Heat Pump Do It Yourself Install

Geothermal Heat Pumps Installation Guide

Installing a Geothermal Heat Pump Will Save you thousands in heating and cooling costs, and will repay itself many times over. This guide is filled with factual information to help you get fired up which allows you to quickly and easily make decisions to heat and cool your residence. Geothermal heating and cooling technology provides exceptional performance and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (Epa) agrees that a geothermal heat pump is the most energy-efficient, environmentally clean, and most cost-effective space conditioning system available. The guide contains the information you need, when you need it. Compiled in an easy-to-understand visual format. Includes: Explanation of geothermal heat transfer, Descriptions of the types of geothermal systems, Space requirements, Tips on the ideal system for your requirements.

Geothermal Heat Pumps Installation Guide Overview


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Deciding Whether an Air Source Heat Pump Is Right for

Air-source heat pumps are widely used in mild climates where the units don't have to work inordinately hard. In very cold climates, you probably want a combustion heater that can crank out hordes of Btu in a short time. But if you're in a mild climate, an air-source heat pump is probably one of your best choices. They connect to the existing ductwork, like any other heater or air-conditioner, and they accomplish both heating and cooling in the same package (refer to the earlier section The (Very) Basics of Geothermal Heating and Cooling for details). It's rarely the case that an air-source heat pump is used with a radiant heating system, but it can be done if you decide it's worth the extra cost (which it may very well be see Chapter 17 for more details on radiant systems). As you consider an air-source heat pump, keep these things in mind I Although air-source heat pumps require an expensive upfront investment in equipment, they're the least expensive type of heat pump to install....

Geothermal Heat Pumps

Also known as geoexchange, this variation on the geothermal theme exploits the fact that while air temperature varies with the season and time of day, 6 feet below ground, the earth is usually between 45 degrees and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Sink some pipes into the ground below a building, circulate liquid through them, connect the pipes to a compressor, and it's possible to use the heat differential between ground and air to both heat and cool a building. Geothermal heat pumps use between 20 percent and 79 percent less electricity than conventional heat pumps. And because they're so simple, they need little maintenance and last a lot longer. The result a climate control system that 's cheap, durable, clean, and quiet. In various polls, the vast majority of people who had installed a geothermal heat pump say they would do so again. This technology is viable almost everywhere and qualifies for a variety of government incentives.

Looking at heat pumps

At the heart of geothermal processes are heat pumps, which basically move heat from one location to another. When you use a heat pump to generate heat, you move heat into the region where you want it (namely your home). When you use a heat pump to cool your home, you're basically just moving the heat out of your home, into the great outdoors. Moving heat out is the same as cooling. There are two distinct types of heat pumps air-source and ground-source. They use the same basic equipment, but have different means of effecting the heat exchange. As a result, their practical operations are markedly different I Air-source heat pumps are the kind you see in stand-alone HVAC systems. They use ambient air to heat or cool a refrigerant contained in a compressor system. They are especially suitable in moderate climates, as they perform both heating and cooling functions with reasonably good efficiency. I Ground-source heat pumps are very similar to air-source heat pumps, except they use the...

Disadvantages of heat pumps

On the downside, the following cons apply to heat pumps 1 They require more maintenance than some other options. Systems require a number of parts, and heat pumps are more complex that combustion systems. If you look inside an air-source heat pump, you'll see what looks like the space shuttle. 1 They're slow to respond. They work best in steady-state conditions. If you come into a cold home and turn a heat pump on, it will take awhile for the house to heat up.

The efficiency of heat pumps

The efficiency and power output of a heat pump is a function of the outdoor temperature (the ground or air used as the source). When outdoor air temperatures are extremely low, heating is less efficient, and in very cold climates air-source heat pumps may simply not be able to output enough heat to warm a dwelling. Likewise, when outdoor temperatures are extremely hot, the cooling efficiency of a heat pump suffers. With ground-based heat pumps, the efficiencies are relatively immune from the weather because ground temperatures do not vary much over the course of a year. (The effects of the seasons are nonexistent about 6 feet underground. In northern states the ground stays at a consistent temperature of around 50 F, which is a lot warmer than the air aboveground in the winter months. In hotter climates, the ground can be as warm as 70 F year-round.) In general, heat pumps do not heat and cool nearly as quickly as separate units, in particular combustion heat sources can provide a lot...

