The Importance of Bi-National Industry Standard CSA 448 – Series 16

CaliforniaGeo 8-15-17

The U.S. Telegraphic Code

Codes and Standards have been around

 An Operational Roadmap-

The importance of recognized standards in every organized business or industry is the only way to ensure that outcomes fall into what we would refer to as norms, or acceptable performance.  Consistent results are what matters.  The U.S. Public Health Service Telegraphic Code of 1915, (shown at right), made the most of precise information, clearly transmitted in the shortest time when the medium was far less nimble than today.

The geo heat pump industry is relatively new, but to keep it expanding there must be consumer and regulator confidence in the quality of the work from those who design and install these systems.   

It's a three-way effort

Scrutiny by three credible institutions

Codes and standards have been around for a long time and are one of the few ways we can identify “best practices” that can be passed on through professionals associated with these projects.  There is no Anti-Trust risk when making ground source (or geo) heat pump installations the best they can be across all design/installing professionals.


Adherence to building codes yields confident consumers, happy building inspectors, and a level playing field for competing installers.  This also helps installers with materials orders, assignment of crews, and cost estimating.  Here is  TOC condensed CSA 448  .

Who Built It?

Rules apply to the field

Doing it “By the Book”

We even exchange with underground water

How a Standing Column Well works

The ANSI / CSA / IGSHPA  CSA 448 standard for commercial and residential ground source heat pump systems combines the efforts of 20 professionals from five provinces of Canada and 26 professionals from 18 states across the U.S.  The document stretches 211 pages and covers everything about  the installation of ground source (geo) heat pumps for every kind of terrestrial or liquid heat exchange method, every kind of thermal delivery system, and all the parts and pieces that unite the earth, the heat pump, and its building’s load.

This document is loaded with cross-references to  research and other standards within ASHRAE (The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers), CSA (The Canadian Standards Association), ANSI (The American National Standards Institute), IGSHPA (The International Ground Source Heat Pump Association) and NGWA (The National Ground Water Association).  It replaces 2002 and 2013 editions that were titled Design and Installation of Earth Energy Systems.

When this technology (also referred to as GeoExchange®) is properly installed, it will perform as intended.  Building owners will receive carbonless heating and cooling savings over conventional technology, electric utilities will experience a reduction in peak grid loads during summer cooling, and neighbors will no longer hear outdoor equipment and fans straining to provide cooling (or heating in the case of air-source heat pumps).

Good Installations for Best Performance-

high temperature performance loss

At high temps, geo heat pumps slaughter conventional technology

Proper installations will duplicate the test stand differences between ASHPs (air-sourced heat pumps) and GSHPs (ground-source heat pumps).  When air temperatures become extreme, the efficiency degradation gap grows between these two technologies because underground (or under water) heat exchangers reside in moderate temperature media.   

Getting the most out of every unit of electricity consumed remains an important matter.  Proper design and installation in keeping with the standards in this document will allow geothermal heat pumps to maintain their bestowed title as “the most efficient heating and cooling available,” a claim posted by the U.S. EPA over 25 years ago.

This code book is available in searchable (digital) format for download at $155 from its publisher, the Canadian Standards Group  It is also available to members of IGSHPA for $100 on the IGSHPA website.