Water is a crucial part of day-to-day life, yet water issues seem to be more and more prevalent. Over half the states in the US have water-related issues, and even states without these issues have seen more than a 30% cost increase in water utilities and see rates increasing faster than inflation. Geothermal technology has a sometimes overlooked benefit that can combat these water issues.
Water use, and overuse, can be hard to ignore with how often we see droughts and wildfires in our news. This rise in awareness comes with a growing concern about how water can be saved and utilized more efficiently. Geothermal systems are proving themselves to effectively address these concerns and offer green, renewable, energy.
There is a misconception that geothermal systems require lots of water to operate, while the opposite is true. Some early systems did pump fluid from one system then dump it into another, but these are rare in modern applications. Even large commercial facilities can now save massive amounts of water with geothermal systems.
AWebb/SlimJim conducted a study in which they used a geothermal system to replace a 300-ton water-cooled chiller on a 150 room hotel in Florida. After a year of monitoring the hotel’s water use, it was found they saved 6,622,566 gallons of water valued at $64,373.44. This could make a huge impact on the bottom line of a business.
Similar geothermal technology can be used to replace gas or electric heaters in cold regions or scaled up for larger cooling operations. This study is just a stepping stone on the path Geothermal technology is on, a path to a world with more renewable energy and security for individuals and businesses from problems surrounding water.
Even on a residential scale, Geothermal systems are saving homeowners money and helping out the environment worldwide. Geothermal heat pumps are proven to be up to 45% more efficient than traditional systems. These cost savings are on top of the environmental impact of saving so much water and electricity.
Old or inefficient systems can be wasteful for a variety of reasons. Inefficiency in heating or cooling water means more water wasted to keep a system running. Whether it’s heating water for a shower or cooling it down to cool a building, the longer the process takes the more water is lost. Geothermal systems are extremely efficient in taking the excess energy that’s right below our feet and harnessing it for our use, from running our heating and cooling to offering hot water out of our taps.
So when it comes to a green way to cut back on water use and improve utility efficiency in general, it is hard to beat Geothermal. Not only is it a shining star of renewable energy, but it also replaces systems that waste tons of water every year. Water issues will continue to pop up nationally and globally, but geothermal technology will continue to develop and improve just as it has for the last century to combat these issues.