Geothermal Heat Pump (GHP) Systems Overview
Geothermal Heat Pump (GHP) systems are known by many names – geo-exchange, geothermal heating and cooling, ground source heat pump systems, ground loop systems, GHP, EHX. Whatever the name, geothermal heat exchange systems are quite simply the most cost-effective, energy-efficient, and environmentally-sound way to heat and cool buildings.GHP systems have been providing clean and affordable heating and cooling comfort for over half a century. In fact, over 1,000,000 GHP systems have been installed in commercial, institutional and residential buildings in the U.S. alone.
The principle behind a GHP system is simple. It uses the constant temperature of the ground below the surface of the earth as a highly efficient heat sink that absorbs heat in cooling mode and as a heat source in heating mode. It requires no chillers or boilers.
The benefits are numerous, and include significantly reduced energy use and utility bills, reduced water consumption, lower maintenance and operating costs, and no on-site emissions. GHP systems are extremely versatile and can work with any conventional or alternative energy program. Learn more about the benefits of GHP.
How the System Works
The earth absorbs approximately 50% of all the energy provided by the sun, resulting in an abundant amount of free on-site energy for heating and cooling buildings. This energy also causes the earth’s temperature a few meters below the ground surface to remain constant throughout the seasons. The temperature below the surface of the ground lies in the range of 40 ̊ F – 70 ̊ F, depending on the location. GHP systems take advantage of this stable temperature and free energy source, using it as a heat sink in cooling mode and a heat source in heating mode.
Through an earth-heat exchanger (EHX) air temperature is cycled out of a building using water through a series of underground pipes connected to the building and the returning water temperature is far more conducive to heating and cooling efficiently. The same systems works for heating and cooling.