Project Report
“Ground Source Cooling System”
This project report deals in depth with our project Ground Source Cooling System. In
this project we have designed and established a closed loop ground source cooling
system so as to have a future alternative to traditional heating, and air conditioning
systems. Closed Loop Ground Source Cooling System use relatively constant
temperature of the ground to regulate the temperature of a home or building at very
high effective efficiency. The system does not create heat through combustion of fuel
or passing electricity through resistors it moves heat from the ground to the
home!building for heating and the opposite direction for cooling. In so far as the heat
in the ground that these systems use is supplied by the sun, they are using renewable
• I"T#$%&CTI$"
• Ground heat e'changer
o %irect e'change
o Closed loop
 (ertical
 )ori*ontal
 +ond
o $pen loop
 Standing column well
• ,uilding distribution
• Seasonal thermal storage
• Thermal efficiency
• -nvironmental impact
• -conomics
• Installation
• . See also
• /0 #eferences
• // -'ternal lin1s
Closed Loop Ground Source Cooling Systems use the relative constant temperature of
the ground water to regulate the temperature of a home or building efficiently. The
system does not create heat through combustion of fuel or passing electricity through
resistors, it moves heat from the house or building to the ground for cooling. This
system does not use any fluid or gas refrigerant. $ne of the main reasons that so many
people dismiss the idea of using geothermal energy in their homes is because they
thin1 it is simply too e'pensive. This is actually a common misconception, and many
people can actually save a lot of money by switching to geothermal home heating and
cooling. The truth is that a geothermal heat pump system is 2uite ine'pensive to
operate, but it will cost a considerable amount to have it installed. The earth absorbs
almost 304 of all solar energy and remains a nearly constant temperature of /056C to
7756C depending on geographic location. 8or1ing with an underground loop system,
geothermal heating or cooling systems utili*e this constant temperature to e'change
energy between the house and the earth as needed for cooling and heating. Ground
source cooling system is cost effective because it uses energy efficiently.
The heat pump was described by Lord 9elvin in /:37 and developed by +eter #itter
von #ittinger in /:33. ;fter e'perimenting with a free*er, #obert C. 8ebber built the
first direct e'change ground<source heat pump in the late /.=0s.The first successful
commercial project was installed in the Commonwealth ,uilding >+ortland, $regon?
in /.=@, and has been designated a "ational )istoric Aechanical -ngineering
Landmar1 by ;SA-. The technology became popular in Sweden in the /.B0s, and
has been growing slowly in worldwide acceptance since then. $pen loop systems
dominated the mar1et until the development of polybutylene pipe in /.B. made
closed loop systems economically viable. ;s of 700=, there are over a million units
installed worldwide providing /7 G8 of thermal capacity.-ach year, about :0,000
units are installed in the &S; and 7B,000 in Sweden.
Closed Loop Ground Source Cooling System relatively constant temperature
of the ground to regulate the temperature of a home or building at very high effective
efficiency system does not create heat through combustion of fuel or passing
electricity through resistors it moves heat from the ground to the home!building for
heating and the opposite direction for cooling. the heat in the ground that these sys is
supplied by the sun, they are using renewable energy. ;s an additional benefit, ground
source cooling!heating system can provide ine'pensive hot water, either to
supplement or replace entirely the output of a conventional, domestic water heater.
Ground source heating and cooling is cost effective because it uses energy so
;t the initial stage the project wor1 was divided in to two partsC
/? %igging 3 D 3 D /0 feet deep
7? +reparing the rest of the apparatus as per the drawings
Eor better description of the project wor1 the project report has been divided in
different modules as discussed further.
"early all conventional residential and light commercial buildings use refrigerant type
air conditioning systems for cooling the interior space. These units all have the
familiar outdoor condenser units. (ariations include pac1aged heating!cooling units
and air source heat pumps. ;ll use outside air to cool the refrigerant, while rejecting
heat into the surrounding air. These units will be referred to as Fair sourceF
e2uipment. Comparisons between Ground source cooling system and conventional air
source units are convoluted because of the sharp decrease in efficiency of air source
e2uipment as a function of outside air temperature. Aanufacturers of air source
e2uipment are 2uic1 to post impressive --# >-nergy -fficiency #atio? and S--#
>Seasonal -nergy -fficiency #atios? numbers on their Fhigh efficiencyF models, but a
closer e'amination of the actual performance data shows that these lofty numbers do
not correlate well under realistic installed conditions. ; typical e'ample of a G<ton air
source unit shows manufacturerHs --# as /7.0. )owever, a closer loo1 at performance
values yields a calculated --# value of /0.3, at rated conditions. This would
represent a daytime temperature of about G7.756C. 8hen the outside temperature
rises to GB.B56C, the air source --# drops to ..7, which represents a reduction in
efficiency of /74. If outside temperature rises to =G.G56 C, the air source --# drops
even further to B.B, which represents a reduction in efficiency of 7B4. This means
that the unit is re2uiring 7B4 more electricity to yield the same cooling.
