Geothermal Energy

Geothermal Energy


Geothermal energy is heat energy that naturally exists within the planet.

Geo (earth) + thermal (heat)

Underground sources of heat, hot water, and steam are created by the constant temperature of the Earth. These sources can be used as fuel to produce geothermal energy. The use of geothermal resources dates back centuries. Through modern technology, we're able to access these underground reservoirs, steam deposits and hot air by drilling. The heat and hot water is then used directly or to create power. "Geothermal energy represents an enormous, underused power source that provides clean, renewable energy in virtually unlimited supply."

The most common and practical use of geothermal energy in New England is ground-source heating and cooling. A geothermal heat pump is used to take advantage of the constant temperature of the Earth beneath the surface. Heat stored in the Earth or in ground water is "pumped" into a building during the winter; the operation is reversed during the summer when heat in the building is transferred back into the ground.

  • Winter = heat source
  • Summer = heat sink

The technology is used for both the cooling and heating of building interiors as well as to create hot water.

(Information provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)


Community Forum on Geothermal Energy:

The REC held a community forum at the Swampscott Public Library to provide information to residents about geothermal energy technology.

  • Event - August 2006
Town Hall Geothermal Study:

As part of the Town Hall renovation project, Swampscott looked into the potential of incorporating geothermal technology for the building as an alternative to a new, conventional heating system.

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