Geothermal ground source heat pumps have been increasing in popularity. While geothermal heat pumps can be installed just about anywhere in the United States, some contractors may not be aware of how important it is to first understand the soil composition and subsurface conditions in their area before taking on any job.
There are many different ways to install a closed loop geothermal heat pump system but all involve burying pipes in the ground or submersed in a body of water. While backhoes are still often used to dig trenches for horizontal piping, drilling equipment is needed for vertical piping, in order to bore holes up to several hundred feet into the ground.
More than 350 commercial controls contractors and distributors gathered to attend Honeywell’s Momentum Conference. The annual event serves as an energy, environmental, and economic idea exchange for those who provide the building industry with HVAC, security, video, and intrusion products and solutions.
In celebration of its 40th anniversary as a non-profit center, the Edward Hopper House will exhibit some of the painter’s early works, which are on loan from the Whitney Museum of American Art. But before the exhibition could take place, the home first had to meet the stringent climate control requirements of the Whitney Museum.
The HVAC landscape is changing now, as the tax credits have been reduced, the economy is still recovering, and prices on equipment keep increasing. Add in declining home values and higher-than-normal levels of unemployment, and many contractors are facing larger challenges when it comes to selling high-efficiency units.
As HVAC products get more and more efficient, the logical question is what level will they top off at? The laws of physics can limit the efficiency levels of air-source heating and cooling equipment. The laws of economics also come into play, as the cost for each incremental escalation in efficiency can substantially increase the cost of the equipment.
The tough economy has led many contractors to hunker down, conserving resources and cutting expenses. Other contractors are taking the opposite approach, investing in their companies and expanding operations to include additional profit centers. While there are different ways an HVAC contractor can go, most look to plumbing or electrical as natural extensions.
The “Implementation of National Consensus Appliance Agreements Act of 2011” (S. 398) bill, recently introduced in the U.S. Senate, would enact into law several consensus agreements that would set new federal efficiency standards for residential furnaces in two regions, for central air conditioners in three regions, and for central heat pumps in one, national region.
The poor economy has been hard on commercial businesses. In some cases, HVAC contractors still have service agreements with local malls and office buildings, but often, that work is being outsourced to national maintenance organizations. HVAC contractors have partnered with these organizations. Some sing their praises while others now turn and run.
The goal of the Energy Star for New Homes program has been to help homebuyers identify homes that are significantly more energy efficient than typical homes in the marketplace. As code requirements have become more rigorous over the years, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has responded by modifying the Energy Star guidelines periodically.