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The Plastics Pipe Institute Inc. (PPI) and International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA) announced Aug. 12 a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will advance the benefits that both organizations provide to the geothermal exchange industry. David Fink, president, PPI and Jeff Hammond, executive director IGSHPA, made the joint announcement virtually from their respective headquarters.
The purpose of the geothermal heat pump industry is to promote a sustainable and decarbonized future across the globe through the adoption of geothermal as the cleanest, most efficient heating and cooling technology.
Established in 1950, PPI is the non-profit North American trade association representing the plastic pipe industry and its members through research, education, technical expertise, and advocacy. Founded in 1987, IGSHPA is a non-profit, member-driven organization established to advance ground source heat pump (GSHP) technology on local, state, national, and international levels.
“For more than 70 years, PPI and our members have focused on the development of plastic pipes and fittings which are the vital connection to the earth and bodies of water for geothermal exchange systems,” Fink said “We have always sought ways to work with other like-minded groups to amplify the benefits to the industry. Our work with IGSHPA has been highly rewarding, and we are looking forward to doing even more.”
“This is a very exciting time in the ground source heat pump industry,” Hammond added. “In 2020, IGSHPA became an independent non-profit, no longer part of Oklahoma State University. We see utilities, building owners, governments, and many others recognizing that ground source (geothermal) systems are the best technical solution for reducing energy costs and carbon emissions for heating and cooling buildings. The geothermal industry needs sound technical leadership and guidance and IGSHPA is striving to meet those needs. The collaboration with PPI couldn’t have come at a better time.”
One of the key components of the MOU is technical development, where PPI and IGSHPA agree to foster technical cooperation by providing opportunities to participate in and comment on proposed standards, guidelines, policies, and position statements on technical subjects, encouraging members in each organization to collaborate on technical committees and task forces, and establishing liaison representatives to key technical committees.
Recognizing the important role that research plays in accelerating the transformation to a more sustainable built environment, PPI and IGSHPA also agree to identify and collaborate in the development of projects related to the design and construction of efficient and long-lasting piping systems for geothermal applications. They will also promote research in areas where results will add to the body of knowledge in conservating natural resources, increasing energy efficiencies and sustainability.
“PPI has enjoyed a close relationship with IGSHPA for a number of years,” stated Lance MacNevin, P. Eng., director of engineering for PPI's Building & Construction Division (BCD). “IGSHPA’s scope of work related to geothermal exchange systems is very much in line with PPI’s scope of work. Since becoming a member of IGSHPA in 2008, I have benefitted from the resources made available to their members and have seen how PPI’s input specifically related to plastic piping materials can assist IGSHPA members. Several PPI member firms are also members of IGSHPA.”
Part of PPI’s mission is to educate the geothermal industry about correct usage of plastic piping materials HDPE, PEX, PE-RT, and PP. “It is important that geothermal engineers have access to accurate information about these pipe materials. There are ideal applications for each of these materials, when utilized correctly,” MacNevin said. “The MOU with IGSHPA will help to accelerate our goal to deliver accurate and thorough information about these systems, so that the best pipe material can be selected for each application.”
MacNevin said that within his division, the Geothermal Steering Committee focuses on specific industry-related issues. “This group is dedicated just to the geothermal industry that includes helping to update standards and codes. Plus, it publishes documents about the use of plastic piping systems for geothermal applications, and serves as a technical resource for geothermal system designers, with regards to plastic piping technologies.”
Other areas addressed in the MOU include advocacy and publications. In addition to the recent MOU, each organization maintains official membership in the other.
“This Memorandum is certainly very exciting,” MacNevin said. “It clearly defines our goals, outlines the initiatives, and sums up the strong support structure of why and how we have forged this agreement. The collaborative work of IGSHPA and PPI members, based on their years of experience and knowledge, is intended to benefit the geothermal community and, ultimately, the public.”
“The wealth of knowledge contained in both of our organizations is second to none,” Hammond said. “So, we are looking forward to expanding our relationship with PPI to help increase the technical knowledge of the industry.”.