A) Closed Loop Geo!e"#$l S%se#s C< The most typical geothermal installation
utili*es a closed loop system. In a closed loop system, a loop of piping is buried
underground and filled with water that continuously circulates through the
system. There are four major types of closed loop geothermal systems li1e
hori*ontal loops, vertical loops, slin1y coils and pond loops.
T%pes o& Geo!e"#$l S%se#s
B) 'o"()o*$l Geo!e"#$l G"o+*d Loop S%se#:-
If ade2uate soil or clay based land is available, hori*ontal geothermal ground
loops are typically one of the more economical choices. In hori*ontal
geothermal ground loops, several hundred feet of five to si' feet deep trenches
are dug with a bac1hoe or chain trencher. +iping is then laid in the trench and
bac1filled. ; typical hori*ontal ground loop will be =00 to @00 feet long for
each ton of heating and cooling. ,ecause of the amount of trenching involved,
hori*ontal ground loops are most commonly used for new construction.
Einally, because hori*ontal geothermal ground loops are relatively shallow,
they are often not appropriate for areas with e'treme climates such as the
"orth or %eep South.
F(, :- 'o"()o*$l Geo!e"#$l G"o+*d Loop S%se#
C) Ve"(-$l Geo!e"#$l G"o+*d Loop S%se# C< 8hen e'treme
climates, limited space or roc1y terrain is a concern, vertical geothermal
ground loops are often the only viable option. This ma1es them popular for use
on small lots and in retrofits. ; typical vertical ground loop re2uires G00 to @00
feet of piping per ton of heating and cooling. (ertical loops are typically more
e'pensive than hori*ontal loops, but are considerably less complicated than
drilling for water. Less piping is also re2uired for vertical geothermal ground
loops as opposed to hori*ontal loops as the earth temperature is more stable at
EigC< (ertical Geothermal Ground Loop System
D) Sl(*.% Co(l Geo!e"#$l G"o+*d Loop S%se#:-
Slin1y coil geothermal ground loops are gaining popularity, particularly in residential
geothermal system installations. Slin1y coil ground loops are essentially a more economic
and space efficient version of a hori*ontal ground loop. #ather than using straight pipe,
slin1y coils, as you might e'pect, use overlapped loops of piping laid out hori*ontally
along the bottom of a wide trench. %epending on soil, climate and your heat pumps run
fraction, slin1y coil trenches can be anywhere from one third to two thirds shorter than
traditional hori*ontal loop trenches. Slin1y loops are used to reduce the heat e'changer per
foot trench re2uirements but re2uire more pipe per ton of capacity. This pipe is coiled li1e
a slin1y, overlapped and laid in a trench. Two<pipe systems may re2uire 700<G00 feet of
more pipe per ton of nominal heat e'change capacity. The trench length decreases as the
number of pipes in the trench increases or as slin1y overlap increases

EigC< Slin1y Coil Geothermal Ground Loop System
E) Geo!e"#$l Po*d Loop S%se#:-
If at least a /5I acre by : ft deep pond or la1e is available on your property, a
closed loop geothermal system can be installed by laying coils of pipe in the
bottom of a body of water. )owever, a hori*ontal trench will still be needed to
bring the loop up to the home and close the loop.
%ue to the inherent advantages of water to water heat transfer, this type of
geothermal system is both highly economical and efficient.
In specific situations, where an open loop system cannot be applied to a nearby
body of water, a closed loop system may be the best choice. Just li1e the other
closed loop systems, an environmentally friendly coolant is circulated through
the closed piping e'cept the e'changing medium is water instead of the earth.
,odies of water, li1e earth are thermal masses and hold the same thermal
inertia as the earth does, so at the same depth, the body of water will provide
very similar constant temperatures as the earth.
+ond loop configurations are generally slin1y li1e in nature and e'tend a
minimum of @ to : feet below the the lowest water level to assure proper heat
F) Ope* Loop Geo!e"#$l S%se#:-
8ith open geothermal ground loops, rather than continuously running the same
supply of water through the system, fresh water from a well or pond is pumped into
and bac1 out of the geothermal unit. ,oth an abundant source of clean water and an
ade2uate runoff area are re2uired for a successful open loop system. Typically, the
entering water temperature of an open loop system is appro'imately @ degrees higher
than a closed loop system. )igher entering water temperatures can lead to improved
efficiency of the geothermal system. 8ater sources with high levels of salt, chlorides
or other minerals can cause premature system failure or inefficient operation. 8hile
double well designs can be economical, use of open geothermal ground loops is
generally discouraged and even prohibited in some jurisdictions. 8ater 2uality is 1ey
to an open loop design as mineral content and acidity can 2uic1ly damage geothermal
units. ;lso, improper installation or runoff management of an open loop geothermal
system can result in ground water contamination or depleted a2uifers.
