Quite a number of years ago I had a couple of hours between meetings in downtown Winnipeg and found myself driving past the Provincial Legislature. I realized that by the time I got back to my office I would only have 20 minutes before I'd have to return downtown for my next meeting...maybe I could stop in and see the newly elected energy minister and talk to him about ground coupled heat pumps. So I went into the Legislature, knocked on his door to see if he had a few minutes to talk...
Building and project developers are all about getting a project from paper to a built reality. And they're about making money on projects. To make a profit, they have to keep an eye on the budget they've been given to work with. Something that adds cost to the project generally has to be balanced by cost saving in another area, or has to provide greater value, or it won't be considered. So how can we, as geothermal designers and contractors, install systems with no additional cost, or add enough value for a developer to consider a GCHP system for a project?
Giving someone cash to convince them to install a GCHP system can actually hurt the industry. Incentive programs in the ground coupled heat pump (GCHP) industry can to more harm than good. In the early 1990's Ontario Hydro gave residential customers $2,000 to install a system. Unfortunately a lot of people found out there would be an incentive 6 months before it was put in place. Guess what...they stopped buying till it was available. Then a lot of contractors with little experience started installing systems when the incentive was available, and not all of them knew how to install them properly. A lot of systems were badly installed...in fact one system received the incentive for a system without a ground heat exchanger (GHX).
In my blog I'll be expressing my opinions about what I've the learned about ground coupled heat pump (GCHP) systems over the last 30 years. I've been very fortunate to work with many interesting people who are passionate about this technology...engineers, geologists, mechanical contractors, drillers, excavation contractors...in different parts of the world. I've learned a lot from them and will be using this forum to pass on some of the things I've learned and feel are important. Please feel free to use this information if you feel it's worthwhile...hopefully you can avoid some of the same mistakes I've learned from.