Video: How Geothermal Is Heating Up in Beijing

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In the latest episode of the eco-rap-documentary series China's Green Beat, Sustainable John explores one of the most abundant but least-recognized renewable heating-and-cooling sources, lying deep beneath the feet of Beijingers: geothermal. Not to be confused with geothermal energy, both ground source heat pumps and deep well geothermal are a powerful, cost-efficient solution in a city beset by frigid winters and sweltering summers.

John also pays a visit to the Steven Holl-designed Linked Hybrid complex, which relies on a system of ground source heat pumps in addition to strong insulation techniques and radiant floor heating.While the costs of geothermal heating/cooling are higher than traditional systems, the payback period tends to be less than five years.

Currently Beijing boasts 10.5 million square meters of real estate relying on ground source heat pumps, with 35 million square meters scheduled for 2010. As for deep well geothermal, the city boasts 300 wells, with 20 new ones coming online per year. In the city of Xianyang, which we covered in 2007, plans for geothermal heating are much bigger.

As for geothermal power -- a somewhat different renewable beast that uses natural heat to produce electricity -- China plans on 75MW by 2020, a mere blip on China's renewable energy radar. That's measly compared to the world's geothermal hot spots: Iceland (421 MW, or 26.5% of electricity generation), Philippines (1969 MW, or 23% of electricity generation capacity), and the US, where 4,000 MW are under development (that's still only 1% of the country's energy capacity).

h/t to Green Leap Forward
More on Geothermal Energy
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5 Ways Geothermal is Heating Up Globally
The Tipping Point for Geothermal
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Blowing Hot and Cold on Ground Source Heat Pumps
Planet Green: Why Does Geothermal or Geo-Exchange Make Sense To Install at Your Home?
More on Generating Power in China
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Geothermal in China: It's Getting Hot in Here
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