When you hear the term “heat pump” you probably think of a unit installed in a home, providing sustainable and reliable heating and cooling, and you wouldn’t be alone in that perception of heat pumps. But in reality, heat pumps can be used in more than just a residential setting. Heat pumps are steadily gaining popularity in use for large commercial applications, especially where the builders are looking to get the building LEED certified. As the popularity of commercial geothermal energy spreads, we’ve had the opportunity to install a commercial geothermal heat pump in some pretty interesting buildings. Here are three unusual projects we’ve done over the past several years:
Halifax Seaport Farmers Market
The Halifax Seaport Farmers Market was built in 2010 to accommodate the growing trend toward local food in the oceanside city of Halifax, Nova Scotia. The new building was a study in sustainability and become the first LEED Platinum Certified building in the province.
Many green features were incorporated into the building including a 10,000-litre rainwater collection storage tank, solar panels, solar hot water, a green roof, and passive cooling. The building’s designers also designed the 55,000 square foot building to be heated and cooled with four Nordic commercial geothermal heat pumps. The installation of the heat pumps to heat the structure required drilling for 17 boreholes, each 650 feet in depth. The end result of these green features was a building that consumes 50% less water and 80% less power than an average building of its size. You can find out more about this project by downloading our project snapshot.
JK Irving Arena
The JK Irving Arena in Bouctouche, New Brunswick was built as a way for the Irving family to give back to their community and hometown. The facility includes an NHL sized ice hockey arena with seating capacity for 2,000, a walking track, community gym, municipal office space, community meeting space and a canteen and uses commercial geothermal energy to cool the ice surface.
The ice surface for the arena is cooled by six Nordic commercial water to water heat pumps for a total of 240 tons of cooling capacity. The heat pumps use R404a refrigerant to extract heat from the ice surface, effectively cooling the ice to 2°F(-16°C). The extracted heat is used for radiant in-floor heating in the rest of the building including the seating area. This hyper-efficient use of energy results in ultra-low operating costs for the arena. You can learn more about the Irving Arena in our project snapshot.
The Granby Zoo is home to 1,000 animals and 270 species. The zoo receives over half a million visitors every year and in 2007 they embarked on a project to reduce the operating costs of the zoo – mainly by incorporating energy efficiency measures. The zoo took several steps to improve the efficiency of the property including LED lighting and solar panels. The biggest step was the geothermal heat pumps they installed.
The installation incorporated two Nordic water to water units for heat recovery and cooling in a variety of exhibits including the Elephant Pavillion, the Hippopotamus River, the Temple and the Ungulate Building. The heat pumps use vertical boreholes to operate to perform geoexchange.
The project was a huge success. The zoo was able to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 21% and the geothermal project received special mention in the Canadian Geoexchange Coalition‘s Excellence and Leadership awards in 2007. Find out more about the Granby Zoo in this project snapshot.