by Sarah Tipton
A constant flow of cool air in the summer is the best way to beat the heat, but with energy prices constantly rising, and in some states BlackoutsIt became very clear that our power grid is not something any of us should fully depend on. The natural option is to use thermal energy to heat and cool the dwelling.
Off-grid options may become more advantageous as energy costs continue to rise, and rolling blackouts make it difficult to rely on power companies. Being self-sufficient is always a great way to prepare in advance for potential power outages whether they are ongoing or long-term. Geothermal energy can be an excellent option, so read on for more information, pros and cons.
Geothermal energy and how it works
Just a few feet below the surface of the earth is an abundant source of renewable energy called geothermal energy. This energy is produced inside the earth and can provide passive heat in the winter and cool air during the summer months. Thermal energy found in rocks and underground fluids can be found from shallow depths all the way to several miles below the Earth’s surface. Have you ever noticed that caves always seem warmer than the outside temperature during the winter and cooler during the summer? The actual temperature of the caves depends on the average annual surface temperature of the place in which they are located. Is it possible to move this cool air from under the soil into your home to provide an alternative source of cooling air or warmer air?
Earth’s geothermal energy is collected using geothermal tubes placed in deep trenches that help transport hot or cold air to the desired destination. “Earth piping works by harnessing what nature naturally provides us with, using simple principles that allow the ambient air temperature to be cooled by at least 10 or even 20 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the energy efficiency of the building itself. In-ground PVC cooling piping is also known as Air duct, ground air duct, ground-coupled heat exchanger, geo-air heat exchanger, heat labyrinth, heat recovery ventilation, geothermal tubes, sustainability tubes, or a number of other terms.
Cooling tubes are an effective way to cool a building using natural convection and thermal mass principles. It requires no pumps or fans and is completely passive (no moving parts). This also means that no electricity is required to “run” it, saving energy costs over the life of the building, keeping money in your pocket and reducing carbon emissions. It also means that this is a great way to live off the grid. The use of geothermal energy can be considered as natural cooling and environmentally friendly cooling, At the same time, the principles take advantage of what nature already knows how to do.
People can use geothermal heat to shower, heat buildings, generate electricity, and geothermal cooling to cool their homes during hot times of the year.
Always keep in mind that there is no perfect source of renewable energy. Each energy source has its pros and cons.
Advantages of geothermal energy
- High Efficiency Heating and Cooling: Because geothermal energy is about moving heat rather than creating it, equipment can operate with 300 to 500 percent efficiency. This means that for every unit of electricity consumed by the geothermal heat pump, it transfers three to five units of heat. At this rate, you can expect to save 30 to 60 percent on heating costs and 25 to 50 percent in cooling costs compared to today’s more efficient ovens and air conditioners.
- Low environmental impact: Geothermal energy is the greenest energy source available today. It is virtually emission-free and, unlike oil and gas furnaces, does not require combustion. Geothermal heat pumps still need electricity to run, so pairing the equipment with solar panels is a great way to reduce environmental impact even further.
- Regenerative heating and cooling: Fossil fuel supplies are running out quickly, but geothermal energy is different. All it does is extract heat from the earth, where the temperature remains more uniform than air in all seasons. As long as the Earth exists, geothermal energy production will be possible.
- Not dependent on the weather: Solar and wind energy are renewable energy sources because they will never run out, but short-term electricity shortages can occur when the sun goes down and the wind stops blowing. However, the Earth is always there, and so is the energy it produces.
- Excellent reliability and low maintenance requirements: Geothermal heat pumps have few moving parts compared to other HVAC equipment. This reduces the chance of malfunctions and reduces maintenance costs.
- Flexible applications: Geothermal energy is suitable for the smallest house and the largest commercial building. All you need is to get the exact size of the equipment to meet your needs.
- Quiet operation: The largest geothermal heat pump components are installed underground. Without the noisy fan and compressor that air source air conditioners and heat pumps require, you’ll enjoy virtually silent operation.
Disadvantages of geothermal energy
- Higher initial cost than other HVAC systems: The cost of installing a geothermal heat pump is a setback for some. However, with amazingly effective performance, the investment can pay for itself in just five to 10 years.
- More suitable for new home construction: While it is possible to install a geothermal heat pump in an existing home, retrofitting requires extensive excavation. It is much more feasible to install the system during the construction of the new house.
- Damage to underground components may require costly repairs: In rare cases, tree roots, soil shifting, and even rodents can damage the subterranean rings of the geothermal system. If this happens, repairing the device could be a huge setback
- Not effective in hot, humid climates: There seems to be a consensus that earth tubes (trenchers used to move hot and cold air) do not perform well in hot, humid climates without some form of Removing moisture that prevents water from condensing in floor pipes.
next video It goes into what is needed to create naturally occurring heating/cooling.
This video describes the following How to install this in your home.
Have you tried using geothermal energy? If so, what suggestions or information can you offer to your feed ready readers to help them make the right decisions about off-grid power?