Using the Earth as a Geothermal Battery (Winter Edition)

Geothermal energy is a big part of the EcoSmart infrastructure. The heart of the EcoSmart program is the GeoGrid, a geothermal district system that uses the earth below our feet to heat and cool the home. The GeoGrid becomes part of the infrastructure, similar to the community-wide water, sewer, and electric utility lines. But how does it work during the winter? We’re here to tell you just that!


Geothermal Exchange in the Summer

Geothermal Exchange systems, like the EcoSmart Solution GeoGrid, are easier to understand if you consider it like a battery storage. Instead of storing electricity, however, the GeoGrid stores thermal energy, or heat. In the Summer, the surface of the Earth gets very hot as it tilts towards the Sun, and so we need cooling, especially in Texas! As the ground source heat pumps that connect to the GeoGrid extract heat from homes, the heated water travels through the GeoGrid pipes into the earth where that energy builds up over time in the dirt surrounding the infrastructure. So, in the summer months, we are charging the battery.


Geothermal Exchange in the Winter

When the winter months roll around, the water in the pipes is significantly warmer (let’s say – 74 degrees F) than the outdoor air temperature (and let’s say 40 degrees F) thanks to the natural cycle of the Earth being captured by this system. By having this stored thermal energy now flowing into the ground source heat pumps, they do not have to do the mechanical “heavy lifting” of generating heat and can perform much more efficiently than traditional HVAC systems. In the winter months, we are discharging the battery.

The GeoGrid is monitored carefully by the EcoSmart Solution team throughout the year to ensure that this battery cycle of charging and discharging thermal energy using the Earth as a medium is properly balanced in order to best serve our customers. Learn more about EcoSmart and our solutions to a more sustainable world!