Editorial Feature

Replacing Heating and Cooling Equipment with Geothermal Solutions

Renewable energy technologies are providing an increasing proportion of the extensive power requirements needed for modern societies. However, the potential of underground energy remains largely untapped, mainly due to high starting costs. Companies such as Dandelion Energy are trying to deliver more geothermal solutions by lowering the cost of entry, enabling more people to experience the benefits of underground energy.

geothermal, renewable energy

Image Credit: silky/Shutterstock.com

Geothermal Solutions: Tapping into Underground Energy Potential

The most effective way of making the most out of underground energy is to harness the natural thermal regulation of the ground for building heating and cooling.

Heating and cooling residential and commercial buildings contribute significantly to the rising demand for energy – second only to automobile ownership in terms of the demand it makes on domestic energy budgets. Geothermal solutions to heating and cooling replace this energy-intensive and often highly polluting activity with an environmentally sound alternative.

Removing the economic costs of building heating and cooling – using oil-powered heat sources, radiators and furnaces, air conditioning units, and so on – would also remove a significant amount of a domestic or commercial building owner’s total expenses.

The heating and cooling equipment used in geothermal systems consists of a series of pipes buried underground and running through the building. In winter, heat stored underground is moved through the pipes to warm the home. In the summer, heat from the home is moved underground as this same process is reversed.

How Do Geothermal Solutions Work?

The soil in the ground maintains consistent temperatures year-round from approximately five feet below the surface and deeper. The temperature is warmer than surface temperatures in winter and cooler than surface temperatures in summer.

Geothermal solutions work by transferring heat between the building on the surface and the soil underground.

A typical geothermal system includes a heat pump inside the home and a pipe system buried beneath the surface, the buried pipe system is referred to as a ground loop.

Pipes are filled with circulating fluid, which continuously moves heat throughout the home and ground loop. The heat pump keeps the whole system flowing similar to the heart in the blood system.

The system draws heat out of the air in the building in the summer, then pulls it underground where it is released and absorbed. In the winter, this process is reversed as heat is drawn from the solid underground and released into the building on the surface.

Benefits of Underground Energy

Geothermal solutions are a much more stable way of heating and cooling a building than reliance on oil-based or electrical systems. The price of running the pump does not fluctuate and increases with rising demand, and building owners using their own geothermal heating and cooling equipment need not worry about sudden shortages leaving their building frozen.

Unlike other renewable energy technologies, geothermal energy does not depend on specific types of weather. It is consistent throughout the year, and effective in a much wider variety of climates and surrounding environments.

As well as providing more energy independence for building owners, geothermal solutions are also typically a much more efficient means of heating and cooling buildings.

The heating and cooling equipment used in geothermal systems is also much more reliable and long-lasting than air conditioners and radiators, for example. Ground loops can last over 50 years with minimal maintenance, and heat pumps typically last 20 years.

Another benefit of this kind of system is that it provides heating and cooling in one, with one type of equipment to use and one installation to make.

Combined with the safety and convenience that comes from moving away from furnaces and gas systems, these benefits certainly make underground energy a more attractive solution to heating and cooling needs.

Why Don’t More People Use Underground Energy?

Despite these many benefits, many who could capitalize on the advantages of underground energy are still yet to make the switch. The main reason for this is the large initial investment cost required.

Digging deep into the ground and installing pipes and a heat pump can cost homes up to $50,000, and this cost obviously increases significantly for commercial buildings. Although for some people this large initial expense would be recuperated eventually in energy bill savings, such a cost is still a significant barrier.

Dandelion Energy is trying to make geothermal solutions more affordable. The company was established out of a Google X project which aimed to drive down the start-up costs for geothermal energy.

It has refined the installation process by using smaller, more efficient drills to make smaller holes in the ground outside of a building. Engineers then insert U-shaped pipes into these holes to create a closed ground loop for the geothermal solution.

With this improved approach and specialist equipment, Dandelion Energy can install a new ground loop in days rather than weeks.

These improvements have enabled Dandelion Energy to offer home geothermal solutions for only $18,000.

The company also offers a no-deposit financing option to make geothermal energy accessible to even more customers.

More adoption of renewable energy technologies, including geothermal solutions, is still needed. In the US, heating and cooling buildings make up approximately 11% of the country’s carbon dioxide emissions.

Replacing this activity with zero-emissions technology by harnessing underground energy is a simple, impactful, and cost-effective solution.

References and Further Reading

Soltani, M., et al. (2019). A Comprehensive Study of Geothermal Heating and Cooling Systems. Sustainable Cities and Society. [Online] https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scs.2018.09.036.

Dandelion Energy [Online] Available at: https://dandelionenergy.com/

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the author expressed in their private capacity and do not necessarily represent the views of AZoM.com Limited T/A AZoNetwork the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and conditions of use of this website.

Ben Pilkington

Written by

Ben Pilkington

Ben Pilkington is a freelance writer who is interested in society and technology. He enjoys learning how the latest scientific developments can affect us and imagining what will be possible in the future. Since completing graduate studies at Oxford University in 2016, Ben has reported on developments in computer software, the UK technology industry, digital rights and privacy, industrial automation, IoT, AI, additive manufacturing, sustainability, and clean technology.


Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Dandelion Energy. (2021, July 14). Replacing Heating and Cooling Equipment with Geothermal Solutions. AZoCleantech. Retrieved on May 24, 2024 from https://www.azocleantech.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=1276.

  • MLA

    Dandelion Energy. "Replacing Heating and Cooling Equipment with Geothermal Solutions". AZoCleantech. 24 May 2024. <https://www.azocleantech.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=1276>.

  • Chicago

    Dandelion Energy. "Replacing Heating and Cooling Equipment with Geothermal Solutions". AZoCleantech. https://www.azocleantech.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=1276. (accessed May 24, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Dandelion Energy. 2021. Replacing Heating and Cooling Equipment with Geothermal Solutions. AZoCleantech, viewed 24 May 2024, https://www.azocleantech.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=1276.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you have a review, update or anything you would like to add to this article?

Leave your feedback
Your comment type

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.