A community called Geos in Arvada, Colorado has utilized Geothermal and solar power to create a “Net Zero” neighborhood.
This feat was no small undertaking, sustainability and efficiency were paramount in every aspect of the community from the very beginning. From high-efficiency windows to electric car chargers, every home in the neighborhood is packed wall to wall with green technology. After all, the mission of the community is right there in the name.
“Geos” is a combination of “Geothermal” and “Solar”, the two main technologies used to maintain the community’s independence from fossil fuel power. This one-two combo means they comfortably rely on nature to do everything from charging their phone to heating their water.
“Geothermal” is in reference to the geothermal heat pumps (GHP) that keep the neighborhood warm and cool using the energy right below our feet.
While GHPs may not be the newest technology in Geos, they are still one of the most efficient and green methods of keeping a home comfortable. And they rarely take up more space than a traditional HVAC system, with no visible exterior components. GHPs are also famously reliable, requiring little maintenance over their long lifetimes.
GHPs rely on a “ground-loop” that circulates water underground to transfer heat from your home to the earth, or heat from the earth to your home through heat-exchangers. They maintain extremely high efficiency year-round, meaning energy demands don’t peak in the summer and winter.
When deployed in a standard setting a GHP is efficient enough to pay itself off over time, but when paired with solar power a GHP can keep a home comfortable without any outside power at all. Adding a whole layer of self-reliance to the sustainability of the community, as each home is meant to produce enough power for itself year-round.
Solar panels are mounted to homes and placed on properties all throughout the community to produce the power needed for all the homes. Geos extends its sustainability to every aspect of the home, not just the heating and cooling.
The development of a community like this highlights the importance of sustainability in the housing development world, as well as the powerful role solar and geothermal play in that sustainability. Geos proves that the right combination of renewable energies can create a viable, “net-zero,” community with over 30 homes already completed.
The concepts and methods developed in Geos will prove to be a valuable tool in tackling climate change, with studies indicating that over 30 percent of greenhouse gasses are generated by homes. While retrofitting old homes with more sustainable appliances and utilities can impact this footprint, new homes and communities designed with sustainability in mind are much more efficient in the endeavor.
As sustainable technology continues to develop and more neighborhoods like Geos are built, the tried and true technology of GHPs will be right at the forefront of reliable green energy. When paired with solar, wind, or hydroelectric energy Geothermal can bring “net-zero” reliability anywhere in the country!