A geothermal heating and air conditioning checkilist showing the benefits of geothermal heating system.

Geothermal Energy Pros and Cons

Instead of using natural gas or oil and as an alternative to incurring high electricity bills, geothermal energy works to draw off the Earth’s constant core temperature to both heat and cool the home. At first glance, incorporating geothermal energy into a house or business would seem like a no-brainer and while there are definite cost and economic savings involved with the process, all that glitters isn’t gold. Here are the definitive geothermal energy pros and cons:

Pros

Cons

Environmentally friendly compared to gas or oil furnaces (no combustion). High upfront costs with implementing geothermal energy. ($10,000-$20,000)
Not a significant source of pollution. More suitable for new home builds as retrofitting involves large scale excavation.
Efficient (300- 500% compared to 90% of the best furnaces). Electricity is still needed to operate heat pumps.
Geothermal energy is a renewable resource as long as the Earth exists. Geothermal energy using wells requires an incredible usage of water.
Suitable for the smallest of houses to the largest commercial spaces. Discharge into the Earth could include sulfur dioxide and silica (well pumps).
No cost fluctuations determined by gas and oil prices. Fewer installers than standard HVAC and thus less competition.
30%-60% savings on heating and 25%-50% savings on cooling. Large scale geothermal power plants are dangerous to the Earth’s surface and location-centric.
Moving heat that already exists opposed to making new heat. Damage to underground loops (tree roots, rodents, etc.) can be difficult and costly to repair.
Mostly underground for a minimal landscape footprint.
Not weather dependent like solar or wind power; geothermal heat pumps work year-round.
Heating systems won’t dangerously turn off when out of gas or oil like standard furnaces.
Installation is eligible for tax cuts.
Quieter operation because of no outdoor compressor or fan.
Long lifespan (25 years for indoor components, 50+ for underground loop system).
Fewer moving parts mean minimal maintenance issues.
Smallest carbon footprint of any heating or cooling source.
Technology behind geothermal energy will only continue to improve in efficiency.
Provides either base load or peak power energy output.

All-in-all, there are plenty of benefits as well as some downfalls of integrating geothermal energy into your commercial or residential property. It’s highly unlikely that geothermal energy will become irrelevant or impossible. It will remain as a nice implementation if it fits your landscape, location, and budget.

Comments for this post are closed.