Kenyan Ambassador To Speak At New York Geothermal Conference

Nairobi

The one day gathering in NYC will feature updates on geothermal technology, financing new power plants, public and private sector perspectives, practical project management insights, risks and rewards and government policies.

Kenya’s geothermal power potential is at least 7,000 MW and there are over a dozen development projects in some stage of design. Though the development of about 5,000 MW of clean energy may not seem that monumental, it should be noted that currently less than 20% of Kenyans have access to electricity. (At the moment, geothermal provides about 13% of Kenya’s electricity and by 2020, that percentage could be 30.)

Another important point is that burning wood is a major source of energy in Kenya – primarily for cooking – and this prevalent practice results in much deforestation and CO2 emissions.  Deforestation reduces rainfall, which further reduces the number of trees and other plants that constitute forests, so there is a vicious cycle culminating in droughts, and loss of biodiversity.

Wild animals and beautiful natural landscapes are a huge draw for foreign tourists and there may be as many as 100,000 Kenyans employed by the tourist industry or in related jobs. If biodiversity declines, the impact on the national economy could be significant. So, geothermal development is not only about clean energy, it also could become a way of reducing the burning of wood fuel and therefore help conserve forests and biodiversity.

‘Ambassador Odembo represents a country that is working in sync with organizations like the World Bank to fulfill its electricity needs with clean and renewable geothermal energy,’ said GEA Executive Director Karl Gawell. The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) is made up of U.S. companies who support  geothermal energy and are developing geothermal facilities around the world for clean, renewable energy production.

Odembo’ undergraduate degree is in Biology and Sociology, and he has a Master’s in public health.
Read more at http://cleantechnica.com/2013/03/27/kenyan-ambassador-to-speak-at-new-york-geothermal-conference/#7sBkdoBVpBcF3QBo.99

Advertisements

Low Cost Cooling

Geothermal Home Heating What Is Geothermal Home Heating

I was visiting a friend from college this weekend, and as her husband had warned, I was woken early Saturday by the noise of the workman completing the installation of the geothermal heating and cooling system for the house.

It was a welcome wake-up to tell you the truth. Blistering heat is blanketing much of the eastern United States, the kind that kills people who can’t get relief. Though I’m no fan of air conditioning, it has become essential equipment in most U.S. homes — 87 percent of households now have it, up 20 percent since 1993 years ago.

But climate control comes at a cost. The average household spends more than $2,200 a year on energy bills, with nearly half of this going to heating and cooling. Saving money was one of the main reasons my friends installed a geothermal system. They say it should “cut their household heating and cooling costs by 70 percent.”

What struck me first was how quiet the system was compared to the average home AC, and the cool was more natural, more comfortable to the skin. But what truly sets geothermal apart is how much more energy efficient it is than electric heating and cooling. These systems can move as much as three to five times the energy they use in the process, which is why users can save hundreds of dollars in energy costs each year. And because geothermal systems are transferring heat, not creating it by burning something, they do not emit carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, or other greenhouse gasses which contribute to air pollution. In contrast, the average home with an AC and no geothermal is emitting roughly 2 tons of carbon dioxide annually.

More than 600,000 geothermal systems supply climate control in U.S. homes and other buildings, with new installations occurring at a rate of about 60,000 per year. Though a mere fraction of the market, recent policy developments are offering strong incentives for homeowners to install more. The 2008 economic stimulus bill, Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, includes an eight year extension (through 2016) of the 30 percent investment tax credit, with no upper limit, to all home installations of EnergyStar certified geothermal heat pumps.

Though the tax credit may cut the upfront costs in half, installing geothermal in your yard takes time and planning, and depending on where you live, may not even be possible. Actually, once planned, installing a geothermal system should take no more than a couple weeks, but that said, you are probably wondering whether there are any low cost cooling ideas that you can use at your house right now, to battle this week’s heat. And yes, there are. The secret lies in reducing the need for the AC by keeping light and heat to a minimum, creating breezeways in your house and being sure your equipment is the most energy efficient. Here are some specific suggestions to get you through the hottest days ahead:

Shade the house: Awnings, shutters and overhangs will provide a good defense against the summer sun, but you may also use trees and tall bushes to beautify your view and reduce the sunlight entering your windows.

