WASHINGTON, DC — The Geothermal Heat Pump Consortium (GHPC) has launched a program to increase the awareness and use of geoexchange technology in Southern California. The program will seek to increase the use of geothermal heat pumps in schools and commercial buildings within Southern California Edison's service territory, which encompasses 4.2 million business and residential customers over a 50,000 square mile area.

"This program will allow school officials and building owners the opportunity to benefit greatly from the energy efficient and environmental benefits of geoexchange technology," said John Kelly, chairman of the consortium's board of directors.

"With over a thousand public schools and community colleges in the area and nearly one-third of them in need of modernization, the consortium sees tremendous opportunity for geoexchange to help schools lower their energy costs while creating a comfortable learning environment for students. And with commercial buildings representing the largest user of energy in the area, the time is ripe for our technology to help these businesses become more cost-effective while achieving environmental soundness," added Kelly.

Initially, GHPC will conduct a public education campaign. It will hold a series of educational seminars for school officials and building owners to introduce them to geoexchange technology and its benefits. The program also calls for training workshops for engineers, architects, contractors, and drillers who are involved in the design and installation of geoexchange systems. In addition, GHPC will also conduct informational seminars for state and local governmental officials and utility representatives to educate them about the technology.

The consortium will simultaneously conduct a public outreach campaign to the general public to further increase awareness of geoexchange technology. This outreach will target school, commercial, and trade ally organizations and related associations in an effort to increase visibility of the program and the success of the technology. In addition, GHPC will promote the technology by conducting a variety of media activities to complement the campaigns.

Also, noted Wael El-Sharif, interim-executive director for the consortium, "Under this program, we will install a geoexchange system in two California schools at little or no cost to the schools."

GHPC is currently identifying prospective schools for the program. The schools will be selected based on limited funding resources and limited access to information about energy-efficient technologies.

"When the installations are completed, these schools will serve as great success stories for the state of California — helping schools cut their costs by using geoexchange technology, and in doing so, freeing up much needed funds for other education needs, including computers, books, and teachers," added El-Sharif.

GHPC is partnering with the Davis, CA-based Association of Energy Efficient Environmental Systems (AEEES), which will spearhead the public education effort. The program is slated to run through December 2003.

More information about geoexchange technology is available from the Geothermal Heat Pump Consortium at www.geoexchange.org (website).

Publication date: 09/23/2002