by Kathy Chambers on Thu, February 28, 2013
Planning a trip is exciting. I can’t tell you how long my family planned our trip out west. For so many years we wanted to do this. When we finally hit the road our adventure was more than we could have possibly imagined.
The landscape was always changing, always beautiful. Cattle ranches stretched out to infinity. Mountain peaks formed by ancient volcanos lined up in rows, one after another. Rivers of black jagged lava flowed over the landscape. We came across rainbow colors of the painted desert, a petrified forest of long ago, and the jaw-dropping expanse of the Grand Canyon. A winding road down from Flagstaff led us into the red cliffs of Sedona and on the cacti-spotted landscape of the Sonoran desert. The further we went, the more we appreciated vast mother earth.
Our earth has an immense reservoir of geothermal energy that has helped to create this amazing landscape. Geothermal energy is the heat contained within the earth—a clean, reliable, and renewable energy. Department of Energy (DOE) researchers have made great progress harnessing this energy to make our lives better. It can be used as an energy-efficient heating and cooling alternative and can generate vast electric power across the United States. (Read more about DOE’s Geothermal Program and find geothermal energy research results in the Energy Citations Database.)
The Geothermal Heat Pump (GHP) is one of DOE’s high-impact technologies that are currently being researched by the Building Technologies Program within DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and their researchers and partners to substantially reduce energy consumption in residential and commercial buildings. (Additional heat pump research information is available in the latest white paper, In the OSTI Collections: Heat Pumps by Dr. William Watson, Physicist.)
As part of this research, a Research and Development Roadmap: Geothermal (Ground-source) Heat Pumps is being developed by DOE partners to addresses key barriers that have limited the use of GHPs and identifies potential activities and technical innovations that could enable substantial improvements in residential and commercial GHP installed cost and/or efficiency.
This roadmap is intended to serve as a guide for DOE and its researchers in advancing the goal of reducing building energy consumption, while maintaining the competitiveness of American industry. Because of its potential benefits, the recommended schedule of the roadmap activities occurs within a seven-year timeframe beginning in 2013.
We are on the road to potential energy savings and efficiency with geothermal heat pump technologies and it is definitely a trip worth taking.