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Geothermal Heat Pump Potentials in the U.S. Residential Houses


The residential buildings account for 22% of the U.S. primary energy consumption and 17% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission in 2011. Individual housing units are becoming more energy efficient in per square basis, but the larger home sizes offset this improvement. Cooling and heating accounts for over half the energy requirement and has much room for energy savings and GHG emission reduction. The geothermal heat pump (GHP) system is three to four times more efficient than conventional heating system and can drastically lower the energy use and GHG emission at homes.

This project evaluates the performance of the GHP system to reduce GHG emission in residential houses in the U.S. Based on national housing surveys (Residential Energy Consumption Survey 2009 from Department of Energy, and American Housing Survey 2011 from Census), a model is developed to find limiting factors for GHP retrofit and identify residential homes in the contiguous U.S. that can upgrade to GHP for heating and cooling. For the households with GHP retrofit potential, the following analyses are conducted: (1) energy savings, (2) cost savings to the consumer, and (3) GHG abatement by implementation of the system.

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