Geothermal Codes and Standards

Standardization has always been the hallmark of American way of life and its position as a global leader in achieving protection of public health, safety and welfare. This has been true in every industry and the geothermal industry is no different. This piece will highlight the best practices, standards and codes that have been developed over the years by this ‘relatively nascent’ industry.

The International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA), has led the way in design and installation standards for closed loop geothermal heat pump systems. Over the years, this volunteer group of industry experts have perfected design guidelines, pipe and joining methods, flushing, flow testing and antifreeze selection. Their latest version also addresses source water piping, water quality and treatment.

Another industry standard that has gone through the ANSI process is the new ANSI/CSA/IGSHPA C448 Series-16 Bi-National standard that covers five different types of heat exchangers including horizontal, surface water and open loop systems. This is the first edition of the bi-national series and covers both residential and commercial geothermal systems.

As far as codes and its application is concerned, the geothermal industry has effectively been a subset of the hydronics industry. Both the International Mechanical Code and Uniform Mechanical code have addressed it, but only in bits and pieces. The first comprehensive code was launched just last month (August 2018) by International Officials of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) and is called the Uniform Solar, Hydronics and Geothermal Code (USHGC). This code includes systems where equipment and components collect, convey, store, and convert the sun’s energy and geothermal for a purpose including but not limited to service water heating, pool water heating, space heating and cooling and electrical service. This will serve as a great reference document for Authorities Having Jurisdiction over the installation of geothermal systems.

We at Melink take pride in our membership with various industry associations including IGSHPA and IAPMO and are honored to be contributing members of these groups. We also ensure all our design and installs adhere to the above standards and applicable codes.

It all fits in our vision to drive the industry by ‘innovating without reinventing’.