Advances in Geothermal Practice: Three Stages of Evolution
BSCES News, March 2012
Published by: The Boston Society of Civil Engineers Section
William C. Johnson, Sales Leader—Civil Engineering; Steven Kraemer P.E., DGE, Principal Consultant —Geotechnical Engineering; and Paul Ormond P.E., CGD, Program Manager—Geotechnical Engineering, Haley& Aldrich, Inc.
Energy conservation, life cycle cost, and carbon reduction objectives have driven rapid evolution of ground source geothermal space heating and cooling systems. These three objectives are sometimes policy-driven by federal, state, or code mandates and incentives; or are sometimes driven by a client’s long-term progressive planning. Either way, striving to meet these objectives reliably and cost effectively is transforming the geothermal practice from “single building–single solution” thinking to far more sophisticated solutions that greatly improve value and available choices for clients who are considering geothermal applications. Multiple building geothermal districts, central-plant integration, scaled solutions and more rigorous analysis and design methods are some of the recent, transformative innovations. In this article we review where the industry has been and where it’s headed. More importantly, we’ll review why these changes matter to a client. After all, client value, whether it’s a specific outcome, cost savings, reduced risk, increased performance, or all of the above, is the ultimate objective.
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