Apr 112014
 

Thirty years ago I started selling Geothermal Heat Pumps, when I worked at Baker Wholesale in Fargo. We had one customer who was a well driller and he expanded his business into Geothermal. My father helped him design bigger and bigger systems. The bigger the facility the better Geothermal looks. In addition to the greater efficiency, there is also greater flexibility in a multi-zone facility.

In the April 2014 issue of Energy Systems Magazine, Daniel Cohen writes about the Ping Tom Memorial Park Fieldhouse. The field house runs its geothermal heat pumps off of 16) 650-ft-deep vertical wells. This is five times deeper than the well fields we would normally design, but I’m sure they had land use issues so going deep was easier than the drilling more wells.

Ping Tom Memorial Fieldhouse

Chicago’s Ping Tom Memorial Fieldhouse
photo by James Steinkamp/Steinkamp Photography

Environmental Systems Design (ESD) selected Geothermal units for their high energy efficiency ratio (EER) and coefficient of performance (COP). They are estimating a COP of 4 making this heating system 400% more efficient than straight resistant electric heat. In addition they connected modular heat pumps in each zone throughout the field house.

“The heat pumps are independently controlled which allows for energy to be shared and distributed from zone to zone.”

Downsides to Geothermal: it is slightly more expensive to install, but the long term energy profile and operation cost savings makes it the perfect energy source for buildings large and small. Geothermal systems need land to drill the well field, but once it’s in you can use the land for anything you want.

I also like how ESD used CO2 sensors to modulate ventilation airflow based on occupancy. By using VAVs and controlling the ventilation load, the building can retain much of the heat that other buildings vent outside. Add in the Economizer and Energy Recovery system, this building should be inexpensive to operate.

Jul 172009
 

Xcel Energy is continually updating their energy rebate programs. If your project saves energy, particularly if it cuts your electric demand, Xcel is bound to have a rebate program for you. This assumes you’re in Minnesota, New Mexico, or Colorado. If you’re in North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Michigan, or Texas you’re out of luck. (We have offsetting lower rates and lower taxes.)

 

  1. Parking garage lighting retrofits
    Effective July 1, 2009, Minnesota Xcel Energy business customers converting from 150W or 175W high intensity discharge (HID) lighting to two- or three-lamp T8s or T5H0s are now eligible for a rebate of $50 per fixture. Xcel has simplified the process with new rebate forms. See the Parking Garage Lighting Application for requirements and rebate incentive information.
  2. Lighting Redesign Studies
    A complete building-wide lighting system analysis of can show you the best approach to improve lighting design or to reduce existing light output while maintaining proper lighting levels for your needs. Xcel has increased lighting redesign study incentive to 75% of the cost of the study, not to exceed $25,000, and more than doubled many of our equipment rebates.
  3. More Lighting Rebates
    Every step to lower lighting use, from installing energy-efficient lighting to adding controls or offering in-depth photometric analysis can significantly lower your customers’ energy bills and earn substantial rebates.
    A) $400 per kW saved for preapproved projects when they add their lighting system to a building control system or add microprocessor controls to lighting systems.
    B) Custom Efficiency program now offers a method of analyzing lighting projects that yield greater rebate potential for your customers.
  4. Boiler Rebates
    New boilers, efficiency-boosting add-ons and tune-ups for boilers used for space heating and/or domestic water heating now can go through our Boiler Efficiency rebate program without preapproval. Xcel offers rebates for projects that improve the efficiency of existing equipment such as boiler tune-ups, steam trap repair/replacement and boiler add-ons.

Updated Minnesota Energy Code

The long-awaited Minnesota Energy Code for Commercial Buildings will take effect on June 1, 2009. The code itself adopts the ASHRAE 90.1-2004 Energy Standard with minor modifications.

The new code will have an impact on Energy Design Assistance, Cooling Efficiency and Variable Frequency Drives. Because the adoption of a new, higher energy code will result in increased minimum efficiencies.

For more information about the commercial energy code, please visit the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry construction codes and standards energy Web site.