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Geothermal Heat Pump Systems

Jeffrey Havelin, PE

This course describes in detail the steps involved in evaluating a geoexchange, also known as ground source or geothermal, heating and cooling system. It describes the system and options and attempts to anticipate questions that building owners and designers might have about the technology.

Geoexchange technology transfers heat between the steady temperature of the earth and a building to maintain the building space conditions. Below the surface of the earth throughout New York and other states the temperature remains in the low 50°sF throughout the year. This stable temperature provides a source for heat in the winter and a means to reject excess heat in the summer. In a geoexchange system, a fluid is circulated between the building and the ground loop piping buried in the ground. In the summer the fluid picks up heat from the building and moves it to the ground. In the winter the fluid picks up heat from the ground and moves it to the building. Heat pumps in the building make this transfer of heat possible.

The environmental benefits of geoexchange are also an important consideration. Geoexchange systems can help facilities qualify as Green Buildings. Green Buildings incorporate practices that significantly reduce or eliminate adverse environmental impacts and increase the efficient use of energy, environmental, and human resources.

Geoexchange technology is not new. Geoexchange systems have successfully operated for decades in a variety of building types. While the basic technology has been around for more than fifty years, many improvements recently have been made, including types of materials used, design and installation methods, and the efficiencies of compressors, pumps and other equipment.

This course is based on the publication Understanding and Evaluating Geothermal Heat Pump Systems as published by the GEOTHERMAL HEAT PUMP CONSORTIUM for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of course materials.

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NY PE & PLS: You must choose courses that are technical in nature or related to matters of laws and ethics contributing to the health and welfare of the public. NY Board does not accept courses related to office management, risk management, leadership, marketing, accounting, financial planning, real estate, and basic CAD. Specific course topics that are on the borderline and are not acceptable by the NY Board have been noted under the course description on our website.