Facility Expansion Opts for HDD Geothermal Loop Installation

July 2012, Vol. 67, No. 7

Founded in 1987, Hinrichsen Heating and Air Conditioning is one of the leading geothermal HVAC contractors in the nation. The company installed its first geothermal system in 1998 and has since installed more than 1,500 units. Company President Bruce Hinrichsen shared a few of the specification highlights about the system installed for the new Vermeer Midwest building.

“We specified six, 6-ton units for the new Vermeer Midwest facility,” Hinrichsen says. “We’re projecting operational costs for the system at approximately $2,100 annually, compared to $11,000 per year had we installed a high-efficiency natural gas HVAC system, so the savings will be tremendous. The comfort level within the areas of the building affected will also be maximized, thanks to the two, two-speed DC motor compressors.”

Land Services Incorporated (LSI) of Port Byron, IL, was hired as the loop field installation contractor. LSI was founded by brothers Tom and Mike Bussert in 1995, both having worked for a pipeline contractor for several years before venturing out on their own. The company’s primary focus is horizontal directional drilling (HDD) work, mostly within a five-state Midwestern geography. The company has completed a variety of different types of jobs, ranging from fiber to larger-diameter pipeline bores.

“We got started installing geothermal loop systems sort of by accident,” Tom explains. “About 10 years ago, we started getting calls from geothermal system installers that were way ahead of the curve, asking if we could install these horizontal lines that were close to each other, approximately 15 feet deep. We didn’t even know what it was that we were installing at the time but as it became more popular and feasible to do, we jumped in the market because we had the equipment.”

Profitable niche
While installing geothermal systems would not be considered the core of LSI’s business, the 20-plus installations completed by the company annually have been a nice addition.

“We consider geothermal a very lucrative, emerging market for us,” Bussert says. “As acceptance of geothermal increases and more people become aware of the immediate cost savings in monthly utility expenses and long-range payback, the sky’s the limit. Right now, I think much of the initial reluctance is related to up-front costs and not the long-range benefit, including the environmental advantages.”