What is the difference between geothermal energy and ground source heat?
There is no difference. Geothermal energy is defined as energy stored in the form of heat below the surface of the Earth. Ground source heat is a term used to refer to a heat pump system that uses natural heat from the ground (soil, rocks and/or groundwater) as its primary source of ambient heat. The term 'ground source heat pump' (or GSHP) is generally used to refer to shallow geothermal systems that access low-temperature heat close to the Earth's surface. GSHPs are also sometimes called Shallow Geothermal Exchangers (SGEs).
Can a geothermal
system be retrofitted to a conventional heating system (for example, oil/gas
While underfloor radiant heating is best, existing radiators can
usually be integrated with a geothermal heating system. See Geological Survey Ireland's Homeowner Manual to
learn more. It is vital that the ground source heat loop is adequately designed for the building. We recommend that you contact a suitable qualified professional for further information specific to your building.
have solar panels. Can I still use geothermal energy?
Geothermal systems can
complement solar panels as part of an integrated energy system, especially if the
solar panels are used to generate electricity (for solar-powered heat pumps).
avail of geothermal energy if I don’t have a large garden / if I live in a town
/ if I live in a housing estate?
Yes. Vertical ground loops
require a very small surface area for installation (approximately 3 m x 3 m), although access
for the drilling equipment may be a limiting factor. You can learn more at in
the Geological Survey Ireland's Homeowner Manual or by contacting a qualified installer.
Is there geothermal energy under my site/house/business?
Yes, there is geothermal energy everywhere! The best and most economical way to extract the heat will depend on the geology at your location. Enter your Eircode into our Geothermal Suitability viewer to see which geothermal system is most suitable for your site.
geothermal energy cost effective?
The annual running cost of a ground source heat pump system is typically half that of a heating system that runs on oil or gas. Geothermal systems do require upfront investment but the operating costs are low. This means that the system will "pay for itself" after a number of years. More
details on costs can be found in the Geological Survey Ireland's Homeowner Manual. It is critical to get an
accurate assessment of your building and geothermal conditions by a suitably qualified installer. This will ensure a design that is appropriate for your needs and maximise the cost efficiency of the system.
Do geothermal systems use all the water and affect wells/aquifers?
Shallow open-loop geothermal systems can draw water from aquifers and therefore environmental extraction regulations will apply. The extracted water is re-injected to ensure minimal overall loss to the aquifer, and properly designed systems (e.g., proper borehole design and maintenance) should not introduce pollutants to the aquifer.
How can I
get a site suitability assessment?
As a good starting point, enter your Eircode into our Geothermal Suitability viewer to see which geothermal system is most suitable for your site. We recommend that you contact a qualified installer of domestic GSHPs. Contact the Geothermal Association of Ireland and the Institute of Geologists Ireland for a list of professionals in your area.
Yes. The SEAI
currently offers a grant of €3,500 for ground source heat pumps. See their website for more information.
Is there a list of reputable/certified suppliers and installers?
Contact the Geothermal Association of Ireland and the Institute of Geologists Ireland for a list of professionals in your area.