Geothermal Energy Installers in Pittsburgh
With plenty of renewable energy options — wind, solar and water — it’s an exciting research endeavor to discover what works best for you. For Pittsburgh citizens, there are options, especially for geothermal energy. It is a complex industry and requires seasoned professionals for sustainable, high-quality installation.
What does geothermal energy application look like in one of the most densely populated towns on the east coast? Analyze the expenses, cost benefits and environmental impact of your local options.
What Do You Need to Know About Geothermal Energy?
Geothermal energy can power homes from the heat below the ground. The heat can power turbines or boil water to warm homes and create energy for electricity. Because geothermal is associated with heat, some may not be aware it does more than provide cozy warmth to a home — it can cool and provide electricity too.
It is one of the most reliable forms of renewable energy. Windpower is ideal if a region is accustomed to high winds — but it isn’t universal. Geothermal plants always have incoming power because the source never cools. They come from numerous places like hydrothermal vents and volcanoes.
Because the power source is underground, it’s unaffected by almost every weather event — unless massive earthquakes destroy infrastructure, which is unlikely. The energy can run through pipes, creating steam to power turbines to generate power. The unused steam gets recycled into reservoirs for reuse.
It supports renewable energy locally because geothermal energy does not require transportation to the United States. Oil must come on ships or other large vessels, using countless resources. The benefit of geothermal power is it’s always beneath our feet. With some digging, it doesn’t take up any space above ground, allowing companies to maximize the space for spreading the energy across the city.
Are There Geothermal Energy Installers in Pittsburgh?
Pittsburgh has several installers that can bring your home into the geothermal future. Exact prices are a challenge to identify because installers will need to assess the home before making that call. Multiple factors go into determining price, including:
- Square footage
- Family size, equating to energy usage
- Soil makeup
- Current heating methods and other infrastructure
Pittsburgh Allegheny County Thermal (PACT) serves the Golden Triangle of Pittsburgh as a customer-owned heating company. They combine geothermal and solar power to distribute sustainable energy for the area.
Boehmer Heating and Cooling have been installing geothermal pump systems for years in Pittsburgh. They outline how the process unfolds and explain repairs and maintenance expectations. Regular upkeep is essential for safe and efficient geothermal systems to verify no cracks or gaps form from the temperature changes.
Bolster-DeHart explains how geothermal pumps can benefit your home and the planet. They outline how it heats in the winter and cools in the summer, asserting they can install pumps in a new build or retrofitting in a long-established home. Investors can expect a return on their investment because the switch could save 80-95% of the costs of traditional water heaters.
Other options in the area include Stewart Drilling, Wade Heating and Cooling and Gravener Heating and Air Conditioning. As geothermal energy becomes more important in the state, other businesses may appear to expand services in and around the greater Pittsburgh area.
Is Pittsburgh Investing in Geothermal Energy?
The city leads the geothermal energy charge by committing to research and development. Whereas wind and hydropower are discernible, tapping beneath the Earth’s surface in hopes of uncovering hot, powerful energy requires more careful utilization of time and resources.
More mysteries can unfurl thanks to engineers from the University of Pittsburgh. In collaboration with Utah’s Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) program, they will analyze the sustainability of creating wells in areas miles beneath the crust.
To do this, scientists need to look closely at how the high temperatures — exceeding 200 degrees Celsius or 400 degrees Fahrenheit — pressurize the rocks. If they crack and can’t handle the industry, drilling geothermal wells in certain areas isn’t possible.
Another way the state and city invest in renewable energy is through funding. Pittsburghers also have access to the Renewable Energy Program (REP), which helps households and organizations fund geothermal and wind projects through grants and loans. Programs like this normalize accessibility to renewable energy methods and promote quick implementation to mitigate the negative effects of the climate crisis.
What is the Environmental Impact of Geothermal Energy?
Geothermal energy has arguably one of the least negatively impacting environmental effects. Because nothing escapes the Earth, but heat creates no air or water pollution. It also doesn’t have to be mined like fossil fuels.
The most significant impact it has is due to digging. Scientists must search to verify the resilience of a geothermal source to create a stable piping system. Because the pipes also do not take up as much space, it doesn’t impact the environment as much as creating a mining system for nonrenewable energy forms.
Humans primarily use hydrothermal geothermal energy, but research is looking into the other types:
- Hot dry rock
Geothermal power is a low-emissions alternative to other forms of energy. Nothing is burned because the heat emanates naturally — the most it will release into the atmosphere is manageable amounts of sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide. Other energy-producing plants emit these compounds in considerably larger quantities, leading to other negative environmental shifts like acid rain.
The more humans incorporate methods like geothermal energy production, the more it removes the need to rely on toxic energy production, making their environmental impact even greater.
With continued investment in these additional geothermal methods, geothermal energy could become even more accessible nationwide and more available in Pittsburgh as a result.
Where to Go in Pittsburgh for Geothermal Services
Geothermal is becoming more available nationwide and is an excellent option for Pittsburghers. Supporting businesses local to the city and state will reinforce why keeping the industry alive is paramount. The more households demand geothermal energy, the more accessible it becomes for the rest of the state.