Renewable Energy #1: Geothermal Power
Geothermal energy may seem like the most inaccessible of the renewable energy sources. After all, unless you live in a geologically active area (Iceland and Yellowstone National Park come to mind), you probably don’t have access to geysers or magma.
Still, there are very practical ways you can take advantage of the internal heat from the Earth as a form of energy for your home. For example, did you know that just a few feet underground, the temperature remains a constant 50–55° Fahrenheit, regardless of the temperature above ground?
The difference in temperature between the surface air and that underground is used by a geothermal heat pump to both heat and cool your home while using less energy than a traditional air source heat pump.
A geothermal heat pump works by circulating fluid through the ground in a loop of pipes then back into the home where a heat exchanger removes the heat from the liquid. In the summer the process is reversed, and the pipes are used to draw heat out of the home.
Geothermal heat pumps allow homeowners to control the inside temperature without having to use as much electrical power. And best of all, geothermal energy is totally renewable.
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