Geothermal Case Study: ALDI Grocery Store

ALDI Farmington, NY

ALDI Farmington, NY

ALDI has a less-is-more approach to grocery retailing, and everything they do, from selecting suppliers to scouting locations to building and operating stores, facilitates savings substantial enough to impact the every-day living of its customers.

Geothermal heating and cooling is a natural fit for ALDI, and Eagle Mountain worked with ALDI to design and install a geothermal heating and cooling system for its location in Farmington, NY.

ALDI, Eagle Mountain, and APD Engineering & Architecture collaborated to design and implement a geothermal heating and cooling system with an anticipated payback period of 7.3 years.  The Farmington, NY location is ALDI’s first store with geothermal, and this project will be used as a case study for future implementation of geothermal heating and cooling technology.

Geothermal System — Ground Loop

The Farmington, NY site utilizes 3 horizontal slinky geothermal loopfields. The loopfields are 132 feet long and vary in width based on the number of loops.  Two 8-loop fields are located under the parking lot and a smaller 2-loop field is located behind the store in a grassed area.  Redundant circulators can be seen in the following photo:

Loopfield Pump Panel

Loopfield Pump Panel

Geothermal System – Heat Pumps

The geothermal system operates with two 12 ton and one 4 ton horizontal water-to-air Geomax geothermal heat pumps suspended from the ceiling.  A custom designed hydronic pump panel connects the two 12 ton units to the loopfield, and a standard pump pack supplies the smaller 4 ton heat pump.  Hot and cool air is distributed through ducting.

GEOMAX Geothermal Heat Pump

GEOMAX Geothermal Heat Pump

Ducting at Aldi Grocery

Ducting at Aldi Grocery

Geothermal System – Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV)

The ALDI store uses 2 Fantech Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRV) to increase operational efficiency of the geothermal HVAC system.  HRV units exchange heat between intake and exhaust air, avoiding wasted energy from exhausting conditioned air.

Fantech HRV

Fantech HRV

About ALDI

ALDI entered the U.S. market in 1976, with a handful of stores in southeastern Iowa. Now, over 1,000 U.S. ALDI stores are spreading the savings from Kansas to the East Coast. In its 2008 report, Supermarket News ranked ALDI 25th in U.S. grocery chains in terms of gross sales—a considerable accomplishment given their select assortment and low prices.

Project Overview:

Customer: ALDI

Location: Farmington, NY

Project: Geothermal HVAC system with water-to-air heat pumps.


Installer: Geocorp

Concrete Slab Radiant Heating — 1/2″ BPEX 12″ Spacing

Radiant heating is a popular and highly recommended method to heat a concrete slab.  RADIANTMAX radiant heating systems use ½ inch BPEX radiant tubing with a spacing of 12” on center, with a maximum 300 foot loop length.

Why do we use ½” BPEX for Concrete Slab Systems?

A concrete slab is a great conductor of heat energy, and therefore an important thermal mass for radiant heating.  Concrete slabs efficiently store heat energy and release it slowly over time.  Since a concrete slab is efficient at storing heat, a 12” spacing is optimal, and anything closer is unnecessary.

Thermal mass also dictates the required tubing diameter.  ½” BPEX is recommended to heat a concrete slab with low temperature radiant heating.  Since concrete has a limit of the heat it can absorb in a given time, a larger diameter tube will not provide any benefits.

Solar Gain Affects Radiant Tubing Diameter and PEX Spacing

½ inch BPEX is used for indoor concrete slab radiant systems.  Snowmelt radiant systems  use ½ inch BPEX with a 6” spacing to accommodate for the high heat loss. All homes have some passive solar capabilities, and this is taken into consideration with the specification of ½ BPEX spaced 12” on center.

Different types of construction will allow for greater solar gain.  The best type of construction to maximize solar gain is Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) construction.  Eagle Mountain’s Center for Green Technology is build with ICF construction and benefits from significant passive solar gain during winter months.

The thermal mass properties of concrete offer benefits when used in all building components.  ICF walls absorb heat during the day and release it slowly throughout cold nights.  Concrete slabs retain heat for a longer period of time than any other material.

Reasons to Avoid Large Diameter Radiant Tubing

Large diameter radiant tubing requires a more powerful circulator in order to achieve the turbulent flow required for efficient heat transfer.   Bigger is NOT better when specifying tubing for a radiant heating system.  A larger circulator will increase the size and cost of your radiant system, without quantifiable benefits.

Concrete Slab Radiant Heating — 1/2″ BPEX  12″ Spacing

RADIANTMAX concrete slab systems use ½” BPEX with 12” spacing and are available as turn-key radiant slab packages for DIY installers.  Eagle Mountain supplies Insul-Tarp concrete slab insulation as part of its RADIANTMAX radiant heating systems.

