Geothermal Energy

City Hall's Geothermal Heating & Cooling System

Wetaskiwin City Hall is home to a leading renewable energy source—our geothermal heating & cooling system.

What is Geothermal Energy?

Geothermal means earth-heat, and is thermal energy generated and stored in the Earth. Geothermal energy is a very powerful and efficient way to extract a renewable energy from the earth through natural processes.

How Does it Work?

Closed loop geothermal heat pumps circulate a mix of water/antifreeze through pipes buried in the ground. As the fluid circulates underground it absorbs heat from the ground and, on its return, the now-warmed fluid passes through the heat pump which uses electricity to extract the heat from the fluid. The re-chilled fluid is sent back into the ground, which continues the cycle.

The heat extracted and that generated by the heat pump appliance as a byproduct is used to heat City Hall. The addition of the ground heating loop in the energy equation means that more heat is generated than if electricity alone had been used directly for heating.

Switching the direction of heat flow, the same system can be used to circulate the cooled water through City Hall for cooling in the summer months. The heat is exhausted to the relatively cooler ground rather than delivering it to the hot outside air as an air conditioner does. As a result, the heat is pumped across a larger temperature difference and this leads to higher efficiency and lower energy use.