Close the blinds: Shutting curtains, shades or blinds on the sunny side of the house can make a big difference particularly blinder venetian shades with highly reflective light colors can reduce heat build up in your home.

Let in cool airWhen it’s not too hot out, pull in cool air by cracking open lower story windows just one or two inches and place portable and window mounted fans and upstairs windows facing outward to remove the air that rises due to convection your home. This will create a stronger draft throughout the house that will keep the air cool without the use of AC. If the outside temperature is more than 77 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s better to shut all the windows and pull the shades.

Tell your AC what to do: A programmable thermostat lets you save money by not cooling your house when you’re not around to enjoy it. Set the temperature at 80 degrees Fahrenheit when you know you’ll be away, and when you are home set it at least 2 degrees higher than you would normally. A shift from 72 degrees Fahrenheit to 74 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer will leave the room just as comfortable but means real savings on your annual energy bill.

Upgrade your AC: Whether central air or window-mounted AC, if your cooling system is several years old you can most likely save on your energy bill by upgrading to new, more efficient models. The most efficient models use inverter technology which also makes them very quiet. Thirty percent tax credits are available for units 16 SEER and better. Depending on the age of your current unit, Energy Star-rated air conditioning could save you 10 percent to 30 percent of your cooling costs. Remember to clean or check the AC filter once a month as any buildup will restrict airflow and make it less efficient.

Install ceiling fans: Fans use 10 percent of the energy consumed by AC and can make a room feel 10 degrees cooler. Replacing your AC with a ceiling fan could save you a couple hundred dollars or more a year.

Give your appliances a break: Remember it’s summer. Dry your clothes on a clothes line. Grill outside, and dine by candle light. And turn off your computers and entertainment equipment at night.

Finally remember to take care of yourself on hot days. Drink lots of water. As you perspire, you lose water to dehydration and your body temperature rises. So replacing fluids is essential to keeping cool. Doctors recommend drinking at least two liters of water a day, a third on hot days. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, as they are packed with water, and avoid sugary drinks which are dehydrating. And to learn more about geothermal systems, click here.

Source: Huffington Post

Geothermal Heat Pumps: The Next Generation

The most efficient way to heat and cool a building just got more efficient.

Climatemaster, a division of LSB Industries(NYSE:LXU), recently announced that their new Trilogy 40 geothermal heat pump (GHP) had been certified by the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) to exceed 40 Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) under ground loop conditions.

Climatemaster LogoEER is the ratio of effective cooling (heat removed) to the energy used, at maximal load, and is the standard measure of cooling effectiveness for geothermal heat pumps. A quick perusal of the list of Energy Star qualified GHPsshows just how big a leap this is: the highest EER rating currently available is 30, and many Energy Star qualified heat pumps have EERs as low as 17.  So the Trilogy 40 is a third again as efficient for cooling as the most efficient commercially available GHP, and more than twice as efficient as some Energy Star qualified GHPs.

Scott Lankhorst, President of Synergy Systems, a GHP installer in Kingston, NY, called the jump in efficiency “pretty amazing… 30 EER has been the max for quite a while now.”  Lankhorst says that Climatemaster hopes to have the Trilogy 40 in full production by the end of the year.

According to Barry Golsen, President and COO of LSB, the Trilogy 40 will also have improved heating performance, with a Coefficient of Performance (COP, the industry measure of heating efficiency) of 5 at ground loop conditions.  This is also a significant increase, with the best GHPs in the Energy Star list having COPs of 4.1.

In addition, they’ve added new functionality, called “Q-Mode.”  Q-Mode is the result of a collaboration between Climatemaster and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.  It allows the GHP to produce hot water even when it is not being used for space heating or cooling.  According to Chris Williams, technology evangelist at Heatspring, a provider of renewable energy and energy efficiency training and certification, producing hot water year round required additional equipment (and cost) with traditional heat pumps.

