The Role of Ground Source Heat Pumps for a Canadian Sustainable Energy Strategy

There are essentially two types of geothermal energy:

  1. High temperature geothermal which uses dry steam and hot water from deep earth to produce electricity or heat. Currently there is no production associated with this type of energy in Canada.
  2. Low temperature geothermal which uses the constant temperature of the shallow ground or water to heat and cool buildings. Currently, the Canadian GeoExchange Coalition (CGC), Canada's national industry association for ground source heat pump (GSHP) technology estimates that there are more than 80,000 such systems installed throughout Canada.
geothermal energy

In the example above, the GSHP uses one unit of electrical energy to extract from the ground the equivalent of three units of energy. Under these assumptions, the heat delivered to the building is four units, three of them provided free from the ground below.