Geothermal Energy

Sen. Bernie Sanders hosted a roundtable on geothermal energy’s role in moving Vermont to a cleaner, more sustainable and more energy-independent future. “While in Vermont we continue to lead the nation in energy efficiency and we are making some progress on sustainable energy, I think it is critical that at a time when we spend on average $350 billion a year for foreign oil that we tageothermal ke every possible step to invest in cleaner technologies here in the United States,” Sanders said.  He was grateful that more than 200 people came out to the event and thanked the participants in the panel, including Assistant U.S. Energy Secretary Cathy Zoi, U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, leading geothermal installers and experts from Vermont, homeowners and others who have installed geothermal systems.

Also known as ground-source heat pumps, geothermal energy systems are used to heat and cool buildings and homes, and can also provide hot water heating. Because the earth’s temperature below the surface remains at a constant 45 to 58 degrees Fahrenheit, geothermal systems can use underground piping and pumps to provide heating when it is cool outside, and to pull heat from buildings when it is warm outside.

Geothermal heating and cooling systems can be used anywhere in the country. The Environmental Protection Agency has rated geothermal heat pumps one of the most efficient technologies for heating and cooling. For every 100,000 homes with geothermal heating and cooling systems, 2.15 million barrels of oil are saved a year and electricity use is reduced by 799 million kilowatt hours annually.

roundtable “The reason geothermal technology is exciting, in my view, is that you can save energy, reduce pollution, and save money all at once,” Sanders said.

To read more from the senator about geothermal, click here.

To learn more about geothermal energy from Efficiency Vermont, click here.

To view pictures from the discussion, click here.

You can watch the entire meeting as produced by Channel 17 in Burlington here:

List of Attendees

Congressman Peter Welch
Cathy Zoi, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy
Blair Hamilton, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation "Efficiency Vermont:
Terry Reilly, homeowner from Warren
Ben Luce, Lyndon State College
Jeff Williams, Spafford & Sons/VT Groundwater Association
Jennifer Pierce, Gould Well Drilling
Michel George, Champlain College
Paul Lekstutis, LN Consulting
Jim Ashley, Green Mountain Geothermal
Daniel Johnson, AIA Vermont
David Pill, architect/homeowner from Charlotte
Mike McArdle, Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services

Web Sites With Information About Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Incentives

National Sites

US Department of Energy: Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy - Department of Energy's energy efficiency and renewable energy website.

Energy Star - Comprehensive information on existing federal tax credits for energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) - A comprehensive national database of incentives for energy efficiency and renewable energy in each state and from the federal government.


Vermont Sites

Efficiency Vermont  - Information on Vermont and Federal incentives for installing renewable energy technology and energy efficiency measures in homes and businesses.

Renewable Energy Vermont  - Provides a list of available financial incentives for renewable energy in Vermont

Vermont Public Interest Research Group: Clean Energy Guidebook - Guide for individuals, communities and businesses to help find the incentives, rebates, providers and programs that are available to help mitigate the cost of installing clean energy