Model Geothermal Installation Supports Habitat For Humanity Development

By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | June 2010 Vol. 65 No. 6
Vertical drilling to install the geothermal closed loop pipe. HDD and trenching are also sometimes used.

However, in recent years that has changed. Rapidly rising energy costs make geothermal systems a serious option for property owners, and proponents of geothermal technology believe its time has arrived in North America. A 30 percent tax credit and incentives offered by many states encourage consideration of installing geothermal systems.

“Interest in geothermal heating and cooling is growing rapidly -- everything we hear is upbeat,” says Jim Bose, Ph.D., P.E, executive director of the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA). “Ground source heat pump systems finally are mainstream and are capturing a growing share of the market.”

ClimateMaster’s Dan Ellis believes Hope Crossing demonstrates the viability of using geothermal systems in the affordable housing market on a large-scale basis.

“It provides an example of how to transform the residential building sector,” he said. “We already see a shift in business models and construction projects in this area. We now have local builders emulating the exact energy-savings components that we deployed in the Habitat for Humanity project.”

Central Oklahoma Habitat’s Felton said the Hope Crossing development team was comprised of mostly private sector partners. Land was donated by Edmond real estate investor Stephen Hurst and his partners in TexOk Properties LP. Others helping develop roads and utility infrastructure included 7 Eleven stores of Oklahoma, Chesapeake Energy Corp., the Oklahoma Housing Trust Fund and the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, joined by the city of Oklahoma City (HUD/Home) and several private contributors.

Felton said Hope Crossing homes are built to standards of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program which provides strategies aimed at improving performance to build across all metrics that affect energy savings, including water efficiency, CO2 emission reduction, improved indoor environmental quality and stewardship of resources.

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