Giant ‘Geothermal’ Community in the Works

Posted on April 17,2015 by ScottG in geothermal

Work is underway on an 1800-lot subdivision in Louisville, Kentucky, that according to its developers will be the largest community in the country that insists that every house must have a ground-source heat pump. Builders who buy lots in the North Village of Norton Commons will have a free hand on what kind of houses they build, as long as they meet general architectural guidelines, but a ground-source heat pump for heating and cooling will be a requirement.

Geothermal Energy and Narrow Streets

Posted on April 17,2015 by user-756436 in Azores

Everybody seems to love geothermal energy. That's why many American homeowners brag that they heat their house with renewable energy, saying, “I've got a geothermal system that extracts heat from the soil in my backyard.” Well, I'm sorry to disappoint you, but you've been misinformed. You don't have a geothermal system. All you have is a heat pump that runs on electricity. Just because the heat-pump salesman told you that it’s a geothermal system, doesn't mean it is.

Report Gauges Future of Untapped Renewable Energy

Posted on April 17,2015 by ScottG in energy subsidies

The cost of solar and wind energy in western states of the U.S. will be cost competitive with natural gas by 2025 even without government subsidies, a report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory suggests.

Are Affordable Ground-Source Heat Pumps On the Horizon?

Posted on April 17,2015 by user-756436 in geothermal

My grandfather, William L. Holladay, was a refrigeration and cooling engineer. Decades ago, he wrote a pioneering, speculative article on ground-source heat pumps, “The Heat Pump: What it does, and what it may do someday.” The article appeared in the October 1948 issue of Engineering and Science Monthly. (For a basic explanation of how a heat pump works, and the difference between an air-source heat pump and a ground-source heat pump, see Heat Pumps.)

How to Choose the Right Mechanical System

Posted on April 17,2015 by ChrisBriley in boiler

With any house, there are so many variables that influence the decision to choose one particular mechanical system over another: climate, house size, cost, local availability and cost of fuels and materials, and the lifestyle and preferences of the occupants. There is no “one-size-fits-all” system that we can reliably prescribe for all projects. Phil and I sat down over a good winter cocktail to share our views, anecdotes, battle scars, and wisdom on this important subject.

Is a Ground-Source Heat Pump a Renewable Energy System?

Posted on April 17,2015 by ab3 in geothermal

Here's another rant that goes in my “drives me crazy” bin of articles. I'm in good company, too. Another article that ran at Green Building Advisor recently discussed making the choice between an air-source heat pump and a ground-source (a.k.a. “geothermal”) heat pump.

Connecticut Zero Energy Challenge Announces Winners

Posted on April 17,2015 by Fretboard in Connecticut Zero Energy Challenge

Four of the 11 entries in the 2010-2011 Connecticut Zero Energy Challenge found their way to the winners’ circle, each taking a different path to exemplary energy efficiency performance.

Cornell-Technion Green Campus Gets NYC Nod

Posted on April 17,2015 by Fretboard in Applied Sciences NYC

By late October 2011, a number of big-name universities, including Cornell, New York University, Stanford, and Columbia, were competing vigorously for approval to develop a major technology campus in New York City. The city’s selection process is still underway, but on December 19 word spread that Cornell, which partnered with Technion–Israel Institute of Technology on its development proposal, had been selected to build New York’s principal tech campus, the lead facility in what local officials call the Applied Sciences NYC initiative.

A Net-Zero Campus in New York City

Posted on April 17,2015 by Fretboard in Cornell University

Roosevelt Island is technically part of the borough of Manhattan, but it has a distinct identity. Some of that has to do with its 19th-century history, when it was home to a lockup for convicts and institutions such as the Smallpox Hospital and New York City Lunatic Asylum.

I’m Beginning to Really Hate Eco-Bling

Posted on April 17,2015 by CarlSeville in geothermal

On hearing the news that three photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturers, at least one a recipient of federal loan money, have recently declared bankruptcy, I once again started thinking about my frustration with people’s attachment to putting cool “stuff” on their buildings before making sure that those buildings actually operate well.

