What Is Geothermal?

Your own backyard has the potential to become an energy source for indoor heating and cooling comfort.  Outdoor air temperatures fluctuate throughout the year with the changing seasons.  By contrast, ground temperatures at about six to eight feet below the earth’s surface remain relatively moderate and constant all year. That is because, near its surface, the earth absorbs nearly half of all the heat energy that reaches it from the sun.  A geothermal system circulates a water-based solution through a buried loop system to take advantage of these constant temperatures.  A single piece of equipment called a geothermal heat pump (GHP) uses refrigeration technology to bring heating and cooling to your home while providing some or all of your home’s hot water.

It is important to distinguish this from “utility” grade geothermal, which harnesses hot water or steam heated by the earth’s deep inner mantel for the purpose of generating electricity.  A geothermal heat pump system simply taps into the thermal mass stored near the earth’s surface to provide heating, cooling, and domestic hot water.  A properly designed and installed GHP system can really save you 30% to 70% on your monthly utility bills.

Cartoon Home Heating

Even in the harsh Minnesota winter the earth has enough stored heat to keep your home comfortable...

Cartoon Home Cooling

...and in the heat of the summer the earth is a nice cool place to reject heat from your home.

Nearly half of the sun's energy is absorbed and stored in the earth's crust.

Nearly half of the sun's energy is absorbed and stored in the earth's crust.