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Geothermal energy

Geothermal exchange is a highly efficient technology for the climatization of buildings. It allows the capture of energy stored in the soil to convert it into useful energy for the climatization of buildings and homes.

It is based on the constant temperature of the earth, where, at a depth of 10 metres, the heat stored hardly changes temperature throughout the year. It is mainly applied to residential complexes – although also in some production processes with great energy efficiency – and can be used in sanitary hot water systems. It can provide energy for heating and allows the cooling of buildings, with a notable reduction in energy consumption.

How does a geothermal exchange installation work?

The capture of energy from the earth is done through the circulation of water through an underground circuit. The system is really simple, consisting of a series of orifices in the soil where the underground water pipes are installed. The orifices may be horizontal or vertical, with the most suitable solution being studied in each case. The fluid that flows through the pipes absorbs the heat stored in the soil and injects it into the building’s climatization system through a heat pump.

What advantages does it offer against other climatization systems?

It is worth pointing out that it is a renewable energy source. Geothermal energy, together with the other renewable sources, means that dependence on oil can be reduced by exploiting locally-based clean resources. In his way it contributes to reducing the consumption of fossil-based energies for heating and, therefore, to minimising CO2 emissions.

Through geothermal exchange, 3 geothermal renewable kW are captured from the earth for each kW consumed from the power grid to make equipment work. Therefore, it is a renewable energy source with a positive energy balance.

As an outline, the following advantages can be obtained from geothermal exchange systems:

  • Renewable energy source. Overall positive energy balance and highly efficient: 120%.
  • Energy efficiency in climatization. According to the Environmental Protection Agency of the United States (EPA), it is the most efficient and least polluting climatization technology for buildings. It allows energy savings of up to 70% in heating mode and up to 50% in cooling.
  • Notable reduction in CO2 emissions, proportional to the energy saving obtained. For example, a geothermal exchange installation for the climatization of a 7,000 m2 office building avoids the emission of 60,000 kg of CO2 per annum, i.e. a cleaning effect on the atmosphere of a 6-hectare forest.
  • No combustion or storage tanks. A simple, clean system.
  • Long working life of the installations. The probes have a working life of more than 50 years.
  • Can be amortized over an average period of 10 years.
  • Minimum costs throughout the life cycle, both in terms of maintenance and operating costs.
  • Boosts stable local employment; moreover, jobs that cannot be relocated.
  • Avoids health problems. The use of a closed-circuit system avoids problems of legionella found in other conventional climatization systems.
  • Easily universalizable..
  • Compatible with and additional to other renewable energy sources such as solar power.

In Euskadi, several companies are able to create geothermal energy installations, and their good results have been seen in many facilities.