The benefits of adopting geoexchange for your heating and cooling requirements include the following:
Increased Efficiency Means Cost Savings
Geoexchange systems typically operate with a Coefficient of Performance (COP) of 4 to 5 for heating and 6 to 8 for cooling under all conditions, including temperature extremes. A geoexchange system typically saves 25 to 50 percent on heating and cooling bills, compared to other technologies. Positive cash flow can often be achieved within the first year by comparing interest on additional capital costs with energy savings.
Further, inclusion of a desuperheater can reduce hot water heating costs while the systems are ideal for mixed loads in commercial applications where it is possible to ‘load share’ across the building between heating and cooling of both air and water.
Smarter design, a high level of fan control and built in humidity control enable even air distribution, consistent space temperature, controlled humidity and reduced allergens – all providing a higher level of comfort for your home or building.
Reduced CO2 Emissions
For every 2.5 hours of use, a geoexchange system produces one kilogram less CO2 than a conventional HVAC system. For example, where the electrical source is a coal-fired power station, a 500kW conventional system discharges 550 tonnes of CO2 p.a. compared to 160 tonnes of CO2 p.a. for a geoexchange system.
Geoexchange systems have few moving parts and typically provide much quieter operation than conventional systems.
Increased Safety and Public Health
Geoexchange systems do not require a flue or chimney. Since there is no on-site combustion, there is less chance of fire, and no chance at all of carbon monoxide spilling back into the building. The absence of cooling towers also eliminates the potential threat of Legionnaire’s disease.
Increased Design Flexibility
Geoexchange systems provide optimal design flexibility because the roof, balconies and landscape are free of chillers, air handlers and other outdoor equipment. Geoexchange can benefit a building’s design because there is no need for unsightly and noisy rooftop or balcony equipment, such as split systems and cooling towers. Without the necessity of external equipment, the architect/building designer is free to experiment with alternative roof styles. Eliminating rooftop equipment also reduces the load-bearing requirements of the roof structure. The air distribution ducts can be reduced, allowing for higher ceilings or reduced construction costs.
Increased Floor Space
With geoexchange systems, boiler rooms can be eliminated and the size of mechanical rooms can be significantly reduced. Less mechanical space (1%-3% of GFA) means more productive space and more design freedom.
Increased Reliability and Reduced Maintenance
The elimination of outdoor or rooftop equipment means the geoexchange system is not exposed to temperature extremes, dirt, pollution or vandalism. For this reason, geoexchange systems require less maintenance than conventional systems. Furthermore, geoexchange systems retain their high efficiency over the years. Since units are protected from weather, equipment life is extended and cost of repairs due to vandalism is eliminated.
Reduced Base and Peak Load Demand
Using constant ground or water temperatures means that the geoexchange system does not contribute to the peak load problems associated with conventional air conditioning systems. This increased security of energy supply enables energy suppliers to better balance their load demands as well as minimise infrastructure requirements for remote areas.
Because geoexchange systems are so flexible, they are ideal for renovating buildings with historical merit. One successful strategy is to use smaller heat pumps dispersed in closets, basements, and attics to provide space conditioning and ventilation with minimal ducting. Additionally, because the ground loop heat exchanger is completely invisible, there are no unsightly condensers on the roof or grounds to distract from the building’s historic charm.
Marketing Point of Difference
Knowledge of and experience with geoexchange systems can be an effective marketing tool for the green building professional.