A High-Performance Minnesota Home Has a HERS Index of Zero

Posted on April 17,2015 by Fretboard in airtighness

Shortly after moving in almost five months ago, the owner of a newly completed single-story two-bedroom overlooking Echo Lake, in Morris, Minnesota, began monitoring the energy usage of the house. And while it is too soon for a definitive ruling on the building’s four-season performance, the odds are pretty strong it will be exemplary. Among the factors supporting that expectation are the home’s well-insulated and nearly airtight shell, its simple, rectangular shape, and its extraordinary HERS Index rating: zero.

Ground-Source Heat Pumps, Part 2: Rules of Thumb

Posted on April 17,2015 by ChrisBriley in Chris Briley

In Part One of this episode from the Green Architects' Lounge, we only scratched the surface. Now it's time to really dig in and decide if a ground-source heat pump system is right for you, and if so, to start planning for it.

In Part Two of the podcast, we discuss:

  • A tale of two houses: Chris shares a story of two houses—one a success, and one that had to abandon using a ground-source heat pump
  • Rule of thumb for flow: 3 gal. per minute per ton of heating/cooling
  • Ground-Source Heat Pumps, Part 1: The Basics

    Posted on April 17,2015 by ChrisBriley in geothermal

    If you've done any amount of research on ground source heat pumps, chances are that you've heard from people who say that you'd be insane to consider them as a viable system for your house—AND you've heard from others who say you'd be insane NOT to use them. Where insanity and green architecture meet, you shall find Phil and me mixing a Dark and Stormy and turning on the mike to act as your good-natured guides. For this episode, we will attempt to demystify this polarizing heating and cooling system.

    In Part One of the podcast, we cover the basics and discuss:

    Ground-Source Heat Pumps (2010)

    Posted on April 17,2015 by AlexWilson in geothermal

    For the past month, I’ve examined various home energy improvements for which one can earn a 30% federal tax credit. The last of these opportunities I’ll cover is ground-source heat pumps. A ground-source heat pump (GSHP) is also referred to as a “geothermal” heat pump, though I prefer the former terminology, to avoid confusion with true geothermal energy systems that rely on elevated temperatures deep underground from the Earth’s mantle.

    Ground-Source Heat Pumps (2009)

    Posted on April 17,2015 by AlexWilson in geothermal

    Last week I introduced heat pumps and described how they can deliver more heat than is contained in the electricity they consume—while being able to provide cooling as well as heating. I mentioned two different types of heat pumps: air-source and ground-source. This week I’ll cover ground-source (also known as “geothermal” and “geo-exchange”) heat pumps.

    Ground-Source Heat Pumps Don’t Save Energy

    Posted on April 17,2015 by in geothermal

    To understand how a heat pump works, imagine using your refrigerator to keep your kitchen warm all winter. Let’s say you haul a bucket of 55° water from a backyard well and put it in your refrigerator to cool it down to 50°. Because the heat removed from the water escapes from the coils at the back of the refrigerator, you have just delivered heat to your kitchen. If you get tired of replacing the bucket of 50° water with new 55° water, you could just install a pump to circulate water to and from the pond.

    Ground-Source Heat Pumps Have Low Operating Costs

    Posted on April 17,2015 by in geothermal

    Ground source heat pump (GSHP) systems collect ambient heat from the soil within 400 feet of the ground surface. This heat is concentrated by vapor-compression refrigeration units and delivered to conditioned spaces by conventional forced-air or hydronic mechanical systems. They reverse this process when in cooling mode. The technology has been used since the 1950s, so there are few unknowns. It works in nearly any climate or soil condition, and no longer needs to be proven. GSHP efficiencies are multiples of conventional HVAC equipment conversion.

    Green Basics Heat Pumps: The Basics
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