Google X Geothermal Energy Company Opens Warehouse in Windsor

WINDSOR — Connecticut residents tired of paying for aging cooling and heating systems in their homes have a new alternative — heat energy stored in the ground.

Dandelion Energy, a national geothermal energy company, expanded into Connecticut earlier this year. The product, a heat pump that replaces the furnace and attaches to tubes that are placed hundreds of feet into the ground to relieve heat from the earth, was born out of Google X in 2017 by co-founder Kathy Hannun.

X Development is a research and development organization operated by Google.

Advertising

“Geothermal has been around in the United States for decades,” Hannun said. “It’s just a very niche solution and generally quite affordable. What Dandelion does is expand it, simplify it, and make it much more commendable.

The geothermal energy concept may still be a “niche” in Connecticut, as there are few workers trained to drill and install the products, slowing the company’s ability to have widespread impact. The Dandelion Warehouse, which now opened in Windsor on Monday, employs 12 people, but there are only two crews trained at the facility so far.

While 90 residents have already installed the system in their homes, there are another 300 who have signed a contract and are awaiting installation.

Luzmila Fonseca has decided to sign a contract for the transition of her Berlin home to geothermal energy, but she has been waiting for the installation since January.

“I know I’ll save a lot of money,” Fonseca said. “I pay over $1,000 a month for oil. It’s good for the air, it’s good for many things. »

Fonseca said the $31,000 installation cost will be worth it because of the money she will save on oil on a monthly basis. She pays for the installation in monthly installments of about $160.

“Eventually one day it will be mine when I pay the costs and it will increase the value of the house,” Fonseca said.

Earlier this year, Dandelion bought Glacier Drilling, a Durham company. Installing a dandelion pump requires trained crews, like those at Glacier, to drill holes sometimes as deep as 500 feet. Then the tubes can be connected to a pump, which varies in size depending on the house.

Antowne Caravallo of East Hartford runs the Windsor warehouse. He gave a tour of the warehouse to customers, potential customers and energy industry leaders on Monday.

One day, Caravallo hopes to be part of the team that will install the pumps. Hannun said much of the training for the job is done by apprenticeship or learning from those with more experience.

Forbes reported in 2020 dandelion was causing problems for homeowners who had suffered damaged foundations from fodder or days without heat or air conditioning.

Vinay Sharma, marketing manager at Dandelion, said it’s not a problem due to the forage hole and the cubs that are a standard distance from the foundation. The maximum time someone would be without air conditioning or heat following installation is one day, Sharma said.

Dandelion’s goal is to make geothermal energy as common as solar panels, according to Hannun. Eugene Russo of Middletown said he installed solar panels and an electric water heater earlier this year. He’s waiting for his dandelion pump and he said he can’t wait to install it.

“My air conditioner is killing me, because it’s old,” Russo said. “It’s newer technology. »

Hannun said geothermal heat pumps are 400% efficient.

“It may seem impossible, but the reason they’re able to achieve efficiency percentages over 100 is because you’re using electricity to move heat from the ground into the house. For every unit of electricity you use, you move four units of useful heat around the house.

Leave a Comment