While most of the recent commercial geothermal heat pump projects we’ve shared on this blog have been commercial in nature, geothermal heat pumps are also an excellent choice for multi-unit residential buildings, including condos and apartment buildings.
This apartment building in Amherst, Nova Scotia was a new build. The owner of this project wanted a high-end apartment building that would attract quality tenants. To this end he chose to outfit his building with balconies, an elevator, a common room, gym, radiant in-floor heating systems, five appliances in each unit and 24-hour security.
The owner also chose to incorporate green features into the building’s design. The most prominent of these green features being the high-efficiency commercial geothermal heat pumps for the building’s heating system.
Multi-Unit Residential Heating with Commercial Geothermal Heat Pumps
This commercial geothermal heating system is an open loop system with non-reversing W-150 geothermal heat pumps connected in parallel to a single hot buffer tank on the indoor side. Each heat pump has a dedicated circulator pump for the indoor side to provide flow to the hot buffer tank. The outdoor side of the heat pumps are tied together in parallel and water flow is provided by a variable speed pump. Each heat pump has a flow control valve to start and stop flow with unit operation. System operation is managed by a Tekmar controller which provides staging as well as unit rotation. The nominal system capacity is 16 tons.
The apartment building’s domestic hot water heating is supplemented by the desuperheaters of the four units, which are tied together in parallel and routed to the domestic hot water tank. Each unit has an internal domestic hot water circulator.
The load side of the system consists of multiple zones controlled by the individual apartment thermostats, giving residents control over the heating in each unit. The building has both one and two bedroom units but each apartment is an average of 932 square feet in size.