Geothermal. /ˌjēōˈTHərməl/ “Adjective. Relating to or produced by internal heat of the earth, ‘some 70% of Iceland’s energy needs are met from geothermal sources’.” – Oxford Readers Dictionary
In the never-ending quest to improve efficiencies, new technologies are creating opportunities to reduce costs over time, and geothermal technology for home heating is a burgeoning industry.
So what is geothermal technology exactly? Basically, it is a way to utilize the naturally occurring higher temperature within the earth for heating and cooling, and in larger applications for the creation of energy.
The word geothermal comes from the Greek words geo, for the earth and therme, meaning heat. If you’ve ever enjoyed a warm soak in a naturally formed hot spring or have checked out the geysers at Yellowstone, you’ve had first-hand experience with geothermal energy. Right in our backyard, amid the Mayacamas Mountains, you’ll find one of the largest geothermal power plants in the world.
What may be less familiar is how homeowners can benefit from geothermal heating (and cooling!) applications. To that end, we interviewed our team in Vacaville. Meet Eric Rakowski, our Solano County Construction Manager, and his wife and Project Manager, Brandee Rakowski. Eric and Brandee live and work in Vacaville, and are our boots on the ground.
We asked Eric and Brandee to tell us a little bit more about what systems are being installed in our newly built homes, and why homeowners are choosing to install geothermal systems in their homes. Here’s what they had to say: “Everyone is looking for ways to cut energy costs and bring emissions down. Geothermal heating by harnessing the heat energy just feet below the earth’s surface and converting it into warm air is an almost 100% natural way of heating your home. Only a small amount of electricity (never natural gas) is necessary to run this natural earth heating system.
Geothermal systems are 50% to 70% more efficient for heating and 20% to 40% more efficient for cooling than traditional furnaces and air conditioners.
This system does not burn fossil fuels – such as gas, fuel oil, coal, or wood – and does not produce carbon dioxide greenhouse gas emissions which is making it more attractive to the environment. Everyone wants to do the most they can to save our environment, this is another way to start.”
Signs of geothermal technology being applied within homes in your neighborhood may include one or more of the following key indicators:
- Big red trucks with drilling rigs driving around
- No large HVAC systems in the yard or on the roof
- Warm toes in the winter, when paired with subfloor heating
- Homeowner’s smiling faces when the electric bill arrives
The perfect time to make the change to geothermal home heating and cooling is of course during construction. That’s why you’ll notice many local area homebuilders making the choice to apply this energy-efficient option now. All signs point to a cleaner, sustainable, less costly, and more independent future.
Contact us to learn more about Geothermal Technology.
—As seen in Vacaville Magazine March/April edition