Geothermal energy is a natural energy source that, by exploiting the heat of the ground (geothermal energy), is able to produce thermal energy for domestic hot water and for heating buildings: it is one of the primary energy sources that does not depend directly on the sun. Geothermal energy is generally included among Renewable Energies and among those potentially more environmentally sustainable. Opting for a geothermal system means ensuring a warm home in winter and cool in summer, using an environmentally friendly and economically advantageous system that can combine all the functions normally performed by two different appliances: air conditioners and boilers. To bring heat deep or to the surface, geothermal probes are used to extract it and transfer it to a heat pump that will then distribute it to the building through radiant floor or wall panels. As mentioned, with the geothermal heat pump system it will be possible to both heat and cool the building. The thermal energy accumulated in the subsoil is made available through fluid vectors (water and/or steam), natural or introduced, which flow from the geothermal tank to the surface either spontaneously or delivered by mechanical drilling (geothermal well). In view of this, the geothermal system is based on three essential elements:
- A heat capture system: pipes that act as heat exchangers through the exploitation of thermal energy from the subsoil;
- A geothermal heat pump: to transfer heat from the ground or water to the internal environment;
- A heat storage and distribution system: essential for storing heat and distributing it throughout the building.
The main advantages of geothermal energy are:
- It is a renewable energy source that does not run out with its use as it is generated from a natural heat source;
- It is a clean energy source, having a minimal impact on the ecosystem and the environment;
- It is a free energy source (except for the electricity consumption for the operation of the heat pump) and independent of external temperatures;
- Savings on operating costs compared to a traditional system.
It should be noted that geothermal heat pump systems are adaptable to any type of building, both residential and public.