If you’ve been to our Pennington market, you’ve already experienced it—and probably didn’t even know it.
What am I talking about, you ask?
Our market, harvest room, and upstairs living quarters are regulated using a horizontal geothermal heating/cooling system.
Geothermal energy, in its most basic form, is energy that is generated and stored within the Earth. To harness this energy, there are two basic methods. The first uses underground heat to generate electricity. The second, which we use at Blue Moon Acres, utilizes the Earth’s constant underground temperature to provide heating and cooling.
Here’s how it works:
Within the walls runs a circuit of pipes which are filled with an alcohol/water solution. After cycling through the market and harvest area, this circuit travels seven feet below ground, then several thousand feet across the farm, and then back again.
In the summer, hot air is whisked away from the house where it is dispersed through the much cooler underground layer. In the winter, the circuit draws warmth from that same underground layer, which remains at a constant 55 degrees. A series of fans then blows across the cooled/warmed pipes to distribute the temperature evenly.
Some more fun facts:
- If the mercury dips below zero for any length of time, an electric back-up kicks on, keeping the building nice and toasty.
- The temperature is controlled using an ordinary thermostat—same as with a traditional system!
- Excess heat created in the summer is used to satisfy over 90% of the farm’s hot water needs!
All told, the system provides heating/cooling for approximately 5,000 square feet. After the initial start-up investment, the system is inexpensive and reliable. Heating the same size space with electric would cost around $9,000 a year; doing it with oil would cost just under $13,000—and that’s with modern, efficient systems. And let’s not forget the gobs of emissions that are kept out of the atmosphere!
Geothermal may not be the solution to all the world’s problems, but it’s a start. If you’re building a new home or business, or are in the market for a new heating/cooling system, you should give it some thought.