In some places the use of solar heated liquids from hot water solar panels are used to provide heating for floors which are fitted with tubing in the floor to move the heated liquid through. Heated liquid from hot water solar panels can also be sent to registers or radiators in remote places in a home such as its core.
Another innovative way that heated liquids can be used is to move the liquid into a thermal mass in the core of the building for slow application of the heat to the building during the day and on into the night. In this method of applying heat you also have an option of switching from solar hot water panels to a biomass furnace type of water heater to heat the liquid within, and pump it into the home to the radiators or thermal mass core. This option would be used at those times in which insufficient solar energy has been the case. Since the liquid in this case is an antifreeze solution we are not using steam just heated liquid as the conductor of heat.
The concept of a thermal core can be turned around from that of storing heat within, to storing cold energy within such as in the walls of a basement, or split level building. In the case of lets say a company that has lots of computer hardware that is generating lots of heat energy within the building, some of that heat can be dealt with by a cold thermal mass such as a basement wall kept cool by geo thermal energy. A building for such computer hardware use can be designed to house the hardware on a level beneath the ground where fans can help to move the heat around the surface of the concrete walls. It should be noted that the coolest wall in this case year round would be the basement wall on the north side of the building (in the northern hemisphere).
When thinking of ways to maximize the transfer of heat to a basement wall for removal, the use of duct work fitted flat to the wall to be used as a heat exchanger is a good idea. The duct work would have to run back and forth across the wall in layers up the wall to maximize the heat exchange transfer. If duct work is used then the location of our computer hardware can be within any area of a large basement or up on the ground level since we now have duct work to move air through from any location in the building, to have some of its heat removed by the geo thermal mass of the basement wall. Please keep in mind that the application of this kind of cooling is limited in terms of its effectiveness, but it does provide a low energy means to remove some of the heat load from the air conditioning system.
There are other methods one can use in their designs to make use of geo thermal cooling such as earth tubes, or corrugate pipe beneath the ground. In the following video you can see a method used by a green house to remove excessive heat.