Princeton University

School of Engineering & Applied Science

Ground Source Heat Pumps

Professor Robert H. Harris, Visiting Lecturer in Civil and Environmental Engineering
Friend Center 109
Tuesday, April 1, 2014 - 7:30pm

Geothermal energy is derived from the natural heat of the earth. It exists in both high enthalpy (volcanoes, geysers) and low enthalpy forms (heat stored in rocks in the Earth’s crust). Nearly all heating and cooling applications utilize low enthalpy heat, called ground source heat. This discussion will focus on the application of ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) in residential and commercial buildings, which use 30-60% less energy than traditional heating and cooling systems and could potentially reduce U.S. residential energy use by 3 Quadrillion Btu (~3 % of total U.S. energy use). However, a major impediment to greater use of GSHPs is the relatively high cost of the subsurface heat exchangers compared to the lifecycle costs of the electrical energy used to power the heat pumps.
For preparation please read Phetteplace 2007.