G"o+*d !e$ e/-!$*,e"
)eat pumps provide wintertime heating by e'tracting heat from a source and
transferring it to the building. In theory, heat can be e'tracted from any source, no
matter how cold, but a warmer source allows higher efficiency. ; ground source heat
pump uses the shallow ground as a source of heat, thus ta1ing advantage of its
seasonally moderate temperatures.
In the summer, the process can be reversed so the heat pump e'tracts heat
from the building and transfers it to the ground. Transferring heat to a cooler space
ta1es less energy, so the cooling efficiency of the heat pump again benefits from the
lower ground temperatures.
Shallow hori*ontal heat e'changers e'perience seasonal temperature cycles
due to solar gains and transmission losses to ambient air at ground level. These
temperature cycles lag behind the seasons because of thermal inertia, so the heat
e'changer can harvest heat deposited by the sun several months earlier. %eep vertical
systems rely heavily on migration of heat from surrounding geology, unless they are
recharged annually by e'haust heat from air conditioning.
Ground source heat pumps must have a heat e'changer in contact with the
ground or groundwater to e'tract or dissipate heat. This component accounts for a
third to a half of the total system cost. Several major design options are available for
these, which are classified by fluid and layout. %irect e'change systems circulate
refrigerant underground, closed loop systems use a mi'ture of anti<free*e and water,
and open loop systems use natural groundwater.
D("e- e/-!$*,e
The %irect e'change geothermal heat pump is the oldest type of geothermal
heat pump technology. It is also the simplest and easiest to understand. The ground<
coupling is achieved through a single loop circulating refrigerant in direct thermal
contact with the ground >as opposed to a refrigerant loop and a water loop?. The
refrigerant leaves the heat pump appliance cabinet, circulates through a loop of copper
tube buried underground, and e'changes heat with the ground before returning to the
pump. The name Fdirect e'changeF refers to heat transfer between the refrigerant and
the ground without the use of an intermediate fluid. There is no direct interaction
between the fluid and the earth only heat transfer through the pipe wall. %irect
e'change heat pumps are not to be confused with Fwater<source heat pumpsF or
Fwater loop heat pumpsF since there is no water in the ground loop. ;S)#;- defines
the term ground-coupled heat pump to encompass closed loop and direct e'change
systems, while e'cluding open loops.
%irect e'change systems are 70<73Kpercnt more efficient and have
potentially lower installation costs than closed loop water systems. CopperHs high
thermal conductivity contributes to the higher efficiency of the system, but heat flow
is predominantly limited by the thermal conductivity of the ground, not the pipe. The
main reasons for the higher efficiency are the elimination of the water pump >which
uses electricity?, the elimination of the water heat e'changer >which is a source of
heat losses?, and the phase change of the refrigerant in the ground itself, allowing a
higher temperature gradient between loop and ground resulting in a higher rate of heat
8hile they re2uire much more refrigerant and their tubing is more e'pensive
per foot, a direct e'change loop is shorter than a closed water loop for a given
capacity. ; direct e'change system re2uires /!G to /!7 the length of tubing and half
the diameter of drilled holes, and the drilling or e'cavation costs are therefore lower.
#efrigerant loops are less tolerant of lea1s than water loops because gas can lea1 out
through smaller imperfections. This dictates the use of bra*ed copper tubing, even
though the pressures are similar to water loops. The copper loop must be protected
from corrosion in acidic soil through the use of a sacrificial anode.
Closed loop
Aost installed systems have two loops on the ground sideC the primary
refrigerant loop is contained in the appliance cabinet where it e'changes heat with a
secondary water loop that is buried underground. The secondary loop is typically
made of )igh<density polyethylene pipe and contains a mi'ture of water and anti<
free*e >propylene glycol, denatured alcohol or methanol?. ;fter leaving the internal
heat e'changer, the water flows through the secondary loop outside the building to
e'change heat with the ground before returning. The secondary loop is placed below
the frost line where the temperature is more stable, or preferably submerged in a body
of water if available. Systems in wet ground or in water are
generally more efficient than drier ground loops since it is less
wor1 to move heat in and out of water than solids in sand or soil.
If the ground is naturally dry, soa1er hoses may be buried with
the ground loop to 1eep it wet.
