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In The News

 

 

GeoExchange BC Board member in Times Colonist

GeoExchange BC

Geothermal: unsung hero of heating

Tuesday, 31 March 2015
by Richard Watts

Heat-exchange expert Doug Lockhart has two problems with geothermal heating systems: neighbours can’t see them and no moving parts attract the casual onlooker.

“If I go to your house and put in a geo-thermal system, nobody knows,” said Lockhart, owner and president of Lockhart Industries in Duncan.

“But when you put photo-voltaic [solar energy] cells on your roof or a windmill in your backyard, there is this instant recognition,” he said. “It’s a validation you have done something positive for the environment.”

This lack of public recognition has even had Lockhart and colleagues considering whether to give out medallions or special, twirling weather-vanes to advertise a home or building whose owner has opted for a geothermal energy system.

The same lack of recognition also means Canadian homes and building owners are missing out on one of the most efficient and effective sources of heat energy in the world, heat-exchange technology.

It can be an air-to-air, home heat pump easily spotted beside many a suburban house. It can be a system of heat-collecting pipes arranged in coils and buried underground.

Or, those coiled pipes can be arranged on the floor of the ocean, a lake or year-round pond, to give up the water’s heat to a nearby building or home.

Brentwood College School at Shawnigan Lake has invested heavily in an ocean system and saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in heating costs.

But still, heat-exchange technology is a tough sell.

Municipalities get squeamish about drilling rigs and trenches during installation. Home builders are reluctant about installing anything that adds costs. The public often just don’t understand it.

“The biggest problem is people just don’t know what the technology can do,” said Lockhart.

“It’s very, very nice technology,” he said. “But it’s just out of the core competency or core knowledge of most people.”...

To read the whole article, please click here to visit Times Colonist.

GeoExchange BC in Construction Business Magazine

GeoExchange BC

Improving geoexchange systems

New guidelines set best practice standard to ensure successful geoexchange projects

Friday, 27 March 2015
by Ruben Arellano, P.Eng

Geoexchange and heat pump technology is long established, with the first systems developed and implemented in the 1950s. With increasing awareness, improved equipment and industry expertise, and the rising cost of energy in recent years, the technology has experienced a resurgence. It is estimated that there are now more than 100,000 geoexchange systems installed in Canada, and in the past 10 years the industry has experienced double-digit growth in most markets across the country.

While deceptively simple, geoexchange technology relies on the integration of mechanical components to adapt to complex site-specific earth and building thermodynamic processes. The system’s long-term viability and performance require a rigorous and thorough design approach based on science and judgment, quality construction by experienced trades, and a complete and detailed system commissioning.

Those working on a geoexchange project for the first time may be unaware of the complexities of geoexchange design and construction. A province like B.C. has an extremely variable geography, climate, and building demographics requiring that each project design is unique and site-specific. Thorough and expert information tailored to each region is needed to ensure that systems meet the needs and expectations of owners and proponents in terms of their specific environmental, social, and financial benefit targets.

A challenge in the current market is a lack of thorough and verifiable data on the performance of operating systems. While plenty of geoexchange systems have operated without trouble for years, an unacceptable number of systems (heard of anecdotally) are underperforming. There are also systems that have had difficulties in the implementation.

The following examples illustrate situations that can arise...

To read the whole article, please click here to visit Construction Business Magazine.

GeoExchange BC leads development of new ITA driller certification program

GeoExchange BC

PRESS RELEASE - For immediate publication

Wednesday, 10 September 2014
by GeoExchange BC

With support from the Ministry of Environment ('MOE'), with guidance from the Industry Training Authority ('ITA') and in collaboration with the BC Groundwater Association (BCGWA), GeoExchange BC is proud to announce a new certification path for geoexchange drillers in British Columbia.  Through the leadership and contributions of GeoExchange BC volunteer Board of Directors Jeff Quibell, Ruben Arellano and Scott Steward, as well as contributions from drilling professional Gordon Horbay, the much needed and previously lacking certification path for geoexchange drillers is now in place.

As a result, an individual in British Columbia can now become certified as a 'Geoexchange Driller' by challenging the certification which is overseen and administered by the ITA.  Individuals who wish to challenge the Geoexchange Driller certification must complete the Geoexchange Driller Challenge Application and submit it to the ITA.

For more information, please click here to visit the Industry Training Authority.

GeoExchange BC in Canadian Consulting Engineer

GeoExchange BC

Geoexchange Systems: Next Steps

WHILE GEOEXCHANGE SYSTEMS HAVE MANY ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL ADVANTAGES, THINGS CAN GO WRONG.  A GROUP IN B.C. IS UNDERTAKING TO STUDY THEIR PERFORMANCE AND GUIDE THEIR DESIGN

Thursday, 1 May 2014
by Ruben Arellano, P.Eng

Geoexchange and heat pump technology is long established, with the first systems developed and implemented in the 1950s. With increasing awareness, improved equipment and industry expertise, and the rising cost of energy in recent years, the technology has experienced a resurgence. It is estimated that there are now over 100,000 geoexchange systems installed in Canada, and in the past 10 years the industry has experienced double-digit growth in most markets across the country.

Geoexchange systems use a readily available source of renewable energy to heat and cool a building. This energy is essentially solar radiation stored within the upper crust of the earth, and it can be tapped wherever you have access to the earth, ground water, a lake, or the ocean.

Although some electricity is required to drive the heat pump and circulation pumps, well designed geoexchange systems can deliver 75% of the total heating energy from renewable energy stored in the ground. The systems are a proven and reliable solution to boost energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions, and they have attracted significant attention.

Seems simple: needs design rigour

Although geoexchange technology appears simple, this is deceiving. It relies on the integration of mechanical components and has to adapt to complex site-specific earth and building thermodynamic processes...

To read the whole article, please click here to visit Canadian Consulting Engineer.

GeoExchange BC in APEGBC Innovation Journal

GeoExchange BC

Energy at Your Feet

Geoexchange Taps Solar Heat Stored in the Earth 

March 2014
By D'Arcy Jenish

One of the most abundant, reliable and cleanest forms of energy on Earth may well be right beneath your feet, or your home, your office or your plant. It is the solar energy that the earth absorbs and stores every day and there is a proven and fail-safe technology available for using that energy to heat or cool residential, commercial and institutional buildings.

The technology in question is known as geoexchange, or geothermal exchange. It
is widely used in some parts of the Southern and Midwestern United States and it has gained wide acceptance in many European countries, which are not blessed with abun- dant and relatively inexpensive supplies of oil, natural gas, coal and hydro-electricity. Geoexchange has been a tougher sell in Canada largely because the country is one of the world’s leading producers of fossil fuels and hydro is abundant.

But that is changing, thanks to the growing public concern over climate change and increased awareness of the environmental impact of greenhouse gas emissions. “The upside,” says Ruben Arellano, P.Eng., a geological engineer with Burnaby-based Associated Engineering and Past President of GeoExchange BC, an industry association devoted to promoting best practices, “is that there is a lot of pressure on building owners to adopt more sustainable design approaches—and more green energy, including geoexchange, is one of them.”

Furthermore, the geoexchange industry is more advanced in BC than in other parts of the country. High utility rates, along with the moderate climate in the Lower Mainland, the Okanagan and some other parts of the Province have encour- aged building owners to go with geoexchange. As well, companies that design systems have promoted the advantages of the technology...

To read the whole article, please click here to visit APEGBC Innovation Journal.