The www.geokiss.com website was originally created to assist ground source heat pump (a.k.a. geothermal heat pump) designers and installers in providing simple, long lasting, low energy and cost-effective systems. The updated version of the website is extended to the broader and larger heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) industry. The same methods used for the design and installation of dependable GSHP systems are the same as those for HVAC systems. The approach promotes simplicity and durability with non-proprietary controls and locally available generic components. Hopefully, the information in the website will help readers discern what is proven to be successful and cost effective and what is marketing of high cost systems with planned obsolescence.
The design tool software and publications available in the website are free. The software falls into three categories: HVAC design and analysis, GSHP design, and simple economic programs. These tools were developed for prior consulting activities and later included in two texts available from ASHRAE, HVAC Simplified (2006) and the Geothermal Heating and Cooling: Design of GSHP Systems (2014). All the software is accessible from the website except GshpCal,c the design program for ground, groundwater and lake water systems. It is also free (formerly $400) by request from firstname.lastname@example.org.
The publications provided in the website include previous editions of the newsletter Outside the Loop (OTL). The original series (Volumes 1, 2 and 3) was devoted primarily to GSHPs and funded by the Geothermal Heat Pump Consortium. The current edition (Volumes 5 and beyond) is devoted to both HVAC and GSHP topics and is self-funded (thanks to the Retirement System of Alabama and the Social Security Administration). ASHRAE permits ASHRAE Journal articles to be provided to interested readers by their authors at no cost. Some articles that were rejected by ASHRAE for publication are also available on the website. Additionally, several short articles, design tips, and research reports are also listed.
At this stage of my career my primary activity is teaching short courses in HVAC and GSHPs. My preference is to do this directly through a local organization. Rates and a listing of previous sessions are available on the website. A three-hour GSHP course is also taught through ASHRAE and a three-day HVAC course is provided by the ASME. An eight-session (75 minutes each) consumer information course, “Energy, the Environment and Your Wallet”, is offered to members of Osher Life Long Learning Institute (OLLI) in Tuscaloosa, AL. My secondary activity is GSHP design assistance. I prefer to do this prior construction but will assist in evaluating underperforming systems. Reduced rates are given to K-12 school projects and selected non-profit organizations.
The primary component of my HVAC and GSHP resume is length of time in the industry. This experience began 1960 (watching my father install a GSHP system in southeast Texas). I learned a lot from him, teachers at Lamar University and Oklahoma State University, University of Alabama students, friends and colleagues, co-workers at Habitat for Humanity, mistakes made, and successful projects. It has been enjoyable and a privilege to work in the HVAC/GSHP industry and the website is an attempt to share practices that have matured and improved. A copy of my resume is included on the website.
Finally, my consulting activity has allowed me to come in contact with many outstanding professionals but also some that not so good role models for engineers, architects, trade professionals, and construction managers. Within my own profession I must say there are some very good engineers in the industry but to the untrained eye they appear no different than mediocre ones. A good one can and should be able to provide portfolios of successful and cost effective installations with numbers (installation cost, energy use, maintenance records) and owner/occupant testimonials.
Steve Kavanaugh, email@example.com
Professor Emeritus (retired) of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Alabama.