Geo Heat Pump Advocacy for California
WE SPEAK FOR THE GEOTHERMAL HEAT PUMP INDUSTRY IN CALIFORNIA
Pure and simple, CaliforniaGeo is an advocate for geothermal heat pumps to penetrate the residential and commercial building markets in California as well as they have in most other regions of the United States. This doesn’t mean we want a mandate from somewhere that puts us through the door first. Responsible advocacy for our industry is not expressed that way. We wish for this technology to earn the role we know it can fulfill. Newer building codes will require increased efficiency for all building types toward a Zero Net Energy plateau, and we look forward to continuing our collaboration with the California Energy Commission and the California Public Utility Commission to accomplish this.
When the general public, architecture, mechanical engineering, building officials, and construction firms become more familiar with these tougher standards—and as we continue our educational efforts—there’ll be a natural bridge between efficiency requirements and the use of geo for many projects.
Geothermal heat pumps are the only technology that can bank thermal energy on-site for a whole season ahead, and that can dramatically reduce electrical peak demand. They are the most efficient mechanical system to move heat where the user desires. At this task they outshine both air source heat pumps and conventional air conditioners, all the while keeping operations out-of-sight and hidden from public view.
We believe strongly in our technology and hope after looking into it further, you will, too! For a clear and complete picture of what geothermal heat pumps are and how they work for you, look no further than our Geo101: Geothermal Heat Pumps webinar video, first published in 2013.
CaliforniaGeo was successful in the introduction and passage of AB2339 in 2012, a bill that recognized abundant evidence that barriers of various kinds (in addition to higher first costs) put our technology at a disadvantage in the regulatory environment. We are grateful for the recognition and the assistance of the Legislature and Governor.
California Energy Commission:
As the permitting agency for new electric generation and keeper of Title-20 and Title-24, the CEC has kept California’s per capita electricity use lower than the rest of the nation since the 70s. CaliforniaGeo has been working as a stakeholder in concert with their efforts. We are looking forward to a mechanism in their future regulations on the way to Zero Net Energy that will automatically recognize the superior heating and cooling efficiency of geothermal heat pumps.
Department of Water Resources:
CaliforniaGeo has participated in efforts with DWR as a member of their Stakeholder Advisory Group, to finalize regulations for grouted geothermal boreholes. We even contributed a ground loop heat exchange well standard (GHEW) as part of the advisory process. We note that in comparison to many other kinds of trenching and drilling, boreholes for geothermal ground loops have yet to contribute to surface or cross-aquifer contamination. We recognize that good stewardship of sub-surface water resources is important.
California Public Utility Commission:
We recognize the important contribution of the CPUC from its many energy efficiency programs and policy initiatives, to their support of efficiency retrofit activity for schools and government buildings. These projects will deepen the public’s understanding that the first efficiency dollar spent goes toward the structure before the consideration to replace equipment. In many cases, schools with their large fields and parking lots present a good opportunity for a geothermal retrofit that will cut electric loads and likely eliminate the use of evaporative chiller water for cooling.
The CPUC is an important link to the efficiency programs of the state’s utilities and we hope it will be instrumental in transferring its historical support for geothermal heat pump technology toward an on-bill financing or similar mechanism to help drop the first costs of residential geothermal retrofits, our largest immediate market. Renewable (carbonless) thermal resources on-site are the direction that residential ZNE by 2020 demands, and CaliforniaGeo wants to work with any agency willing to achieve this.