Closed loop systems need a heat e'changer between the
refrigerant loop and the water loop, and pumps in both loops.
Some manufacturers have a separate ground loop fluid pump
pac1, while some integrate the pumping and valving within the heat pump. -'pansion
tan1s and pressure relief valves may be installed on the heated fluid side. Closed loop
systems have lower efficiency than direct e'change systems, so they re2uire longer
and larger pipe to be placed in the ground, increasing e'cavation costs.
Closed loop tubing can be installed hori*ontally as a loop field in trenches or
vertically as a series of long &<shapes in wells>see below?. The si*e of the loop field
depends on the soil type and moisture content, the average ground temperature and
the heat loss and or gain characteristics of the building being conditioned. ; rough
appro'imation of the initial soil temperature is the average daily temperature for the
; vertical closed loop field is composed of pipes that run vertically in the
ground. ; hole is bored in the ground, typically B3 to 300 feet >7GL/37 m? deep. +ipe
pairs in the hole are joined with a &<shaped cross connector at the bottom of the hole.
The borehole is commonly filled with a bentonite grout surrounding the pipe to
provide a thermal connection to the surrounding soil or roc1 to improve the heat
transfer. Thermally enhanced grouts are available to improve this heat transfer. Grout
also protects the ground water from contamination, and prevents artesian wells from
flooding the property. (ertical loop fields are typically used when there is a limited
area of land available. ,ore holes are spaced 3L@ m apart and the depth depends on
ground and building characteristics. Eor illustration, a detached house needing /0 18
>G ton? of heating capacity might need three boreholes :0 to //0 m >7B0 to G30 feet?
deep.>; ton of heat is /7,000 ,ritish thermal units per hour >,T&!h? or G.3 1ilowatts.?
%uring the cooling season, the local temperature rise in the bore field is influenced
most by the moisture travel in the soil. #eliable heat transfer models have been
developed through sample bore holes as well as other tests.
; G<ton slin1y loop prior to being covered with soil. The three slin1y loops are
running out hori*ontally with three straight lines returning the end of the slin1y coil to
the heat pump
; hori*ontal closed loop field is composed of pipes that run hori*ontally in the
ground. ; long hori*ontal trench, deeper than the frost line, is dug and &<shaped or
slin1y coils are placed hori*ontally inside the same trench. -'cavation for hori*ontal
loop fields is about half the cost of vertical drilling, so this is the most common layout
used wherever there is ade2uate land available. Eor illustration, a detached house
needing /0 18 >G ton? of heating capacity might need G loops /70 to /:0 m >=00 to
@00 feet? long of "+S G!= >%" 70? or "+S /.73 >%" G7? polyethylene tubing at a
depth of / to 7 m >G to @ feet?.
;s an alternative to trenching, the hori*ontal loop field may be laid by mini
hori*ontal directional drilling. >mini<)%%? This techni2ue can lay piping under yards,
driveways or other structures without disturbing them, with a cost between those of
trenching and vertical drilling.
; slin1y >also called coiled? closed loop field is a type of hori*ontal closed
loop where the pipes overlay each other >not a recommended method?. The easiest
way of picturing a slin1y field is to imagine holding a slin1y on the top and bottom
with your hands and then move your hands in opposite directions. ; slin1y loop field
is used if there is not ade2uate room for a true hori*ontal system, but it still allows for
an easy installation. #ather than using straight pipe, slin1y coils, use overlapped loops
of piping laid out hori*ontally along the bottom of a wide trench. %epending on soil,
climate and your heat pumpHs run fraction, slin1y coil trenches can be anywhere from
one third to two thirds shorter than traditional hori*ontal loop trenches. Slin1y coil
ground loops are essentially a more economic and space efficient version of a
hori*ontal ground loop.
/7<ton pond loop system being sun1 to the bottom of a pond
; closed pond loop is not common because it depends on pro'imity to a body
of water, where an open loop system is usually preferable. ; pond loop may be
advantageous where poor water 2uality precludes an open loop, or where the system
heat load is small. ; pond loop consists of coils of pipe < similar to a slin1y loop <
attached to a frame and located at the bottom of an appropriately si*ed pond or water
Ope* loop
In an open loop system, >also called a groundwater heat pump,? the secondary
loop pumps natural water from a well or body of water into a heat e'changer inside
the heat pump. ;S)#;- calls open loop systems groundwater heat pumps or surface
water heat pumps, depending on the source. )eat is either e'tracted or added by the
primary refrigerant loop, and the water is returned to a separate injection well,
irrigation trench, tile field or body of water. The supply and return lines must be
placed far enough apart to ensure thermal recharge of the source. Since the water
chemistry is not controlled, the appliance may need to be protected from corrosion by
using different metals in the heat e'changer and pump. Limescale may foul the
system over time and re2uire periodic acid cleaning. ;lso, as fouling decreases the
flow of natural water, it becomes difficult for the heat pump to e'change building heat
with the groundwater. If the water contains high levels of salt, minerals or hydrogen
sulfide, a closed loop system is usually preferable.
