The Application of Ground-Source Heat Pumps with Waste Water Systems


Author: Steve Hamstra –

The use of waste water, both grey and black, as a heat source or sink is not a new concept. But, until recently, the availability of cost-effective, factory-constructed systems has been limited.

Now, with these new systems hitting the market, engineers have more options than ever for designing more sustainable facilities. One such way the marketplace is utilizing waste-water technology is through ground-source heat pumps.

However, many engineers may be hearing pushback when they suggest incorporating waste water into plans. Maybe you’ve heard or said it yourself: “We’ve never done this before.”

To combat the obstacle of pushback, engineers must outline the project goals to demonstrate good engineering concepts and application guidelines:

  • Understand the application of waste-water energy recovery systems for heating and cooling applications
  • Understand characteristics of unconventional water sources and their applications as the heat sink and heat source for ground-source heat pump operations
  • Recognize the capital cost requirements to effectively implement heat recovery from unconventional energy sources
  • Understand the importance of performing a thorough site investigation of the project location to assess the site limitations and unique features

Case Study: Grey Water Energy Recovery

Project Type: Retrofit of laundry area for 350-room hotel
Project Location: Alberta, Canada
Project Size: 6,000 gallons of hot water/day
Average Run Time: 10.7 hours/day
Average Output: 1.28 million BTU/day or 375 kWH/day or 1,700 gallons (50° to 140°F)
Average Performance: 4.71 COP
Peak Performance: 8.77 COP
Estimated Annual Savings: $40k/year

Laundry facility utilizing ground-source heat pumps with waste water

Learn More about Ground-Source Heat Pumps + Waste Water Systems

Steve Hamstra of Melink’s Solar & Geo team will present more on the application of ground-source heat pumps with waste water systems at the ASHRAE Conference, prior to the AHR Expo (Feb. 3-5, 2020, in Orlando, FL). If you’ll be there, we invite you to schedule a meet-and-greet with the Melink team to discuss geothermal solutions for your business.

Melink Corporation provides turnkey management of geothermal projects for architects, engineers, ESCOs, and building owners, as well as consulting services for architects and engineering firms.

Authored By: Steve Hamstra

Steve Hamstra is the Senior Vice President of Engineering for Melink Solar & Geo. He holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan State University and has more than 40 years of experience in the geothermal industry. The majority of Steve’s career was spent building an architect and engineering firm in Holland, Michigan, where he worked on his first geothermal commercial project in 1985. During a brief leave of absence in the design world, Steve served as CEO/CTO of Greensleeves LLC, a geothermal design and control software company. While there, he received an ASHRAE Global First Place Award for the engineering design of the geothermal HVAC system at the University of Findlay. He was also successful in getting two geothermal-related technology aspects patented. Throughout Steve’s career, he has contributed to many trade publications and conferences, including those held by ASHRAE, IGSHPA, and the U.S. Department of Energy. He is currently Vice Chair of ASHRAE Technical Committee 6.8 Ground Source Heat Pumps and a member of IGSHPA’s Research Committee. His work has gotten him named Energy Engineer of The Year in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin, as well as an AEE Fellow for lifetime achievement in the energy industry by the Association of Energy Engineers.

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