Groundsource heat pumps

Ground-source heat pumps are very similar to air-source heat pumps, except they use the earth as their heat exchange medium. They are more efficient than air-source pumps because the earth is much more consistent in terms of temperature. Note Geo-exchange is the common name for ground-source heat pumps. It's just a matter of terminology, but you'll see both terms (geo-exchange and ground-source heat pumps) in use. With a ground-source heat pump, fluid is pumped from the ground (or from a suitable water reservoir) through the compressor and the heated fluid passes through a coil arrangement inside the dwelling. A fan draws air through the intake vent (which normally includes filters of some kind) and over the coil, thereby heating the air. The fluid, which is now cooler, is pumped back into the earth via a discharge well. Heat pumps in extreme climates In extreme climates, a ground-sourced heat pump with a radiant heating system in the floor is a great combination because you can...

Geothermal Heating System

An example of a geothermal application with a heat exchanger is the geothermal heating system sketched in Figure 5-11. The heat exchanger is shown at the top of the figure and the geothermal reservoir is shown at the base of the figure. Figure 5-11. Geothermal Heating System Figure 5-11. Geothermal Heating System

Heat pumps

Like district heating and combined heat and power, heat pumps are already widely used in continental Europe, but strangely rare in Britain. Heat pumps are back-to-front refrigerators. Feel the back of your refrigerator it's warm. A refrigerator moves heat from one place (its inside) to another (its back panel). So one way to heat a building is to turn a refrigerator inside-out - put the inside of the refrigerator in the garden, thus cooling the garden down and leave the back panel of the refrigerator in your kitchen, thus warming the house up. What isn't obvious about this whacky idea is that it is a really efficient way to warm your house. For every kilowatt of power drawn from the electricity grid, the back-to-front refrigerator can pump three kilowatts of heat from the garden, so that a total of four kilowatts of heat gets into your house. So heat pumps are roughly four times as efficient as a standard electrical bar-fire. Whereas the bar-fire's efficiency is 100 , the heat pump's...

Geothermal Heat Pump

A geothermal heat pump uses energy near the surface of the Earth to heat and cool buildings. The temperature of the upper three meters (10 feet) of the Earth's crust remains in the relatively constant range of 10 Centigrade to 16 Centigrade. A geothermal heat pump for a building consists of ductwork in the building connected through a heat exchanger to pipes buried in the shallow ground nearby. The building can be heated during the winter by pumping water through the geothermal heat pump. The water is warmed

Airsource heat pumps

Air-source heat pumps are the kind you see in stand-alone HVAC systems. They use ambient air to heat or cool a refrigerant contained in a compressor system. They are especially suitable in moderate climates, as they perform both heating and cooling functions with reasonably good efficiency. With an air-source heat pump, outside air is drawn across the exterior coil by the fan. Refrigerant fluid is run through the exterior coil, and into the compressor where it is pressurized and heated. On the other side of the compressor, a closed loop of fluid is run through the interior coil and interior air is passed over this coil by the interior fan. Although air-source heat pumps require an expensive upfront investment in equipment, they're the less expensive type of heat pump to install. And because installation is relatively easy, you can get a wider variety of qualified installers to give you a bid. Competition is always a good thing.

Heat Pump Systems

Heat pumps use mechanical energy to transfer thermal energy from a source at a lower temperature to a sink at a higher temperature. The bigger advantage of electrically driven heat pump heating systems, compared to electric resistance heating or expensive fuels, is that the heat pump's coefficient of performance (COP ratio of heating performance to electrical energy) is greater than unity for heating so it yields 9 to 15 MJ of heat for each kilowatt hour of energy supplied to the compressor, which saves on purchase of energy. The original system concept, proposed by Charters et al. (1980), was a system with direct evaporation of the working fluid of the heat pump in the solar collector. The condenser of the heat pump was actually a heat exchanger wrapped around the storage tank. In this way, the initial system cost and the parasitic energy requirements of the system are minimized. A possible disadvantage of this system is that the condenser heat transfer is limited by the free...

