A geothermal system achieves 400% to 600% efficiency compared to less than 100% for fossil fueled furnaces. That makes geothermal 4 to 6 times more efficient than gas, propane, or oil.

EfficiencyThe efficiency of a geothermal system is driven by the abundant amount of free energy from the sun that is stored in the earth. For every 1 unit of energy that the geoexchange system takes from the grid, it receives 3 to 5 units of free energy from the earth. Added together that makes for 4 to 6 units of energy that are delivered to the building and provides 400 to 600 percent efficiency!


New technologies are also contributing to the efficiency of geothermal.

Staged Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are designed to run in stages. Stages allow the heat pump to adjust to the exterior environment. When the weather is mild outside the heat pump runs in first stage at about 60% of its capacity. When the weather becomes more severe the heat pump will move up to second stage and runs at 100% of its capacity. Adjusting to the outside temperature allows the system to consume less energy and increases its efficiency.

Electronically Commutated Motor (ECM)

Geothermal systems use ECM motors that operate at near 82% efficiency and take about 80% less energy than traditional fan motors.

An ECM motor is a variable speed motor – it varies the speed of the motor in response to changing conditions in the system. This allows the fan and blower to communicate with the heat pump and thermostat to efficiently hold the desired temperature.

ECM motors have a Microprocessor that are the “brains” of the motor.  It receives programming information from the board, “translates” it so the motor produces the desired CFM, and stores the “relationship” between “speed, torque, & airflow”. The control board on the microprocessor allows a technician to set the desired CFM for each application that is connected to the module.

Unlike traditional motors, the ECM is driven by magnetic fields instead of copper wire. Before starting, it will rock back and forth as it aligns the magnetic fields to drive the motor.