Geothermal Systems Curriculum

School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences

Accepting Applications for January 2020

Credential: Ontario College Graduate Certificate ( 2 semesters )
Classes begin:
January 06, 2020
Offered at:
Frost Campus
Program code:
Tuition & Ancillary Fees:
$3,836.43 per semester*
$8,857.28 per semester*
* Tuition and fees subject to change.
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Courses and Descriptions

Semester 1

MECH 343
Units/ Hours: 45

Installation of a geothermal heat exchanger (GHX) is central to construction of a closed-loop geothermal system. This course will describe the role of a GHX, types of GHXs (horizontal and vertical), and installation methods. Details on GHX materials, modes of failure during and after installation, effects of differential pressure, protection of GHX following installation, clearing of debris from GHX, and pressure and depth-testing techniques of GHX will be included. In-class instruction and hands-on skill training will be included for GHX insertion techniques including equipment requirements for the various GHX types. Grouting of GHX boreholes is a critical element to completion of a GHX. Details on the role of grout, types of grout, grout installation techniques, testing of grout properties, grouting quality, difficult ground condition issues, and risks associated with poor grouting practice will be included. Hands-on skills training will include grout mixing and grouting of boreholes using various grout mixes.

Units/ Hours: 60

This course is designed to broaden students' knowledge in geology and hydrogeology with respect to construction and thermal energy storage as related to the geothermal industry. Students will learn the fundamentals of private water supply wells, supply pumps and the operating characteristics of sewage disposal systems. Potable water and water purification systems will also be introduced as well as procedures to avoid water contamination. In addition, students will be introduced to the emerging fields of solar hot water, hydronic, and geothermal applications as they relate to the geothermal industry.

Units/ Hours: 60

This course covers appropriate drill rigs and techniques used to drill vertical and horizontal boreholes in overburden and rock conditions for geothermal open and closed loop installations. This course will be presented in both theoretical and applied learning situations with a strong emphasis on safety and efficient drilling practices. Students will gather, report on, and analyze borehole information to increase productivity and efficiency.

MECH 344
Units/ Hours: 56

This course will begin with a general overview of shallow geothermal systems, why the 2nd law of thermodynamics is applicable, and the basic concept and workings of a geothermal heat pump. Students will learn about the types of GSHP equipment, factors that affect energy balance between geothermal heat pumps and the ground loads and design criteria for equipment selection. Additionally, students will clearly learn the various design configurations of ground heat exchangers - vertical, horizontal, submerged, open surface and groundwater, standing column well, direct expansion and foundation / energy piles - the benefits and drawbacks of each. Overall geothermal heat pump design procedures will be examined including heating and cooling load calculation and the impact of interiative building energy modelling on source heat exchanger sizing. Students will learn about thermal response tests (TRTs) and how to accurately read and interpret TRT report datas.

MECH 345
Units/ Hours: 56

This course will include fusion welding procedures - socket, butt and electrofusion, flushing and purging procedures, pressure testing protocols and system documentation requirements. Students will learn about pipe types and materials, pipe thermal resistance, head loss, flow capacities/requirements, building penetration methods, interior pipe layouts, source pump sizing, site evaluation, header design, as-built drawings, antifreeze types & injection and system start-up & commissioning.

MECH 346
Units/ Hours: 60

This course provides students with a thorough understanding of hydronic heating system, water heaters and combination systems as it relates geothermal Installation, controls, service and maintenance used in the heating and cooling industry will be discussed. In addition, students will learn to apply renewable energy practices to the heating industry.

Semester 2

MECH 350
Units/ Hours: 60

Today's building construction process offers a dynamic combination of materials and methods for both residential and commercial applications. The integration of a geothermal system require that students be acquainted with the different technologies, and their impact on heating installations, in order to ensure that their installations can be cost-effective and lead to a high level of customer satisfaction. By employing the fundamentals of building science and design, students will learn how heating and cooling systems employ many different methods of heat application and transfer. A thorough understanding of heat and heat transfer is required in order to design and install heating systems that will meet the goal of efficiency, while providing the user with comfort and reliability.

COMM 205
Units/ Hours: 60

Students will learn to properly and accurately construct feasibility reports for clients that provide real-world guidance. Students will learn about project site investigations, analysis of any existing client supplied reports, applicable Codes & Standards, regulatory requirements and financial / economic models.

MECH 349
Units/ Hours: 45

In this course, students will learn the fundamentals of how geothermal systems have to be operated to achieve optimal performance. Students will learn how to achieve the most efficient transfer of thermal energy between a building and the earth, groundwater, or surface water. This will include the use of pumping equipment, flow controls, sequence of pump operation, monitoring devices, and the use of building automation systems. Students will learn how to achieve good balance between the annual heating and cooling energy loads and how to assess the long-term effects of unbalanced loads. This course will include an outline of routine maintenance and repair procedures for the mechanical components of geothermal systems, including circulation pumps, heat exchangers, heat pumps, flow controls, and monitoring equipment. Students will also learn the fundamental requirements of a detailed forensic analysis of operating geothermal systems. This comprehensive analysis will include both general and detailed troubleshooting guidelines.

MECH 351
Units/ Hours: 60

This course will include a brief overview of the development to date of geothermal energy systems. Students will learn how the use of geothermal energy has rapidly spread over the last half decade, from individual homes, to schools, places of worship, recreation centres, offices, industries, high-rise towers, and more. This course will then focus on future trends of geothermal systems across the continent and around the world.

MECH 347
Units/ Hours: 60

In the day of the 'smart home' and digital control of every aspect of one's life, controls take on a large part of insuring that the integrated geothermal heating and cooling system will work efficiently. This course provides students with the background and understanding to select and integrate the correct control and control strategies that will provide efficiency through the proper operation of the system. Major topics within this course are: Controls (geothermal, heating, cooling), Automation, and Control Wiring, and the integration of those controls to make the system whole.

MECH 348
Units/ Hours: 60

In this course students examine the function of mechanical and electrical systems in buildings as related to integrating geothermal systems. Students review major mechanical and electrical systems, their components and equipment, including sustainable technologies and innovative solutions to create high-performance buildings. M&E drawings and specifications are interpreted along with an overview of relevant codes, standards and emerging trends.