Energy Star Honors 2015’s Most Efficient Geothermal Units
US EPA program recognizes exceptional geothermal heat pump performance
Every year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Energy Star program acknowledges products it deems “Most Efficient” in the marketplace. This effort identifies leading products among those that qualify for Energy Star designation in numerous product categories. Here is a snapshot of Energy Star’s Most Efficient Geothermal Heat Pumps of 2015.
American Standard’s A2GX Series with Premier II Control is available in single- and two-stage configurations. A variable-speed blower motor provides up to 12 airflow selections for even, efficient comfort. Optional hot water heating is available. Its durable polymer drain pan wards off bacterial growth and corrosion, and its specially coated coils are built to last. The communicating Premier II controls work in conjunction with the dual-capacity compressor and variable-speed blower motor to provide upscale comfort and savings on utility bills.
“The A2GX features a two-stage Duration™ scroll compressor that operates quietly and efficiently, delivers exceptional comfort, and saves customers money every day of the year,” said Jay Ayers, geothermal product manager, American Standard.
Available in open- and closed-loop configurations, the A2GX Series features capacities ranging 27,700-78,500 Btuh, energy efficiency ratio (EER) ratings of 20.2-32.1, and coefficients of performance (COP) of 3.9-5.1. Energy Star states the A2GX Series may save users as much as 55 percent over federal minimum performance.
The Bosch Greensource Complete Design with Innovation (CDi) Series Model SM heat pump comes in 2- to 6-ton cooling capacities and is equipped with quality and innovative technology to cool and heat a home economically and in an environmentally friendly manner.
Exceptional part-load efficiency coupled with a tin-plated evaporator coil for long-life, floating base pan and variable-speed motor for quiet operation down to 52dB, airtight cabinet with less than 2 percent air leakage, closed-cell fiber-free insulation for improved air quality and energy-savings, multi-position airflow flexibility, and backed with a ten-year parts and labor limited warranty, the heat pump provides a total solution in energy-efficient home comfort.
The closed- and open-loop system ranges in capacity from 26,600-73,700 Btuh and boasts energy efficiency ratio (EER) ratings of 21.9-32.5 and coefficients of performance (COP) of 4-5.1. Based on Energy Star projections, the SM Series with Bosch Control may save users as much as 58 percent compared to federal minimum performance.
“Advantages for the installer include configurability as the return air can be customized for the job on the left side or right side, and blower orientation can be relocated between the back, side, or top of the unit. The electrical box can be rotated from front to back for optimal service access,” said Joshua Samp, product manager for Bosch Thermotechnology Corp. “Geothermal heat pumps are designed and built in Bosch’s ISO 9001- and ISO 14001-certified facilities in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. They serve as a platform for renewable energy products in a residential comfort control system.”
When tested by energy raters, the system performed very well, said Harold Turner, managing director of H.L. Turner Group Inc., a Concord, New Hampshire-based design-build firm. “The independent Energy Star rater for Unitil Electric Company gave the project a HERS index rating of 2.0 on a scale of 0 to 100 [0.0 is theoretical zero net], so our targeted zero net goal was accomplished,” said Turner. “The Bosch geothermal heat pumps and solar thermal heating systems are functioning flawlessly since December 2011, and energy usage is consistent with our expectations.”
ClimateMaster Inc.’s Trilogy 45™ Q-Mode™ variable-speed geothermal heat pump system offers on-demand hot water generation capabilities. The system additionally offers convenient programming, monitoring, and control for homeowners and dealers over the Internet from any Wi-Fi-enabled device.
The Trilogy 45’s patent pending Q-Mode technology reduces hot water operating costs by providing full-time, year-round domestic hot water heating at efficiencies surpassing 500 percent. The Q-Mode technology also provides no-cost cooling by automatically drawing heat from a space and into the unit’s iGate Smart Tank™ hot water storage tank. The tank’s polyethylene exterior further protects it from corrosion.
