Sustainable Architecture and Geothermal Heat Pumps

By April 8, 2016Sustainability

SH Architecture is always looking to go beyond what people expect when it comes to sustainable architecture. For those out there who have dealt with the frustrations of a finicky heating and cooling system, imagine if the earth below becomes one for you. Systems like this exist and are called Geothermal Heat Pumps.

How Sustainable Architecture Uses Geothermal Heat Pumps

Since their creation in the 1940s, GHPs have been the environmentally conscious decision for sustainable architectures and homeowners. Whereas with a central heating and cooling system that require burning fuel and creating waste, GHPs rely on the static temperature of the air a few feet below the earth’s surface to heat and cool your building. This static temperature ranges from 45 to 75 degree Fahrenheit, or 7 to 21 degrees Celsius, depending on the latitude.

There are four types of GHPs. Horizontal, vertical and pond/lake are the close-looped options, and the fourth option is open-loop. The difference between close and open-loop is that close-looped circulates a refrigerant safely through tubing buried in the ground or through the water. Open-loop GHP uses water and reintroduces it back into the water supply after use.

Which one is best depends on a variety of factors, such as size of the building, local climate, soil conditions, available land and water, and installation costs. For example, a small house by a lake would benefit from a pond/lake system whereas something as large as a skyscraper would benefit from a vertical GHP due to land regulations and prohibitions.

No matter which one you choose, all of them have the bonus of being cost effective. While initial GHP installation can be a sizable construction investment, your money is returned to you through yearly energy savings.

Utilizing the earth’s natural resources without harming it and saving money? Nothing but sustainable architecture at its finest.

If you’re considering installing a Geothermal Heat Pump for your public works project or sustainable architecture design, contact SH Architecture today. We have offices in Las Vegas and Salt Lake City and look forward to making the building of your dreams a reality.


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