Waterfurnace logoThe Competition

Yet Climatemaster is not moving into 40 EER territory unchallenged.  On GHP manufacturer Waterfurnace Renewable Energy’s (TSX:WFI, OTC:WFIFF) first quarter conference call, an analyst asked CEO Tom Huntington if Waterfurnace had an answer to efficiency breakthroughs at “a competitor.”  It does.  Huntington believes Waterfurnace’s new 7-Series GHP’s will be even more efficient than Climatemaster’s Trilogy.  Variable speed compressors (see below) are available from a number of vendors, and Huntington believes that the compressor used in the Trilogy is less efficient than the on Waterfurnace has selected for the 7-Series.

The Technology

How did they achieve these efficiency breakthroughs?  Both companies speak of “variable speed technology.”  According to Lankhorst, what they mean is variable speed compressors.  Current GHP models use two stage scroll compressors.   Variable speed blower motors and pump fields have been available for some time, although they often require the special controllers.

Variable speed compressors are new.  According to Williams, “there has been a huge amount of innovation in air source heat pumps,” and the innovations are now being applied to ground source technology.

Climatemaster’s Q-Mode a control system that integrates the GHP and components with the hot water tank, enabling the heat pump to deliver hot water year round.  Previously, year round hot water required additional components, or a back up heating source.  Q-Mode is patent pending, so it may be that it will give Climatemaster a competitive advantage if competitors like Waterfurnace are unable to duplicate the functionality without infringing patents.

Application

The integration of components and jump in efficiency should make these new systems attractive to installers in the field.  According to Lankhorst, the Trilogy may be especially cost effective in high-end residential applications, where the integrated system will eliminate several separate components.  Year round hot water is less of an advantage in commercial applications, since commercial installations operate nearly all the time in cooling mode, when free hot water is produced as a byproduct of cooling the building.

On the other hand, the spot efficiency ratings of a GHP are far from the only factor in determining the effectiveness of a GHP system.  According to Williams, proper ground loop, distribution, and system design can potentially have a greater impact on system efficiency.

Competitive Advantage

English: Mark Johnson, picture of job site.

When contractors select a GHP, technology tends to be more important in commercial operations than in residential ones.  The cost of the heat pump is a small fraction of the cost of drilling the loop field, so residential installers are more interested in the level of technical support offered by the distributor, so these competitive advantages will vary from region to region.

On the other hand, if Q-Mode makes for much simpler installations, Climatemaster stands to gain residential market share unless its competitors can offer similar integration without infringing its intellectual property.

Conclusion

The next generation of efficient ground source heat pumps are a significant step forward in energy efficient climate control.  Nevertheless, for the next few years, I’d expect that these variable speed compressor pumps will only be used in a small fractions of installation.  Geothermal heat pumps are already so efficient that the additional savings may not be enough to justify the higher up-front cost.  Additionally, Waterfurnace introduced their new 5-Series line of GHPs with two stage compression in March, at a slightly lower price point than the Envision product it replaces.

Either way, the cost of saving energy continues to fall, and the potential customer base for geothermal heat pumps will grow as higher efficiency and lower prices make them an even more economical approach to climate control.

Source: Forbes

Geo-thermal – What is it ? What are the tax Credits?

Geo-Thermal

Geo-Thermal
Spend $30,000 now and SAVE $3,000 each year… ROI = 10%

Highlights

The ground temperate is a constant that you can use to heat and cool your house. Over the summer the deep ground temperature is warmer than the air and into he summer it is cooler. The ‘ground-source heat pump system’ uses underground water from a 1,000-foot deep well and pumps, that are basement heat exchangers to move the water.

The system uses no fossil fuels and provide comfort year-round, with zero CO2 emissions, for a fraction of the operating cost of conventional HVAC systems. Geothermal systems also have fewer moving parts than conventional systems, so they are more reliable and require less maintenance, so they last for decades. As a rule of thumb, complete systems run about $2500 to $3500 per 500 square feet of living space. So, a complete geo-thermal system for an average size 2,500 sq. ft. home would run between $12,500 and $17,500. Geo-thermal for larger homes could easily cost $25,000 to $30,000.