“With this latest innovation, ClimateMaster has maintained its position as an industry leader, setting a new record by delivering the highest efficiencies recorded by AHRI [Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute] in ground-loop applications,” said John Bailey, senior vice president of sales at ClimateMaster. “The Trilogy 45 Q-Mode also significantly improves comfort through superior temperature and humidity control.”
The Trilogy 45 Q-Mode is available in vertical-upflow, vertical-downflow, and horizontal configurations in 24,000- and 48,000-Btuh capacities. The unit boasts energy efficiency ratio (EER) ratings of 33.8-56.9 and coefficients of performance (COP) ranging 4.2-5.4. Based on Energy Star projections, the unit may save users as much as 69 percent over the federal minimum performance. The Trilogy 45 is one of six unique ClimateMaster geothermal heat pumps on this year’s Most Efficient list.
“A user’s three biggest comfort demands are heating, cooling, and hot water, and the system does all three,” said Kurt Schaben, owner, Priority Heating, Saint Elizabeth, Missouri. “If it’s a retrofit, and the well drillers are stubbed in the house, it takes 10 hours for two guys to install it. On a retrofit, I’ve never left anyone without heating or cooling. I show up, and the system’s ready to go by the time I leave that day.
“Homeowners absolutely love it,” Schaben continued. “It’s so quiet. You don’t even know its running. It’s just a constant flow of air. You almost have to put your ear on it to determine if it’s operating.”
GeoSmart’s ECO-Y2® Series is available in packaged, forced-air vertical and horizontal cabinet configurations. The unit utilizes a two-stage scroll compressor and R-410A refrigerant. Additional features include an X-13 five-speed electronically commutated motor (ECM) blower motor, microprocessor-based controls with on-board diagnostics for maximum efficiency and serviceability, and an optional desuperheater. The unit is performance-certified under ARI/ISO 13256-1.
The closed- and open-loop system ranges in capacity from 23,100-71,800 Btuh and boasts energy efficiency ratio (EER) ratings of 18.1-24.5 and coefficients of performance (COP) of 3.6-4.4. Based on Energy Star projections, the ECO-Y2 may save users as much as 48 percent compared to federal minimum performance.
“Homeowners love the efficiency and comfort they get from the five-speed ECM fan motor and two-stage scroll compressor,” said Chad Brezynskie, vice president of sales and marketing, GeoSmart. “With five removable access panels, external corner-post mounted status LEDs, its smaller footprint, and premier microprocessor controls, the ECO-Y2 is a contractor’s dream when it comes to serviceability.”
Tyler Bleck, an installer with Buchanan & Hall, Stratford, Ontario, Canada, wholeheartedly agrees with Brezynskie.
“This is a very economical unit to install; it doesn’t take a lot of diagnostics,” said Bleck. “If homeowners are looking for efficiency and affordability, this is something they should try out. In fact, if I were going to put a geothermal system in my house, it’d likely be an ECO-Y2.”
GeoStar’s Sycamore combines a variable-capacity compressor with a variable-speed blower motor and a variable-speed loop pump to provide energy-efficient comfort while protecting the environment. The use of variable technologies allow the unit to scale output to exactly the level needed, rather than running at one or two speeds.
Available in 3- to 5-ton capacities, the Sycamore Series’ soft start capabilities eliminate light flicker and gently ramp the compressor up to speed for quiet operation.
The Sycamore is one of four GeoStar products to be honored in Energy Star’s Most Efficient Products of 2015 list.
“The Sycamore provides forced-air heating and cooling for both retrofit and new construction applications. With an optional hot water assist, the Sycamore can preheat water and deliver it to the water heater. A sophisticated microprocessor controls and monitors heat pump conditions and determines when there is excess heat available to route to the hot water heater,” said Tim Litton, director of marketing, WaterFurnace Intl. Inc. “A corrosion-resistant air coil increases equipment life while the coil’s large size improves efficiency and provides better dehumidification during cooling. The cabinet features a durable powder-coat finish for long-lasting beauty and protection, and the system is fully insulated for quiet operation with cleanable foil-backed insulation.”
