Monday, February 21, 2011

Energy: Geothermal Doesn't Always Mean Volcanos

Gordon and I always thought geothermal energy had something to do with volcanos or superhot natural hot springs. We were absolutely wrong. It turns out that people are using geothermal heating and cooling systems at all corners of the world, including extremely cold locations like Canada. And unlike solar based systems, geothermal systems work around the clock.

We've also learned that there are many, many geothermal companies and services in Northwest Arkansas, indicating that it would be a practical heating and cooling alternative for Valhalla.

This first video introduces a typical geothermal system using a "loop field":

However, loop fields -- which can be installed either horizontally or vertically -- require an awful lot of digging, and a considerable amount of electricity to keep water flowing through the loop field pipes.

Luckily there's at least one company that's cracked the code in a geothermal system that uses only a small amount of electricity to run a special fluid through just a few copper pipes, with minimal digging needed for installation:

You'll notice that this specific company apparently offers their services only in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. Do other companies offer similar technologies in Arkansas? We have no idea. Can Valhalla afford the initial installation costs? We don't know that yet either.

However, we have time to continue research into geothermal possibilities, and hope to rely on future members of the Valhalla Building Advisory Committee to investigate and report on their findings. The Valhalla Finance Advisory Committee would then consider the financial costs and options before submitting their recommendations to the Board.

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