published Saturday, May 15th, 2010

Geothermal heating, cooling pull savings from earth

by Tamara Best

* What: Geothermal heat pump systems

* Company: Engineered Services Cooperative

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    Staff photo by Matt Fields-Johnson/Chattanooga Times Free Press Engineered Services Cooperative has already dug half of a 700 foot long trench that will be used to bury water pipes in a geothermal cooling system at a private home in Ringgold, Ga.

* How it's green: The pumps utilize the earth's temperature to provide heating and cooling for buildings. Because water is utilized as the heat transfer medium instead of air, it is more efficient and reduces carbon emissions.

* How long: For the last five years

* Why do it this way? "The company is supposed to be a part of the solution, not the problem," Aaron Parsons, geothermal project manager for Engineered Services, said.

* Plans for expanding in the future? Hoping to expand into solar thermal panels in addition to geothermal and photovoltaic (traditional solar panels)

* Any suggestions for others considering green initiatives? Keep in mind rising energy and fuel costs and find ways to reduce energy use. Mr. Parsons also suggests looking for ways to keep energy in through insulation and other materials. The federal government has energy tax credits that can help offset costs. "Payback on geothermal systems can be as little as three to five years on new construction and five to seven years on existing structures," he said.

* Is this an essential part of the business and why? "I've always been part of the environmental movement. When it came time to start a business, in my opinion it had to be something sustainable and forward thinking in terms of our effect of the environment," Mr. Parsons said.

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