Geothermal energy is thermal energy generated and stored in the Earth.
Thermal energy is the energy that determines the temperature of matter. The geothermal energy of the Earth's crust originates from the original formation of the planet (20%) and from radioactive decay of minerals (80%). The geothermal gradient, which is the difference in temperature between the core of the planet and its surface, drives a continuous conduction of thermal energy in the form of heat from the core to the surface.
APS implements and utilizes geothermal applications in select heating and cooling systems providing space conditioning, heating, cooling, and humidity control. The technology may also provide water heating, either to supplement or replace conventional water heaters depending on the application. Geothermal technology works through moving heat, rather than by converting chemical energy to heat like in a gas based furnace system. Geothermal HVAC systems have four primary components:
- Geothermal heat pump to move heat between the building and the fluid within the earth connection.
- Primary earth connection for transferring heat between its fluid and the earth.
- Distribution components for delivering heating or cooling to the building.
- Each system may also have an additional heating unit to supplement the facility’s water heater, or a full-demand water heater to meet all of the building's hot water needs.