More building owners are asking for geothermal heat pumps (GHPs) and other efficient heating-and-cooling alternatives, boosting demand for skilled workers who know how to assemble all the hydronic components. A union in Chicago has just begun to teach its workers formally on the ups and downs of GHPs. Instructors Paul Chapello (left) and William Wren use 4,000-gallon fish tank to keep geothermal installers in the loop. A nearby ground loop, partially exposed, also is tied into the system. Related Links: As More Buildings Go Geothermal, Project Teams Are Thinking Outside the Borehole Along Came a Spider� Editorial: More Straight Talk
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.