Education

An Opportunity – Want to know how to install Geothermal HVAC systems in the Northeast ?

This is not for everyone. You must posess a valid EPA refrigerant certificate, know and have hands-on experience in air conditioning and air distribution systems.

The following is an opportunity for the right persons or companies to be trained by Smart-Energy, with our 40 years of experience and a pioneer in today’s best HVAC option. With over 770 geo-thermal system installations since 1975, in Vermont, Massachusetts, and New York we can put you and your company in an enviable position.

Why are we doing this, training our own competition? We the owners of Smart-Energy aren’t getting any younger. We want to pass on this valuable, proven technology to HVAC companies who will carry-on and do the industry justice. Further, we want to continue to help slow global warming and the negative effects it is having on our earth and it’s inhabitants. That, and we want to get a reasonable return on investment. We started this hands-on in 2008, with our partners.

As you can tell from the our web site at www.smart-nrg.com geothermal is more than a job to me. In fact it has been my passion for over 40 years.

Since 2008, this leading edge technology has also shown itself to be very profitable. With our more than satisfied customer base and long track record we no longer have to compete with other HVAC technologies. It has also given us and our partners some excellent financial rewards.

So, why should you consider a new direction, and an investment, in your installation and service business ? I mean, after all you could learn geothermal technology and techniques from the manufacturers and supply houses, as you have done with many other products in the past. That way you could stay doing what you are now with very little investment and get into this exciting new market.

You haven’t got any time to waste, money to invest in failed geothermal installations, or the need to learn things “the hard way” with dissatisfied customers and your service techs doing call-backs for free. This is the HVAC technology of the forseeable future. If you don’t do geothermal installations in the next decade you could be doing only service work on the few existing fossil fuel systems, while others make the real profits.

The following list is only some of the reasons you may want to “invest in your future” with Smart-Energy’s 40+ year jump on the learning curve.

  • The ground portion or source of geothermal systems is a “regional” choice. What works in one region may be marginal or not work at all in others. This is extremely important as it is the “permanent fuel tank”, providing from 75 – 80% of today’s AHRI certified geothermal equipments energy.
  • Some methods have inherent mechanical and efficiency advantages over others. If you don’t know this you could be throwing away a 25 – 30% performance advantage for no reason.
  • It has come to our attention that an environmental unacceptable practice from some 30 years ago has been re-established and is currently being taught and implemented. This is the practice of installing vertical or horizontal closed loops with poly-plastic pipe and then filling them with METHANOL or other toxic solutions, to eliminate the possibility of the environmental alternative closed loop solution, Propylene-Glycol, from “slushing up” in extremely cold weather, creating excessive fluid pumping costs. Though the use of these toxic substances does make the closed loop function it is not acceptable to put this into our earth, in many cases in close proximity to drinking water wells, streams, and lakes. This is not acceptable, and must STOP !!
  • Closed loops are not “forever”. Has anyone ever heard of an earthquake? We do get them in the Northeast ! When an earthquake shears the closed loop, or loops, and dumps the anti- freeze solution in the aquifer, mixing it with ground water. If you, or your neighbors have a well for your drinking water that too could be effected. Then, you are “up the creek”. If you are lucky enough to be the first owner, have good plot plan records, and can find the affected loop next Summer you may be able to replace it, or them, and await the next quake.
  • If you happened to put your driveway, swimming pool, deck, addition, or any other structure over the location of the loops, better luck next time.
  • There are materials and ideologies still being taught by manufacturers and supply houses that can, and will, put your customers health at risk and your company under high liability. The technical best anti-freeze choice, METHANOL, for closed loops is not too friendly to humans. They don’t know, or worse yet, don’t care.
  • Without our experience and pioneering in developing new technologies proving what will and won’t work in the Northeast you can, and will, go through some rough years of unhappy customers, and very possibly, lawsuits. Most HVAC contractors that tried geothermal in the past gave up and joined the ranks of those that say “those don’t work in the Northeast”.
  • You will see information and receive flyers from organizations that want to teach you geothermal technology in a classroom. Try them if you wish, but you will soon see they too are teaching from books and manuals that do not always pertain to here. 40 years later they are still teaching technologies that will either have limited success, just plain won’t work here in our Northeast climate, or will put you and your company in legal and environmental jeopardy.

