Recent innovations in regard to geothermal heating and cooling include the introduction of variable capacity geothermal heat pumps, advanced zoning systems, integration of smart units into home energy management, and the development of renewable hybrid comfort solutions.
Variable capacity products combine a variable speed blower, a variable speed circulator pump and a variable capacity compressor to provide high efficiency and comfort. While other conditioning systems run at one or possibly two capacities (high and low), variable capacity units scale compressor output and airflow to exactly the level needed for any heating or cooling situation. This provides efficiencies up to 5.3 COP in heating and EERs above 41 EER for cooling, which is more than twice as efficient as an air source heat pump or air conditioner and a third more efficient than current dual capacity geothermal units. Additionally, an extremely wide range of capacities (from 20%-130%) provides best-in-class humidity control and can even eliminate the need for auxiliary heat in cold-weather climates.
Home energy management and online control/monitoring is another key trend that is shaping the geothermal industry. Homeowners increasingly want to view and control their unit online. Available platforms grant access to a geothermal unit from practically anywhere and provide control over the entire geothermal system – not just the thermostat as found in so many other “smart thermostats.” Homeowners get an online portal that offers visibility into their energy usage and the tools to control it. They also gain peace of mind since the system has the ability to automatically notify a contractor that maintenance/service is needed. Contractors gain the ability to analyze a history of different data points over the internet to help diagnose any fault.
Advanced zoning systems is another key technology for the industry. They provide precise control of temperatures in various zones throughout a home to provide high levels of comfort and energy savings. With the lower air speeds output from today’s variable capacity units, zoning becomes more important than ever. Available systems can communicate with zoning systems for unmatched comfort.
Lastly, net zero homes produce as much energy as they consume on an annual basis. Geothermal heat pumps are ideal for use in buildings looking to reduce consumption to net zero. Variable capacity units carry soft start components that make them ideal for use with generators, photovoltaic and wind technologies.
About WaterFurnace International, Inc.
WaterFurnace International, Inc. manufactures and distributes geothermal and water source heating and cooling systems for residential, commercial, and institutional buildings internationally. We pride ourselves on our commitment to an incredibly environmentally friendly product that also saves the consumer money just by use.