16 years ago this month we founded Colorado Geothermal Drilling and began our journey into ‘planned unemployment’.
Dan jokes we’ve been unemployed since starting our own business- doesn’t feel like work when you love what you do! We began planning our future employment in our 20’s when we lived in Iowa. We went through all kinds of scenarios on where, when, and how we would bring geothermal to more people. Little did we know that a job offer for Kari in Colorado would bring us here and end up being one of the best decisions we ever made. We packed up everything we owned and sold our house in a matter of weeks and ventured out West. Initially, Dan worked for another engineering firm and Kari as an athletic trainer. After one year in Colorado things started falling into place and it’s fun to look back at how everything worked out. Dan’s raise and bonus that year were unimpressive and led us to make the decision to go all in and for him to leave his engineering firm. Even when his firm tried to counter him with a new offer he told them he didn’t even want to know what it was. We would live on Kari’s little salary and take a leap of faith. No longer working for ‘the man’ was a dream we shared and knew we would make happen.
Those early years were very impactful as we learned so much about how to start a small business, different installation scenarios, operating and designing equipment, grouting, streamlining processes, marketing, networking and building relationships. So many people impacted us in the beginning and lent us an ear for all of our questions. Dan met Sam Bandimere and began to soak in everything about drilling. Dan’s father, Doug, was our first employee and his parents took a risk and lent us money to buy equipment and materials. Luckily a few people had some trust in us. We paid that loan back within a few years and I’ll never forget the banker for praising us for paying off his parents second mortgage LOL. I just laughed and said it was what we owed them for supporting us.
“To be the one to make the decisions that directly impact your life is a wonderful thing.”
Many people will measure your success based on how large your company is and how much money you make. Size and money have never been our goals. We wanted to make the decisions that would impact us in ways that working for others used to. We wanted to run a company that treats its employees like we wanted to be treated. To provide outstanding service and education to our partners and commitment to quality for our clients. To learn from missteps and improve ourselves and our business on our journey. To leave a mark in our industry and better it. To support our community and other business owners in ways we couldn’t before. To be the best at what we do and hopefully lead a fulfilling life along the way. And to bring affordable and quality geothermal to all.
Our journey hasn’t been with out challenge and sacrifice. But I like to think we’ve embraced everything that has come at us with an attitude to conquer it, learn from it, and only repeat the things that make us effective, efficient, and better. Thank you to all of the people along the way that have supported us, done business with us, worked for us, and partnered with us. We would not be where we are today with out you!
Colorado Geothermal Drilling Installed a Geothermal System in a Large Multi Family Building to Provide Unique Savings to Developers in Brighton, CO
On a project in Colorado, 12 apartment buildings comprised of 288 one-, two-, three-bedroom apartments are being heated and cooled by a geothermal system installed by Colorado Geothermal Drilling.
Over a period of approximately 12 weeks, our crew of 3-4 on-site geothermal installers drilled in 120 310-foot loops and four 380-foot loops for a combined total of just over 15 miles of geothermal pipe in the ground. The skid mounted drill and crew averaged about 610 vertical-feet drilling a day while grouting and backfilling boreholes. Work efficiency was essential to this project so the skilled crew worked tirelessly to develop processes that allowed them to complete more work in a safe and timely manner. Once drilling was completed on a building, headering occurred the following week and drilling continued on the next building. This kept the project delivery on schedule and continued as framing of the buildings began.
Interior work for the project was no different. Each apartment was supplied with their own heat pump. Each building was supplied with its own circulation system of 2 ECM variable speed circulation pumps. Twelve buildings and a club house completed the project. All of the drilling took place after the building foundations were backfilled. Rough installation of interior pipe was done during rough duct work installation. After painting was complete, heat pumps were set and final piping connections were made to each heat pump, mechanical room piping was installed, and the geothermal system was purged for the apartment building.
With utility company and federal rebate incentives, and a proper, economically designed system and installation; these large geothermal heat pump projects are very feasible. Lower overall energy use for heating and cooling systems are very attractive to developers, building owners, and residents. The combination of all these savings off-set the higher up front costs and make the geothermal system competitive and more cost effective than a conventional HVAC system over the long term.
Colorado Geothermal Drilling has designed and installed over 600 geothermal projects and is owned by Dan and Kari Rau. For any questions on this geothermal project, contact Dan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Colorado Geothermal Drilling owners, Dan and Kari Rau, were recently invited to be on a panel to discuss Geothermal in Colorado. Colorado Senate Nominee, Sally Boccella hosted the round table event with guests including HEET Co-Founder Audrey Schulman, Gary Arnold with UA Pipefitters Local 208, Sydnie Lieb with Xcel Energy, and Colorado State Representative Brianna Titone.
The discussion included information on geothermal ground source heat pump systems, employing more Colorado workers, federal and state tax incentives, as well as utilizing geothermal micro districts in future development. It was a thoughtful conversation about what we are doing at Colorado Geothermal Drilling and we always enjoy educating more people about the benefits of geothermal.
Dan and Kari Rau have operated their family owned business, Colorado Geothermal Drilling, since 2005. They have been one of the leading installers for geothermal systems in Colorado, partly due to their unique operation and vast knowledge of geothermal design and installation. Their combination of specialized equipment and experienced personnel has made them a rarity in this field and they are able to provide their customers with valuable information, answering any questions, and providing the best energy efficient system to fit the client’s needs.