The Value of an IGSHPA Business Membership

In the rapidly evolving world of Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP) technology, staying ahead of the curve is crucial. 

Whether as a business hoping to profit and grow from this technology, or as an entity or agency hoping to benefit from it or harness its benefits for the earth, you understand the importance of being at the forefront of industry advancements. 

This is where the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA) comes in.

IGSHPA business membership offers an unparalleled opportunity to connect with industry leaders and experts, gain access to the latest research, and stay informed about regulatory changes. 

But what truly sets IGSHPA apart is its long-standing passion for this technology, conviction of its economic and environmental benefits, and commitment to its members’ growth and success.

Following are just some of the benefits of becoming an IGSHPA Business/Corporate Member:

Unmatched Networking Opportunities

IGSHPA membership opens the door to a community of professionals who share your passion for GSHP technology. It’s an opportunity to learn from the best in the business, share your own insights, and form partnerships that can help your business thrive.

Cutting-Edge Industry Insights

As an IGSHPA member, you’ll have access to the latest research and developments in the GSHP field. 

Our comprehensive resources will keep you informed about the newest technologies, installation techniques, and design principles, ensuring that you stay ahead of the competition. 

As a member, you’ll also be the first to hear about any new training opportunities, workshops and conferences elucidating new advancements, methods, and codes.

Advocacy and Influence

IGSHPA is a powerful voice for the GSHP industry. Our members play a vital role in shaping the policies and regulations that impact our field. 

By joining IGSHPA, you can contribute to these important discussions and help steer the future of the industry.

Professional Development

IGSHPA is committed to the professional growth of its members. 

Our training programs, certification opportunities, and educational resources are designed to help you and your team stay at the top of your game.

Furthermore, because IGSHPA was the first in the industry to begin training programs back in the ‘80s, it is also one of the few programs that are nationally and internationally recognized for industry standard training. IGSHPA is also the sole source for industry standard publications and guide books. 

So, when you become a member, you gain easier access to the most expert and best recognized industry training available. 

A Commitment to Sustainability

Finally, by joining IGSHPA, you’re aligning yourself with an organization that’s dedicated to promoting sustainable, energy-efficient technologies that will help boost our economy, create energy independence, and save our planet. 

This not only benefits the environment but also enhances your reputation among clients who value sustainability. 

Who is Business / Corporate Memberships For? 

IGSHPA is proud to offer Business/Corporate memberships to a wide variety of corporations, businesses, and government entities. We currently offer three types of IGSHPA business/corporate membership: 

  • Large Corporate
  • Small Corporate
  • Business

Corporate memberships are flexible and not tied to a specific individual, but rather are transferrable within the dues-paying company. 

Every type of business/corporate IGSHPA member, including small business members, is granted voting benefits, along with all the other benefits listed above. Additionally, exciting updates and changes are coming to memberships in 2024 that you won’t want to miss out on. 

IGSHPA business membership is more than just a credential—it’s an investment in your and your company’s future. 

The Time is Now

IGSHPA is growing and our mission is building momentum. 

Finally, word about this incredible green, zero emissions, energy-efficient, renewable, long-lasting technology is spreading. The federal government has officially ruled GSHP systems as renewable energy and has added tax incentives to entice businesses and homeowners into installing GSHPs.

Now is the time to join us and get in on the explosion of growth this industry is beginning to see. Let your company be a part of the progress and reap the incredible benefits. 

By being a part of IGSHPA, you get to benefit by being associated with the most respected and expert association in the industry, and perhaps most exciting of all, you will get to be a part of shaping the future of the GSHP industry. 

Join us in our mission today to grow the GSHP industry for the sake of our environment and our economy and see how being a part of our team will benefit yours. 

To learn more about the details of IGSHPA Business/Corporate Membership, visit our website.

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What is the Best Type of Ground Heat Exchanger?

As the popularity of geothermal systems (i.e. ground source heat pumps (GSHPs), also known as geothermal heat pumps (GHPs)) increases, more and more home and property owners are trying to determine whether these systems are right for their property. 

A major question that we keep hearing from potential consumers is – what is the best type of ground heat exchanger (or ground loop)? 

The short answer is: ALL of them! 

