A new ground-source geothermal system can be installed faster and cheaper than the alternatives
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Spotted: According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA) the most sustainable way to heat and cool your home is with geothermal energy from a ground-source heat pump. However, installing the energy- and money-saving technology often requires a big up-front cost, weeks of disruption to a property, and re-landscaping once installation is complete. Now, Dandelion Energy – a spinoff from a Google X project – has developed a way to install ground-source heat pumps that leads to considerable savings in time, money, and hassle.
Heat pumps take advantage of the fact that, no matter what the air temperature is, the ground ten feet below the surface maintains a constant year-round temperature that is higher than average winter temperatures, and lower than the average in summer. Ground-source heat pumps use buried pipe systems called ground loops to constantly circulate heat transfer fluid. During summer, the geothermal system draws heat from the air in your home and transfers it to the ground. During winter, it draws heat from the ground and transfers it to your home.
Dandelion uses a closed-loop system, which means the pipes aren’t connected to any larger infrastructure. But the real innovation in Dandelion’s system involves installation. The engineers at Dandelion have devised a way to vastly reduce the cost of installing a ground-source heat pump by using smaller, more efficient drills that make one or two deep holes just a few inches wide, rather than the large drill rigs used by other companies. The company then installs U-shaped pipes into the small holes. This innovation takes up less space and creates less of a disturbance.
Dandelion says that its system can be installed in days, rather than weeks and at around half the cost of a tradition geothermal system. The company points out that, “Dandelion oversees all three stages of geothermal installation… Since all of these steps are done in-house, we are able to offer all-in-one pricing, which gives homeowners the best customer experience and no cost surprises as the project is being completed.”
Geothermal heating and cooling systems can reduce carbon emissions from residential heating and cooling by between 65 and 75 per cent, depending on the type of energy used in the original system. This also translates into a huge financial savings. Springwise has also spotted other innovations improving the efficiency and accessibility of geothermal energy, including ultra-deep geothermal energy, and modular geothermal panels for carparks.
Written By: Lisa Magloff