Analysis of Energy, Environmental and Life Cycle Cost Reduction Potential of Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP) in Hot and Humid Climate Geothermal Project

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Last modified on July 22, 2011.

Project Title Analysis of Energy, Environmental and Life Cycle Cost Reduction Potential of Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP) in Hot and Humid Climate
Project Type / Topic 1 Recovery Act – Geothermal Technologies Program: Ground Source Heat Pumps
Project Type / Topic 2 Topic Area 2: Data Gathering and Analysis
Project Description It has been widely recognized that the energy saving benefits of GSHP systems are best realized in the northern and central regions where heating needs are dominant or both heating and cooling loads are comparable. For hot and humid climate such as in the states of FL, LA, TX, southern AL, MS, GA, NC and SC, buildings have much larger cooling needs than heating needs. The Hybrid GSHP (HGSHP) systems therefore have been developed and installed in some locations of those states, which use additional heat sinks (such as cooling tower, domestic water heating systems) to reject excess heat. Despite the development of HGSHP the comprehensive analysis of their benefits and barriers for wide application has been limited and often yields non-conclusive results. In general, GSHP/HGSHP systems often have higher first costs than conventional systems making short-term economics unattractive. Addressing these technical and financial barriers call for additional evaluation of innovative utility programs, incentives and delivery approaches.

From scientific and technical point of view, the potential for wide applications of GSHP especially HGSHP in hot and humid climate is significant, especially towards building zero energy homes where the combined energy efficient GSHP and abundant solar energy production in hot climate can be an optimal solution. To address these challenges, Florida International University propose gathering and analyzing data on the costs and benefits of GSHP/HGSHP systems utilized in southern states using a representative sample of building applications.

State Florida
Objectives Provide a sound conclusion as whether or not ground source heat pumps/hybrid grounds source heat pumps (GSHP/HGSHP) will be a vital solution as one of energy efficiency building solutions and towards zero-energy buildings.
Awardees (Company / Institution) Florida International University
Legal Name of Awardee Florida International University Board of Trustees
Awardee Website
Partner 1 Florida Power and Lights
Partner 2 ClimateMaster, Inc
Partner 3 Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Funding Opportunity Announcement DE-FOA-0000116
DOE Funding Level (total award amount) $250,000.00
Awardee Cost Share $62,500.00
Total Project Cost $312,500.00

Principal Investigator(s) Y. Tao, Florida International University

Targets / Milestones - Gather and analyze independent and statistically valid technical, cost, financial incentive data on installed GSHP/HGSHP applications in residential, commercial and schools in hot and humid climate regions, and develop a calibrated baseline and performance period model of new construction and retrofitted buildings in conjunction with the EnergyPlus simulation program

- Develop a cost/benefit model and tool including life cycle cost (LCC) analysis of GSHP and HGSHP system based on data collected and correlate the data with identified parameters
- Present a comprehensive report outline the findings and recommendations addressing the goal of the project by providing the easy-to-follow guidelines

By accomplishing the above-stated three objectives the project will not only fill the gap of uncertainty of benefits and trade-off of the applications of GSHP/HGSHP systems in hot and humid climate but more importantly provide a complete, easy-to-follow tool for the prospective end user of GSHP to analyze system cost and utility cost saving for their specific applications and to aid in their purchase and design decisions.

Location of Project Miami, FL

Impacts Improve GHP loop design and sizing, potential to improve GHP reliability and performance with lower cost in hot/humid regions of the country.
Funding Source American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
References EERE Geothermal Technologies Programs[1]


  1. EERE Geothermal Technologies Programs