A response to the Open Forum comment by Barry Nauss:
We are loop installers, and share your concern.
We see in the Midwest the trend for "everything solar". That tax credit got extended, and certainly it makes a difference to the "end user – customer".
What seems to be lost in the solar selling spree is the "reduce before you produce" mentality. For whatever reason, what gets sold seems to be "whatever it takes to produce what the home averaged in the past two years". It doesn't seem to matter that the home used baseboard electric heat in the winter with all the windows open....... So long as the tax credit covers 30%, and in Iowa the additional 12% in 2017, put the maximum kV on the system and go with it.
We are all for the concept of life cycle costing and the low cost operation of geothermal systems. It would appear that we would be best served to "hold hands" with the solar group to pair these two technologies together for customers to install the most efficient system for heating and cooling (geothermal) and feed it with an appropriately sized electrical generation source (solar/wind) for a structure that is well built/insulated/sealed.
Look forward to feedback on this one.
Larry LeliefeldPresident, G.E.O. Inc.firstname.lastname@example.org www.geo-inc.comDecorah information (use for mailing address): Geothermal Eco Options, Inc. Mobile: (563) 203-0184P.O. Box 401 Phone: (563) 382-0300Decorah, IA 52101 Fax: (563) 382-0305Cresco information (use for shipping address): Geothermal Eco Options, Inc. Mobile: (563) 203-0184407 2nd Avenue S.W. Phone: (563) 547-2871Cresco, IA 52136 Fax: (563) 547-2874
Mr. Leliefeld said something that I believe is a great idea; combining geo & solar/wind technologies. At the community college at which I teach (Kankakee Community College, Kankakee, IL), I've spoken about geo and solar used to not only provide the H/AC needs of a home, but with the Renewable Energy program we have here using this to help offset the cost of the electricity to power the GSHP. Our students can get basic education in both geo and solar/wind. It is a community college, so they aren't experts or engineers. They are taught the basics of design, application and troubleshooting.
Our Renewable Energy program is very active, due to the energy credits and government promotional material, in the local community. But most of the local contractors for HVAC are so tied to tax credits, I believe they are overlooking the entirety of the total home package. And the solar/wind folks don't look over much other than the electrical needs, excluding the heating and air conditioning portion regarding how much electricity a system uses and it can offset.
Thanks for mentioning this!
I appreciate and understand Barry's concern. It's great to see the replies so far, and I agree with the feedback. I've been in the industry over 30 years, and have experienced our industry growing way before the tax credit. In my opinion, we need to change the dialog and change the perception. I've heard conversations even in 2015 about looking for other technologies to sell after the tax credit expires, which is really unfortunate. So, we've definitely not been focusing on the benefits, but on the tax credit. I've also heard about how cheap natural gas is, which is true, but it's been cheap for years. I remember in 1990s when we had difficulty selling against natural gas based only on operating costs. So, nothing has really changed other than we don't think we can sell geothermal any longer for some reason.
If it were only about operating costs and/or tax credits, it would be a different story. I didn't put geothermal in my house because it was less expense to operate than natural gas. I don't want to hear the condenser when I'm out on the deck. I like a cleaner, safer, all electric home without wall or roof penetrations for flue pipes, and I'd rather not have combustion inside. I also like the better comfort, longer life of the equipment, and the fact that 95% of the system is American made. The technology has a great story to tell, as it did before the tax credit.
I hope that Grundfos and other hydronic centric companies can reach out to GEO, IGSHPA, manufacturers, distributors, contractors, drillers, etc. to come up with a "why geo?" campaign. None of us have a lot of marketing funds right now, but if we can all be telling the same story, we can get the word out. For example, a couple of single page (front and back) flyers, one for end users and one for contractors, would be a great way for all of us to provide a consistent message. Not only is it a great technology for end users, it's a good business decision for contractors to install geo. I'm sure that GEO and IGSHPA could come up with these marketing pieces. However, we need companies like Grundfos to provide funding for printing costs so that the pieces could be available to industry stake holders at no cost. Social media campaigns, collaborative marketing strategies, etc. can also help. I'm not concerned about promoting a non-branded campaign. We'll all get our piece of the pie. We just need a BIGGER pie right now. I'm happy to participate in any way I can.