Getting a rundown of pros and cons

While ground-source heat pumps offer some advantages, there are also quite a few disadvantages. Keep both in mind as you decide whether investing in one is right for you 1 The ground is always available as a heat source. It's even more consistent than air. But and this is a biggie ground-source heat pumps require specific ground characteristics, including water content, mineral content, iron content, and so on. A neighbor may have a ground-source heat pump in operation, but that doesn't automatically mean you can do the same. 1 Ground-source heat pumps are just as good at providing you with domestic hot water as providing you with heating and cooling. Most installations are a combination of functions, and this is smart efficiency planning. 1 A ground-source heat pump is very expensive upfront, but once the system is installed and running, the operating costs are extremely low. In fact, ground-source heat pumps offer the lowest life-cycle cost of any heating system options, and this...

Table Alternatives to Fossil Fuels for Heating and Cooling

Ground-source heat pump Geothermal energy is used for everything from space heating and cooling to warming greenhouses and melting snow on roads and bridges. In France, Iceland, New Zealand, the Philippines, Turkey, the United States, and other countries with high-temperature resources, geothermal heat is used for electricity generation, district heat, and industrial processes like pulp and paper production. Ground-source heat pumps, which can be used virtually anywhere, use the stored solar energy of Earth or well water as a heat sink in summer and heat source in winter. The United States has the world's largest heat pump market, with up to 60,000 systems installed annually.40 According to the IEA, solar water heating, biomass for industrial and domestic heating, deep geothermal heat and shallow geothermal heat pumps are amongst the lowest cost options for reducing both CO2 emissions and fossil fuel dependency. In many circumstances these technologies offer net savings as compared to...

Laurence S Rockefeller Preserve Grand Teton National Park Wyoming

Rockefeller Preserve in Grand Teton serves as a visitor center. Located near Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the 7500-square-feet building houses an interpretive center for the National Park Service. The building's design should reduce energy use by 84 percent and save 2000 annually. A ground-source heat pump and photovoltaic system is expected to provide 58 percent of the center's electricity. All of the wood used in construction was certified to FSC standards. The restrooms at the facility use composting toilets, saving an estimated 76,000 gallons of water annually.*

Combined heat and power

Air-source heat pump air-source heat pump ground-source heat pump Figure 21.10. Heat pumps. The government has a target for growth of combined heat and power to 10 GW of electrical capacity by 2010, but I think that growth of gas-powered combined heat and power would be a mistake. Such combined heat and power is not green it uses fossil fuel, and it locks us into continued use of fossil fuel. Given that heat pumps are a better technology, I believe we should leapfrog over gas-powered combined heat and power and go directly for heat pumps.

Hiring a qualified installer

Not very many contractors are capable of installing these systems. So when it comes to hiring a contractor, make sure your contractor knows exactly what he or she is doing. If you can, use a contractor certified by the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA www.igshpa.okstate. edu). And get references. Let me state this in stronger terms If you have a problem with an air-source heat pump, it's right there where you can get to it to work on it can be worked on or even exchanged if things go really awry. The same can't be said of an ground-source heat pump. With a ground-source system, once it's in the ground, it's nearly impossible to get to. If something goes wrong with your piping and the contractor who installed it has vamoosed, you're in for a world of hurt. If you don't have some competition in your area, watch out because you may end up paying not just a lot (the normal amount) but a whole heck of a lot. You may also end up with an unreliable source of...

Incentive Change And Change In Consumer Behavior

Companies could include activities to improve energy efficiency in the evaluation of managers and, for example, put in place guidelines and procedures that make it possible for managers to be favorably evaluated by employees in remote offices, without their frequent presence there. Such procedures may include information internally that energy conservation has become a corporate priority, and that managers, perhaps, are expected to travel less. Admittedly, corporate travel for most companies represents a minor item in terms of energy consumption, compared to production and distribution, but it is a highly visible item. Corporate decisions to restrict travel affect the behavior of people. This may influence the behavior of employees in their private lives more than decisions to install a heat pump for heating the office or a plant. Big-screen television sets and video conference equipment could be installed in offices and plants so that managers can be seen and can talk to employees...

An energyefficient office

The National Energy Foundation built themselves a low-cost low-energy building. It has solar panels for hot water, solar photovoltaic (PV) panels generating up to 6.5 kW of electricity, and is heated by a 14-kW ground-source heat pump and occasionally by a wood stove. The floor area is 400 m2 and the number of occupants is about 30. It is a single-storey building. The walls contain 300 mm of rockwool insulation. The heat pump's coefficient of performance in winter was 2.5. The energy used is 65 kWh per year per square metre of floor area (7.4 W m2). The PV system delivers almost 20 of this energy.

