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Ground source heat pumps focus added to ASHRAE Technical Program

April 25, 2014
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A new track added to the Technical Program at ASHRAE’s 2014 Annual Conference will address the challenges engineers face when designing ground source heat pumps.

The conference takes place June 28-July 2 in Seattle

The Technical Program kicks off June 29, with interactive programs and a networking coffee break, and concludes July 2. The program addresses broad topics in the application of technology to practice, specific applications in ground source heat pumps, operations and maintenance, ndoor environmental quality, as well as new reports on research taking place worldwide.

New to the Technical Program is a track on “Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHP) State of the Art: Design, Performance and Research,” which addresses all aspects of design that lead to optimally performing systems in addition to avoiding common pitfalls that lead to poorly performing systems.

The track was organized by ASHRAE, the National Ground Water Association (NGWA), the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA), and the Geothermal Exchange Organization (GEO).

“There are a number of challenges that engineers face that are different from conventional  HVAC systems, such as ground coupling, working with drillers, the importance of annual  heating and cooling loads to ground heat exchanger design,” said Jeff Spitler, an ASHRAE member who helped create the track. “This track addresses the entire design and installation process from site evaluation to commissioning and system operation. In addition, GSHP systems are inherently energy efficient, but poor choices in the design can compromise this inherent efficiency. ‘What not to do’ is also addressed in the track.”

Spitler said organizers have drawn in researchers from around the world to discuss new advances in the field so attendees have the opportunity to hear about both the latest research and state-of-the-art design practice.

“We want to help practicing engineers understand where the industry began, where it stands currently  (what tools and design guides are available), and where it is headed (through the programs showcasing current research),” said Lisa Meline, recent chair of ASHRAE’s technical committee 6.8, Geothermal Heat Pump and Energy Recovery Applications. “We also hope to impart guidance to the practicing engineers on the ground heat exchanger portion of a ground-source design. Many engineers shy away from this type of design because they don’t understand it. We want to change that and reinforce the need to provide single-point-of responsibility for all different types of HVAC system designs, including this one.”

To register for the conference or for more information on the GSHP track, visit

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