels in your house you will no longer have the fear of carbon monoxide poisoning and rid yourself of detectors which are required with new home construction.
Safety - Coupled with the health benefits are safer operation. There is no flame, or flue, or odors. Simple, safe, and lower cost operation with a reliablility that is second to none.
* GHPC survey; user/owner satisfaction levels.
History of Geothermal Power
Somewhat closer to modern times the Romans used water that was heated by the Earth in their bath houses. They also used this mineral rich water to treat various illnesses.
In other parts of the world where geothermal forces were much more prevalent - such as Iceland and New Zealand - it was common for people to cook their food with the readily available geothermal heat. Meanwhile some Aboriginal tribes in North America used geothermal vents to not only cook their food but also for home comfort.
These examples of green energy took advantage of the planet's many geothermal vents but also early peoples used the consistent temperatures of the ground source heat to preserve vegetables in cellars.
19th Century: The technology in use today however can be traced back somewhat closer to modern times. In 1852 Peter Ritter von Rittinger invented the first heat pump because of the need for more effective refrigeration.
This early heat pump lead to the first ground source heating and cooling system in 1912. Adoption of this technology occurred in eastern Canada in early 1970s followed by further advances and acceptance throughout the country a decade later.
Later during the second half of the 19th century in the United States energy from natural hot springs is used to heat residential homes and bath houses. Geothermal energy use in Canada began in 1866 with the use of pipes to pump hot water from the hot springs in Banff, Alberta to spas and hotels.
First half of 20th Century: The world's first geothermal electric power plant was in invented in 1904 in Italy by Piero Ginori Conti. Following this breakthrough, in 1946 the first ground source heat pump was installed in the United States.
1960s: Several geothermal power plants were constructed in California which marked the first alternative energy project on such a large scale. These plants produces 11 million watts of energy and today there are nearly 70 facilities in the United States.
1970s: A large explosion in the development of alternative energy began during the oil crisis of the early 70s among many countries though most of the adoption was through the use of heat pumps in commercial buildings. Drilling in British Columbia begins with assesments of geothermal energy resources for electricity generation.
1980s: Beginning in the late 70s and extenting well into the 80s a 10 year federal program in Canada was created to assess different geothermal energy resources and technologies to determine the prospects for opportunities.
1990s: Environmental awareness grows with the concerns over air quality and climate change. Governments around the world begin to invest in green energy research to offset the higher demand for fossil fuels and the emissions created by them.
A program to install geothermal heat pumps in nearly 7,000 homes without natural gas in Ontario was begun.
21st Century A new geothermal power plant in British Columbia north of Whislter has been proposed which is expected to provice 100 million watts of energy.
The provincial government in Manitoba creates a program to provide $15,000 loans to individuals and businesses that are interested in installing geothermal heat pump systems.