EGEE 102
Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection

Factors Affecting the Type of GHP Loop

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Geothermal heat pumps (GHPs) can be used effectively almost anywhere in the country. However, the specific geological, hydrological, and spatial characteristics of a site determine the best type of ground loop for a specific location.

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Factors Affecting the Type of GHP Loop

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Factors Affecting the Type of GHP Loop

  1. The composition and properties of the soil and rock impact heat transfer rates. Soil with good heat transfer properties requires less piping to gather a certain amount of heat than soil with poor heat transfer properties.
  2. The amount of soil available — areas with extensive hard rock or with soil too shallow to trench may install vertical ground loops instead of horizontal loops.
  3. The depth, volume, and water quality of bodies of surface water determine if the water will be used as an open-loop system or as a repository for coils of piping in a closed-loop system.
  4. Ground water can also be used as a source for open loop systems, provided the water quality is suitable and all ground water discharge regulations are met.
  5. Horizontal ground loops (generally the most economical) are typically used for newly constructed buildings with sufficient land.
  6. Vertical installations or more compact, horizontal, Slinky installations are often used for existing buildings because they minimize the disturbance to the landscape, existing underground utilities, and sprinklers systems.