During a visit to Fort Wayne, Ind., where he toured a geothermal-heat-pump (GHP) manufacturing facility, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that nearly $50 million from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) will help advance commercial deployment of the renewable heating and cooling systems, which use energy from below the Earth's surface to move heat into or away from a home or building. The expanded manufacturing and installation of GHP could aid in the creation of new jobs while reducing the use of fossil fuels.
"The heat from the Earth represents a significant energy resource that can be tapped to reduce emissions contributing to climate change," Secretary Chu said. "Expanded use of GHP in the United States will create new jobs for engineers, manufacturers, and technicians while at the same broadening our nation's clean and renewable energy portfolio."
GHP, also called ground-source heat pumps, can be more efficient than the air-source heat pumps commonly found in commercial and residential applications. GHP substantially can reduce building-related electricity demand while providing lower utility bills and maintenance costs.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced opportunities for GHP projects in three areas:
• Innovative technology demonstrations. Cost-shared technology-demonstration projects that retrofit/incorporate a minimum of 50 tons of heating and cooling capacity and can be deployed in various geological conditions and climate zones in residential communities or commercial buildings. Selected projects will incorporate innovative business and financing strategies and focus on technological improvements to speed marketplace deployment.
• Life-cycle-cost tools. Projects that will assist in determining project feasibility by gathering and analyzing data related to system costs, performance, and installation techniques that will help decrease life-cycle-cost applications for GHP.
• National certification and accreditation. A national certification and accreditation program for the GHP industry designed to increase consumer confidence in the technology, reduce the potential for improperly installed systems, and ensure product quality and performance.
For information on this and other funding opportunities under the ARRA, visit the DOE's Recovery and Reinvestment Web site's funding-opportunities page.