We can distinguish two types of shallow geothermal systems, both performing a heat exchange with the ground but with differences in performance. The choice on which system is best suited to a project, depends on the characteristics and requirements of the scheme.
The underground can be used for temporary storage of heat or cold. The subsoil has a high heat capacity and also reasonably good thermal insulation properties. This offers the possibility to store large amounts of heat and cold over a long period, e.g. one season. This creates a wide range of opportunities to save energy and apply other renewable energies, such as storage of solar heat in the summer for use in the winter for space heating. Another example is the storage of cold from ambient air during winter for cooling purposes in the following summer.
Direct systems utilise natural groundwater or soil temperature as the basis for heat extraction and active storage of energy is not part of the system operation. A direct system can be used for heating, cooling, and the combination of heating and cooling.
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