By Melanie Plenda
Special to The Union Leader
April 29, 2009
BARRINGTON—Instead of just talking about what a geothermal system can do, Melissa Aho would rather show her customers. “We have three working geothermal systems on site,” said Aho, president of Ultra Geothermal in Barrington. “And we show them the energy bill so that they can see what a properly installed system should cost them for a year cycle.”
Aho said that whether a customer goes with her company or not, her goal is to educate people about geothermal energy. “We’ve been asked to speak at several trade shows,” she said. “In the past there may have been maybe 15 or 20 people who would stop and listen, now we are getting 50, 60 people at a time. … There is definitely an increase in the interest in geothermal.”
The principals behind the seemingly high-tech system are actually pretty simple. Geothermal systems, which are also called geoexchange or ground-source heat pumps, tap into the energy naturally stored in the earth. A geothermal system is considered a single-source home energy system providing heat, cool air and hot water. This is generally done by using either a dedicated open- or closed-loop ground source, an open-loop standing column well system or a vertical bore-hole closed- loop application, according to the company’s Web site.
The systems are often used as an eco-friendly alternative to conventional furnaces and cooling systems because they don’t use fossil fuels.
To heat a home, geothermal units draw natural warmth into the home from deep in the ground. Likewise, to cool a home, the unit draws in the earth’s cooler temperatures.
As for hot water, geothermal heat pumps produce combined hot water off their system for hot water.
So far, Aho said, despite the significant upfront investment in the system, business has been booming.
“What’s not slowing down though are installations on new construction,” she said. “We’ve seen a dramatic increase there..”
Ultra Geothermal is located at 358 Route 4, in Barrington. For more information call 868-7878.
Copyright, 2009, Union Leader Corp.