Community Interest in GeoExchange Technology

Dawson Creek, BC June 2007

To Celebrate Canadian Environmental Week, and Clean Air Day specifically, Wednesday, June 6th saw many interested people attending a GeoExchange Information Workshop at Northern Lights College (NLC). The workshop was a co-sponsored event between Northern Lights College, the City of Dawson Creek, Peace Energy Cooperative and the South Peace Chapter of the BC Sustainable Energy Association. Barry Milner, Marketing Representative from GeoTility Systems Corp of Kelowna presented a power point session that explained geo-exchange technology, design, costs and case studies. Among the interesting BC case studies shown were typical residential homes and palatial mansions; small and large commercial buildings and institutional applications.

?Many people aren?t aware that we have geo-exchange technology installed right here in Dawson Creek?, states Valerie Gilson, Executive Director of Peace Energy Cooperative. ?More installations are planned and drilling and trenching for the ground loop is happening this spring for new and existing homes.?

Geo-exchange technology, also known as earth energy, geothermal or ground source heating is not new, though many people are unfamiliar with it. The world?s first registered ground source system was in 1932 in Sweden. Some Canadian heating and cooling companies have been installing systems since the late 1970?s and early 80?s. A ground source heat pump taps into the solar energy stored in the earth to use that relatively constant temperature to provide heating, cooling and hot water for homes and commercial/industrial buildings. The heat is transferred to your building through a system of horizontal or vertical pipes installed in the earth or installed in a pond or lake depending on the system design.

One participant says, ?It was exciting to see whole housing developments, office buildings, schools and sports centers being heated and cooled with earth energy right here in British Columbia!?

Ground source heat pumps can provide any combination of forced-air heating, radiant floor heating, domestic hot water and air conditioning all from the same furnace unit that isn?t much different in size than your regular conventional furnace. There is no unsightly or noisy outdoor equipment exposed to the elements with the associated wear and tear and higher maintenance and costs. Office buildings, schools, churches, apartment buildings, hotels, recreation complexes…they can all derive the same benefits as your home by installing a geo-exchange system.

?I?ve had requests for another information session on geo-exchange. Some people couldn?t choose between the (final) Stanley Cup playoff game and the workshop!? says Gilson with a laugh.

Peace Energy Cooperative along with their Sustainable Community partners may be looking at another geo-exchange presentation, possibly in the fall. As well, there have been several requests for other renewable energy technology workshops such as residential wind and solar PV.

Peace Energy, the South Peace BCSEA, NLC and the City of Dawson Creek all look forward to helping further community education in renewable energy technology possibilities.