Why Go Geo?
Save Money, Increase Home Value and Improve Sustainability
How can you use the earth to heat and cool?
Geothermal heating and cooling systems utilize the earth’s temperature to remove heat from buildings during the summer months and supply heat in the winter months. In summer, heat pumps are used to extract heat energy and deposited deep in the ground, later used to increase the efficiency of your system during the winter months. In effect, Western Canada homeowners can save approximately 50 to 60 percent annually on heating and cooling costs.
A geothermal system uses energy from the sun, stored in the earth, to keep you in comfort all year round. Even in the winter, when a blanket of snow covers the ground, the earth’s temperature remains approximately 10°C (50°F) at only six feet below the surface. This means that you have a steady supply of heat to keep you in comfort, even in the depths of the coldest winter!
The Ground Loop (Pipes)
Geothermal systems use a series of pipes buried in the ground called a ground loop. An ethanol solution is circulated through the pipes to make them highly efficient conductors of heat. In the winter, the ethanol in the pipes absorbs the heat from the ground and, now warmed up, the fluid is pumped back through the geothermal unit in the house. In the summer, the heat transfer process takes place in reverse. The fluid in the pipes leaves the house in a warm state, but after circulating underground is cooled as the pipes exchange heat with the cooler earth.
The Geothermal Unit (Heat Pump)
The underground loops connect to the main geothermal unit installed in your house, and to your home’s forced air (or water radiator) system. Compatible with your home’s distribution system.
Ground Loop Options
Vertical vs Horizontal Loop
A vertical loop field is the most typical installation process for a geothermal heat pump. The average vertical loop for a house could fit in a regular front or backyard. During a vertical loop field installation, a series of holes are drilled, each between 100 – 150 feet deep. Piping is fed down these holes and connected in a header pit. The piping is then grouted in the holes to achieve proper thermo-conductivity to the surrounding earth. Once all of the pipes are connected outside of the home, they are fed through a header trench into your home and connected to the geothermal heat pump. The average vertical loop takes 2 – 5 days to complete.
A horizontal loop installation usually occurs in more rural areas or yards with lots of space. Horizontal loops require a significant amount of land and disturb more area than a vertical loop. The average horizontal loop is approximately the size of a football field. The trenches are 8 – 10 feet deep to ensure the loop is safely below the frost line. Horizontal systems can be installed using an excavator or other ground moving equipment and can be installed in 2 – 5 days.
Maximize Your Savings
Supplement with Solar
Supplement the electrical costs of geothermal by adding a solar array. This will produce electricity each day and reduce your reliance on the electrical utility. You could be “Net Zero”!