Seeing how geothermal energy Works

Here's how a geothermal system works The temperatures three to four feet below ground stay pretty much the same all year long, unlike outdoor air temperatures, which can fluctuate a great deal. The temperature remains stable at this depth for a couple of reasons First, the earth absorbs nearly half of all the heat energy that hits it from the sun. Second, heat from the earth's core works its way toward the surface. The good news for you is that you can take advantage of this phenomenon with a geothermal ground-based system. A geothermal air system, on the other hand, takes advantages of the fact that air, regardless of its temperature, still contains some heat. A heat pump simply moves heat from the outside environment into your home, or vice versa. This works in both directions you can both heat and cool a home, using a geothermal system. i During a cooling cycle In a ground-based system, the heating process (explained in the preceding bulleted paragraph) is simply reversed The unit...

Platinum Project Profile

Serving as office space for 36 occupants and housing a works garage, the Restoration Services Centre is an 11,700-square-foot, two-story facility. The Toronto and Region Conservation's Restoration Services Centre was designed to reduce energy costs by more than 66 percent compared to Canada's Model National Energy Code. The facility estimates a 57 percent reduction in energy consumption through a ground-source heat pump, radiant slab heating, energy and heat recovery ventilation, reduced lighting power density, and an improved building envelope. Composting toilets, water-free urinals, and low-flow lavatories contribute to an 80 percent reduction in potable water use.*

Issues Not Addressed In This Book

The applicability of thermodynamic efficiency concepts to activities involving secondary (and tertiary) work. This issue seems straightforward at first glance, but we must acknowledge some room for argument. The primary difficulty concerns the definition of boundaries. In the case of an electric power plant, the boundary definitions are clear enough, but how should we define the efficiency of a heating system Gas companies and furnace manufacturers define it in terms of the fraction of heat produced by the fuel that is radiated into the room (that is, not lost up the flue). This definition (known as 'first law') does not reflect the inefficiency resulting from the fact that the heat is produced by combustion at a very high temperature but only used at a much lower temperature. The high temperature heat is simply diluted in the air, which is wasteful. So why not use the high temperature heat to drive a steam engine producing electricity and heat the room with the waste heat from the...

Lessons Learnedmodifications

The computer that controlled the rock bin temperatures has had to be replaced. It was replaced with a simplified system that is not so efficient but proves to be more reliable. An earth-coupled (geothermal) heat pump was installed in the late 1990s, which provides cooling (or mostly dehumidification) as well as auxiliary heating. In addition, the greenhouse was reglazed with triple-paned, heat-mirrored glass. Previously with only single-glazing, an operable curtain was employed to prevent excessive heat gain or heat loss. Now the curtain is no longer necessary. The interior of the sundows have also been glazed by a similar glazing regime, permitting them to be opened most of the time without unwanted heat gain or heat loss. Originally there was a fin-tube heat exchanger installed in the upper hot air manifold to convert the hot air to solar hot water. It worked very well and required no separate collector. One winter the temperatures dropped below -23 C and the heat exchanger was...

Project Financing

HomeWORD has not been able to identify the exact percentage of increase. Although the ground source heat pumps cost more than HVAC systems typically used in affordable housing, the system was chosen early in the planning process on the basis of the energy modeling results, and its cost was not compared with that of alternative possibilities. Because homeWORD has a mission to help move the local housing market toward more sustainable projects, the additional cost was seen as part of achieving this larger vision. Architect Don MacArthur states that, currently, building green affordable housing takes so much energy and passion and persistence, but as more begin to do it, it will start to infiltrate the awareness of regulatory and financial institutions. He notes that requirements for Montana's low-income tax credits are being rewritten to provide incentives for sustainable measures. When others see that the funding exists, they also may be willing to try green building, and it will...

Common features of all five plans

In all five plans, the energy consumption of heating is reduced by improving the insulation of all buildings, and improving the control of temperature (through thermostats, education, and the promotion of sweater-wearing by sexy personalities). New buildings (all those built from 2010 onwards) are really well insulated and require almost no space heating. Old buildings (which will still dominate in 2050) are mainly heated by air-source heat pumps and ground-source heat pumps. Some water heating is delivered by solar panels (2.5 square metres on every house), some by heat pumps, and some by electricity. Some buildings located near to managed forests and energy-crop plantations are heated by biomass. The power required for heating is thus reduced from 40kWh d p to 12kWh d p of electricity, 2 kWh d p of solar hot water, and 5 kWh d p of wood. The total consumption of electricity under this plan goes up (because of the 18kWh d p for electric transport and the 12kWh d p for heat pumps) to...