Geothermal Case Study: Red Tail Ridge

Red Tail Ridge

Red Tail Ridge

Customer: Geocorp

Location: Penn Yan, NY

Project: Red Tail Ridge Winery: HVAC and Wine Process Cooling with: Geothermal, Radiant, HRV, Energy Management


Red Tail Ridge is a Finger Lakes winery using an Eagle Mountain geothermal system for HVAC and process cooling.

An industry leader in sustainability and innovation, the new facility at Red Tail Ridge will be LEED certified and delivers a 40.1% total energy savings.  The system components include geothermal, radiant heating, heat recovery ventilation, and Ecô energy management.

System Background

The system design calls for a 20-ton closed-loop geothermal heat pump system to heat and cool the building, and to provide chilled water for process cooling. The system consists of four (4) 5-ton Cascade water-to-water heat pumps, a horizontal closed-loop “GeoSlinky” ground loop heat exchanger, and a custom Hydronic Control Panel.

Geothermal Heat Pumps

Two geothermal heat pumps are dedicated to space heating and cooling. Radiant floor heating is installed in the process, case and barrel storage, and bottling areas. A fan coil unit provides for cooling and heating loads in the laboratory located on the mezzanine level.

The other two water-to-water heat pumps generate chilled propylene glycol to meet the process cooling requirements of winemaking.

Horizontal Slinky Loop

The horizontal slinky loop consists of eight trenches, each 130 feet long with 4 feet spacing between each trench. The slinky coil is 34- inches in diameter with 18-inches of pitch. A propylene glycol solution is circulated through the ground loop heat exchanger and the water-source heat pumps by a variable flow/variable speed loop pumping system.

Heat Recovery Ventilation

Ventilation air will be introduced into the building through a heat recovery ventilator (HRV). The HRV includes a flat plate heat exchanger that transfers energy between building exhaust and outdoor air streams.

Control System

The entire HVAC system including wine process cooling is controlled by Eagle Mountain’s Ecô energy management system.  This “virtual control device” replaces all hardware control devices and is accessible from any Internet connection in the world.

The Ecô energy management system has additional benefits for Winemakers.  This browser-based system allows the Winemaker to control and monitor the winemaking process remotely. Ecô provides Winemakers an innovative alternative to manual operation of the Winemaking process.

Click to learn more about The Ecô energy management system.

Design & Installation

Eagle Mountain specified the system design, integrated and supplied all components, and provided consulting services for the application of geothermal technologies for LEED certification.

Geocorp, an alternative energy installer located in Western New York, installed the system at Red Tail Ridge.

Hydronic Snow Melt Systems: Say Goodbye to Shovels

Source: Birdman

Source: Birdman

Will your hydronic snow melt system be ready when winter comes and the snow starts to fall? There is an alternative to constant shoveling and de-icing.

Some homeowners and businesses are keeping their concrete driveways and other exterior walkways maintenance-free by installing ice and snow melt systems.

Not only do these in-slab hydronic snowmelt systems eliminate plowing, backbreaking shoveling, and icy spills, they prevent potential damage to the concrete caused by snow-removal equipment and corrosive de-icers.

How Snow Melt Systems Work

The heat element is either hydronic tubing or electric wires. This heat element is embedded in concrete to transfer its heat energy to the slab.

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Process to change Geothermal from Heating to Cooling

Jason Murphy

Jason Murphy

Geothermal systems provide both heating and cooling.

If you have a forced-air geothermal system using a water-to-air geothermal heat pump, simply change your thermostats from heating to cooling mode, and you are done. Forced-air geothermal systems are the easiest to change from heating to cooling mode.

Cooling with Hydronic Geothermal Heat Pumps

If you have a radiant heating system, your hydronic geothermal heat pump provides cooling via high-velocity or low-velocity air handlers.

Step 1: Locate your Hydronic Control Panel

If you have a hydronic system, the first step is to locate your hyrdonic control panel in the mechanical room.  You control panel will look like this:

Hydronic Control Panel

Hydronic Control Panel

Step 2: Determine if you have 1 or 2 Tekmar Controls

The device that tells your heat pump to make either hot or cold water is a Tekmar 152 two stage setpoint control.  Your control panel will either have one or two Tekmar controls.

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Hardwood Flooring Installation Tips

Boug Mossbrook

Doug Mossbrook

Are you installing hardwood flooring with a radiant heating system?  Here is the advice of Doug Mossbrook, President/CEO of Eagle Mountain:

I recommend using a glue down. I would use an unfinished quarter sawn oak, and I would glue it down using Bostik glue and sand and finish it in place. Either Bostik’s Best or TKO if you want no VOC’s.

It’s what I used in my house and I was gluing Brazilian cherry which moves more than oak. You lay glue in the area that you can cover in about an hour. Tack the first boards in the 6″ space along the wall with nails but leave them exposed to pull out later.Use 1/2″ blocks along the wall to leave an expansion space that will be covered by your 3/4″ shoe molding, and to give you something to push against.

