[Equest-users] Why Water Source Heat Pump is not considered as Renewable Energy in LEED rating system?

Sami, Vikram vikram.sami at zgf.com
Tue Dec 30 10:42:20 PST 2014

I agree with Nathan (and the USGBC) on this one. I think that if you are using a true geothermal system (i.e. - extracting heat from the earth's core), you could make a case for it being counted as a renewable energy system. However - with a traditional ground source heat pump - the ground is not a source of renewable energy, but really a heat sink that allows for you to be more efficient in your heat exchange. The system still uses energy - like any other heat pump.

Vikram Sami
Associate Partner

T 206.521.3509 E vikram.sami at zgf.com
925 Fourth Avenue, Suite 2400
Seattle, WA 98104

From: Equest-users [mailto:equest-users-bounces at lists.onebuilding.org] On Behalf Of Nathan Miller
Sent: Tuesday, December 30, 2014 5:16 AM
To: YangMo; equest-users at lists.onebuilding.org
Subject: Re: [Equest-users] Why Water Source Heat Pump is not considered as Renewable Energy in LEED rating system?

I would suggest that a ground-source heat pump is not fundamentally any different than an air-source heat pump (you could just as easily say a traditional heat pump extracts free heat from the air). Both use electricity to run compressors/refrigeration cycles to accept or reject heat to the ambient environment. It just so happens that ground-source heat pumps utilize a heat sink/source that is much more moderate in temperature year-round and thus realize higher efficiencies. At least in my mind that makes the GSHP a high-efficiency options, and certainly commendable, but not inherently renewable energy.

That is my best guess at the rationale. It certainly gets a bit fuzzy, especially if you start talking about taking advantage of true geothermal energy (that is high-temperature geologic features, not just stable ground temps).

Nathan Miller, PE, LEED AP BD+C - Mechanical Engineer/Senior Energy Analyst
RUSHING | D 206-788-4577 | O 206-285-7100

From: Equest-users [mailto:equest-users-bounces at lists.onebuilding.org] On Behalf Of YangMo
Sent: Monday, December 29, 2014 10:15 PM
To: equest-users at lists.onebuilding.org<mailto:equest-users at lists.onebuilding.org>
Subject: [Equest-users] Why Water Source Heat Pump is not considered as Renewable Energy in LEED rating system?

Hi all,

This question is not about eQUEST, but since in this group a lot of people are working for LEED consultant projects, I think it is a good place to ask this question. I have been working in U.S. for a lot of years and just came back to China recently. In China ground source heat pump and water source heat pump systems are very very popular, and they are considered as renewable energy, since they use free heat from the soil and water. But in LEED rating system, heat pump is not considered as renewable energy. Why? Is it because those system has side effect to the environment?

Mo Yang

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