Sunken Geothermal Solution Keeps Hideout Cool

The Hemi Hideout, an event venue located seven miles outside of Houston, boasts more than an impressive collection of 24 muscle cars from the 1960s and ‘70s, but also features a complex, energy efficient geothermal heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system. Construction managers called on KCI (then Redding Linden Burr) to design the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems as well as evaluate geothermal alternatives for this interactive tribute to all things Mopar.

The heavy timber frame of this 21,700-square-foot facility used Amish-inspired construction techniques to eliminate the need for glue, nails and bolts.

A pond loop design was chosen after considering all the project’s needs including on-site fire protection required by the rural location. Plans called for construction of a 4.5-acre pond, into which an 85-ton geothermal plate heat exchanger was immersed. Four-inch lines supply and return transferred heat from the exchanger to smaller pipes, which circle and then branch off to penetrate the building. Seven small mechanical rooms control outside air treatment, while eliminating the need for exposed duct work.

With a total project cost of $4 million, long-term savings were important to building owner John Hovas, who can expect an eight-to-10-year return on investment on the energy efficient design.