Recently, IPD Engineering leveraged both geothermal heat pumps and photovoltaic technology in the design-build of the Catskill Recreation Center. Geothermal heat pumps (GHPs) perform through their ability to interact with the earth’s very mild and stable conditions. In the northeast of the United States, air temperatures typically fluctuate between -20 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures just a few feet underground, however, tend to be a stable 50-55°F. Geothermal heat pumps take advantage of said ground conditions by extracting heat from the ground in the winter and rejecting heat to the ground in the summer. Think of the ground as a battery getting used during one season and recharged in the other.
Over the past decade, VIP has witnessed a trend of GHPs being requested in a growing number of commercial and residential buildings. Benefits of using GHPs over standard HVAC systems include significant energy savings, quieter operation, reduced maintenance, and longer life expectancies. As a quick comparison, electric resistance heating systems are 100% efficient, meaning for every watt of electricity you put into them, you get 1 watt of heat energy out of them. Current heat pump technology allows the equipment to generate over 4 watts of heat energy for every 1 watt of electricity, that’s an efficiency of 400%! That’s not to say heat pumps create energy…they too obey the laws of physics (thermodynamics actually). Remember this: a heat pump works by using a small amount of energy to move heat from one location to another.
Although the initial investment for a GHP is often higher than alternative HVAC systems, they typically pay for themselves in 5 to 10 years. They also last twice as long (or longer) than most alternative systems. Fortunately, there are state and federal tax incentives available to help offset the initial cost premiums. We encourage our customers to consider life cycle analysis costs when trying to decide on an HVAC system. When we use this methodology, GHPs come out on top more often than not.
VIP Structures is always looking to provide eco-friendly and cost-effective energy options for our clients. We continually seek ways to be more efficient, more innovative, and more sustainable to meet our clients’ needs. Over the past 40+ years we have built success off of the mantra of challenging the status-quo and pushing design-build to new limits. Our loyal client base has come to expect nothing less of us. The utilization of GHPs is another example of our innovative outlook.
IPD Engineering is a sister company to VIP Structures, an engineering and architectural firm in New York State. How can our engineering team help you with your next project? Contact us below.
See how geothermal heat pumps and photovoltaic technologies were used at the Catskill Recreation Center by VIP. Read more here.