Or perhaps we should say: It depends!

To better understand what we mean, however, let’s first look at what a ground loop (also known as a ground heat exchanger) is and then at what different types of ground loops are available.

What is a Ground Loop / Ground Heat Exchanger?

The ground loop, or ground heat exchanger, is the part of the geothermal heat pump system that is the heat source/sink for the energy being transferred to and from the indoor heat pump. 

In other words, the ground loop is the part of the system that gathers the heat from the ground and carries that heat to the heat pump OR the part that conveys the heat from the building back into the earth. It is the part of the system that does the actual collecting and conveying of the heat. 

There are two types of ground heat exchanger materials containing the following parts for each loop type:

Water source Ground Heat Exchanger 

  • The sealed piping system, usually made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic piping
  • A loop fluid liquid mixture of water and antifreeze solution that conveys the heat through the piping
  • Small circulator pump(s) which induce fluid circulation and fluid through the pipes in the ground

Direct Exchange Ground Heat Exchanger

  • The sealed piping system of a direct exchange geothermal system is made of refrigeration grade copper tubing
  • A loop fluid that consists of environmentally-friendly refrigerant that conveys the heat through the piping

The above parts are common in most ground loop heat exchangers, and all heat exchangers, despite their specific design, carry out the same function. 

That said, there are four different main types of ground loops to choose from. 

However, which will be best for your property will depend on multiple factors unique to the property.

What Factors Determine Which Ground Heat Exchanger Will Work Best? 

When trying to choose the best ground loop design for your home or property, the following factors will need to be considered:

  • Available footprint: a rural property with lots of space will have different options than a home in a historic downtown setting with small land availability and restrictions.
  •  Soil type: the type of soil and rock formations on the property may play a role in the choice of the best ground loop for your property.
  • Availability of water: the presence of adequate, quality ground water, or a nearby lake, pond, or even stream, may influence the ground heat exchanger selection for your property. 
  • Loop contractor types which are available to serve the geographic area, as well as their installation rates.

Ultimately, each property site will have some limitations and unique characteristics that will determine which kind of ground loop will work best.

What are the Types of Ground Loops Available? 

As stated briefly above, there are four main types of ground loops / heat exchangers:

  • Vertical Ground Loop: a vertical ground loop requires deep, vertical holes, typically between 3” to 6” diameter, depending on whether it is residential or commercial, to be bored into the ground.

    Each bore hole has one pipe descending the hole, a U-bend at the bottom, and a pipe ascending back up and reconnecting to the loop. Bore hole depths typically range between 100 to 500 + feet (depending on the soil type and space allowed).

    Vertical ground loops are the most compact, typically requiring one vertical bore/circuit per ton. A residential system may only require two or three bores. Thus, these tend to be the systems most suited for city and compact residential areas.

    However, due to the depth of the bore holes, a special drill rig may be required, which may result in a slightly higher costs than other systems, even though less piping and area must be used.
  • Horizontal Ground Loop: a horizontal ground loop is more spread out and does not go as deep.

    Rather than deep vertical bore holes, one or more trenches are dug, depending on the loop piping configuration, by a backhoe, trencher, bulldozer, or similar machine.

    Multiple trenches will be required, depending on the soil type, and space allowed. The piping will be laid in long, horizontal loops within these trenches.
    Horizontal ground loops do require the most space, and usually more piping.

    Horizontal heat exchangers are better suited for places with large space availability. 
  • Surface Water Loops: when a privately owned body of water exists on the property, a surface water loop may be the best option.

    The water does need to be close – no more than 300 feet away. It also needs to be about ½ to ¾ of an acre in size for a typical residential application. Furthermore, if it is a pond or lake, it should be at least 8 to 10 feet average depth, even during the dry season.

    With surface water loops, the sealed piping loop (or heat exchanger loops) will be submerged beneath the surface of the water. These systems must be closed loop, which means none of the pond/lake/river water should flow directly through the pipes, as this could damage the equipment.

    Stagnate bodies of water, like lakes and ponds, are better than flowing water in climates that are heating dominate.
  • Open Loop: also called the ground water system, or “pump and dump,” an open loop system is a possible option when high quality ground water is available.

