Guelph, Ontario [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] Selectpower designed and installed a geothermal energy system to provide 100% heating and cooling for Guelph Hydro Electric Systems’s (GHESI) newly expanded headquarters, which is scheduled for occupation in April 2006. The system uses a series of buried loops to capture geothermal energy to heat and cool the rooms inside the 36,426 square foot building addition. GHESI’s existing 67,000 square foot facility has used a similar system since 1995.Selectpower’s geothermal system uses a combination of vertical and horizontal loops on the site. A water solution circulates through the loops and absorbs heat from under the ground, and delivers it to the geothermal reversible heat exchangers in the building. The system compresses the temperature of the water solution in the loops, and uses that heat to warm the rooms inside of the building. In the summer, the system is reversed; the heat from inside the building is deposited back to the ground by the loops. “We’ve completely eliminated their natural gas bill,” said Leslie Thomas, Selectpower Energy Services Manager. “That will save about $50,000 annually. The building will be comfortable and use about 500,000 kilowatt hours less energy each year than a building with a traditional natural gas heating and electric air conditioning system.” The initial cost of the new geothermal system is higher than a traditional heating and cooling system, but it is estimated that the energy savings cover the higher cost in just five years. Annual operating costs will be substantially lower than those of a traditional system, and GHESI won’t have to worry about future natural gas rates. Electricity consumption is also lower than that of a traditional system, which contributes to the provincial government’s mandate to alleviate the province’s electricity supply constraint. “Using geothermal energy instead of natural gas heating and electrical air conditioning reduces the greenhouse gas emissions that would be produced by the building by over 168 tons of carbon dioxide per year,” adds Thomas. “So, the ecological impact or ‘footprint’ of the building is also reduced.” Selectpower, an affiliate of Guelph Hydro Inc., offers Energy-Smart Solutions including energy assessments; Energy-Star rated heating and air conditioning; wind, solar and geothermal solutions; energy-saving lighting and more.