Shine Energy Systems Inc. Company Blog

Shine Energy Systems Inc. Company Blog

Thursday, March 22, 2007

We've Moved!

...over to our host, so we won't be updating this site anymore.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Common Questions

These are the most common questions we are asked, followed by the most common complaints our industry faces (we are being honest and straightforward here):

  • Will it work where I live?
The short answer is Yes. Though if you lived on a houseboat or such it may be difficult...
  • How much will it cost?
This is difficult as it is like asking how much a car costs? Not that we don't want to tell you, but that there are many different types based on your needs. Remember, this includes both heating and cooling. Here is a brief idea (with all the appropriate caveats):
  • Vertical closed loop installation: $5-8,000 ton heating/cooling
  • Open loop/ horizontal closed-loop installation: $4-7,000 ton heating/cooling

  • How does it work?
There are lots of resources available on this. Please refer to the links page on our website: for some great resources (ie - impartial opinions).
  • Where can I get training?
There is a current push for Canadian regulations involving Canadian training through the Canadian GeoExchange Coalition. Previous training was under the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association.

  • What rules and regulations apply?
Building code permits are required for some of the work associated with geothermal (ducting, electrical, plumbing). Currently, in the City of Kamloops there are no permits required, but cities like Calgary have a geothermal permit requirement.


Note these are industry complaints and not complaints about Shine Energy.
  • Electricity bill is too high.
Heat pumps run off of electricity, so you would note a removal of your heating bill if you were previously gas and an increase in your electricity bill. In our design phase, we can show you what the overall savings will be. An improperly (oversized) designed system would not optimize pipe sizing/pumping requirements and could lead to the installation of unnecessarily large equipment that has larger power requirements than smaller, more efficient, equipment. Good design is required in these systems.
  • System doesn't keep our house warm.
This is almost always about poor design. Once the exterior loop is placed there is little that can be done in optimizing this and often what has been installed is not recorded or passed on as the house changes owners. I'm going to harp on GOOD DESIGN again. This includes heat loss/heat gain calculations and so on.

But don't be afraid to look at making sure your house is properly insulated. That is really the first step any homeowner should take before worrying about heating or cooling their house.
  • Equipment broke down.
Compressors can freeze, pumps can stop working, and so forth. The equipment we supply has an excellent warranty associated with it and more importantly, a good history of operation.
  • No contractor nearby.
Well, in the Interior of BC - that's where we come in.
  • Too many choices.
This means having to make decisions on open loop surface water, open loop groundwater, closed loop vertical, closed loop horizontal, and hybrid systems (solar/geothermal). To use the car analogy again - there are many choices. It is important your designer/installer work with you so a strong recommendation can be made that works best for you and your site.
  • Too many stories.
Some will say you must have a certain type of system or that you should never use a certain design. There really are a lot of stories, but keep in mind the persons experience and their motivation. There are many unbiased sources of information out there such as Natural Resources Canada.

One story you may hear when building a new home could come from your general contractor or developer. They may not encourage you to use GHPs. The reason; they are unfamiliar with these systems and very familiar with the conventional systems. Due to the nature of the business, they have a low risk tolerance and prefer to stick to their standard HVAC contractors. The contractors don't have time to learn about the GHPs. The important thing to remember, it is your home and your choice. Seek information elsewhere if you can't get it from them.

Friday, March 9, 2007

GeoExchange Conference

We just returned from the 2nd Biennial International GeoExchange and Conference and Trade Exhibition in Burnaby, BC.

Prior to that, we attended the Ground Source Heat Pump Design Workshop as taught by Steven Kavanaugh and Kevin Rafferty.

An excellent amount of quality information was available. Stay tuned as we digest through what we learned and post on line here.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Canada's ecoENERGY Efficiency Initiative

We've been getting quite a few calls lately about the Federal Government's grants for homeowners who install GHP's. Frankly, we are not sure of all the details at this point, and it doesn't look like the full details will be released until the program starts up in April 2007.

Some brief information is available here. This government press release does indicate that both new homes and retrofits will be included. It was released by the Office of Energy Efficiency.

In summary, the news looks good for homeowners, who want to look at improving the energy efficiency of their homes.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Air vs. Ground Heat Pumps

There are two common types of heat pumps used in home systems. The ground source heat pump (GSHPs) and the air source heat pumps. At Shine Energy, we work with ground source heat pumps, but we are often asked about air source heat pumps due to some confusion in differentiating the two. This is a brief description of the differences between the two systems.

For useful and a more detailed description of the two systems, Natural Resources Canada has a great booklet .

An air-source heat pump absorbs heat from the outdoor air in winter and rejects heat into outdoor air in summer. It is the most common type of heat pump found in Canadian homes at this time. However, ground-source (also called earth-energy, geothermal, geoexchange) heat pumps, which draw heat from the ground or ground water, are becoming more widely used, particularly in British Columbia, the Prairies and Central Canada. p.6

GSHPs have a relatively constant coefficient of performance (COP) due to constant ground(or water) temperatures; whereas, air source heat pumps have a COP that declines with decreasing air temperature. For example, on a cold winter day, an air source heat pump has a lower COP as it is more difficult for the system to draw "heat" from the air to supply to your home. The reverse is true for cooling on a hot summer day.

Unlike the outside air, the temperature of the ground remains fairly constant. As a result, the output of an (GSHP) varies little throughout the winter. Since the (GSHP's) output is relatively constant, it can be designed to meet almost all the space heating requirement – with enough capacity left to provide water heating as an "extra." p.31

On average, an (GSHP) will yield savings that are about 40 percent more than would be provided by an air-source heat pump. This is due to the fact that underground temperatures are higher in winter than air temperatures. As a result, an (GSHP) can provide more heat over the course of the winter than an air-source heat pump. p.37

In addition, GSHPs are quieter and have a longer expected life (20 to 25 years) than air source pumps since they are not outside where they are exposed to the elements.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Know your products

In the geothermal industry, it is not uncommon for a supplier to make a product that is then re-sold under the banner of another company. Simply asking your installer who makes the product, especially when it comes to heat pumps, will help ensure you know who all is responsible for your product warranty.

You also have the ability to do some background reading on your recommended heat pump. Most suppliers have all their supplied technical information available over the internet. Like buying a car, don't hesitate to do some background reading on your recommended system. If your installer does not leave you with operational procedures (or you buy a home with an existing system), you can print out a copy and leave near your system to help you remember recommended maintenance schedules, troubleshoot, and assist in efficient operation.