The ROI Calculation is based on spending $30,000 to save $250 per month in heating and cooling bills. Many states offer financial incentives to individuals and families looking to make their homes more energy efficient. These incentives range from low interest loans to comprehensive grants that cover all costs. To find if your state offers these programs, check out the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE): Click Here. You can save even more if you consider buying a model that is eligible for a tax credit.

TAX CREDITS

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provides you with a 30% Tax Credit for Geothermal Heat Pumps that are put into service by the end of 2016. This tax credit item is for existing homes or new construction. This does not have to be your primary residence, as vacations and rentals are eligible, and it includes the cost of materials and installation.

3 KEY POINTS –

  1. The tax credit cap is $1,500 on collective home improvement elements other than Geo-Thermal ‘Ground Source’ Heat Pumps, Solar Hot Water Heating, Solar Photovoltaic, and Fuel Cell systems – which each have no cap and are eligible through 2016.
  2. The tax credits for exterior ‘weatherization’ improvements like windows, doors and insulation do not include the cost of installation!
  3. If you reach the $1,500 cap in 2009, you are not eligible for additional tax credits in 2010.

Choose Geothermal Heat Pumps that meet these criteria to get the Tax Credit; and check products carefully, because in many cases an ENERGY STAR certification does not necessarily meet the tax credit requirements below:

geothermal loops

Geothermal Heat Pumps: All Energy Star models qualify.
Close Loop – A ground heat exchanger in which the heat transfer fluid is permanently contained in a closed system.

  • Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) must be at or above 14.1.
  • Coefficient of Performance must be at or above 3.3.

Open Loop – A ground heat exchanger in which the heat transfer fluid is part of a larger environment. The most common open loop systems use ground water or surface water as the heat transfer medium.

  • Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) must be at or above 16.2.
  • Coefficient of Performance must be at or above 3.6.

Direct Expansion – A geothermal heat pump system in which the refrigerant is circulated in pipes buried in the ground, rather than using a heat transfer fluid, such as water or antifreeze solution in a separate closed loop, and fluid to refrigerant heat exchanger. A DX system includes all of the equipment both inside and outside the house. DX systems may be single or multi-speed.

  • Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) must be at or above 15.
  • Coefficient of Performance must be at or above 3.5.

Look for Geothermal integration to combine a Furnace, Air Conditioner, and Boiler together in one system. You get forced air heating and cooling, plus the system generates hot water for radiant floors.

Source – Green and Save

Geothermal for your home- Benefits & Great Savings

Residential

A GSHP system can be installed in a residential structure of any size, anywhere, whether it is single-family or multi-family. GSHPs can be installed on almost any size lot: under lawns, landscaped areas, driveways, or the house itself. An existing house can be retrofitted with a GSHP using the ductwork that is already there. Your dealer/installer will be able to determine ductwork requirements and if any minor modifications are needed. Home builders and homeowners can both take advantage of the special financing that is offered in many locations on a GSHP either through the utility or manufacturer.

The Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have both endorsed ground source heat pump systems as among the most energy efficient and environmentally friendly heating, cooling, and water heating systems available. In a 1993 report, the EPA concluded that geothermal technologies represent a major opportunity for reducing national energy use and pollution, while delivering comfort, reliability and savings to homeowners.

Ground Source Heat Pumps offer great benefits:

  • Can be a combination heating/cooling and hot water heating system
  • Some can save you up to 50% on your water-heating bill by preheating tank water
  • Made of mechanical components that are either buried in the ground or located inside the home
  • About the same size as a traditional heating/cooling unit
  • Pipe carries up to a 50-year warranty
  • Can cut energy consumption by 20 to 50% and reduce maintenance costs
  • Keep the air warmer in the winter (90 -105¡ F) and at a more consistent temperature throughout the home, eliminating the hot and cold spots common with other systems
  • Very quiet, providing a pleasant environment inside & outside the home
  • No noisy fan units to disturb outdoor activities
  • No exposed equipment outdoors; children or pets cannot injure themselves or damage exterior units
  • No open flame, flammable fuel or potentially dangerous fuel storage tanks

GSHPs offer great savings:

