Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Geothermal Heating and Cooling

One of our goals in constructing our lakeside retreat was to be energy efficient in our design.  Deep eaves, porches and the dog-trot are part of that plan.  But we also wanted to find a heating and cooling system that would lower our energy bills while using "greener" resources to do it. 
We decided on Geothermal.

Not much to see above ground, but here it is!
In four fairly closely spaced locations, piping like this goes straight down more than 250 feet before looping back and forth and returning to the surface.

Above are some photos taken during the drilling process by our builder, Hal Prater.
And below are photos Hal took during the trenching process, connecting the geothermal system to the house framing.

The hot core of our planet provides a continuous source of energy, radiating outwards toward the surface.  Additionally, the sun warms the planet surface in depths ranging from six to several hundred feet down.  Residential geothermal units capture some of that stored ground-source energy to provide efficient heating and cooling.  
This link to an animated short explains the process in a clear style that is fun to watch!

The liquid flowing through these simple looking tubes is going to free us from noisy air-conditioning units, keep us warm in the winter, and even provide us with hot water!

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