Corporate Responsibility from a Companys Perspective and Some CSR Practices in Germany

Lufthansa, one of the country's largest companies and a prime example of the aviation sector, is also committed to CSR, both within the framework of the activities performed by the aviation units and by its subsidiaries. For example, the company LSG Sky Chefs, which provides catering for airlines, pursues the strategy of integrating resource conservation and innovative environmental technologies. At the Cologne airport for example, the company has installed two innovative heat pump energy systems, which provide both cheap and environmentally friendly heat for the large catering building. In addition, a mobile heat-battery, a heat saving device, is employed. Trucks transports compressed heat obtained from power stations and other production units to a central heat container placed at the LSG Sky Chefs building in Cologne. The heat is then used to warm up the building.

Towards the positive energy building

Energy conservation can be ensured by using better performing heating devices such as high efficiency boilers (condensing boilers), heat pumps or cogeneration. Cogeneration and heat pumps enable a better use of electricity. In a fossil fuel power plant, electricity is produced from a heat source with a yield which, in most cases, does not exceed 35-40 . The remaining energy is released and transmitted to the refrigeration air or water. In the case of cogeneration, the heat released is used for heating residential buildings or industrial installations. A heat pump operates according to a different principle. It operates in a way similar to a refrigeration device. By withdrawing heat from an external medium (water or air), it supplies a quantity of heat much larger than the electrical energy consumed. The ratio of the quantity of heat thus delivered over the consumed electrical energy (coefficient of performance or COP) is frequently around 3. Cogeneration is mainly applied in industry...

Direct Use Applications

A direct-use application of geothermal energy uses heat from a geothermal source directly in an application. Hot water from the geothermal reservoir is used without an intermediate step such as the heat exchanger in the geothermal heat pump. Hot water from a geothermal reservoir may be piped directly into a facility and used as a heating source. A direct-use application for a city in a cold climate with access to a geothermal reservoir is to pipe the hot water from the geothermal reservoir under roads and sidewalks to melt snow.

Renewable Energy Sources Solar Energy

In the deep south of the United States, swimming pools are often solar heated. Plastic pipe collectors are in common use. Rows of black plastic pipes are laid on the south-facing roof of the house. The pipes are plumbed so that the pool pump can circulate some of the pool water through the pipes. The black pipes adsorb the solar heat and warm the water. In Florida a well-engineered system allows the use of pool a month or so earlier in the spring and a similar time later in the fall. Few solar systems are capable of heating the pool to a satisfactory temperature all year round. People who like to swim all year round use gas, oil or electric heat pump heaters in addition to their solar heaters.

Improving the coefficient of performance

You might think that the coefficient of performance of a condensing boiler, 90 , sounds pretty hard to beat. But it can be significantly improved upon, by heat pumps. Whereas the condensing boiler takes chemical energy and turns 90 of it into useful heat, the heat pump takes some electrical energy and uses it to move heat from one place to another (for example, from outside a building to inside). Usually the amount of useful heat delivered is much bigger than the amount of electricity used. A coefficient of performance of 3 or 4 is normal. Figure E.13. Ideal heat pump efficiencies. Top left ideal electrical energy required, according to the limits of thermodynamics, to pump heat out of a place at temperature Tin when the heat is being pumped to a place at temperature Tout 35 C. Right ideal electrical energy required to pump heat into a place at temperature Tin when the heat is being pumped from a place at temperature Tout 0 C. Bottom row the efficiency is conventionally expressed as a...

Government Procurement

Governments also can aggregate procurements to make the production of energy superior equipment economic for manufacturers. Technology procurement for energy efficient products, pioneered in Sweden, subsequently has been used in the United States, The Netherlands, and Finland. Sweden's initial effort recruited housing cooperatives for a 1992 procurement creating a market for super-efficient windows that saved sixty percent more energy than standard Swedish triple-glazed windows. In 1995, the New York Power Authority and the New York City Housing Authority created a technology procurement project for new refrigerators that used thirty percent less electricity than those then on the market. And the IEA has sponsored a number of technology procurement projects for electric motors, heat pump dryers, LED traffic signals, and digital multifunction office copiers.59

Powerful Changes Renewable Energy

How much generating your own energy costs depends on where you live and whether your government offers incentives for retrofitting your home. Solar, wind, and geothermal heating and cooling technologies are becoming more widely available for home use. Currently, these costly units take a long time to realize any energy savings, but their prices may drop with higher production and technological advances.