IGSHPA, the industry standard for North American geothermal is headquartered in the Southern “clay belt”, in Oklahoma. They can’t test our VSWC technology on the campus of OSU. All that can be tested there are horizontal and vertical closed loops. In that part of the country they do not need to use toxic METHANOL as they are predominantly cooling and not “slushing up” anti-freeze.

If you want to skip all of that aggravation and go right to the good part, this could be the opportunity for you.

  • You bid a project or job for making a good profit, as it should be. With you, your service techs, and installers having a good knowledge of the technology customers are demanding you will be in a good position in your marketing and service area. In fact, this knowledge will allow you to grow both your customer base and territory, should you desire to.
  • Potential customers won’t jerk you around on price. There are more customers who want geothermal HVAC systems designed and installed than qualified people to do it.
  • The demand for this technology is “tip of the iceberg”. The largest segment of our population is the “baby boomers”, people born from 1945 to 1955. I know as I’m one myself. As they approach retirement age they want to both reduce their pollution of our earth to and get control of their own personal energy costs. Some build new energy efficient homes, others tighten-up existing ones and replace fossil fuel systems with geothermal.

Why after 40 years in the solar and geothermal business why did we stop doing solar ? Time ! We did solar pool heating, domestic hot water, and photo-voltaics but stopped all of that to focus on geothermal only. The average building or homeowner spends from 60 – 70% of their energy costs on heating and cooling. That’s why!

With geothermal you get “the biggest bang for your buck”. Other renewable technologies only address a small percentage of the average person’s energy cost. Solar P/V is 5-10%, Solar DHW is 20%, Geothermal HVAC is 60-70%. We know, we have done all of these. Again, visit our web site at www.smart-nrg.com and look into both the commercial and residential economics. You will be amazed !

The days of cheap oil and gas are gone forever …
Invest in your future … not their fuel company !

Over the last 40+ years our small effort in reducing pollution and the waste of our natural resources has amounted to the equivalent not having to Drill, Transport, or Burn over 440,000 Barrels of oil ! … Think what You can do ! …

… This simple technology should be taught in every Northeast School Science Program …
So, if this interests you give us a call at, or email at. If not, no.

Harold Rist
Smart-Energy
(518)744-8220
herii@roadrunner.com
www.smart.nrg.com

A SIMPLE SCIENCE

Click Here to view a PDF of the Simple Science

REFRIGERATOR TECHNOLOGY

The most easily understood analogy I have ever heard of for a Northeast VSWC geothermal system is this:

  • Take two one pint glasses of well water ( aprox. 1 pound each ). If the water came up from the earth from at least 15 ft. deep it will be the earth’s temperature of 50’F.
  • That’s the key. The water has to be heated / or cooled by the earth. The water is not the heat source, or sink, but only the heat transfer medium.
  • Put one glass ( 1 pound ) of this 50’F water in the chill box of your refrig- erator. The refrigerant in the chill box is colder than the water and absorbs heat from it until the whole box comes to aprox. 40’F, having absorbed 10’F from the water. By the definition of a BTU ( see “a simple science…” ) 10 BTU’s has been absorbed from the water. As the refrigerator compressor is operating to cool down the water it compresses the refrigerant, raising it’s temperature in order to get it above the room temperature. This it has to do in order to dissipate this “waste heat” into your kitchen. When your refrigerator is operating you can feel the warm air blown at your feet.
  • Pump the other glass ( 1 pound ) of the 50’F water into what looks like a furnace in your basement. The same thing happens. When you need Heat the cold refrigerant absorbs 10 BTU’s from the well water, then returns it responsibly to the earth’s aquifer to be reheated to the 50’F. The compressor raises the temperature of it’s refrigerant by compressing the gas, much the same way an air compressor does. Whenever your thermostat calls for heat this hot refrigerant gas heats the air stream before sending it back to your home.
  • The key here is that of the total delivered Heat to your home over 70 % is energy that came from the 10 BTU / pound heat transfer with the well water, producing no hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, or carbon dioxide.
  • In Summer changing the thermostat to Cooling reverses the process. Now the 50’F well water absorbs 10’F from every pound of well water. The chilled air gets dehumidified, cooled, then delivered to your home whenever you need it.
  • It is obvious that 50’F is much more efficient at air conditioning than 90’F air, almost twice ac efficient.
  • The fact is that the operation of a geothermal HVAC system is much simpler than a fossil fuel furnace or boiler.