    In this system, rather than the piping forming a sealed loop, the well water is used directly as the fluid within the piping, thus why it is called “open,” and conveyed to the indoor heat pump, then “dumped” in a nearby pond, lake, stream, or reinjection well.

    In essence, one end of the open loop sucks up the well water, uses it for the heat transfer process, and then sends the used water into an approved, nearby return water location. This is why the quality of the ground water matters, as poor water quality will result in more maintenance requirements and potentially shortened equipment lifespan.

    For an open loop system, the groundwater source well must be prequalified by a well water specialist to ensure it will have a good volume year-round to meet the peak water demand and usage on the well along with good quality water beforehand.

    A proper return water disposal area must be available, and it should be noted that some jurisdictions do not allow open systems at all.

    It should be stated that even at its best, with high water quality and volume available, the nature of the open loop does suggest it will likely have more maintenance requirements than closed loop systems. 
Vertical Ground Source Heat Pump System Heating Home Geothermal Energy

Above picture: Water source vertical ground heat exchanger

Above picture: Direct exchange vertical ground heat exchanger

So, Which Ground Loop System is Best for Your Application?  

So, regardless of the specific design, all heat exchangers / ground loops perform the same function when designed properly and installed correctly. 

Ultimately, then, the answer to the question is: the heat exchanger that has a design ideally suited to your available property, which supplies the total BTUs needed to efficiently heat/cool your home/building, is cost effective to purchase, and which operates within the manufacture’s design limits, while providing years of operation with minimal maintenance needs. 

Every property will have its unique resources and limitations which must be considered in the design of the heat exchanger. 

All things considered; this means it will be vital that you do your research to ensure the best ground loop heat exchanger for your property will be installed. 

Find contractors who have staff with proper geothermal heat pump system design training and who work with a quality supplier/manufacturer and who provide excellent consumer support. These individuals will know all the factors which should be considered in the design of your loop and will be able to design and properly install an excellent ground heat exchanger for your geothermal heat pump system. 

Have Questions? 

Have questions or need help finding a contractor you can trust to help design the best system for your property? 

Visit our website’s directory to see a list of businesses and contractors that are a part of our vast IGSHPA network: Business Directory | International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (igshpa.org).  

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What Is the Life Expectancy of a Ground Heat Exchanger/Ground Loop for a Geothermal Heat Pump?

Above photo is a vertical ground heat exchanger installation in progress in Edwardsville, Illinois with 3 – 200 ft. boreholes.

If you are looking for a reliable, efficient, and environmentally friendly way to heat and cool your home or business year-round, you need to consider installing a geothermal heat pump (GHP) system.

Geothermal systems (GHPs) use the earth’s constant underground temperature to provide efficient heating and cooling and can reduce your energy bills by up to 65% compared to traditional HVAC units.

But how long do geothermal systems last? And what are the maintenance requirements for them?

We will answer these questions and explain why GHPs are a smart and durable investment for your property.

What is a Ground Heat Exchanger/Ground Loop?

The ground heat exchanger, also known as a ground loop, is a series of pipes buried underground at a depth where the temperature stays consistent year-round.

The ground loop serves as the critical link between the geothermal heat pump (located inside the building) and the earth, allowing heat transfer to or from the ground.

There are two main types of ground loops: closed loop and open loop.

Closed loop systems circulate a thermally conductive fluid (usually a mixture of water and antifreeze) through the pipes, while open loop systems use groundwater or surface water as the heat exchange medium.

The type of ground loop that is best for your site depends on factors such as soil conditions, land availability, water quality, and local installation costs. But regardless of which type of ground loop your property needs, you can look forward to its longevity.

How Long Do Ground Loops Last?

One of the main advantages of geothermal systems is their longevity.

According to ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers), the indoor components of a GHP system (i.e. the heat pump) lasts on average more than 24 years. But the ground loop, which is what this post is primarily concerned with, can last 50 years or more.

The reasons for this long lifespan are multiple.

One major factor is that, because they are buried underground, the pipes of the ground loop are safe from weather exposure and tampering by wildlife and people alike. Another is the recent advancements that have produced improved buried pipe materials that have made them more efficient and longer lasting.

