Australand trial innovative geothermal system in Sydney development28 September 2015
An innovative new approach to heating and cooling homes using geothermal energy is being trialed by homebuilder Australand at its newest development in western Sydney. QPS GeoAir systems are being installed in each house, which will dramatically reduce the amount of energy required for heating and cooling the property.
The full system, including ground loop, heat pump and fully ducted air conditioning, is being installed for each site, which could see residents save on average up to 60% in their annual energy costs compared to a standard air-conditioned home, based on equivalent house size and power usage. This equates to around $500 per year based on current electricity prices, according to Australand sources.
So, what is geothermal energy?
Geothermal energy is a type of renewable energy that can be used to directly heat and cool buildings, helping to reduce not only our greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprint, but also the everyday costs associated with warming or cooling a home.
Geothermal heating or cooling systems work by pumping water or refrigerant underground to a depth of between 40 to 80 metres and back up to the surface again. While underground, the refrigerant assumes the same temperature as the surrounding earth, which is much cooler than the air in summer and much warmer in winter.
In winter, a heat pump extracts the heat contained in the circulating fluid to heat the building while in summer, the system is reversed, with heat taken out of the building and transferred underground via the fluid.
The heating and cooling components inside the home are the same as in a standard ducted system.
The new technology has been tested for two years at Australand’s Lidcombe office, and will also be tested at one if its industrial warehouse developments, due to begin construction this month.
Australand believes that this scheduled QPS GeoAir system pilot is something that could have much broader applications across the industry. It is initially being trialed for the air conditioning of the office area of the warehouse, but the efficiencies it offers could be of enormous benefit for climate controlled warehousing facilities where cooling is required around the clock for large parts of the year as the cooling cycle is where the system achieves the largest efficiencies in terms of energy used.
In the brave new world of renewable energy, things are heating up!