When building or renovating an apartment complex, you don't need to settle for high energy bills. Geothermal heating and cooling systems, also called geo-exchange, are an increasingly common addition to multi-resident properties. But what makes this relatively new form of renewable energy so popular?
Heating and Cooling Efficiently
Geo-exchange systems work with the Earth itself to heat and cool buildings. During the initial installation, a long loop of tubes extends anywhere from a few dozen to hundreds of feet below ground. In summer, an antifreeze solution circulating through these tubes absorbs heat from the surface air. As the fluid moves underground, that heat leeches into the insulating soil and rocks, bringing cooler temperatures back up. Then, in winter, the opposite takes place. The same principles work for water heaters, with a heat pump concentrating temperatures.
This process raises and lowers temperatures far more efficiently than standard fossil fuel systems such as furnaces. A geothermal heating system is estimated to use 75 percent less energy than its standard counterparts. For large residential facilities like an apartment complex or condominiums, the savings per month can be significant.
The bulk of a geothermal system exists underground; its surface components mainly exist to circulate the antifreeze solution and pump heat throughout a complex. Compared to normal furnaces, air conditioners, and water heating equipment, a geothermal pump is quite compact. Instead of housing huge, inefficient systems, you could put that space to better use.
Reducing Maintenance Needs
Because geothermal systems are sometimes difficult to access, they're designed to survive the test of time. A well-built geothermal field can last for decades without issue. This reliability may end up saving you in maintenance and repair bills in the long run, and the technology is constantly improving.
Meeting Local Regulations
A growing number of states enforce laws meant to promote sustainable new construction. Depending on your regulations, you may need to equip your building with systems that curb emissions. Because heating and cooling make up so much of a building's energy consumption, geothermal heating can play a major role in complying with these new standards.
Qualifying for Incentives
Just as some states punish buildings that aren't eco-friendly, many also reward facilities that invest in renewable energy. Government programs may reimburse a large part of geothermal installation costs. This initial price can be daunting, especially before you consider the much larger long-term savings, so take advantage of these programs when possible. To learn more about options in your area, contact your local geothermal specialists for advice, property surveys, and quotes to meet your new facility's needs.