Two geothermal projects installed by Colorado Geothermal Drilling were featured in the Heart of a Building premier on Rocky Mountain PBS (RMPBS). This episode seeks to promote living, working, and playing in spaces that are cleaner, healthier, and better – for the environment and for our families. Three different projects highlight these and showcase the expertise behind energy efficient building. You can find this episode of Heart of a Building on Rocky Mountain PBS.
Colorado Geothermal Drilling was proud to be a part of both of these projects. First Universalist Church and the residential home are two great examples of transforming structures into sustainable renewable energy systems. Sometimes things are more important than money. A shared conviction of sustainable living, a desire for reduced reliance of fossil fuels, and the need to create buildings that not only last generations but use fewer resources to do so were combined goals on these projects. With growing interest in renewable energy and sustainability we are committed to bringing geothermal systems to all.
December 30, 2020: In the newest spending bill recently passed by Congress, legislation includes key renewable energy tax credit extensions for Geothermal Heat Pumps. Previously, the tax credits were set to decrease after December 31, 2020 to 22%. Now, the tax credits will remain in effect at 26% until the end of 2022. In 2023, the credit steps down to 22% and then expires in 2024. Note: the tax credit was at 30% in 2019 until it deceased to 26% in 2020.
What Does This Mean?
It means that homeowners that want the most energy efficient heating and cooling system available can now continue to receive a 26% tax credit through December 31, 2022. Just considering a geothermal system in your home puts in you in an elite category of exceptionally smart homeowners. We call them Genius Geothermal Homeowners because they are not just looking to save money, they want to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and build sustainable, safe, and efficient homes.
Who Is Eligible for the Geothermal Tax Credit?
For most homeowners, any geothermal heat pump placed into service before December 31, 2022 can be eligible for the federal tax credit. There are certain energy efficiency requirements that must be met so make sure to determine that with your installer. Keep in mind you can also combine other applicable energy efficiency upgrades like solar too. And as always, consult a tax professional for guidance.
Are There Other Geothermal Incentives or Rebates Available?
For our clients in Colorado, check with your local utility company for possible geothermal heat pump rebates. United Power offers a Geothermal Heat Pump Rebate Program, more information HERE. Xcel Energy also offers heat pump rebates. And for our norther Colorado clients, Poudre Valley REA also offers geothermal heat pump rebates.
Certain requirements apply to each program such as Energy Star requirements, installer requirements, etc so make sure you familiarize yourself and ask your HVAC contractor or geothermal installer.
What Are The Benefits of Having a Geothermal System?
The perks of having a geothermal system installed in your home are abundant and now is a great time to get an energy efficient, environmentally friendly, eco-luxury geothermal system. To learn more about geothermal benefits Click Here.
The landscape for promoting the use of energy efficient renewable energy is ever changing. As more and more people see the benefits and advantages of installing these systems in their homes, they are always asking us, “Why aren’t more people doing this?!”. The good news is that it more and more people are!
Family-owned and operated since 2005, Colorado Geothermal Drilling has been the leading installation contractor for geothermal systems along the Front Range in Colorado. We strive to master leading edge technology and pride ourselves on the quality of services we commit to our clients. Our set-up is unique as we are able to access compact areas with our equipment, setting us apart from other drilling operations. With our vast knowledge of geothermal design and installation we can provide customers with valuable information, answering any questions, and providing the best energy efficient system to fit the clients’ needs. The combination of this equipment and our personnel allow us to successfully and repeatedly complete numerous drilling projects along the Front Range. We can also assist a client’s other contractors during any part of the planning process. We want to make sure our clients have the most energy efficient geothermal system to fit their needs.
With over 600 systems installed, our background in geothermal design and installation is incomparable. With a growing interest in renewable energy, we are committed to bringing affordable geothermal systems to all! We are the geothermal experts.
“Because of geothermal’s unique heating and cooling benefits, the industry is really growing,” says co-owner and Vice President Kari Rau, Dan’s wife, noting that it can reduce peak loads for utilities and reduce fossil-fuel dependence. “As more thought goes into developing our homes and communities to be more energy efficient, geothermal is truly a natural way to do this and works well with other renewable energies like wind and solar.”
