Geothermal heating and cooling, which uses the Earth’s constant below-ground environment to maintain building temperatures, should see its market grow by $40 million in the next four years.

Those are some of the findings from a new study recently completed by marketing and research company Frost & Sullivan.

“Geothermal heating and cooling is an excellent way to conserve energy while employing the earth as the chief energy transfer base,” said Frost & Sullivan’s energy and environment industry manager, Konkana Khaund. “Despite its huge initial costs, its higher energy efficiency and long-term cost savings are capturing the attention of environmentally conscious end users.”

In 2012, the geothermal market earned $102.8 million, a figure which should reach $147.6 million in 2017, the study’s authors said. Boosting use of the technology will be federal laws such as the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which mandate large increases in efficiency levels and offer tax incentives.

However, the initial expense of installing a geothermal HVAC system limits the market for such products, the authors said. Manufacturers should stress the lower lifecycle costs geothermal technology offers.

“Non-residential users are in a better position to invest the capital and gain strong returns on investments in just a couple of years,” said senior industry analyst Anu Cherian. “However, most end-users are inclined towards ‘short termism’ and do not perceive the long-term benefits of investing in this technology.”