To say there’s been a swing in the learning curve about geothermal energy would be an understatement.
Back when GeoSource Energy began cementing its reputation as a ground-breaking leader in the field back in 2004, there were a lot of myths about the process, says company CEO Stan Reitsma, but today awareness of the technology is increasing and “it seems at least now that many developers have heard of it, either positive or negative. But at least they know it exists.”
Because of the inroads made, Reitsma sees nothing but positives in the near future.
“Based on ongoing conversations with clients, potential clients and different levels of government, we see that the technology, in general, is starting to get a buzz associated with it,” Reitsma says. “People are starting to see the true advantages of it and seriously looking at implementation of it, or have already included it in their buildings.
“Now, with the anticipated increases in the cost of natural gas, we can see nothing but positive with geo in the foreseeable future.”
In the past decade, he says the type of geothermal work has changed a lot. At one time it was almost all residential with geothermal grants to retrofit houses, with very little being done commercially. Now, he says, the business has transitioned.
“I think, both commercially and privately, it’s matured an awful lot in the past 10 years,” says Reitsma. “It’s not quite mainstream yet, but it’s becoming that way.”
One trend he’s noticed is that once developers utilize geothermal in one building project, they tend to follow up with the same technology on subsequent jobs.
“That certainly suggests to me that they like it,” Reitsma says. “A lot of our job is education and we’ll continue to do that.”
To that end, Reitsma points out that he strongly believes GeoSource stands out among its competition.
“What makes GeoSource different is our dedication to innovation and quality in design and installation,” he says. “ We continue to look for improvements such as higher performing grouts and heat exchangers and cleaner, more efficient and faster drilling techniques and rigs, all to improve the economics and assist moving geothermal mainstream. We are challenged by many things such as geology and weather, but our investment in equipment, people and systems allows us to control our challenges and successfully deliver on-time and on-budget.”
Not one to stand pat, Reitsma points out that there have been some key changes to the geothermal industry that GeoSource is on top of.
He says there are several important developments, including pending changes to the Ontario Building Code, targeted for 2017, that would require significant reduction in energy use. That, in turn, means that developers of office and multi-residential buildings could be facing changing code requirements.
“And as we see it, geothermal offers a reasonably simple way to meet those requirements,” he stresses. “Other options such as an improved envelope may become limiting, more costly, or less desirable for the end user.
“With geothermal, the developer is not forced to make other large changes, something they are definitely adverse to do.”
Another development to be aware of, he says, is the availability of finance options for geothermal systems. Now, long-term financing that was previously limited to common area condo equipment, for example, is now available for the geothermal part of the a building.
“We are also seeing the entry of several large utility type companies that are willing to provide turnkey geothermal systems or purchase them once constructed,” Reitsma notes. “Because geothermal is competitive with conventional HVAC systems, the return on investment is attractive and risk is low because geothermal systems are simple and robust.
“Finally, broader understanding of geothermal systems and experience gained on recent projects is leading to improved implementation of the technology.”
Web / http://geosourceenergy.com
Founded in 2004, GeoSource Energy Inc. is a Canadian-based geothermal drilling corporation whose focus is provision of safe, high-quality, and cost-competitive geothermal vertical loop installation service to geothermal heat pump installers and contractors in Southern Ontario. GeoSource Energy is dedicated to using the latest geothermal drilling technology to ensure each installation is completed to the satisfaction of every customer and contractor. Its goal is to make geothermal energy available and affordable for the average Canadian home or business owner.