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.
Colorado is a great state to start a small business in. With low income-tax rates, low unemployment, and great entrepreneurial energy Colorado frequently ranks high in national rankings for doing business. Which are all fantastic to start a green business like ours. According to the Colorado Energy Office, Colorado ranked 6th in marketed natural gas and has the third largest natural gas reserves in the country. And according to the Energy Information Administration, Colorado ties for 45th for the average price of natural gas (per 1,000 cubic feet)- meaning it tied Alaska, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Washington as having some of the most inexpensive natural gas prices in the country. Choose Energy reported that in June, Colorado ranked 7th cheapest in natural gas rates in the country. Doesn’t sound great for selling geothermal does it? I disagree and here is why:
One of the biggest comments we get when a client inquires with us about installing geothermal is that they want to reduce their carbon footprint. Younger generations are interested in reducing their impact on our planet, and are educating themselves on ways to do it. From electric vehicles to solar panels to recycling to geothermal, they are choosing to make a conscious effort to make the planet better for its future inhabitants. They want to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and are figuring out that decarbonization is important to them. Geothermal allows them to reduce their carbon footprint and propel them towards the changes they want to make.
For other customers, installing a geothermal system is about reducing their utility bill and keeping their future monthly expenses down. As people are aging into their homes they want a system that will last, be comfortable and low maintenance, and save them money. Even with inexpensive natural gas prices in Colorado, many of our customers are still seeing a pay back of 5-8 years when they replace their dated furnace and air conditioner with a geothermal system. Federal tax credits and utility rebates don’t hurt either. One of our client’s called us the other day to tell us how excited he was to be getting a nice check back from his utility company because of his new geothermal system. The cost of his retrofit geothermal system after tax credits and utility rebates was comparable to what he would have paid for total replacement of a less efficient furnace and air conditioner.
As more and more municipalities set Clean Energy and Net Zero Carbon goals, geothermal presents utility companies, homeowners, developers, builders, and investors a means to meet high performing, sustainable development. For example in Boulder county, they have proposed a goal to require all new residential construction to be Zero Net Energy by 2022. More homeowners are educating themselves and realizing that geothermal is a great way to meet these needs. In the next several weeks we will be installing 9 geothermal systems in the Boulder area. Yet just driving to Boulder we probably will pass twenty-some drill rigs, work over rigs or wells in the 25 miles between us- reminding us that Colorado is still a top producer of natural gas. But in my opinion, this is starting to change.
Our state is amply supplied with both fossil fuel and renewable energy resources. And as a green business owner and geothermal industry defender the impact of cheap fossil fuels in our state keeps us advancing our installation game and best practices. We have had to build more compact, efficient and safe equipment and streamline our processes. Maximizing efficient drilling operations helps us keep costs down and present quality, affordable geothermal systems to our customers. We are on a mission to make geothermal accessible and economically viable to all homeowners. So, while natural gas is abundant and cheap in our state, we are upbeat to see homeowners educating themselves about a technology that can check all their boxes. Energy efficient, decreased carbon footprint, save money, safety, comfort, reliable, aesthetically pleasing, security, and no weather damage, corrosion or vandalism. We may not be the biggest and aren’t taking millions of investor dollars into our company, but we are bringing affordable geothermal to more homeowners and simplifying the process with our modern installation practices. We are a small, family owned company that has been providing quality geothermal systems for over 15 years based on our innovative approach and streamlined operation and will continue to provide affordable geothermal solutions to our customers.
Let’s be honest, there are more than 4 reasons to install the best heating and cooling system available, according to the EPA, but how many do you need when this system can give you piece of mind, comfort, and cost savings?
