Today, April 22, is the earth day, which was established to protect our environment. This year the focus is on making the cities greener, thus my subject is chosen amongst the things I think can be done better in my own little city, Sandvika.
Sandvika is a little city approximately 20 kilometers south of the capital, Oslo. Over the next years, it will be almost totally rebuilt, making room for many new buildings with the need of an efficient heating and cooling system. As the winters in Oslo, Norway are quite cold, it is necessary to have a well-functioning system to heat public and private buildings.
A geothermal heat pump, or ground source heat pump, is a central heating- or cooling system that transfers heat from the ground. Since the temperature underground is consistently higher than on the surface, the pump only has to force a transfer of heat in order to work. More precisely, heat pumps can transfer heat from a cool space to a warm space, against the natural direction of flow, or they can enhance the natural flow of heat from a warm area to a cool one. (Wikipedia)
By using the geothermal heat to warm up buildings, we can reduce the use of electricity. In Norway, we mostly use energy extracted from falling water to generate the power to warm up buildings. As the water power is high-quality, meaning that the energy is easily usable, it would make more sense to use it in other processes demanding a higher level of energy quality. Low- quality energy, on the other hand, is difficult to extract, thus better to exploit in processes needing a lower energy quality, like heating. Geothermal heat pumps do exactly that, they extract the heat from the ground to use when heating, or cooling, buildings.
To summarize, Sandvika city will undergo a big change in the upcoming years. By using a sustainable way of heating the new buildings, we can make the city a bit greener.
This is a photo showing how a geothermal heat pump can work.