There isn’t any tubing in the 6″ space along the wall of a room so you don’t need to worry about hitting a nail. Then lay your boards and as you slide the T+G together, some of the glue gets in the joint and will bond the wood together. Use a scrap piece as a block and use a hammer to drive the warped ones tight.

Once you have laid the section, use blocking and shims against the opposite walls or flooring strap clamps that you can use to clamp the floor section together while it dries. Once the glue sets you can do the next section. The Bostik glue is elastomeric which makes it very flexible.

The floor can expand and contract as it needs to. You should let the wood acclimatize in the house for a couple weeks before you do the project. This lets the wood equalize it’s moisture content to the surrounding materials. That way it can expand at the same rate when the humidity and temperature changes.

As far as the finish – use only Street Shoe by Basic Coatings. You have to use a certified finisher. He comes and sands and finishes the floor and can fix your other floors at the same time.

If you have any additional questions, give us a call at 1-800-572-7831.

-Doug Mossbrook

Geothermal Heat Pumps and Generator Sizing

Dan Frawley

Dan Frawley

Geothermal heat pumps require more power during start up than while running.  In order to choose a backup generator, you need to calculate the starting wattage of the heat pump plus the running wattage of all other electrical components.

Be Aware of Locked Rotor Amperage

Many customers with geothermal systems also need backup generators due to remote locations or frequent power failures.  Locked Rotor Amperage refers to the current required to start the heat pump from rest, and is much larger than the current required for operation.  Unfortunately, you will need to purchase a larger backup generator.
Calculate Load / Select Generator

The most important piece of information you need to know is how much electrical power you will need for your specific situation because nothing will be as disappointing as purchasing an underpowered generator. You need to determine all the electrical devices you plan on running with the generator.

Most small electrical appliances run on 120 volts but there are larger appliances, such as a geothermal heat pump, that run on 240 volts.  It is important to note that if you need to run any 240volt devices you need to get a generator that is capable of 240-volt output.

The next step is determining the power requirement of your appliances in watts.  This can be fairly easy as most devices are described by their wattage; in the case of light bulbs the wattage is printed on the bulb itself.  If the device doesn’t provide a wattage requirement, you can determine watts by multiplying volts times amps.

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Geothermal Radiant Heating Systems

Dan Frawley

Dan Frawley

Lessons Learned by Dan Frawley

Eagle Mountain is an alternative energy integrator. In plain and simple terms we are experts at combining multiple systems together. A prime example of this is pairing a geothermal heating system with radiant heat delivery. This type of system is something that we get inquiries about all the time.

Most people are under the impression that you cannot combine these two types of systems. They think that because a geothermal system is a low temperature heat source, radiant would not be a viable heat delivery method.

Those people would be wrong.

Geothermal heating with radiant is a great way to heat your home. You get all the benefits of radiant heat combined with all the benefits of Geothermal. The most common implementation of geothermal radiant heat systems is in a new build, but it is fairly common to have inquiries in regards to retrofits. Retrofitting geothermal with radiant poses its own set of issues and there are some common misconceptions that go along with that.

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Geothermal Tax Credit Explained

Jason Murphy

Jason Murphy

A geothermal tax credit of 30% of the total system price is available for systems using qualified geothermal heat pumps.

In October 2008, geothermal heat pumps were added to section 25D of the Internal Revenue Code. This created a 30% federal geothermal tax credit for costs associated with qualified geothermal equipment “placed in service” through the end of 2016.

Equipment is usually considered to be placed into service when installation is complete and equipment is ready for use, or for new construction, when the owner takes residence.

Geothermal Tax Credit Overview

• 30% of total system cost
• No limit to credit amount for 2009 and beyond
• Can be used to offset AMT tax
• Can be used in more than one year
• Can be combined with solar and wind tax credits
• Can be combined with energy efficiency upgrade credits

What’s Eligible?

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Prefabricated Radiant Heat Subfloor vs. Radiantmax Overfloor

Dan Frawley

Dan Frawley

If you have unlimited time and money, prefabricated systems are a great solution.  However, if you are a do-it-yourselfer who wants an affordable and easy to install radiant system, then you will benefit from Radiantmax’s overfloor radiant system.

Keep reading to learn why.

Our overfloor packages are designed to be installed between the subfloor and the final flooring material.  Our package consists of Radiantmax bpex, aluminum heat transfer plates, and 5/8” thick furring strips that you would provide yourself.

One of the most popular radiant overfloor systems on the market today is an expensive prefabricated radiant heat subfloor.  This is a great product that offers similar efficiencies to the Radiantmax system. They both consist of similar materials but the prefabricated subfloor comes with the aluminum heat transfer material already installed.

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