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Geothermal Energy: Make the Earth work for you.
Home Knowledge Hub Geothermal Energy: Make the Earth work for you.
17 Apr 2023  /  by admin   /   0 Comments

First things first…What is Geothermal Energy?

Geothermal energy is the energy present in the Earth or more simply, the ground under your feet. There is heating and cooling energy in the ground that, below a certain amount depth, 3.5 feet for most of the state of Michigan and up to 5 feet under extreme circumstances, the ground does not freeze and retains a static temperature of approximately 55 degrees Fahrenheit. This is energy that can be tapped for use in heating and cooling. Pipes can be run underground with glycol in them and they can absorb this energy. In the winter, this is heat that can be drawn upon; and in the summer, it is cooling that can be drawn upon.

There are certain places on Earth that have geothermal venting (geysers, hot water pools, close underground magmatic activity) such as Iceland, New Zealand, Japan and others, that are able to take direct advantage of hot water to generate heat for homes and businesses.

In Michigan, geothermal can also include lakes as a source of energy. Pipes can be run out into a lake and draw the lake water into a system to utilize the cooling effects of the water during the summer as a means to air condition a structure.

According to the EPA on the www.energy.gov website, the most popular use for a geothermal system is in heating where the geothermal heat pump system uses the constant temperature of the shallow earth to provide heating and cooling solutions.


According to www.EPA.gov, geothermal heat pumps can reduce energy consumption and emissions up to 44% compared to air-source heat pumps and 72% compared to standard air-conditioning equipment. There will be an initial higher cost involved due to the necessary equipment involved, but over time, it will pay for itself. No other conventional heating and cooling system (natural gas, propane, heating oil powered or electrical) will pay for itself because of the cost of the energy needed to be used by the heater and cooling system in order to keep functioning. However, any electrical energy used by the geothermal system will more than be made up for in overall energy savings.

What is involved in building a geothermal system?

A geothermal system requires piping to be installed, underground, beneath the frost line. This piping is connected to a pumping system and a heat exchanging system that pumps a liquid through the piping that transfers heat energy or extracts heat energy to or from the ground depending on the season. As stated earlier, below a certain depth, the ground retains a certain level of heating/ cooling energy year-round that can be utilized year-round.


Can a geothermal system provide domestic hot water?

Yes, a geothermal system can provide heating and cooling for the entire house but also provide heated domestic water as well.

Do I have to be isolated from city water for the system to work?

No. The city still provides all the water needed and the geothermal system simply heats it.

Can I still use my regular heating and cooling system if I desire to?

Yes. You do not have to make the geothermal system the only system for heating or cooling, it can be used as a secondary system if the customer does not want to use it as the primary system. As a secondary system, it can be effectively used to reduce the amount of energy used to heat or cool the home or office.

Is geothermal really worth the money involved?

This is a very good question. A domestic geothermal system used for heating and cooling will pay for itself (Return on Investment) inside of 7 years and an industrial system will take under 17 years. The geothermal system will save customers between 30-70% on heating and approximately 20-50% on cooling. Add to this Federal Geothermal Incentives of 30% plus state rebates and the initial cost of a geothermal system is not too bad causing the return on investment to be realized sooner. Also take into consideration how much a geothermal system will add to the value of the property and it really is a wise investment.

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