The perks of installing a geothermal system are endless, but lets start with these 4:
4. Geothermal is Clean & Invisible. What the……you ask? A great benefit of geothermal is it is clean, and you don’t even know it’s there. Clean, as in there is no onsite combustion of fossil fuel to heat your home. You may have a natural gas furnace that emits carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane, volatile organic compounds as well as other nitrous oxides but geothermal does not. And invisible as in there is no loud, ugly, outside air conditioner ruining your beautiful outside aesthetics because inside, the (GSHP) ground source heat pump is operating quietly and efficiently. You know that loud hum you hear when your neighbor’s 12-year-old air conditioner kicks in while are enjoying the fruits of your labor in the backyard. It makes a difference!
3. Geothermal gives you comfortable heating, cooling, and can even pre-heat your domestic hot water heater! Simply put, in the winter warmth is drawn from the ground through a loop carrying a water solution to a heat pump (GSHP) inside your home. The GSHP concentrates the Earth’s thermal energy and transfers it to air circulated through duct work or radiant heat in flooring. In the summer, the process is reversed and heat is extracted from the air inside your home and transferred back to the ground. As an added bonus, the waste heat from the compressor can be used to preheat water for your hot water heater! That’s comfort and cost savings!
1. Geothermal will save you money! Until December 31, 2019, the federal government is offering renewable energy tax credits for geothermal heating and cooling systems. The credit is a 30% tax savings for installations through the end of December 2019. It starts to decrease in 2020. This tax credit coupled with energy efficient operation of a geothermal system yield big savings for homeowners! Also, utility companies are offering exclusive rebates for installing energy efficient equipment. For example, in Colorado, United Power and Tri-State G & T are offering $200/ton and $500/ton respectively! An average 3000 square foot house might have a 4-ton ground-source geothermal system in it, yielding a rebate of $2800! Add in the federal tax credit and homeowners are seeing great savings that quickly offset the initial difference in purchase price.
The perks of having a geothermal system are abundant and now is a great time to get an energy efficient, environmentally friendly, ecoluxury geothermal system for a price close to a conventional system!
As Owner and Vice President of Colorado Geothermal Drilling, Kari Rau has a passion for spreading the efficacious benefits of geothermal because she likes getting people excited about the things she’s excited about. Her aptitudes are vast, from blogging about energy efficiency and saving money to amplifying green business with her husband and managing their charming mile high properties. In addition to running two esteemed businesses, Kari sits on the Steering Committee of the Brighton Business Builders and enjoys spending time with her family outdoors.
Colorado Geothermal Drilling was proud to be apart of a project with First Universalist Church. Thanks to Lightly Treading for sharing this video.
It is so fantastic to see a group come together with a mission of creating a better environment at their place of worship. With valuable input from their members they made their place of worship environmentally friendly, sustainable, energy efficient, and net zero! With proper design and planning it CAN be done!
It was a pleasure to be a part of this project!
Kari Rau is Chief Idea Officer at Colorado Geothermal Drilling, a Geothermal Gossiper, Serial Chips and Queso Addict, and World’s Okayest Mom. Follow me on social media to see what we are up to!
We are often asked what the geothermal installation process is like and if it’s messy. YES! A resounding yes is the answer to this question!! Homeowners are surprised when they see how much equipment rolls up in front of their home, but are even more surprised at our efficiency and streamlined process and how quickly we can be in and out. There is a lot that goes into installing geothermal- a drill, skid steers, a grout plant, an air compressor, stacks of drilling rods, an excavator, loops, holding tanks, hoses, water, I could go on and on. We invest in our company to make sure we are mastering leading technology as we pride ourselves on the quality of services we commit to our clients. Our process and equipment have been designed to ensure safety of our employees and a quality and efficient installation for our clients.
At Colorado Geothermal Drilling we are known for specialized installation in compact spaces. Now imagine- we have to drill three 300-foot holes in a front yard like the picture here. That’s nearly 1 football field per borehole! The good news is- a job like this will usually take us less than a week from start to finish.
So the process is going to look something like this: Equipment is brought in with several trailers and trucks. Our crew will strategically set up equipment and prepare for drilling.
We will locate where the loops will be installed to make sure we stay clear of gas lines, water lines, electrical lines, fiber optic, sewer, and sprinklers which will impact our drilling locations. Keep in mind we have these located ahead of time because we want to make sure our crew stays safe. However, it is not unusual for a sprinkler line to be cut as these typically are easy to fix and often transverse throughout a yard.