Ultimately, all of this means that once you install a GHP system, you can enjoy its benefits for decades without worrying about replacing it.

Of course, the actual lifespan of a ground loop depends on several factors, such as the quality of the installation, the type and size of the pipes, the soil characteristics, the fluid chemistry, and the operating conditions.

However, with proper design, installation, and maintenance, you can expect your ground loop to outlast your heat pump and most other HVAC equipment.

In fact, so excellent are the newer materials used for the ground loop piping, that manufacturers of the piping warranty their products for 50 years.

What Are the Maintenance Requirements for Ground Loops?

Another benefit of the geothermal systems is their low maintenance requirements.

Unlike conventional HVAC systems, GHP systems have no outdoor components that are exposed to weather, vandalism, or noise. The ground loops are buried underground, as previously mentioned, where they are protected from physical damage and corrosion.

The only visible parts of the system are the heat pump and the ductwork, which require minimal maintenance and are both housed indoors.

The maintenance requirements for geothermal systems vary depending on the type of system. Closed loop systems are generally more maintenance-free than open loop systems, as they do not interact with groundwater or surface water that may contain contaminants or minerals.

However, both types of systems should be periodically inspected and tested by qualified professionals to ensure optimal performance and efficiency.

Some of the regular maintenance tasks that may be performed on the system include:

  • Checking the fluid pressure and flow rate
  • Changing or cleaning the air filter
  • Evaluating the system performance and energy savings

Additional maintenance items that may come up during the lifetime of the system include flushing and refilling the fluid, cleaning and disinfecting the pipes, repairing any leaks or cracks, and monitoring soil temperature and moisture.

By choosing IGSHPA certified contractors, you can ensure the very best quality equipment and installation, and by following the manufacturer’s recommendations and the installer’s instructions, you can rest assured that your geothermal system is properly installed, stays in good condition, and will have an excellent life expectancy.

A Long-Term Investment with Immediate Benefits

Geothermal systems are a long-term investment that will provide you with reliable, efficient, and environmentally friendly heating and cooling for your home or business.

The ground loop is the most durable and critical component of the system, and it can last for 50 years or more with proper installation and maintenance, essentially meaning your investment and its benefits will last you a lifetime, but with the perk that it will immediately start paying off in the form of significantly improved utility bills, better comfort, less impact on the climate, and a cleaner, safer system than a fossil fueled space conditioning system.

Want to learn more?

Visit our website or contact us today: Frequently Asked Questions | International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (igshpa.org). At IGSHPA, we are the leading organization for the promotion, education, and training of GHP professionals and consumers. Visit our website to find out more.

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How To Get Training On Designing And Installing Commercial Geothermal Systems

Are you interested in learning how to design and install commercial geothermal systems? 

The International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA), in collaboration with NATE (North American Technician Excellence), HRAI (Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada), and AEE (Association of Energy Engineers), offers comprehensive training programs that can equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge.

Why IGSHPA?

IGSHPA is a non-profit, member-driven organization established in 1987 to advance ground source heat pump (GSHP) (also known as geothermal heat pump) technology. 

With a focus on standards, research, and education, IGSHPA offers resources and training for professionals in the geothermal heat pump industry that has become recognized worldwide. 

Because of its tenure in the industry, IGSHPA is a global leader in setting standards and training practices, which is why they are the source for training and certification. 

Which Training Programs Should I Pursue? 

For those wanting to pursue the ability to both install and design residential and light commercial GSHP systems, these courses will be needed: 

  • Accredited Installer

    One of the key training programs offered by IGSHPA is the Accredited Installer Workshop.

    This three-day workshop provides a comprehensive overview of GSHP installation. Participants learn about system design and material options; system layout; pipe joining techniques – hands-on for butt, socket, saddle, and electrofusion; trenching/drilling processes; air and debris purging; pressure drop calculations; pump and fluid selection; thermal conductivity; start-up, performance checking and troubleshooting, and more.

    Upon completion of the workshop, participants have the opportunity to take the IGSHPA Accredited Installer exam. Passing this exam demonstrates your competency in GSHP installation and design and earns you the IGSHPA Accredited Installer credential and an IGSHPA certificate for three years.

