A Comprehensive Guide to Geothermal HVAC Systems
Did you know that the ground 5 feet below the surface you stand on maintains a consistent temperature, year-round no matter the season? In the most simple terms, this is how geothermal systems work by using the temperature difference to transfer heat between your desired facility and the earth. With the help of a heat pump and a buried piping system, called a ground loop, that transfers the heat or cooling from the ground up into the facility. To help understand the concept of geothermal heating and cooling, when it is summer the system will draw heat from the facility and transfer it into the ground allowing for more cooling to occur. Similarly in the winter, a geothermal system will heat by extracting heat from the ground and transferring it into your commercial facility. It may sound like a confusing process, but not to worry, the experts at Service Experts commercial HVAC are here to provide you with a Comprehensive Guide to Geothermal HVAC and are here to answer any questions regarding this very efficient heating and cooling solution.
How does geothermal heating and cooling work in a commercial setting?
A Geothermal system has two components; the geothermal aspect, along with the distribution system. The two work together as one transfers the heat and the other sends the heat to areas that are needed. The geothermal aspect of the system is a heat pump in most cases. During winter the heat pump takes natural heat from the ground and distributes it to the facility to keep occupants comfortable. The cooling is identical but works in reverse; instead of sending the heat from the ground into the facility, the heat pump distributes the heat into the ground, cooling it down by passing it through the earth then redistributing it into the facility as cool air.
The ground loops come in many variations but the most common are closed-loop and open-loops. The closed-loop configuration invites the use of water and other refrigerants that are continuously going through the system to help aid in the cooling & heating process. An open-loop configuration is less common because it calls for a continuous water source, meaning your location and proximity to a lake or river is needed to run an open-loop geothermal system. The source of water is used to either heat or acts as an outlet to discharge the heat to cool and redistribute.
Will I have space in my business for a ground loop?
This is a great question we get often from customers interested in geothermal heating and cooling solutions. The honest answer is we don’t know (yet). If you’re interested give us a call and we’ll happily come out for a free consultation to evaluate the scope of work required to give you the best geothermal heating & cooling solution possible.
Geothermal ground loops are very flexible with all that being said. Service experts commercial HVAC in the past have done the standard & most common horizontal loops that require piping 6-10 feet below the ground. We understand that everyone’s situation is different and you may not have the means to do the standard configuration. Hence the vertical ground loop configuration is another option that requires vertically drilled holes a couple of hundred feet down into the ground is another viable option to explore. If you are lucky enough to have a water source nearby, this is another viable option to place a pond loop or slinky coil ground loop. Either option you choose will work just the same in terms of effectiveness and efficiency and will keep occupants comfortable no matter the season.
What are some benefits to a geothermal system?
One of the main benefits that gravitate customers towards installing a geothermal system is the fact that these systems are highly efficient. Geothermal systems are so efficient because they don’t have to draw excess electricity to create heat, rather the system circulates heat that is already heated up to an optimal temperature. Geothermal systems operate at an efficiency rate ranging from 300%- 600%, which can result in 50-60% savings in operating costs compared to other heating and cooling solutions. This also means that geothermal systems have a low carbon footprint & are the greenest solution for heating and cooling on the market currently. If the above facts did not sell you on geothermal heating and cooling systems then how about knowing that a geothermal system has no effect on indoor air quality and is practically free from emissions, are you sold now?
Oh, wait let’s not forget to mention that a geothermal system requires much less maintenance than the generic systems on the market currently. There are fewer moving parts in a geothermal system, making the overall system more reliable and cheaper to operate in the long run with maintenance costs being low.
Is this a cost effective solution & what the return on investment?
When geothermal is used for commercial applications, it’s the most cost-effective means of heating and cooling. Although the initial cost of a geothermal system can be pricey, geothermal system will offer significant cost savings in maintenance and will save you loads on your electricity bill in the long run. Overall the initial investment can be daunting but you can also be eligible for rebates and incentives depending on where you are located. These rebates and incentives can help you further determine if a geothermal system is ideal for your situation compared to other solutions. When it comes to the overall cost of installing a geothermal system, a few factors need to be explored. As mentioned before the type & size of ground loop you intend to install in your facility can have a drastic change in terms of price, horizontal loops can require more work to layout and install, vertical loops can require more machinery therefore more costly. In most cases, a source of water nearby the facility can be the most inexpensive option to use when installing a geothermal system. The quality of the equipment is another aspect that can affect the price and again this is directly correlated with facility size. A larger facility will require a larger heat pump and ideally an efficient one, but placing a lower end pump won’t make the system efficient so it’s important you consult the experts regarding your situation and we will present you with many solutions tailor-made for your commercial facility. Altogether opting for a geothermal system is a cost-effective solution but many things need to be considered before going down that route. A geothermal system can almost pay for itself but will take some time before you see that return, just remember these systems are 300%-600% more efficient than the generic air-source pump used in commercial RTU’s or other similar heating and cooling systems.
Geothermal systems are an eco-friendly, sustainable energy solution that can offer significant savings on your heating and cooling bills. The benefits of geothermal HVAC systems in a commercial setting include lower utility costs, increased comfort levels for building occupants, higher indoor air quality, decreased carbon emissions from the grid power source by up to 75%, reduced noise pollution due to quieter operation at night time hours when other businesses are closed or asleep.
Learn more about how you can make the switch to geothermal heating and cooling today! Service Experts are here with all your needs. We’ve got experts ready who will walk you through every step of the process so you feel confident about taking this important next step towards greener living options. We offer comprehensive installation services across the country with technicians who are experts at finding creative solutions for any size workspace.