Available in open- and closed-loop configurations, the series offers capacity ranging 36,000-60,000 Btuh, energy efficiency ratio (EER) ratings of 27.7-42.5, and coefficients of performance (COP) of 4.3-5.3. Based on Energy Star projections, the unit may save users as much as 63 percent when compared to federal minimum performance.
Hydro-Temp’s VStar Series features a soft-starting variable-capacity compressor that boasts 1,000 stages of heating and 1,000 stages of cooling. Married with the efficient variable-capacity compressor, users will also find a premium variable-speed electronically commutated motor (ECM) blower, a variety of loop pump options, and Hydro-Temp’s exclusive ProtoStar Controls that offer a built-in zoning system on all VStar units.
The ProtoStar controls provide robust two-way communication between the VStar unit and the included 4.7-inch high-resolution touchscreen controller. The ProtoStar controls allow for a homeowner or contractor to continuously monitor and optimize the system’s operation without opening the unit or needing any hand-held diagnostic tools.
“Contractors and homeowners alike love that they can monitor, control, and diagnose all system features, including entering and exiting ground-loop temperatures, supply and return air temperatures, real-time compressor output percentage, run-time logging, domestic hot water control, and even in-floor radiant heating control, all right from the ProtoStar touchscreen,” said Will Hudson, marketing director, Hydro-Temp.
Configurations include vertical units with top, bottom, rear, or side discharges (left or right return); horizontal units with left or right return and side or end discharge; and indoor splits with vertical or horizontal air handlers. An outdoor split with a built-in non-pressurized flow center is available with a vertical or horizontal matched air handler.
The closed-loop system offers 31,600- to 63,400-Btuh capacities, energy efficiency ratio (EER) ratings of 29.5-34.4, and coefficients of performance (COP) up to 4.0. Based on Energy Star projections, the unit may save users as much as 54 percent savings when compared to federal minimum performance.
“The system is simple to install, simple to control, and is designed in such a fashion that makes service and maintenance a breeze,” said Bob Coates, owner, Waters Edge Builders Inc., Falls Church, Virginia. “The technician side of me really likes the built-in diagnostics and trending information that come standard with every VStar system. The diagnostics enable our service team to communicate much more effectively with homeowners, which leads to quicker and more profitable service calls. The trending information has proven to be a great service tool, as well. It’s having a positive impact on our marketing efforts for future sales.”
Modine’s GFX Series water-to-air geothermal system offers high-efficiency, eco-friendly forced-air heating and cooling solutions for exceptional comfort. The units are available in 1.5- to 6-ton sizes in both vertical and horizontal configurations to fit virtually any residential or commercial space, such as a basement, attic, or crawlspace. The advanced, user-friendly controls system — the Orb — also comes standard.
The system is available in closed- and open-loop configurations ranging 18,100- to 70,900-Btuh capacities. The series’ energy efficiency ratio (EER) rating ranges 17.5-26.4 with coefficients of performance (COP) ranging 3.6-4.7. The GFX Series is one of five unique Modine geothermal heat pumps making the 2015 Most Efficient list.
“I chose the Modine ground-source heat pump because it’s a clean, easy-to-service machine, and its diagnostics are simple to define,” said Chad Grignon, owner, Pine State Drilling Inc., Athens, Maine. “The system’s Orb control displays information in real time, eliminating the need for specialty tools.”
Based on Energy Star projections, the unit may save users as much as 51 percent when compared to federal minimum performance.
Eddie Grierson, sales engineer, Harry Eklof & Associates Inc., Landover, Maryland — a Modine manufacturer’s rep. — said the system’s online monitoring features allow a contractor to provide 24/7 system monitoring.