%eep la1e water cooling uses a similar process with an open loop for air
conditioning and cooling. $pen loop systems using ground water are usually more
efficient than closed systems because they are better coupled with ground
temperatures. Closed loop systems, in comparison, have to transfer heat across e'tra
layers of pipe wall and dirt.
; growing number of jurisdictions have outlawed open<loop systems that
drain to the surface because these may drain a2uifers or contaminate wells. This
forces the use of more environmentally sound injection wells.
S$*d(*, -ol+#* 0ell
; standing column well system is a speciali*ed type of open loop system.
8ater is drawn from the bottom of a deep roc1 well, passed through a heat pump, and
returned to the top of the well, where traveling downwards it e'changes heat with the
surrounding bedroc1. The choice of a standing column well system is often dictated
where there is near<surface bedroc1 and limited surface area is available. ; standing
column is typically not suitable in locations where the geology is mostly clay, silt, or
sand. If bedroc1 is deeper than 700 feet >@/ m? from the surface, the cost of casing to
seal off the overburden may become prohibitive.
; multiple standing column well system can support a large structure in an
urban or rural application. The standing column well method is also popular in
residential and small commercial applications. There are many successful applications
of varying si*es and well 2uantities in the many boroughs of "ew Mor1 City, and is
also the most common application in the "ew -ngland states. This type of ground
source system has some heat storage benefits, where heat is rejected from the building
and the temperature of the well is raised, within reason, during the Summer cooling
months which can then be harvested for heating in the 8inter months, thereby
increasing the efficiency of the heat pump system. ;s with closed loop systems,
si*ing of the standing column system is critical in reference to the heat loss and gain
of the e'isting building. ;s the heat e'change is actually with the bedroc1, using
water as the transfer medium, a large amount of production capacity >water flow from
the well? is not re2uired for a standing column system to wor1. )owever, if there is
ade2uate water production, then the thermal capacity of the well system can be
enhanced by discharging a small percentage of system flow during the pea1 Summer
and 8inter months.
Since this is essentially a water pumping system, standing column well design
re2uires critical considerations to obtain pea1 operating efficiency. Should a standing
column well design be misapplied, leaving out critical shut<off valves for e'ample,
the result could be an e'treme loss in efficiency and thereby cause operational cost to
be higher than anticipated.
B+(ld(*, d(s"(1+(o*
Li2uid<to<air heat pump
The heat pump is the central unit that becomes the heating and cooling plant
for the building. Some models may cover space heating, space cooling, >space heating
via conditioned air, hydronic systems and ! or radiant heating systems?, domestic or
pool water preheat >via the desuperheater function, demand hot water, and driveway
ice melting all within one appliance with a variety of options with respect to controls,
staging and *one control. The heat may be carried to its end use by circulating water
or forced air. ;lmost all types of heat pumps are produced for commercial and
residential applications.
Liquid-to-air heat pumps >also called water-to-air? output forced air, and are
most commonly used to replace legacy forced air furnaces and central air conditioning
systems. There are variations that allow for split systems, high<velocity systems, and
ductless systems. )eat pumps cannot achieve as high of a fluid temperature as a
conventional furnace, so they re2uire a higher volume flow rate of air to compensate.
8hen retrofitting a residence, the e'isting duct wor1 may have to be enlarged to
reduce the noise from the higher air flow.
Li2uid<to<water heat pump
Liquid-to-water heat pumps >also called water-to-water? are hydronic systems
that use water to carry heating or cooling through the building. Systems such as
radiant underfloor heating, baseboard radiators, conventional cast iron radiators would
use a li2uid<to<water heat pump. These heat pumps are preferred for pool heating or
domestic hot water pre<heat. )eat pumps can only heat water to N306C >/706E?
efficiently, whereas a boiler normally reaches @3L.36C. >/30L7006E? Legacy
radiators designed for these higher temperatures may have to be doubled in numbers
when retrofitting a home. ; hot water tan1 will still be needed to raise water
temperatures above the heat pumpHs ma'imum, but pre<heating will save 73<
30Kpercnt of hot water costs.