Challenges In Absorption Refrigeration

Herold, K.E., Radermacher, R., Klein, S.A., 1996. Absorption Chillers and Heat Pumps. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. Huang, B.J., Chyng, J.P., 2001. Performance characteristics of integral type solar-assisted heat pump. Sol. Energy 71 (6), 403-414. Keith, E.H., Radermacher, R., Klein, S.A., 1996. Absorption Chillers and Heat Pumps pp. 1-5. CRS Press, Boca Raton, FL.

Affordable Green Efficiency for the People

Green and efficient energy strategies are not just for well-heeled companies. At the Green Institute, an eco-industrial park that is redeveloping an old area of Phillips, one of the poorest and most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in Minneapolis, there is no furnace. Nonetheless, this state-of-the-art green office park and light manufacturing facility is comfortable through the long, cold Minnesota winters. Instead of turning to a conventional boiler, when executive director Michael Krause was designing his headquarters, he chose a simple and elegant machine to heat and cool the center it is just a pump and fan, really, with two large iron pipes sunk deep into the ground It's a geothermal heat pump, or ground-source heat exchanger. A geothermal heat pump is a beautiful thing. It works on a simple principle. While the air above ground fluctuates wildly with the seasons with documented temperatures as low as -70 F in Montana and reaching a record high of 134 F in Death Valley,...

Air ground and water source energy

Underfloor Ducted Air Conditioning

Heat is not the same thing as temperature. The water in a stream or well, the soil a few metres below ground level, even the ambient air, might be significantly cooler than the desirable temperature for domestic hot water or space heating use - but they still contain heat energy. If the heat from a large volume of lower temperature water, soil or air can be extracted then transferred to a much smaller volume of water or air, the temperature of the receiving water or air will be raised, even if it started out warmer than the source. One device that can achieve this desirable end is the rather misleadingly named heat pump, a technology that has attracted a lot of attention and development over recent years. In fact, heat pumps have been virtually ubiquitous in the developed world for many decades. Small heat pumps lurk behind refrigerators and freezers, extracting the heat from inside the heavily insulated cabinets and transferring it to the air in the room. They are quiet, reliable and...

Combining technologies

Earth Centre Doncaster Passive Cooling

Meeting a significant percentage of a building's energy needs with microgeneration is usually best accomplished with a mixture of compatible technologies. Even a low technology approach might, at the very least, involve windcatchers, passive solar air and DHW heating and a rock bin thermal store. Over-complexity is a perceptible risk with a higher technology approach nevertheless, phase change materials, ground source heat pumps, advanced active solar water heating, several forms of solar photovoltaic technology and cogeneration are all well-developed, proven options with readily available hardware. Medium-scale wind is promising, biomass can be a very practical choice when and where the right sort of biomass is available at the right price and in any location fortunate to have a suitable stream or river close by, a small hydro can be the most effective option of all. As technologies develop, more options will become available, and microgeneration will become more than an ethical...

Demonstration House for the Future South Wales

The energy regime makes maximum use of both passive and active solar systems. Space heating can be supplemented by a ground source heat pump fed by a 35 m bore hole. A heat pump is driven by electricity but one unit of electricity produces 3.15 units of heat. A pellet burning wood stove rounds off the space heating. Gas is not available on the site.

Power from the Wind

Geothermal heat pump Heat Air-source heat pump operating on renewably generated electricity Combustion of solid or gasified biomass Fuel cell operating on hydrogen or gasified biomass Geothermal energy (hot water or steam) Geothermal heat pump Hydrogen, direct combustion


If your house is being heated by electricity through ordinary bar fires or blower heaters then, yes, it's much the same as heating the house with any electricity-wasting appliances. But if you are in this situation, you should change the way you heat your house. Electricity is high-grade energy, and heat is low-grade energy. It's a waste to turn electricity into heat. To be precise, if you make only one unit of heat from a unit of electricity, that's a waste. Heaters called air-source heat pumps or ground-source heat pumps can do much better, delivering 3 or 4 units of heat for every unit of electricity consumed. They work like back-to-front refrigerators, pumping heat into your house from the outside air (see Chapter 21).

