Centennial Plastics Inc. is the first company to earn certification that its CenFuse geothermal pipes meet minimum performance and safety standards set for polyethylene pipe and fittings for water-based ground-source heat-pump systems.
The CenFuse geothermal pipes were certified by NSF International, an independent global organization that writes standards, and tests and certifies products for the water, food, health-sciences and consumer-goods markets.
The certification provides engineers, distributors and contractors assurance that not only the pipe but the entire ground-loop heat exchanger meet safety and quality levels, according to David Schnase, vice president of sales and marketing for the company in Hastings, Neb.
"Centennial is also the first manufacturer to earn the NSF certification to NSF/ANSI Standard 358-1," Schnase said in a statement. Ann Arbor, Mich.-based NSF confirmed the certification in an Aug. 20 news release.
CenFuse pipes are used in geothermal systems that heat or cool buildings by moving heat, rather than by creating heat like conventional furnaces. Geothermal systems can produce desired temperature by relying on underground temperatures, which remain relatively constant year round. This allows the systems to reach fairly high efficiencies.
Although buying and installing geothermal piping systems can be expensive, they can lower operating costs and environmental impact in residential and commercial buildings. The International Ground Source Heat Pump Association said geothermal heating systems can reduce energy consumption by 20-50 percent and last up to 50 years.
Industry insiders said the new standard brings geothermal systems overall a step closer to consistency regardless of where a home or business is located. Depending on latitude, ground temperatures range from 45°-75° F and customers want to know that loops installed in the hot Southwest perform the same as the cold Northeast.
To earn the certification, Centennial Plastics completed product evaluation and facility inspection requirements, including testing for strength and material safety. The facility audit covered a review of the company's product formulation, manufacturing process, use of authorized raw materials, quality-control procedures and product marking. As a prerequisite, CenFuse geothermal pipes also earned certification to NSF/ANSI Standard 14 for plastic piping system components and related materials.
"This new NSF American National Standard provides a credible, science-based foundation that will help grow the geothermal pipe industry by helping these products gain acceptance and use by contractors, engineers and regulators," Shannon Murphy, general manager of NSF's plumbing programs, said in a statement.
Founded in 1944, NSF is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). NSF led the development of the American National Standards for all materials and products that treat or come in contact with drinking water. All major plumbing codes also require certification to NSF standards for pipes and plumbing components in commercial and residential buildings.