DIFFERENT THAN YOUR GRANDFATHER’S OLD HOT AIR FURNACE

Geothermal Warm / Cool air systems are not like your Grandfather’s “drafty old hot air” system.

Almost everyone remembers the olden days with hot air fossil fuel systems like this:

  1. You felt a chill all over between cycles, when all of a sudden the big beast in the cellar came on with a roar.
  2. Next the fan came on and very hot air came whistling out of all the supplies in the floor, blowing curtains around and chasing the cat down the hall……… then you were too warm.
  3. Then the furnace shut off with a clunk or bang and the curtains settled down for a few minutes. Sometimes the cat came back out from hiding.

Isn’t that pretty much what all of us remember from the olden days of fossil fuel gas and oil furnaces and “forced hot air” systems.

These furnaces moved a little air, very fast. Any space that needed heat had to get it quickly as the fan and supply system only moved about 2 air changes per hour. In effect it would change the air in each room that had a supply register every 1/2 hour. Unfortunately, it rarely ran as much as 30 minutes unless it was below Zero outside.

So, not only did the temperature fluctuate dramatically between “heat” cycles but the differences in temperature between rooms and areas of the home or building were dramatic.

Also, since the air was heated to such a high level it tended to “fry”all of the moisture out of it. Old hot air systems were also very dry in the Winter.

We all hated that, didn’t we.

Todays state of the art geothermal warm/cool air heating and air conditioning system is the furthest thing from that old dinosaur of a fossil fuel system.

Geothermal warm/cool air systems follow stringent Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) standards, insuring even temperatures, with little variation in room temperatures and no window curtain shaking and cat chasing high velocities.

ACCA standards for geothermal systems call for 3.5 – 4 air changes per hour, ( almost twice the old standard ) delivered at low velocities. This insures even temperature deliveries with no high velocity noises.

This does require better design and installation of duct distribution systems than the old hot air beast used to have.

A properly designed and installed geothermal warm/cool air system will make it’s owner extremely happy. It will deliver 3.5 – 4 air changes per hour, moving the conditioned air through every space that needs it every 15 minutes. This is for heating, cooling, dehumidifying, humidifying, or air purification.

Air supplies can come out of floors or ceilings and still give even comfort, do to the 4 air changes per hour delivered to every space. The supply register that best conditions the space is the one that is chosen in every application.

Distribution follows the “donut” principle. That is, supply the perimeter and return to the middle. That way every space that needs conditioning gets the proper air flow and there are no dead air spots like the kitchen, bathroom, or hallways. This calls for a minimum of air returns toward  the middle of the main floor. One is the optimum number, however sometimes due to the configuration of the home or building as many as 2 or 3 may be required.

Today’s geothermal warm/cool air systems can even be zoned to make areas with different characteristics have different control points. Good examples of these are bedrooms vs. living rooms, or the second floor of a home vs. the main floor.

It never made economic sense to over cool the first floor of a home to make the second comfortable in Summer and visa-versa for over heating the second floor to make the main floor comfortable in Winter.

We utilize Jackson Systems Zone Controls for the best balance of comfort, operating economy, and customer support. Click here for a PDF with more info, or visit them at www.jacksonsystems.com.

Since the air is not heated to a high level it is never “fried”, or dried out. Over time, as a new home or building dries out from the inherent moisture built into the construction materials it still may need humidity addition in Winter for a better comfort level. At that time central humidification can easily be added.

In some older and historic homes it is desired to maintain the period look. Though we do not install cast iron and brass floor supply registers we utilize standard sizes and you can purchase these at any future date and easily install yourself, replacing the beige stamped metal units we have installed. One good source is www.reggioregister.com. We do not, however recommend any units that restrict the air flow too much for a geothermal installation. In the past both the brass and cast iron units have worked well.

If you still don’t like “hot air systems” all we ask you to do is talk to some of our over 680 geothermal customers. Ask them how they like their warm/cool air geothermal systems. Many have had their systems over 20 years. Some are on their second home with one  of our systems.

The gist of this is that you will be comfortable, Summer, and Winter, and unless you put your hand right on a supply air register you won’t feel the air move to know how you got there.