Graduation Year

2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.S.C.E.

Degree Granting Department

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Major Professor

A. Gray Mullins, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Rajan Sen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Michael Stokes, Ph.D.

Keywords

heat pump, soil, air conditioning, energy

Abstract

With the heightened importance of green engineering in today’s society,

harnessing the Earth’s internal energy has become ever more important. Specifically, the

use of geothermal heat pumps as a means of heating and cooling homes and municipal

buildings is on the rise. However, due to the high cost of installation and limited amount

of research conducted, geothermal systems in the State of Florida have yet to meet their

potential as an alternative heating and cooling source. With Florida’s relatively constant

ground temperature of 72 °F, an above average temperature gradient for both heating and

cooling of indoor areas is provided. To this end, this thesis investigates different

geothermal systems and their ability to utilize ground energy storage.

To conduct this research, four different geothermal systems were installed and

monitored over a period of one year. Testing of the installed systems monitored not only

overall efficiency, but also the soils reaction to heightened energy input. Conclusions

and recommendations are made as general design parameters for vertical column

geothermal well systems in the state of Florida.

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