Where storm water management uses plant life to control water, geothermal heating taps into the Earth's natural energy to generate power. Like wind power or solar power, geothermal is an efficient renewable energy resource that's far more environmentally friendly than coal-powered electricity or natural gas. You might think that cold weather would make geothermal heating ineffective, but that's not the case. Pipes buried a few feet underground escape the effects of freezing temperatures. The ground there stays close to 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 degrees Celsius), making it a warm source of energy in winter and a cool source of energy in summer [source:GreenSolarCafe].
A water/antifreeze mixture is pumped through pipes buried underground to collect thermal energy, then routed to a heat pump and takes that energy and puts it to use to heat or cool your house. While it does take electricity to power the heat pump, the efficiency of the geothermal system means that you'll get far more energy from the pump than you pour into it [source: GreenSolarCafe].
Geothermal heating does have its disadvantages -- digging up ground space to lay the energy-collecting piping is a large undertaking. But our next classic renewable resource, solar energy, presents no such problem.