If you’ve been keeping up with our blog posts, then you are aware that ACE is building a new Welcome Center this year. If you haven’t been keeping up, shame on you! With this building comes a new opportunity for ACE to blaze the trail for geothermal heating and cooling. What is geothermal heating and cooling, you ask? Well, I’ll do my best not to make this sound like a science project – it really is pretty cool. Basically, this system uses the Earth’s relatively constant temperature to provide heating, cooling, and hot water for homes and commercial buildings.
How does it do that? Well, in our case we are using the constant water temperature from the bottom of the ACE Lake and circulating water through plastic pipes laying on the bottom of the lake. During the winter, the water collects heat from the lake and carries it through the system and into the building.
During the summer, the system reverses itself to cool the building by pulling heat from the building, carrying it through the system and placing it back into the lake. Pretty neat, huh?
As cool as that sounds, do you know the best part? It’s environmentally friendly!! Yep, we are going green at ACE. Since geothermal uses energy stored in the Earth from the Sun, we have reduced our need for fossil fuels such as coal, propane gas and natural gas. It creates zero emissions so we are not adding pollution to our beautiful and clean mountain air.
By installing one geothermal system, we are taking two cars off the road and preserving 1 acre of rain forest. It may not sound like much, but we have to start somewhere. Of course, we are going to save a bit of money, too.
Although initial setup is quite expensive, heating costs are about 80 percent less and cooling costs about 40 percent less than the standard methods used in most homes today. This savings means we will be able to pay off the initial setup costs in less than three years. So not only are we saving money, but we’re saving the planet, too! What a great combination.