DOE Report on Geothermal Heat Pumps

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory has just published a comprehensive new report on geothermal heat pumps.  To read the full report go to or

Geothermal (Ground-Source) Heat Pumps: Market Status, Barriers to Adoption, and Actions to Overcome Barriers

Abstract:  More effective stewardship of our resources contributes to the security, environmental sustainability, and economic well-being of the nation. Buildings present one of the best opportunities to economically reduce energy consumption and limit greenhouse gas emissions. Geothermal heat pumps (GHPs), sometimes called ground-source heat pumps, have been proven capable of producing large reductions in energy use and peak demand in buildings. However, GHPs have received little attention at the policy level as an important component of a national strategy. Have policymakers mistakenly overlooked GHPs, or are GHPs simply unable to make a major contribution to the national goals for various reasons? This brief study was undertaken at DOE’s request to address this conundrum. The scope of the study includes determining the status of global GHP markets and the status of the GHP industry and technology in the United States, assembling previous estimates of GHP energy savings potential, identifying key barriers to application of GHPs, and identifying actions that could accelerate market adoption of GHPs. The findings are documented in this report along with conclusions and recommendations.