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In The News



Filtering by Category: 2015 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.