Geothermal energy utilizes the heat that is naturally present on the planet to generate electricity or provide heating and cooling for buildings, making it a sustainable renewable energy source. As more and more individuals seek ways to lower their carbon footprint and minimize energy expenses, installing geothermal energy solutions has become popular.
This blog takes a close look at geothermal energy to help you determine whether or not you should invest in it.
What is Geothermal Energy?
Geothermal energy is a renewable energy source generated from the earth’s natural heat. The earth’s core is extremely hot, and this heat is constantly radiating outwards towards the surface. Geothermal energy uses this heat to generate electricity or provide heating and cooling for buildings.
Two types of geothermal energy systems exist: ground-source heat pumps (GSHPs) and direct-use geothermal systems. GSHPs use a network of pipes buried in the ground to extract heat from the earth and transfer it to a building’s heating system.
On the other hand, direct-use geothermal systems pump hot water or steam directly from the ground to provide heating and cooling for buildings.
Benefits of Geothermal Energy
Renewable Energy Source
Given that geothermal energy is a renewable energy source, it can be utilized continuously without depletion. It makes it a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly option than fossil fuels.
Reduced Carbon Footprint
Geothermal energy produces very little carbon dioxide emissions, which helps reduce your carbon footprint. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), geothermal energy produces 97% less greenhouse gas emissions than natural gas and 98% less than coal.
Although the upfront expenses of setting up a geothermal energy system may surpass those of conventional cooling and heating systems, its long-term cost savings can be substantial. Geothermal systems incur reduced operating costs and demand less maintenance than their traditional counterparts, thus leading to lower energy bills and greater savings over an extended duration.
Increased Property Value
Incorporating geothermal energy systems into your property can enhance its value. Research conducted by the NRE found that residences equipped with geothermal energy systems can sell for as much as 17% more than residences without them that are otherwise comparable.
Geothermal energy systems have a long lifespan, often 25 years or more. It means you won’t have to replace or upgrade your system as frequently as you would with traditional heating and cooling systems.
Challenges of Geothermal Energy
High Upfront Costs
The initial cost of installing a geothermal energy system can be high. The system requires specialized equipment and installation, such as drilling wells and burying pipes.
Not all properties are suitable for geothermal energy systems. For example, if the ground on your property is rocky or shallow, installing a geothermal energy system may not be possible.
Maintenance and Repair Costs
While geothermal energy systems require less maintenance than traditional heating and cooling systems, they still require regular maintenance and occasional repairs. It can add to the overall cost of the system.
Geothermal energy is not available in all areas, and depends on factors such as the property’s location and the area’s geological characteristics.
Is Geothermal Energy Worth It?
Whether geothermal energy is a worthwhile investment hinges on various factors, including the location of your property, the size of your residence, and your energy requirements. Geothermal energy is a financially sound decision if:
- You intend to reside in your abode for an extended period.
- You aim to minimize your carbon footprint and reduce energy expenses.
- You have the financial resources to invest in a geothermal energy system.
Geothermal energy is also worth considering if you live in an area with high energy costs, as the long-term cost savings can be significant. Additionally, if you are building a new home or doing a major renovation, installing a geothermal energy system can be more cost-effective than retrofitting an existing system.
However, if you plan on selling your home soon, the upfront cost of installing a geothermal energy system may not be worth it as you may not recoup the full cost of the system at the time of selling your home.
It’s also important to consider your property’s site-specific factors before installing a geothermal energy system. If your property is unsuitable for a geothermal energy system, investing in one may not be worth it.
To Sum Up
Investing in geothermal energy solutions can be wise for those who aim to reduce their carbon footprint and lower energy expenses. Geothermal energy belongs to the category of renewable energy sources, which can be replenished naturally and used repeatedly.
However, the upfront cost of installing a geothermal energy system can be high, and it’s important to consider the site-specific factors of your property before making a decision. If you decide to sell your home soon, installing a geothermal energy system may not be worth it.