Technology Change

A new heat pump in a house could be used as an example of a standalone technology. This heat pump could be installed regardless of any other installations in the house or at the neighbors'. It is run on the ubiquitously present energy source of electricity and nothing, except for the heat pump, needs to change. The owner of the house could decide to buy and install the heat pump without consulting with anyone else or waiting for any decisions from other people, or authorities.


Vistas at Kensington Park is a community of seventeen new single-family homes in an existing neighborhood in Dallas, Texas, that was developed by Carl Franklin Homes in conjunction with the Dallas Affordable Housing Coalition and the City of Dallas Housing Authority. The energy performance of these homes, for entry-level workforce buyers, was greatly enhanced through the use of structural insulated panels (SIPs) and geothermal heating and cooling units, as well as other efficient technologies. SIPs, which are used for both walls and roof structures on the exterior shell of the homes, consist of a core layer of rigid foam insulation sandwiched between two structural skins of oriented strand board (OSB). Heating and cooling is provided by geothermal heat pumps, which use the more constant temperatures of the below-surface earth to heat and cool circulated air before returning it to the home. In a place like Dallas, with extreme summer temperatures, geothermal heat pumps are a smart...

Active Systems

In active systems, water or a heat transfer fluid is pumped through the collectors. These are usually more expensive and a little less efficient than passive systems, particularly if antifreeze measures are required. Additionally, active systems are more difficult to retrofit in houses, especially where there is no basement, because space is required for the additional equipment, such as the hot water cylinder. Five types of systems belong in this category direct circulation systems, indirect water heating systems, air systems, heat pump systems, and pool heating systems. Before giving the details of these systems, the optimum flow rate is examined.

Choosing a design

The design and installation of the ground-source heat pump are very important. The ground has to be suitable and the system itself has to conform to the availability of heat you may need a much bigger system if your ground is not at the optimum temperature. Your main criterion for selecting a manufacturer and specific type of system should be performance. Look for the Energy Star seal, in particular. Also look for the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI) seal of approval. Ground-source heat pumps are better for new homes than existing homes. The systems are so extensive that retrofits are difficult, and you may end up making compromises that you don't want to make.


You can start saving money and reducing greenhouse gas emissions right away by getting a more efficient heating unit. If you can access natural gas, a high efficiency gas furnace makes a good investment. If you're stuck on home heating oil, you can still make a major leap forward in energy efficiency by investing in a modern and more efficient unit. Better yet, switch your system to propane, a heat pump, or even a high-efficiency, wood-pellet system. Have an evaluator come in to assess your current heating system and see what changes you can make to your home.

Building Systems

Historically, many affordable housing units were designed with individual heating and cooling systems. A forced-air furnace or electric-resistance heater, an evaporative swamp cooler or window-mounted air conditioner, and individual 30- to 40-gallon tank hot-water heaters are common. As energy codes have improved and fuel costs have increased, a growing number of projects are turning to central systems for domestic hot-water and space heating. With this approach, hot water is pumped through the building for use in showers and sinks and, when needed, in floor or wall radiators. A central hot-water-based system permits elimination of gas lines to individual units, as appliances and air-conditioning (if provided) can be electric. Another approach is to use a high-efficiency heat pump for both heating and cooling. Either strategy improves energy efficiency and can lower utility costs by 15 percent or more. In climates with both a high number of heating and cooling days, consider...

Geothermal Energy

Some demonstrations have shown that the thermal mass of soil a few meters below the surface can be used for low temperature geothermal energy recovery. In most places the soil reaches a constant temperature between 18 and 20 degree at a depth of 5 to 10 meters. If a large heat exchanger is buried at this depth then a heat pump can use the thermal mass of the ground as an energy storage device. In the winter heat is pumped out of the ground to heat the house. This cools the soil. In summer heat is pumped back into the ground. This cools the house in the hot weather. The heat from pumped from the house for cooling is put back into the ground to warm it for the next winter cycle. The technique works but has not been shown to be useful for home heating under most circumstances.

