According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the most environmentally responsible type of heating and cooling is a geothermal system.
Although geothermal heat pumps cost a lot more to purchase and implement than a more conventional alternative, the exceptional energy efficiency typically recovers the investment in under five years.
The reason these systems are so expensive to install is because of the excavation necessary to accommodate the underground loop system. A looping series of pipes is buried underground where it draws from the renewable energy source supplied by the sun. No matter the season or the weather, the temperature underground maintains a steady temperature. This allows the geothermal system to pull heat out of the ground during the winter and pump it indoors. During the summer, the heat pump literally reverses operation. It acts like a regular air conditioner, drawing heat out of the inside air and moving it outdoors. A geothermal heat pump generates four units of energy for every one unit it requires to operate, managing to achieve a 400% efficiency rating. It not only saves money on heating and cooling costs but also provides a virtually free source of domestic water heating. Geothermal temperature control effectively removes excess humidity during the summer and won’t overly dry out the air in the winter. Because there is no combustion process, the system doesn’t produce any greenhouse gases, formaldehyde or carbon monoxide. It’s a wonderful choice for anyone who suffers from allergies, asthma or dust sensitivities. There are government tax incentives available to help with the costs. Plus, the price of these environmentally friendly systems has come down in recent years.