If you are looking at alternative sources to heating either a new build or existing property then the geothermal solution has to be considered as a cost effective and renewable solution.
Geothermal energy is produced by the radioactive decay of minerals and solar radiation absorbed at the surface. Although the energy is greatest in regions where tectonic plates meet and therefore volcanic activity is closest to the surface, even cold ground contains heat below circa 3m where, in countries of a moderate climate, the temperature will remain a constant 12.8°C (55°F).
This energy, through the clever use of geothermal piles/boreholes and a ground source heat pump, can be harnessed to provide a sustainable heating solution for a structure, relying on the exchange of energy between the air inside the building and the ground.
During summer months, when the ambient temperature of the building exceeds that of the ground, pumps are used to expel the heat by absorbing it through a transfer medium which is subsequently carried through small diameter pipes into the pile/borehole. With large surface areas, these pipes are ideally suited to dissipating the heat back into the earth. This part of the process is vital so as to return energy into the ground preventing 'ground freeze'. Over time, if energy is taken from the earth without being replaced, it can lose its ability to store energy in the future causing the system to breakdown or preventing it from working to its full capacity.
In winter months, when the ambient temperature falls below that of the ground, the process works in reverse and heat is pumped back into the building.
As the sole drilling contractor to Eon for the government's social housing contract, we installed many geothermal boreholes to enable residencies formerly burning coal to benefit from this innovative and most sustainable of heat sources.
Many sustainable energy sources, such as solar, receive more publicity in the UK than geothermal solutions; however, much of this is due to the funding assistance given by our own government rather than judging these alternatives on their own merit. When you look at the world leaders in renewable energy and take into consideration energy return, whole life costs, our climate and average hours of sunlight, geothermal solutions are the obvious choice.
If your new development requires piles anyway or you want to look at installing a cost effective and renewable energy solution to an existing building then why not consider geothermal piles or geothermal boreholes respectively?