Geothermal Open Loop Domestic Suitability Classification.
Ground source heat energy, sometimes called shallow geothermal energy, can be collected from the ground and boosted with heat pumps. This can yield up to four times as much energy as is used to collect it, giving ‘four for the price of one’ in energy terms. Heat energy can be harnessed, or ‘collected’, using different types of collector systems:
Closed loop collectors are systems where heat is extracted from the ground (or cooling is gained) by pumping a heat exchange fluid through closed pipes within the ground. The pipes can be installed borehole(s) (vertical closed loop) or laid out horizontally (horizontal closed loop).
Open loop ground source heat systems operate by taking heat energy from abstracted groundwater using a heat pump. The volume of groundwater that can be abstracted from a borehole or taken from a spring each day (the ‘yield’) determines the total amount of heat energy available, and therefore the size of heat pump that can be used and the size of building that can be heated.
The ground source heating/cooling suitability maps indicate which type of ground source heat collector is most compatible with the geology below your site. All maps should be assessed together, since whilst some areas may be unsuitable for one type of ground source heat collector system (‘ground source heat pumps’ or GSHPs), the heat energy can be successfully harnessed by a different type of system. The maps show that there is a shallow geothermal solution for heating or cooling for every location in Ireland.
The suitability maps use a suitability rating ranging from 1 (worst) to 5 (best) for each type of heat collector/cooling system. Suitability maps for open loop (domestic/small commercial), open loop (larger commercial/industrial processes) and vertical closed loop systems are available.