Geothermal, or ground-source HVAC systems are rapidly becoming more and more popular in both residential and commercial applications. They offer premium efficiency by using the relatively constant temperature of the Earth to heat and cool a space. Energy removed from a building in the summer is sent into the Earth and stored until winter.
Since the temperature in the ground is generally more moderate than the outdoor air temperature, you can experience significant energy efficiency. Additionally, when heating is required, you can simply recover this stored energy. If this type of system sounds like a good fit for you, don't hesitate to contact us
at N-TEX Service Company.
A geothermal system consists of a ground-source loop coupled to a building's HVAC system. It rejects or adds heat to the building as required. The ground-source loop can be in contact with:
- A large body of water (surface water heat pump)
- Water pumped from the ground (groundwater heat pump)
- A closed-loop borefield of pipe buried in the ground (ground-coupled heat pump)
Traditionally, these types of systems have been distributed systems. As the name suggests, a distributed geothermal system is one where the equipment is distributed throughout the building. For example, a heat-pump system that uses small, unitary water-source heat pumps are installed in or near each building space.
We can further enhance the efficiency of some geothermal heat-pump systems by the recovery of heat within the building. When properly configured, the energy removed by the units cooling one part of the building can be routed to units providing heat to the other spaces.
The cheapest BTU to use for heating is the one already in the building. Many building owners and HVAC designers hesitate to consider this multiple-unit, distributed system configuration because the required maintenance has to be performed in or near the occupied space.
There is also the challenge of creating acoustically-quiet spaces while requiring fans and compressors relatively close by. With the advent of high-efficiency, higher-capacity chillers and heaters, a new class of geothermal systems is gaining momentum. These are known as central geothermal systems.