Geothermal Heat Pumps Market’s Key Threat: Air Source Heat Pumps

The global geothermal heat pumps market is driven by the rising focus of consumers on low-cost energy alternatives. Furthermore, the significant cost savings along with the environmental benefits associated with geothermal heat pumps will also drive the market. The attractive payback period associated with the installation of geothermal heat pumps in newly-built or green homes is also propelling the global geothermal heat pumps market. Another key factor driving the global geothermal heat pumps market is the highly reliable nature of the overall system and the easy financing available to consumers.

Nevertheless, there are certain challenges that will suppress the global geothermal heat pumps market. One of the key challenges for the global geothermal heat pumps market is threat from substitute technologies. Air source heat pumps are one of the top threats to the global geothermal heat pumps market.

Air Source Heat Pumps vs. Geothermal Air Heat Pumps

Traditionally, electricity is considered one of the more expensive ways to heat a building. For example, 1 kWh of electricity costs around 3 times more than that of gas. Unlike conventional electricity radiators, which convert 1kWH into 1 unit of usable heat, a heat pump converts 1kWh into more than 3 units of usable heat. These benefits of cost savings and effectiveness associated with heat pumps are driving their popularity among consumers.

However, consumers are often comparing air source heat pumps and geothermal heat pumps to gauge the most cost-effective solution. This will prove a key threat to the global geothermal heat pumps market. Let us look at the features of air source pumps and why they are challenging the global geothermal heat pumps market:

  • Cost: The cost of installing an air source heat pumps is much lower as compared to a ground source/geothermal source heat pump. Installing a geothermal heat pump in a house is three times more expensive than an air source pump, as the former involves drilling a hole in the ground.
  • Land Requirements: Air source heat pump (ASHP) systems look similar to AC units seen in office buildings. On the other hand, a ground heat source pump (GHSP) needs burying pipes in the garden. Even in case the geothermal heat pumps are installed vertically, the bore drilling machinery still needs access to the garden.
  • Efficiency: GHSPs draw heat from the ground while ASHPs from the air. In terms of efficiency, geothermal heat pumps win hands down as they draw energy from the ground, which doesn’t experience the same temperature fluctuations as that of air above the ground level. In addition to this, geothermal heat pumps function better during all seasons as compared to air source heat pumps.
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The cost and land benefits associated with air source heat pumps will continue to threaten the global geothermal heat pumps market. Nevertheless, GHSPs remain the most efficient way to heat or cool a structure, which will continue to drive the global geothermal heat pumps market.


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