Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) toured the new IKEA store in Centennial, CO, learning firsthand how geothermal heat pump systems are employed in large commercial applications. Udall is a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and widely regarded as a national leader on renewable energy. He has worked diligently to put Colorado at the forefront of sensible and sustainable and energy development.
Colorado Geothermal Energy and Heat Pump Association (CoGEHPA) Executive Director Ben Northcutt and Geothermal Exchange Organization (GEO) Operations Chief John Kelly coordinated the visit with the assistance of GEO Washington Team member Ben Klein (Heather Podesta + Partners). With Udall's Denver-based staff and CoGEHPA leadership Al Wallace, Terry Proffer and Jack Major, they joined the senator and IKEA Store Manager Kelly Frieze and Facility Manager Jim Amidon for an enlightening tour of the store's large geothermal heat pump system. Udall enthusiastically embraced the wealth of information the group provided to him and his staff about geothermal heat pump systems and their many environmental and economic benefits.
With 400 employees, the IKEA Centennial, CO store is the Swedish firm's 38th operation in the United States, and 324th store worldwide. The sprawling facility is housed in a 415,000 square-foot building on 13.5 acres, complete with covered parking garages. The store's geothermal system relies on 13 heat pumps and 130 boreholes drilled 500 feet deep. The design employs additional heat dissipation under the concrete approach-es to the parking garages; hot water heating for two in-store restaurants; and ice storage for off-peak cooling. Topping off the facility's dedication to renewable energy are solar panel arrays on the roof.
"Senator Udall already had a good idea about how geothermal heat pump technologies work, and the tour reinforced the role we can play in reducing energy consumption and carbon footprint," said Kelly. "Ben Klein did a great job communicating GEO issues to the senator and his staff about the importance of their support to our legislative efforts." A video presentation of the IKEA geothermal tour is available on Senator Udall's YouTube page. Click here to access it.