Geothermal Heating and Cooling in an Office Environment — Why It Works
Geothermal heating and cooling is a popular choice for residential home comfort applications. However, it’s also a practical and economical solution for the indoor comfort needs of an office, retail establishment or commercial facility. Using geothermal heating and cooling in your retail or professional environment gives you many practical options for keeping your work spaces comfortable at an economical price.
The basic operation of a geothermal heating and cooling system
Geothermal heat pumps work much like air-source heat pumps. They capture and absorb heat from one location and move it to another, either taking heat away from where it’s not wanted, such as inside your home in the summer, or bringing it inside to provide seasonal heating. The biggest difference between geothermal and air-source heat pumps is that geothermal models use either the ground (ground-source) or a body of water (water-source) for the capture and dispersal of heat. In a ground-source system, the heat pump itself is housed in an indoor unit that contains all the functional components of the system.
Outdoors, a series of pipes called a ground loop is buried at a depth in the ground where the temperature stays consistently around 50 degrees all year long. A water/antifreeze solution (or refrigerant in some systems) traveling through these pipes either picks up heat or releases it into the surrounding soil. No matter how hot or cold it gets on the surface, the pipes have an ongoing source of heat capture and release that does not freeze or overheat. In a water-source system, the heat-transfer pipes, or water-loop, are placed in a lake, pond, well, aquifer or other body of water at a depth where the temperatures remain consistent and do not freeze.
What can you expect from a geothermal heating and cooling system?
- High efficiency: Geothermal units operate economically and efficiently. During heating operations, for example, they can return three or four units or more of heating for each unit of electricity used to move the heat. This is an astonishing 300- to 400-percent efficiency level.
- Flexibility: Geothermal heating and cooling systems are appropriate for any climate and can be adapted for use in urban, suburban or rural settings. They can be sized to accommodate even large offices and facilities and are easily adapted and retrofitted to work within existing structures.
- Low cost of operation: Geothermal energy can reduce your monthly heating and cooling bills by 25 to 50 percent or more, sometimes as much as 70 percent. These savings alone can pay for the cost of the equipment and its installation by about the halfway point of the system’s expected service life.
- Low maintenance: Once installed, geothermal systems need little maintenance to keep them running. Annual preventive maintenance should be enough to keep the system running for decades.
- Environmentally friendly operation: Geothermal systems do not consume fossil fuels to produce heat, so they are not producers of greenhouse gases or exhaust substances. They use relatively small amounts of electricity, which reduces demand on local energy producers.
Geothermal heating and cooling for a commercial facility or office
In an office building, geothermal systems produce the same type of efficient, economical heating and cooling that they provide for residential settings. By using several geothermal heat pump units and controllers to establish a zoning system, individual offices can set indoor temperatures to the level they prefer without affecting nearby rooms. Another benefit of geothermal systems is that, in the winter, the heat that is produced on the sunny side of a building can be transferred to the cooler side. This reduces demand on the ground loop and promotes substantial savings on heating costs.
At Sobieski Mechanical Contractors, Inc., our goal is to help educate our customers about Plumbing, HVACR, Fire Protection, and Alarm Systems in Mechanical, Commercial, and Residential settings. For more information about the benefits of geothermal heating and cooling and how it can benefit your office or commercial facility, please visit our website. We provide quality services to clients in Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland.