Geoexchange, Geothermal, or Ground-Source Heat Pumps
Geothermal heating and cooling systems use buried pipes to take advantage of the stable earth temperature below the frost line. These systems extract or reject heat as needed using a heat pump (similar to an air conditioner or refrigerator). Geothermal systems don’t create heat (like a furnace does) but rather, they move heat and as a result, the efficiencies are much higher and can reduce heating and cooling consumption by 70 to 80% compared with traditional systems.
Even with a relatively carbon intensive electricity grid, these systems provide carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reduction, and when paired with green power, can eliminate carbon emissions entirely. While the initial cost can be high for a single family home, the energy reduction is greater than with almost any other technology.
While large-scale wind energy generation sites are growing, small systems for homes tend to have relatively high costs compared to other options. It’s also worth noting that the winds that Edmonton experiences are often intermittent and too variable in speed to generate significant quantities of electricity. As a result, it can be challenging to design a system to generate dependable power at the household level.