Ground source heat pumps eliminate the need to burn home heating fuels and reduce the overall energy demand and emissions.

The temperature just a few feet below the earth’s surface remains relatively constant, even during hot summer days and bitter cold winter nights. Geothermal technology systems (a.k.a. ground source heat pumps) harness this naturally stable underground temperature and use it to heat and cool buildings. Many looking to save money and green up their heating and cooling systems utilize geothermal technology in their homes.

Installing a ground source heat pump requires some digging or drilling outside of the building. Pipes are placed underground and filled with water to transfer heat to and from the building. A pump then circulates the water back and forth between the ground and the building to move the heat. When the building’s temperature dips below the thermostat settings, the heat pump moves the warmer water from underground into the building, compresses the water to generate more heat, and releases that heat inside the building. When the building is too warm, the heat pump reverses the process by bringing the cooler underground temperatures, expanding it for additional cooling, and releasing the cooled air inside the building. Since the movement of heat between the pipes and their surroundings is a natural process, energy is only used to power the water pumps, compressors, and fans inside the heat pump unit inside the building. As a result, ground source heat pumps significantly reduce the amount of energy needed to heat and cool a building.

According to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, ground source heat pumps can return 3 to 4 times the initially supplied energy through heating or cooling. In a residential setting, that can mean huge savings on bills as well as significantly reduced emissions. In addition, ground source heat pumps usually last longer and require less maintenance than traditional heating systems. To learn more about ground source heat pumps and their benefits, visit NYS Clean Heat.


Graphic Credit: United States Environmental Protection Agency