Ground source heat pumps are especially well matched to underfloor heating
and baseboard radiator systems which only re2uire warm temperatures >=06C? to wor1
well. Thus they are ideal for open plan offices. &sing large surfaces such as floors, as
opposed to radiators, distributes the heat more uniformly and allows for a lower water
temperature. 8ood or carpet floor coverings dampen this effect because the thermal
transfer efficiency of these materials is lower than that of masonry floors >tile,
concrete?. &nderfloor piping can also be used for cooling in dry climates, although the
temperature of the circulating water must be above the dew point to ensure that
atmospheric humidity does not condense on the floor.
Combination heat pumps are available that can produce forced air and
circulating water simultaneously and individually. These systems are largely being
used for houses that have a combination of air and li2uid conditioning needs, for
e'ample central air conditioning and pool heating.
Se$so*$l !e"#$l so"$,e
; heat pump in combination with heat and cold storage
The efficiency of ground source heat pumps can be improved by using
seasonal thermal storage. If heat loss from the ground source is sufficiently low, the
heat pumped out of the building in the summer can be retrieved in the winter. )eat
storage efficiency increases with scale, so this advantage is most significant in
commercial or district heating systems. Geosolar combisystems further augment this
efficiency by collecting e'tra solar energy during the summer >more than is needed
for air conditioning? and concentrating it in the store.
Such a system has been used to heat and cool a greenhouse using an a2uifer
for thermal storage. In summer, the greenhouse is cooled with cold ground water. This
heats the water in the a2uifer which can become a warm source for heating in winter.
The combination of cold and heat storage with heat pumps can be combined with
water!humidity regulation. These principles are used to provide renewable heat and
renewable cooling to all 1inds of buildings.
T!e"#$l e&&(-(e*-%
The net thermal efficiency of a heat pump should ta1e into account the
efficiency of electricity generation and transmission, typically about =0KpercntSince
a heat pump moves G to 3 times more heat energy than the electric energy it
consumes, the total energy output is much greater than the input. This results in net
thermal efficiencies greater than /00Kpercnt, up to around 700Kpercnt. Traditional
combustion furnaces and electric heaters can never e'ceed /00Kpercnt efficiency,
but heat pumps provide e'tra energy by e'tracting it from the ground.
The dependence of net thermal efficiency on the electricity infrastructure tends
to be an unnecessary complication for consumers, so performance of heat pumps is
usually e'pressed as the ratio of heating output or heat removal to electricity input.
Cooling performance is typically e'pressed in units of ,T&!hr!8att as the -nergy
-fficiency #atio, >--#? while heating performance is typically reduced to
dimensionless units as the Coefficient of +erformance. >C$+? The conversion factor
is G.=/ ,T&!hr!8att. +erformance is influenced by all components of the installed
system, including the soil conditions, the ground<coupled heat e'changer, the heat
pump appliance, and the building distribution, but is largely determined by the FliftF
between the input temperature and the output temperature.
Eor the sa1e of comparing heat pump appliances to each other, independently
from other system components, a few standard test conditions have been established
by the ;merican #efrigerant Institute >;#I? and more recently by the International
$rgani*ation for Standardi*ation. Standard ;#I GG0 ratings were intended for closed
loop ground<source heat pumps, and assumes secondary loop water temperatures of
BB6E for air conditioning and G76E for heating. These temperatures are typical of
installations in the northern &S;. Standard ;#I G73 ratings were intended for open
loop ground<source heat pumps, and include two sets of ratings for groundwater
temperatures of 306E and B06E. ;#I G73 budgets more electricity for water pumping
than ;#I GG0. "either of these standards attempt to account for seasonal variations.
Standard ;#I :B0 ratings are intended for direct e'change ground<source heat pumps.
;S)#;- transitioned to IS$ /G73@</ in 700/, which replaces ;#I G70, G73 and GG0.
The new IS$ standard produces slightly higher ratings because it no longer budgets
any electricity for water pumps.<
-fficient compressors, variable speed compressors and larger heat e'changers
all contribute to heat pump efficiency. #esidential ground source heat pumps on the
mar1et today have standard C$+s ranging from 7.= to 3.0 and --#s ranging from
/0.@ to G0.To 2ualify for an -nergy Star label, heat pumps must meet certain
minimum C$+ and --# ratings which depend on the ground heat e'changer type.
Eor closed loop systems, the IS$ /G73@</ heating C$+ must be G.G or greater and the
cooling --# must be /=./ or greater.
;ctual installation conditions may produce better or worse efficiency than the
standard test conditions. C$+ improves with a lower temperature difference between
the input and output of the heat pump, so the stability of ground temperatures is
important. If the loop field or water pump is undersi*ed, the addition or removal of
heat may push the ground temperature beyond standard test conditions, and
performance will be degraded. Similarly, an undersi*ed blower may allow the plenum
coil to overheat and degrade performance.
