North American Clean Energy recently released an article, “Exploring the Advantages of PEXa-based Geothermal Systems,” which mentions Arcadia University as being on the forefront of implementing this alternative to traditional geothermal piping systems.
It’s true that many installers are more familiar with and more comfortable using HDPE piping systems. HDPE offers a simplistic manufacturing process and is cost-effective. The PEX alternative is fairly new on the North American front, but is also proving quite promising and efficient.
In the recent construction of its University Commons student center, Philadelphia-area Arcadia University was encouraged to switch its geothermal ground-loop piping specifications from HDPE to PEXa. In all, forty-two 396-foot wells have been drilled to support the system, which is in its final stages of installation. Using a PEXa-based system for the first time, geothermal installing contractor Jake Kocher of Kocher Geothermal Services has noted some key advantages.
According to Kocher, “The PEX pipe is definitely more flexible than HDPE, and the fittings are very quick to make. Also, being able to isolate individual boreholes on the manifold is a great advantage. With HDPE we were connecting five or eight boreholes together, either in a circuit or in parallel. But with the way that the PEX system is designed, we have a lot more control in the initial balancing of the system, and will also have more control over its operation.