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

YangMo anneaj at hotmail.com
Tue Dec 30 17:14:54 PST 2014

Thank you for answering my questions. That make sense. 
Ya'll have a nice holiday!
Mo Yang 
Date: Tue, 30 Dec 2014 14:40:47 -0800
Subject: Re: [Equest-users] Why Water Source Heat Pump is not considered as Renewable Energy in LEED rating system?
From: ncaton at catonenergy.com
To: vikram.sami at zgf.com
CC: nathanm at rushingco.com; equest-users at lists.onebuilding.org; anneaj at hotmail.com

IIRC,  the "intent" language for LEED's on-site renewable energy credit speaks specifically to rewarding/incentivising the generation of energy using sources other than fossil fuels (my own paraphrasing).  
Any medium of heat transfer (air, ground, evaporation...) can be coined "free,¡± but if the associated systems (however efficient) are ultimately largely powered by traditional fossil fuel sources / existing electric grid distribution, then the energy savings associated will be isolated to EAc1 credits.
Something like an extreme geothermal system drawing core heat from the earth would clearly pass that litmus test, as it could be directly reducing the net energy drawn from traditional, fossil fuel powered, energy infrastructure.
On Dec 30, 2014 10:42 AM, "Sami, Vikram" <vikram.sami at zgf.com> wrote:

I agree with Nathan (and the USGBC) on this one. I think that if you are using a true geothermal system (i.e. ¨C extracting heat from the earth¡¯s core),
 you could make a case for it being counted as a renewable energy system. However ¨C with a traditional ground source heat pump ¨C 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 ¨C like any other heat pump. 

Vikram Sami


Associate Partner



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 ¨C
Mechanical Engineer/Senior Energy Analyst
206-788-4577 |


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

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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