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The Overlooked Cleaner Energy Source for Home and Office: Ground Source Heat Pumps

Everyone has heard the energy saving benefits of solar and wind power but did you know ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) can save you up to 45 percent on your energy consumption compared to conventional HVAC systems. How do we know this? Experience.  In 2004, UMB installed a vertical ground source heat pump system consisting of 12 wells at our branch location in Grandview, Mo. According to Roy Allen, who is part of the UMB maintenance team, the Grandview location saves approximately 21,000 kWh per month over similar sized banking center locations. With such great savings on energy UMB has decided to install a second system at another banking center as well. Construction for this new center should begin in February 2016.


In addition to saving energy and money GSHPs are good for the environment since they are a cleaner source of energy using mostly ambient heat from the ground while using very little electricity.

How Ground Source Heat Pumps Work
So how do these systems provide cleaner energy and help you save on your utility bills? Air temperature can fluctuate greatly with the seasons and even daily, with daytime highs and night time lows, but surprisingly ground temperature remains relatively constant. Conventional air-source HVAC systems attempt to capture heat from frigid winter air as well as disburse heat into the baking hot summer air – which is no easy task.  However ground source heat pumps work by capturing the neutral heat absorbed at the surface of the Earth, it then heats the air in the winter and then extracts the heat from inside air in the summer. This is done through a water solution that flows through pipes (wells) buried in the ground that circulates the heated water to the home/office in the winter and then it is reversed in the summer whereby the heat is extracted from the air and transfers it via water through the pipes removing the heat from the building and transferring it to the ground.

Types of Systems
There are four basic types of GSHPs including horizontal, vertical, pond/lake which are all closed loop systems. The fourth type is the open loop system. The option you choose is dependent on the climate, soil conditions and the available land. UMB banking centers utilize the vertical option. This option is used when soil is too shallow for trenching, it also does not require a lot of space. Roy explained the system only takes up a 70 ft. x 100 ft. space and contains 12 wells at a depth 500 ft. It is located under the drive through teller lanes. He said both the current and new systems, designed by Lankford Fendler and Associates, have life time warranties on the wells. Another benefit of the system is that it is very low maintenance.

So the next time you are looking for a cleaner energy source for your new home or office you may want to consider ground source heat pumps.


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