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What’s the Future of Geothermal for Home Building in 2021?

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The world is starting to use more renewable energy sources in place of fossil fuels. These alternatives are necessary for mitigating the effects of climate change in the short and long term. A type called geothermal energy has become more prominent for residential purposes across the country.

What are the ins and outs of geothermal energy? Take a look.

Renewable Energy: Background

If you’re interested in environmental issues, you probably know that the United States uses a lot of fossil fuels. These are the fossilized remains of plants and animals that we burn to create power sources like oil and gas. About 89% of the energy America consumes comes from nonrenewable energy sources in some form.

The process of extracting and burning fossil fuels leads to pollution, deforestation and more. It’s also evident that fossil fuels release carbon into the air. That leads to the increased warming of the Earth. Plus, you should note that fossil fuels aren’t replenishable. We’re tapping into a finite amount of those resources — and soon enough, they’ll be gone.

It’s easy enough to see why renewable energy is a must. These are power sources we can always access because they occur naturally — like the sun. The most present issue with renewable energy is that it’s “flow-limited.” We can’t always generate power from the wind because it’s not continuously blowing, for example.

A Summary of Geothermal Energy

This is one of the most common types of renewable energy. The essence of geothermal energy is straightforward. It’s generated by using heat that comes from the sub-surface of the Earth via water or steam. You can use geothermal energy for both heating and cooling purposes.

The best place to locate geothermal energy is near tectonic plate boundaries where volcanoes and fumaroles are located. If you’ve ever heard of the Ring of Fire, you already know one place where geothermal sources are plentiful. In the United States, the Southwest has the most abundant access to geothermal resources.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Geothermal Energy

Various countries, like Iceland, almost exclusively use geothermal to power homes and businesses. The most significant sell point is it can work year-round despite varying weather conditions in different climates. Geothermal also operates at high capacities, and it’s easier to maintain and lasts longer than HVAC systems.

Like other renewable resources, it’s challenging to cheaply integrate geothermal technology into the country’s overarching energy system. You can also only implement geothermal plants in particular regions. You also need electricity to power heat pumps.

How Is Geothermal Energy Used Currently?

It’s most common for individuals to install geothermal systems themselves. The majority of homes in America were built before renewable energy was even considered for residential purposes. That means it’s up to you to put in the geothermal heat pump yourself. But this situation is slowly changing.

It’s becoming more popular to use geothermal while building new construction homes. Traditionally, you’d almost always outfit a house for an HVAC system — but energy conservation can be tricky when those appliances aren’t adjusted correctly. The solution is renewable energy.

There are projects popping up across the country that use geothermal energy. These alternatives are being implemented in entire communities as a way to mitigate upfront costs. This price tag of nearly $10,000 continues to be the largest deterrent for those who want to install sustainable energy systems.

Obstacles in the Way of Mainstream Geothermal Energy

What are other obstacles aside from cost preventing geothermal energy from becoming mainstream?

A significant hurdle is education. If you don’t know the benefits of geothermal energy, why would you advocate to install systems in your projects? Learning about the perks of renewable possibilities as a whole can ensure these alternatives become more popular. That goes for advantageous for the project, like less noise pollution, too.

Gearing the responsibility toward developers is also smart. The average homeowner will rarely choose to install a geothermal pump when they could put that money toward a kitchen remodel. By investing in this alternative as a builder, you can enjoy positive outcomes for years — even if you don’t see them immediately.

Land development is another consideration. There’s a lot of planning that goes into implementing geothermal for entire communities. Allocating space for geothermal grids like you would water lines is an effective way to get developers acquainted with this alternative energy. An integrated system will also help mitigate costs.

The Future of Geothermal Energy

There’s no denying that renewable energy as a whole is becoming more prevalent. That said, it’ll take time for options like geothermal energy to turn into household names. The transition will continue to be a gradual shift.

This point doesn’t mean it’s not looking good for renewable energy. There are various cities around the world working to incentivize sustainable ventures in building projects. In Austin, Texas, all new construction must be net-zero energy. These aspects are a significant indicator that a rise in geothermal and other power sources might be on the horizon.

We also can’t underestimate the power of sustainable living. More people make green choices every day. In fact, you’re in the minority if you don’t want to switch to these habits. This desire to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle is one that could help geothermal thrive. Energy is a huge part of climate change, after all.

The best way for residential developers to advocate for geothermal energy is to showcase advantages the right way. It might cost a significant amount to install, but you see the savings immediately when you compare energy bills. Builders should also forgo discussing technical aspects with homeowners. It’s more effective to tell them this system will require less maintenance, for instance.

It Won’t Be Long Before More Residents Want Green Power

At the end of the day, it’s evident that geothermal has a bright future. There are already development projects around the country installing grids to ensure every home has access to those capabilities. The switch will take time, but you might be seeing more geothermal systems pop up sooner rather than later.

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