  • One of the most efficient residential heating and cooling systems available today
  • Heating efficiencies 50 to 70% higher than other heating systems and cooling efficiencies 20 to 40% higher than available air conditioners
  • Save money in operating and maintenance costs
  • Investments recouped in only a few years
  • Positive cash flow; energy savings usually exceed the cost of the system
  • Some utilities offer rebates or incentives to their customers who purchase GSHPs. To see what your state has to offer click here.
  • Many heat pump manufacturers, local utilities, and lending institutions have special financing for homeowners who are installing GSHPs

GSHPs are environmentally friendly:

  • Conserve natural resources by providing climate control efficiently and thus lowering emissions
  • Minimize ozone layer destruction by using factory-sealed refrigeration systems, which will seldom or never have to be recharged
  • Uses underground loops to transfer heat, with no external venting and no air pollution

Source – IGSHPA

Construction of the Largest U.S. Geothermal Heat Pump System Underway

A groundbreaking geothermal heating and cooling project shows that these super-efficient heat pumps are gaining traction

by Christopher Williams

Construction of the largest ground-source geothermal heating and cooling system in the United States is now underway and half complete.

The project, located on the Muncie, Indiana campus of Ball State University, will be large enough to heat and cool 47 buildings, replace four coal-fired boilers, and save the campus roughly $2 million a year over the 30-year life of the system.

The project will also help create 2,300 direct and indirect jobs throughout the construction period.

This is great news for a technology that has been available, efficient and economical since the 1940′s. In 1993, the EPA called it “the most efficient, environmentally clean, and cost effective space conditioning system today.” While the technology has been known for decades, the size of the Ball State project proves that geothermal installers and designers are gaining confidence to implement the technology on a massive scale and are winning the trust of risk-averse property owners.

The role of ground source heat pumps in the U.S.

Geothermal, or ground source heat pumps, can play a critical role in changing the U.S. energy mix by reducing the use of petroleum, coal and gas for on-site heating and cooling applications. The technologies we tend to think of when we use the term “renewable energy” — solar PV, wind, and hydro — usually do nothing to address thermal energy, which makes up roughly one third of our nation’s energy use.

For example, space heating represents 45% of energy use in the average single-family home in the U.S. — by far the single biggest use of energy for consumers. But consumers tend to think mostly about renewable electricity technologies, rather than heating and cooling technologies. Geothermal heat pumps can eliminate the need for on-site fossil fuel use for the heating of a property, particularly in the Northeast, where fuel oil is used to heat a large percentage of buildings.

The state of the geothermal heat pump industry

“Geothermal heat pump technology has grown to a point where people are beginning to understand what it is, what it offers in terms of benefits over conventional systems and that it can be successfully implemented at all levels, from the smallest single family residence to the large-scale retrofit at Ball State,” says Ryan Carda a geothermal engineering expert who co-founded GeoConnections and who co-authored the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA) manual on geothermal design and installation.

The numbers back up Carda’s comments. Pike Research projects that the industry will double from 2010 to 2017, with the technology also making solid gains in the utility sector.

The U.S. geothermal heat pump industry has seen strong growth when compared to the broader economy. With a 30% federal investment tax credit until 2016, and the ability to install projects outside of the regulatory authority of the utility (unlike most solar PV systems), adoption rates continue to increase.

As Carda points out, educated contractors are also helping grow the market: “I believe that education at all levels is one thing that can help this technology take the next step.  Building owners need to understand what geothermal can do for them in terms of energy consumption, operating and maintenance costs, overall comfort levels, etc.  It all starts with contractors, architects and engineers as they are the ones who need to relay that message [to property owners].”

The Importance of the Ball State Geothermal Project

The Ball State University project is enormously important for raising awareness about this under-reported technology.

With both Republican and Democratic lawmakers hailing the project, it’s a small glimmer of hope for bipartisanship on energy. It also shows how sophisticated the engineering and construction practices in the geothermal heat pump market have become. And finally, the media attention — from stories in the Environmental Leader,the New York Times, and Indiana National Public Radio — give the industry the attention it deserves.

Chris Williams is an IGSHPA Certified Geothermal Installer and Chief Marketing Officer at HeatSpring Learning Institute. If you’re interested in learning how more about how geothermal heat pumps work, you can download free “Geothermal Survival Kit.”

First published by Thinkprogress.org