GEO Champions Loop Leasing in New Home Developments
Geothermal heat pumps are efficient and last 100 years or more, but home-builders are hesitant to install the systems for a number of reasons. That’s changing, however, as large-scale housing developments across the country and major retailers begin large geothermal projects. Up-front costs are one of the main issues that trade groups like the Geothermal Exchange Organization (GEO), the industry’s national trade organization, are working to overcome. GEO says there is money to be made if homebuilders and developers construct heat exchanger loops and lease their use to home-owners. It’s one-time revenue from the home sale and recurring monthly revenue from the lease.
The group has recently seen success as builders in two large residential developments in Texas and Washington State are preparing to install geothermal heat pumps in more than 7,500 homes and 1,000 multi-family units respectively. Home furnishing giant IKEA is installing geothermal heating in its newest store in Kansas City, while Walgreen’s pharmacy is installing GHP in its new store in Chicago.
GEO is hoping that news like that gets geothermal some much needed traction. Douglas Dougherty, president and CEO of GEO, says the developer of the Austin, Texas, subdivision will lease the use of the heat exchanger loop to homeowners. Each home in the development, plus 2-million sq. ft. of commercial space, will be tied into a central loop that runs through the subdivision. Fifty percent of the energy needed for each home’s heating, cooling and hot water production will come off the central district loop, the other 50 percent will come from a 500-ft. deep loop installed on each lot. Through the leases, the developer will continue earning money off the development for decades to come, Dougherty says. Read the whole story at TecHome Builder.