Soil without artificial heat addition or subtraction and at depths of several
meters or more remains at a relatively constant temperature year round. This
temperature e2uates roughly to the average annual air<temperature of the chosen
location, usually BL/76C >=3L3=6E? at a depth of si' meters in the northern &S;.
,ecause this temperature remains more constant than the air temperature throughout
the seasons, geothermal heat pumps perform with far greater efficiency during
e'treme air temperatures than air conditioners and air<source heat pumps.
Standards ;#I 7/0 and 7=0 define Seasonal -nergy -fficiency #atios >S--#?
and )eating Seasonal +erformance Eactors >)S+E? to account for the impact of
seasonal variations on air source heat pumps. These numbers are normally not
applicable and should not be compared to ground source heat pump ratings. )owever,
"atural #esources Canada has adapted this approach to calculate typical seasonally
adjusted )S+Es for ground<source heat pumps in Canada. The "#C )S+Es ranged
from :.B to /7.: ,T&!hr!8att >7.@ to G.: in nondimensional factors, or 733Kpercnt
to GB3Kpercnt seasonal average electricity utili*ation efficiency? for the most
populated regions of Canada. 8hen combined with the thermal efficiency of
electricity, this corresponds to net average thermal efficiencies of /00Kpercnt to
E*v("o*#e*$l (#p$-
The &.S. -nvironmental +rotection ;gency >-+;? has called ground source
heat pumps the most energy<efficient, environmentally clean, and cost<effective space
conditioning systems available.)eat pumps offer significant emission reductions
potential, particularly where they are used for both heating and cooling and where the
electricity is produced from renewable resources.
Ground<source heat pumps have unsurpassed thermal efficiencies and produce
*ero emissions locally, but their electricity supply almost always includes components
with high greenhouse gas emissions. Their environmental impact therefore depends
on the characteristics of the electricity supply. The G)G emissions savings from a
heat pump over a conventional furnace can be calculated based on the following
A**+$l ,"ee*!o+se ,$s s$v(*,s &"o# +s(*, $ ,"o+*d so+"-e !e$ p+#p (*se$d
o& $ !(,!-e&&(-(e*-% &+"*$-e (* $ de$-!ed "es(de*-e
Ele-"(-(% CO
E#(ss(o*s I*e*s(%
G'G s$v(*,s "el$(ve o
*$+"$l ,$s !e$(*, o(l ele-"(- !e$(*,
Canada 77G ton!G8h
7.B ton!yr 3.G ton!yr G.= ton!yr
#ussia G3/ ton!G8h
/.: ton!yr =.= ton!yr 3.= ton!yr
&S; @B@ ton!G8h
<0.3 ton!yr 7.7 ton!yr /0.G ton!yr
China :G. ton!G8h
</.@ ton!yr /.0 ton!yr /7.: ton!yr
• )L Q seasonal heat load R :0 GJ!yr for a modern detached house in the
northern &S;
• EI Q emissions intensity of fuel Q 30 1g>C$
?!GJ for natural gas, BG for
heating oil
• ;E&- Q furnace efficiency R .3Kpercnt for a modern condensing furnace
• C$+ Q heat pump coefficient of performance R G.7 seasonally adjusted for
northern &S; heat pump
• -I Q emissions intensity of electricity R 700<:00 ton>C$
?!G8h, depending on
Ground<source heat pumps always produce less greenhouse gases than air
conditioners, oil furnaces, and electric heating, but natural gas furnaces may be
competitive depending on the greenhouse gas intensity of the local electricity supply.
In countries li1e Canada and #ussia with low emitting electricity infrastructure, a
residential heat pump may save 3 tons of carbon dio'ide per year relative to an oil
furnace, or about as much as ta1ing an average passenger car off the road. ,ut in
countries li1e China or &S; that are highly reliant on coal for electricity production, a
heat pump may result in / or 7 tons more carbon dio'ide emissions than a natural gas
The fluids used in closed loops may be designed to be biodegradable and non<
to'ic, but the refrigerant used in the heat pump cabinet and in direct e'change loops
was, until recently, chlorodifluoromethane, which is an o*one depleting substance.
;lthough harmless while contained, lea1s and improper end<of<life disposal
contribute to enlarging the o*one hole. This refrigerant is being phased out in favour
of o*one<friendly #=/0; for new construction.