    HRAI will be holding the next IGSHPA Geothermal Accredited Installer training course online this coming January 23-25. Register here.
  • GeoExchange Designer

    For those interested in commercial geothermal systems, IGSHPA offers the Certified GeoExchange Designer (CGD) Course.

    This course is designed for engineers, architects, and industry professionals who want to expand their skills in commercial and large-scale geothermal project design. The CGD course covers topics such as commercial GSHP design, hybrid system integration, and ground heat exchanger design for commercial applications.

    Those who successfully complete the course will receive both IGSHPA and AEE certification.

Become An IGSHPA Member

A great way to get started on your geothermal systems career is by joining IGSHPA as a member.

IGSHPA membership provides numerous benefits, including access to training and certification programs, conferences, special publications, technical assistance, and networking opportunities. 

There are several membership categories available, catering to a wide range of professionals in the industry.

IGSHPA provides a wealth of resources and training opportunities for professionals interested in commercial geothermal systems. By becoming a member and participating in IGSHPA’s training programs, you can gain the skills and knowledge needed to excel in this growing field. 

So why wait? Start your journey with IGSHPA today! Check out our upcoming events and stay connected with us by following us on social media. 

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Should My HVAC Contracting Business Install Geothermal Systems?

Who knew that a nursery rhyme could teach us good business? Which rhyme? The one about an untenable balancing act:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again.

The HVAC business lesson? Assess your risks before you take on a challenge. Humpty didn’t. One business expert called the egg a “serial risk taker” whose lack of foresight about the wall and his defiance of the odds scrambled his enterprise for good.

Now, about your HVAC enterprise . . . What do you risk by adding geothermal installation to your line-up of services?

FINDING THE RIGHT BALANCE WITHOUT CRACKING

If making a list of pros and cons helps you decide, we’ll get you started on the pro side. Here are eight good business reasons for expanding your operation to include geothermal systems.

  1. Diversification of Services – Extreme air temperatures drive the demand for conventional HVAC services. Summer and winter see an uptick in work; spring and fall see a downturn. In contrast, geothermal heating and cooling relies on the earth’s stable and consistent temperature. It knows no season. The result? The demand for geothermal installations remains relatively consistent throughout the year.   
  2. Energy Cost Savings – Consumer interest in saving money is always high. Energy.gov reports that geothermal systems cut consumer energy bills up to 65%. The long-term energy cost savings makes geo an attractive investment for homeowners and businesses. 
  3. Tax Incentives – State/provincial, local, and federal tax incentives and rebates help today’s home and business owners afford this renewable energy. The current 30% federal tax credit made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act incentivizes homeowners to opt for geothermal heating and cooling.  
  4. Competitive Advantage – Offering geothermal installations can set your HVAC business apart from competitors who don’t provide this service. The result? You gain a competitive edge in the market . . . and the market is growing. Precision Business Insights valued the geothermal heating and cooling market at $9.5 billion in 2022. They project a growth rate of 7.5% between 2023 and 2029. 
  5. Higher Profit Margins – The specialized nature of geothermal installations means fewer competitors in the market. The demand for specialized skills can allow geothermal installers to command higher rates for their services.
  6. Long-Term Customer Relationships – Geothermal systems do require some maintenance and servicing. This provides opportunities for long-term customer relationships and recurring revenue.
  7. Energy Independence – Described as “inflation-proof,” geothermal systems reduce a property’s dependence on fossil fuels. They give homeowners greater energy security and insulation from fluctuating energy prices. 
  8. Environmental Responsibility – A growing segment of today’s consumers are mindful of the environment and the need for renewable energy. The high efficiency of geothermal systems leverages this appeal for “eco-friendly” solutions. 

By adding geothermal heating and cooling installations to your HVAC business, you can increase your revenue while you position your business as a forward-thinking and environmentally responsible service provider in the industry.

DON’T FORGET YOUR HELPERS

Oh, one more thing . . . the nursery rhyme tells us that Humpty had a network of helpers at his disposal, “all the king’s horses and all the king’s men.” IGSHPA’s membership of leading geothermal industry experts can help you too. 

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