“This allows the contractor to become aware of a system malfunction before the homeowner. That is true customer service,” said Grierson. “With the Modine customer service to the local representative, the contractor has a strong support team. From the process of selecting a system to service support, help is a phone call away, just around the corner — not on the other side of the country.”
Trane’s most selected packaged geothermal solution — the T2GX Series — is available in single- and two-stage models. The variable-speed blower motor offers up to 12 airflow selections to keep comfort even and efficient. Optional water-supply heating is available. Trane EnviroWise™ geothermal systems can return up to $4 of heat for every $1 of electricity used, in part because they use renewable heat stored inside the earth — a virtually limitless supply of energy. The dual-capacity geothermal heat pump heats, cools, and provides a portion of a home’s hot water. Premier II Controls work in conjunction with the dual-capacity compressor and variable-speed blower motor to provide upscale comfort and significant savings on utility bills.
“The T2GX incorporates a microprocessor board with easy dip switch set up for the contractor as well as diagnostic lights on the exterior of the cabinet for easy trouble shooting and homeowner peace of mind,” said Jay Ayers, geothermal product manager, Trane.
Available in open- and closed-loop configurations, the T2GX Series features capacities ranging 27,700-78,500 Btuh, energy efficiency ratio (EER) ratings of 20.2-32.1, and coefficients of performance (COP) of 3.9-5.1. The T2GX is one of five unique Ingersoll Rand geothermal heat pumps honored in Energy Star’s Most Efficient Products of 2015 list. Energy Star predicts the T2GX Series may save users as much as 55 percent over federal minimum performance.
WaterFurnace Intl. Inc.’s 7 Series utilizes a soft-start variable-capacity compressor in concert with a variable-speed blower motor and variable-speed loop pump. This allows the unit to scale output to exactly the level needed rather than just high or low speeds. The unit can ramp down to 20 percent of normal operation for efficient conditioning or up to 130 percent output for periods when extra cooling is needed. The wide capacity range can even eliminate the need for auxiliary heat.
“The 7 Series utilizes Aurora, WaterFurnace’s next generation of controls, to continuously monitor and optimize operation,” said Tim Litton, director of marketing, WaterFurnace. “Aurora provides a platform of two-way communication between components, robust troubleshooting capabilities, and advanced communication protocols. This includes integration to Symphony, a Web-enabled home comfort platform that provides detailed feedback in real-time and the tools to control it from any Web-enabled smartphone, tablet, or computer.”
Available in open- and closed-loop configurations, the 7 Series features capacities ranging 36,000-60,000 Btuh, energy efficiency ratio (EER) ratings of 27.7-42.5, and coefficients of performance (COP) of 4.3-5.3.
The 7 Series is one of five unique WaterFurnace geothermal heat pumps honored in the 2015 Most Efficient list. Based on Energy Star projections, the unit may save users as much as 63 percent when compared to federal minimum performance.
Travis Smith, partner, Sky Heating and Air Conditioning, Portland, Oregon, said his company’s been installing the 7 Series since it was released around August 2013.
“Hands down, the first thing homeowners talk about is the comfort and lack of noise. Whether it’s a customer who’s upgraded from an older system to a 7 Series or someone who’s purchased a newly built home, they’re always amazed at just how comfortable the house is. Customers seek the system out for the efficiency and savings but ultimately rave about the comfort and quietness of the system.
“I like the product so much that I have one in my home,” continued Smith. “I’ve had two customers come to my house to see the system in operation because they were interested in learning more about geothermal. Once they actually felt the comfort, they each purchased a system. Other visitors to my home have looked at my thermostat and said things like, ‘My house doesn’t feel this comfortable at 74°F.’”
Editor’s Note: All technical data supplied courtesy of Energy Star’s Most Efficient list. To see the complete Energy Star Most Efficient Products of 2015 list, visit http://bit.ly/EnergyStarME2015.
Publication date: 9/28/2015