$pen loop systems that draw water from a well and drain to the surface may
contribute to a2uifer depletion, water shortages, groundwater contamination, and
subsidence of the soil. ; geothermal heating project in Staufen im ,reisgau,
Germany, is suspected to have caused considerable damage to buildings in the city
center. The ground has subsided by up to eight millimeters under the city hall while
other areas have been uplifted by a few millimeters. Ground<source heat pump
technology, li1e building orientation, is a natural building techni2ue >bioclimatic
Ground source heat pumps are characterised by high capital costs and low
operational costs compared to other )(;C systems. Their overall economic benefit
depends primarily on the relative costs of electricity and fuels, which are highly
variable over time and across the world. ,ased on recent prices, ground<source heat
pumps currently have lower operational costs than any other conventional heating
source almost everywhere in the world. "atural gas is the only fuel with competitive
operational costs, and only in a handful of countries where it is e'ceptionally cheap,
or where electricity is e'ceptionally e'pensive.
In general, a homeowner may save
anywhere from 70Kpercnt to @0Kpercnt annually on utilities by switching from an
ordinary system to a ground<source system.
Capital costs and system lifespan have received much less study, and the
return on investment is highly variable. $ne study found the total installed cost for a
system with /0 18 >G ton? thermal capacity for a detached rural residence in the &S;
averaged S:000LS.000 in /..3 &S dollars. Aore recent studies found an average
cost of S/=,000 in 700: &S dollars for the same si*e system. The &S %epartment of
-nergy estimates a price of SB300 on its website, last updated in 700:. +rices over
S70,000 are 2uoted in Canada, with one source placing them in the range of SG0,000<
SG=,000 Canadian dollars. The rapid escalation in system price has been accompanied
by rapid improvements in efficiency and reliability. Capital costs are 1nown to benefit
from economies of scale, particularly for open loop systems, so they are more cost<
effective for larger commercial buildings and harsher climates. The initial cost can be
two to five times that of a conventional heating system in most residential
applications, new construction or e'isting. In retrofits, the cost of installation is
affected by the si*e of living area, the homeHs age, insulation characteristics, the
geology of the area, and location of the home!property. +roper duct system design and
mechanical air e'change should be considered in the initial system cost.
P$%1$-. pe"(od &o" (*s$ll(*, $ ,"o+*d so+"-e !e$ p+#p (* $ de$-!ed
P$%1$-. pe"(od &o" "epl$-(*,
*$+"$l ,$s !e$(*, o(l ele-"(- !e$(*,
Canada /G years G years @ years
&S; /7 years 3 years = years
Germany net loss : years 7 years
• )ighly variable with energy prices.
• Government subsidies not included.
• Climate differences not evaluated.
Capital costs may be offset by substantial subsidies from many governments,
for e'ample totaling over SB000 in $ntario for residential systems installed in the
700. fiscal year. Some electric companies offer special rates to customers who install
a ground<source heat pump for heating!cooling their building. This is due to the fact
that electrical plants have the largest loads during summer months and much of their
capacity sits idle during winter months. This allows the electric company to use more
of their facility during the winter months and sell more electricity. It also allows them
to reduce pea1 usage during the summer >due to the increased efficiency of heat
pumps?, thereby avoiding costly construction of new power plants. Eor the same
reasons, other utility companies have started to pay for the installation of ground<
source heat pumps at customer residences. They lease the systems to their customers
for a monthly fee, at a net overall savings to the customer.
The lifespan of the system is longer than conventional heating and cooling
systems. Good data on system lifespan is not yet available because the technology is
too recent, but many early systems are still operational today after 73LG0 years with
routine maintenance. Aost loop fields are warrantied for 73 to 30 years and are
e'pected to last at least 30 to 700 years. Ground<source heat pumps use electricity for
heating the house. The higher investment above conventional oil or electric systems
may be returned in energy savings in 7L/0 years for residential systems in the &S;.If
compared to natural gas systems, the paybac1 period can be much longer or non<
e'istent. The paybac1 period for larger commercial systems in the &S; is /L3 years,
even when compared to natural gas.
Ground source heat pumps are recogni*ed as one of the most efficient heating
and cooling systems on the mar1et. They are often the second<most cost effective
solution in e'treme climates, >after co<generation?, despite reductions in thermal
efficiency due to ground temperature. >The ground source is warmer in climates that
need strong air conditioning, and cooler in climates that need strong heating.?
Commercial systems maintenance costs in the &S; have historically been
between S0.// to S0.77 per m
per year in /..@ dollars, much less than the average
S0.3= per m
per year for conventional )(;C systems.
Governments that promote renewable energy will li1ely offer incentives for
the consumer >residential?, or industrial mar1ets. Eor e'ample, in the &nited States,
incentives are offered both on the state and federal levels of government.
,ecause of the technical 1nowledge and e2uipment needed to properly install
the piping, a GS)+ system installation re2uires a professionalHs services. The
Geothermal )eat +ump Consortium and the Canadian Geo-'change Coalition
maintain listings of 2ualified installers in the &S; and Canada.