Energy Environmental Corporation

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Members of the USGBC

Geothermal Heat Pump System

A geothermal heat pump (GHP), also known as a ground source heat pump or geo-exchange, is gaining popularity as a clean and efficient renewable energy technology. No matter where you live, the temperature beneath the earth’s surface remains a relatively constant 50 to 60 F, providing a natural and everlasting source of heat. A geothermal heat pump takes advantage of this natural source of heat and transfers it to a home or building, providing warmth and comfort.


During the winter, heat from the ground is absorbed by a water solution as it circulates through pipes in the ground. The warmed water is carried into the home where a water-to-air heat pump concentrates the thermal energy and transfers it to air in a conventional ductwork system, which is circulated to heat the home (see figure below). A water-to-water geothermal heat pump can utilize the same heat energy for a hydronic radiant floor system or domestic hot water heating.


During the summer, the process is reversed and heat is transferred from your home back into the ground. A geothermal heat pump transfers heat from the air back to fluid in the ground loops and back to the earth. The cooled air is then dispersed into the home (see figure below). Alternatively, through addition of a desuperheater, heat from the home can be redirected to heat water, providing free hot water during the warm summer months.


geothermal heating and cooling

Platinum LEED Home Geothermal Heat Pumps

Geothermal heat pumps are installed as integrated systems within the home to provide heating, cooling, and domestic hot water. Ground loops from the previous geothermal heat pump system were unaffected by the fire and remain underground. Sizing and system design accounts for the space and water heating needs and cooling needs of the home. Two heat pumps have been installed. One, a Water Furnace water-to-air 3 ton Envision unit with a desuperheater, which will run in conjunction with a VENMAR ERV unit, providing high indoor air quality. A second Water Furnace water-to-water 5 ton EW series unit is installed and combined with solar thermal collectors and the radiant hydronic distribution system. The solar collectors will provide 90% of the domestic hot water, and the water-to-water unit will augment the solar to maintain a constant temperature in the hot water tanks. As a result, the GHP will run at partial loads, which only consumes 60% of peak load consumption and increase the COP of the heat pump. For further discussion on the combination of systems in EEC's platinum LEED home and the beneficial effect on performance and energy savings, visit our integrated systems page.

Below is a description and link for each unit installed in the home. Please contact us or visit our web site for information on sizing, cost, and installation of an integrated or stand alone geothermal heat pump system.

The Waterfurnace GHP units installed in the home are the highest quality commercially available systems. They utilize microprocessor-controlled, two stage compressors that use 60% of the rated energy when operating under partial load conditions. Additional energy efficiency features include variable-speed DC ECM2 fan motors with five adjustable speed ranges (water-to-air unit), desuperheaters, and soft start compressors. Waterfurnace GHPs come with a a 10-year parts and labor manufacturer’s warranty and a 50-year ground loop warranty.

Water Furnace Envision Series GHP

ENERGY EFFICIENT: WaterFurnace Envision systems are sate of the art systems rated number one in energy efficiency. They can deliver five units of energy for every unit of electrical energy used, compared to the best ordinary system that delivers less than one unit of energy for every unit it consumes. That translates into an efficiency rating of 500 percent, compared to the most efficient gas furnace.

COST EFFECTIVE: Because of the extraordinary efficiency of a WaterFurnace system, any added investment related to installing a geothermal unit is usually more than offset by your energy savings. In new homes, most homeowners will experience an immediate positive return on their investment when the system cost is added to the mortgage. In replacement installations, homeowners find that any added investment over the cost of an ordinary system is generally recovered in energy savings within a few years.

ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY: The ground absorbs about 47 percent of the sun’s energy that reaches the Earth. WaterFurnace systems harness that free, renewable energy and provide an environmentally friendly way to heat and cool your home. Installing a WaterFurnace system is the environmental equivalent of planting 750 trees or removing two cars from the road. And the WaterFurnace system uses minimal electricity to operate, burning few fossil fuels, which means few emissions or harmful greenhouse gases are released into the air.

Water Furnace EW Series Hydronic GHP

RADIANT FLOOR HEATING EW Series units can provide hot water for radiant floor applications, utilizing tubing encased in the floor. By circulating warm water through the tubing, the room is comfortably conditioned. Since the entire floor acts as a giant radiator, you'll experience consistent comfort throughout the room from head to toe. Floors covered in tile, wood, linoleum or stone are kept toasty warm, even on the coldest days.

DOMESTIC HOT WATER Homes with large demands for domestic or potable water heating will benefit from the exceptional efficiency of EW units.

SNOW & ICE MELT Using a WaterFurnace EW unit, you can keep your sidewalks or driveway free of ice and snow during the cold winter months. Eliminate the hazards of walking on ice-covered sidewalks, and forget the back-breaking effort of shoveling snow.

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