After loops are installed we must excavate around the loops and dig a trench to manifold all of the loops together to bring into your home and to your geothermal heat pump. High density polyethylene pipe (HDPE) is used and is heat fused together to form joints stronger than the pipe itself.
Once all loops are fused we will bury everything and bring your yard back to grade. We are not landscapers so we don’t lay sod, rock, or plant trees. Most homeowners either do it themselves or hire a landscaper to come back in and lay sod or take the opportunity to update their landscape. After the project is finished most people have no idea that geothermal was just installed and that their neighbor just became the next Genius Geothermal Homeowner!
One of the best things about your geothermal system, besides the energy efficient heating and cooling, is that you no longer have an outside air conditioner making noise and ruining your outdoor aesthetics. Your close proximity neighbors will notice how quiet it is and you will be enjoying the quiet sounds of nature, as it was intended.
With media coverage of popular buzz words like ‘climate change’, ‘be green’, ‘environmentally friendly’, ‘carbon neutral’, etc. it can be difficult to manage and comprehend the ever-changing renewable energy mantra.
Having a Net Zero home is increasing in popularity as more people want to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and the grid and build sustainable, efficient homes. The definition of net zero means “the total amount of energy used by the building on an annual basis is roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy created on site”, according to the World Green Building Council.
One of the first things to consider if this is attainable for you is to evaluate your utility energy usage and determine effective ways to reduce it. This part is often overlooked by consumers since residential solar and wind are marketed so heavily to easily and quickly turn your home into a clean energy burning machine. While these renewables will absolutely offset you reliance on the electrical grid, it is also important to examine your current energy usage and determine ways to decrease it.
“After all, decreasing your overall energy usage saves you money and can help control the size of the renewable system you want to install”
Two thirds of the average home’s energy bills come from heating, cooling, and hot water. You are spending a lot of money to heat and cool your home and heat your hot water heater! Do you have the most efficient system installed? A geothermal system is the most energy efficient heating and cooling system there is. Check out this video for a quick explanation here. It uses heat from the earth, by way of geothermal loops to heat and cool your home. Simply put, in the winter warmth is drawn from the earth through a loop carrying a water solution to a heat pump inside the home. The heat pump concentrates the earth’s thermal energy and transfers it to air circulated through duct work or to radiant heat in flooring. In the summer, the process is reversed and heat is extracted from the air inside your home and transferred to the big heat sink in your yard (the earth) by way of the geothermal loops. As an added bonus, the waste heat from the compressor can be used to heat water for bathing, cooking, washing, etc. Sounds fantastic doesn’t it? There’s more!
Another great benefit of geothermal is it is clean and you don’t even know it’s there! Clean, as in there is no onsite combustion of fossil fuels in your home! And invisible as in there is no loud, ugly, outside air conditioner ruining your outside aesthetics in the summer and inside, the heat pump is about the size of a furnace yet operates quietly and efficiently. So you get quiet, comfortable, safe, efficient, environmentally friendly because you are reducing your carbon footprint, AND saving money. A geothermal heat pump can save you money because for every unit of energy used to power the system, 3-4.5 units are supplied as heat. Where as a fossil fuel furnace may be 78-90% efficient, a geothermal heat pump is about 400 percent efficient!
To continue to plan a comfortable, energy-efficient home and decrease your overall energy usage try installing LED lights and Energy Star rated appliances. Take a good look at how you live in your home. Focus on what you really you use and how to make it as efficient as possible. For those of you that love your gas stove, I challenge you to try an electric induction cook top. Every bit as efficient as gas but safer! You can live with out natural gas hooked up to your home!
Installing energy efficient doors and windows, and adding adequate insulation in your exterior walls and roof also can keep your utility bills down. You may want to also evaluate passive solar building design where you look at windows, walls, and floors and their ability to collect, store, reflect and distribute solar energy in the form of heat in winter and reject solar heat in the summer. This too will aid you in achieving a net zero home and decrease the overall size of your renewable system(s) as well as your impact on Mother Nature.