Because New York State lacks the traditional sources of geothermal energy such as geysers, volcanoes and hot springs, New York extracts this type of renewable energy from the earth through different means.
Since the earth absorbs about 50% of the energy that arrives here, the earth can be a great source for renewable energy. The use of geothermal pumps allows us to take advantage of the energy absorbing properties of the earth to heat indoor air during the winter, and extract heat from inside spaces during the summer.
There are three main types of geothermal systems:
- Closed loop systems are those where fluid (usually a chemical compound) is circulated in a closed pipe from underground to a building or complex of buildings where it releases (in the winter) or collects (in the summer) heat, and then it heads back underground.
- Open loop systems take surface of groundwater and pump it directly from the earth. This is also used for exchanging heat, and then it is just released back onto the ground or underground.
- Standing Column: In this system of geothermal heating groundwater is pumped up in a central pipe, used to exchange heat one time, and then discarded into the upper casing of the well from which it came.
For more information about geothermal energy in New York go to the website of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation.