WASHINGTON - A new nonprofit trade association, the Geothermal Exchange Organization (GEO), has joined the HVACR world. GEO is the reincarnation of the former Geothermal Heat Pump Consortium, a government/industry partnership that was primarily aimed at utility support for demand-side energy conservation programs during the 1990s.

“With recent political upheavals in Washington, D.C., and the growth of geothermal heat pump installations in the United States to approximately 100,000 units per year,” said Dan Ellis, GEO chairman and ClimateMaster Inc. president, “major equipment manufacturers, distributors, and utilities saw the need to refocus Consortium activities toward industry advocacy.”

“The current economic and political environment will have significant impacts on the geothermal heat pump industry for the foreseeable future,” said Tom Huntington, WaterFurnace International president. “We must aggressively educate our elected and professional officials about the benefits of geothermal heat pumps as they consider renewable energy legislation and regulatory policies.”

GEO’s legislative and regulatory goals include:

• Qualification of geothermal heat pumps in pending renewable energy and climate legislation;

• Development of model geothermal heat pump policy, legislation, and regulations;

• Support of government agencies and initiatives for geothermal heat pump research;

• Accelerated installation of geothermal heat pump systems in government buildings; and

• Coordination of grassroots advocacy for the geothermal heat pump industry by GEO members.

Other activities of the organization will include partnerships to form strategic alliances with allied organizations, institutions, and agencies to pursue benefits for the industry; public outreach and education efforts, including GeoExchange® branding and a public awareness campaign; and actively working with the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association and other allied organizations to promote codes and standards for geothermal heat pump installation training, certification, and accreditation.

GEO membership is open to all companies, businesses, commercial and nonprofit organizational entities involved in the geothermal heat pump industry.

For more information about GEO, visit www.geoexchange.org.

Publication date:01/24/2011