By their very nature, geothermal systems are environmentally friendly. By transferring renewable thermal energy to and from the ground at efficiencies of 300% to 400%, geothermal systems reduce the need to extract, transport, and burn fossil fuels, and require less generation and transmission of electricity than traditional heating and cooling systems. This translates into a direct reduction in the emission of pollutants and greenhouse gasses such as carbon dioxide (CO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and nitrous oxides (N02).
The minimal environmental risks associated with geothermal systems are easily mitigated by locating ground loops away from sensitive wildlife and aquatic habitat, pressure testing ground loops, and using advanced refrigerants such as R-410A. Both Natural Resources Canada and the United States Environmental Protection Agency agree that geothermal systems are the most energy efficient, environmentally benign, and cost effective space conditioning technology on the market today.
Geothermal systems are not only beneficial for the natural environment, they are also one of the best choices for the indoor environments we live and work in. With no fossil fuels being burnt, geothermal systems have none of the risks associated with carbon monoxide and open flames. Geothermal systems also eliminate the need for chemicals and sterilization agents used to prevent algae and bacterial growth in cooling towers, which can taint air drawn through building ventilation ducts. Geothermal systems provide excellent indoor air quality. They are suitable for heating and cooling medical/surgical, research, and industrial facilities requiring sterile conditions.
"Geoexchange technology is a thermal energy transfer system that takes advantage of solar energy stored in the ground and water. It is considered one of the best market-ready technologies to reduce global warming contributions associated with building space heating, cooling and hot water heating."
In a 1993 report, the EPA concluded that geothermal technologies represent a major opportunity for reducing national energy use and pollution, while delivering comfort, reliability and savings to homeowners.