Federal Government Acts to Improve Geothermal Heat Pump Technology

On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy announced the dramatic and ambitious goal of sending an American safely to the Moon before the end of the decade. This proclamation launched one of the most intense efforts to develop the technology needed to accomplish a task since the scientists of the Manhattan Project invented the A-Bomb. The result: Apollo 11 made the first manned Moon landing on July 20, 1969.

So, what does this have to do with heating and air conditioning?

We believe that this same type of intense effort will be needed to combat current environmental issues, such as greenhouse gases, dwindling oil supplies and the increase in the cost of gasoline, heating oil, and utilities in general. And, apparently, so do at least a few politicians in Washington.

On May 26, Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate, along with co-sponsors Harry Reid (D-NV) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), that offers broad brush support of geothermal energy development. Besides promoting geothermal power and direct use resources in the US, the bill recognizes that geothermal heat pumps (GHP) and direct use of geothermal energy can make a significant contribution to the use of renewable energy, but that the technology has been underfunded in the areas of research, development, demonstration, and commercialization.

The intent of the bill, S.1142 “Geothermal Exploration and Technology Act of 2011,” is to promote the development of United States geothermal resources and technology by:

  • Establishing a direct loan program for high risk geothermal exploration wells
  • Amending the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 to improve geothermal energy technology
  • Demonstrating the use of geothermal energy in large scale thermal applications, and for other purposes

The primary goals of S.1142 are designed to:

  • Improve the components, processes, and systems used for geothermal heat pumps and the direct use of geothermal energy
  • Increase GHP energy efficiency
  • Lower the cost of residential and commercial Geothermal Heat Pump systems
  • Increase GHP installations and use in homes and businesses
  • Improve and demonstrate GHP applicability
  • Increase the use of geothermal energy in large buildings, commercial districts, residential communities, and large municipal, agricultural, or industrial projects

As we have previously discussed, Geothermal Heat Pumps provide heating and cooling by the exchange of heat from shallow ground or surface water using either:

  • A closed loop system, which transfers heat via buried or immersed pipes that contain a mix of water and antifreeze; or
  • An open loop system, which circulates ground or surface water directly into the building and returns the water to the same aquifer or surface water source.

GHPs can help to significantly reduce utility costs, as well as our dependence on oil and the greenhouse gases its use produces.

The passing of S.1142 will establish a program of research, development, demonstration, and commercial applications for geothermal heat pumps, including:

  • Geothermal ground loop efficiency improvements through more efficient heat transfer fluids
  • Geothermal ground loop efficiency improvements through more efficient thermal grouts for wells and trenches
  • Geothermal ground loop installation cost reduction through improved drilling methods and improvements in drilling equipment
  • Installation of geothermal ground loops near foundation walls of new construction to take advantage of existing structures
  • Use of gray or black waste-water as a method of heat exchange

The bill is currently going through the approval process in Congress, which can be long and grueling. Public support can go a long way to helping make the “Bill” a “Law”. If, like us, you believe that this is an important piece of legislation that can significantly improve the quality of life for all Americans, then show your support. As a concerned Hoosier, you can contact Indiana Senators Daniel Coats and Richard Luger to let them know your opinion on this subject.

A unified effort by all of us is needed to help preserve our way of life and protect the planet for future generations.

Senators of the 112th Congress Contact Information

And when new GHP technology is developed and introduced into the marketplace, Thiele Heating & Air Conditioning will be here to provide it to homeowners in Noblesville, Greenwood, and throughout the metropolitan Indianapolis area. Our crack team of installation and service techs continuously train to stay up-to-date with the latest technological developments in order to provide the best state-of-the-art service possible.

For more information about Geothermal Heat Pumps and the benefits of Geothermal heating and cooling, visit our website, www.CallThiele.com, or call us at (317) 639-1111.