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Initial geological considerations before installing ground source heat pump systems

By Jon Busby, Melinda Lewis, Helen Reeves and Russell Lawley


The performance of an open- or closed-loop ground source heat pump system depends on local geological conditions. It is important that these are determined as accurately as possible when designing a system, to maximize efficiency and minimize installation costs. Factors that need to be considered are surface temperature, subsurface temperatures down to 100–200 m, thermal conductivities and diffusivities of the soil and rock layers, groundwater levels and flows, and aquifer properties. In addition, rock strength is a critical factor in determining the excavation or drilling method required at a site and the associated costs. The key to determining all of these factors is an accurate conceptual site-scale model of the ground conditions (soils, geology, thermogeology, engineering geology and hydrogeology). The British Geological Survey has used the modern digital geological mapping of the UK as a base onto which appropriate attributes can be assigned. As a result it is possible to generate regional maps of surface and subsurface temperatures, rock strength and depth to water. This information can be used by designers, planners and installers of ground source heat pump systems. The use of appropriate geological factors will assist in creating a system that meets the heating or cooling load of the building without unnecessary overengineering. \u

Topics: Earth Sciences
Publisher: Geological Society of London
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1144/1470-9236
OAI identifier: oai:nora.nerc.ac.uk:7964

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