The Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg, MB is building an International Polar Bear Conservation Centre and the Journey to Churchill Polar Bear exhibit that will be opened to the public in 2014. The four buildings under construction for the exhibit (the Conservation Centre, Tundra Cafe, the Gateway to the Arctic Exhibit Building, and Aurora Borealis Theatre) are connected to a common GHX. The GHX design is unique in that it...
is actually comprised of two different GHX modules. To create the outdoor exhibit space for the bear enclosure a mound of earth up to 12' (4 m) in height was built. High density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe was laid in a 3' (1 m) excavation prior to building the earth mound to take advantage of the cover. This provided approximately 20% of the capacity of the GCHP system at very low cost to take advantage of the earth work. To provide the remainder of the heating and cooling capacity for the buildings, a horizontal directionally drilled GHX was built under the existing parking lot adjacent to the zoo.
Other unique features of the GCHP system for this project include:
Designing a GHX around proposed earth work can significantly reduce the cost of building a GHX for a project. This can eliminate a significant portion of the cost of building a GHX since the earth will be moved regardless. Modeling and planning the logistics of placing the pipe must be well coordinated with the entire design and construction team to facilitate the placement of the pipe without disrupting other work.
In my blog I'll be expressing my opinions about what I've the learned about ground coupled heat pump (GCHP) systems over the last 30 years. I've been very fortunate to work with many interesting people who are passionate about this technology...engineers, geologists, mechanical contractors, drillers, excavation contractors...in different parts of the world. I've learned a lot from them and will be using this forum to pass on some of the things I've learned and feel are important. Please feel free to use this information if you feel it's worthwhile...hopefully you can avoid some of the same mistakes I've learned from.