Geothermal Power

Geothermal power is energy from the earth brought to the surface by hot water or steam. Underground reservoirs of water and hot dry rocks contain a lot of energy. This is how it's tapped Hot water or steam extracted from geothermal reservoirs in the Earth's crust is supplied to steam turbines at electric utilities that drive generators to produce electricity. It can also be used for space heating or cooling, although the heat is low-to-medium. A geothermal heat pump draws heat from the ground or ground water and discharges it out. This ground temperature at 10 to 12 feet below the earth's surface stays relatively constant at 55 degrees Fahrenheit. A turbine is driven either from hot water or by natural steam or rock that drives its energy upward through a drilled hole or a pump. This type of energy has been used in the Big Island in Hawaii, but it's not very common.


Ground source heat pumps are an effective way to help heat and cool your home while seriously reducing your carbon footprint. Geothermal heating and cooling uses the steady temperature of the ground to heat and cool your house. These pumps draw their heat (or cold) from under the earth, which holds a steady temperature year-round below 8 feet. The air that a heat pump pulls from the ground isn't that warm, but it is warmer than the outside air in the winter and cooler in the summer. The steady temperature of the ground is used as a source to pump heat either into or out of your home, working the same way that your refrigerator works. The Ground source heat pumps aren't cheap, unfortunately, often costing about twice the price of a comparable furnace. That initial cost pays off in the long run, however you get energy savings of anywhere from 30 to 60 percent. Because heat pump technology is complex, these systems need to be installed by qualified contractors.

Current Production

Worldwide, geothermal electrical generating capacity is about 9,732 MW, between 24 countries,11 representing about 0.4 percent of the world total. An estimated 12,000 MW of additional geothermal power is employed in direct-use applications such as district heating and ground-source heat pumps.12

Renewables for heat

A third of the energy from this source comes from deep bores and the rest from millions of domestic scale, shallow ground-source heat pumps. Sweden alone has around one third of a million geothermal systems installed and projections show a significant increase will occur worldwide. Direct use of geothermal heat is projected to reach 18 Mtoe in 2030.

Energy Using Systems

We presented a number of mechanical concepts. One, of course, was photovoltaic panels to offset some of the electricity consumption in the building. We also presented three or four mechanical system options. The two that turned out to be most the energy efficient and the ones that the client liked the most were the geothermal system and the enthalpy wheel energy recovery system. (We also evaluated thermal storage and ice storage.)

Tax Incentives

Consumer appliances, we considered a tax incentive of 50 to 100 per unit. For new homes that are at least 30 percent more efficient that the Model Energy Code, we considered an incentive of up to 2,000 per home for commercial buildings with at least 50 percent reduction in heating and cooling costs relative to applicable building codes, we applied an incentive equal to 2.25 per square foot. Regarding building equipment such as efficient furnaces, fuel cell power systems, gas-fired heat pumps, and electric heat pump water heaters, we considered a 20 percent investment tax credit. Each of these incentives would be introduced with a sunset clause, terminating them or phasing them out in approximately 5 years to avoid their becoming permanent subsidies. Versions of all the tax incentives considered here have already been introduced into bills before the Senate or House.11


DHW supplies can become more reliable if a so-called triple function system is specified. This uses a dedicated second internal refrigerant to water heat exchanger to supply heat to the DHW tank thermal store. To make economic sense when running entirely on electricity from national grids, heat pump installations are normally sized to produce less than 100 of the building's DHW and space heating and cooling needs, although the ideal percentage is unique to each location and each project and is very dependent on current and projected energy prices. When renewable energy is involved the equation can look very different. Heat pump performance continues to improve, with vapour compression pump COPs now topping four for the inherently more efficient ground source variant. The latest versions are quiet, reliable and compact, and prices are increasingly competitive as more manufacturers enter the market. Serious consideration should be given to heat pumps for almost every building project -...

Tidal Power

Are located in a few places around the world, but also in the form of ubiquitously available heat in the ground, that could be captured by ground source heat pumps. Energy from hot springs and volcanic energy (high-enthalpy resources) can be used both for power and heat generation, while the ubiquitously available low-level energy (low enthalpy) can be used for heating only. In this section, we will focus on the low-enthalpy5 applications of heat pumps, because they represent an alternative that is available everywhere and at low cost. Heat pumps for small- to medium-scale heating needs (single houses to city districts) are available, and they have been used for purposes of heating houses. Heat pumps are powered by electricity, and they produce approximately three or four times the amount of heat compared to the energy needed to power the pump. With increasing energy prices, these pumps pay back the investment made in them within a few years. A large part of the growth in the...