Reducing heating costs and carbon emissions with geothermal energy

In the U.S., buildings account for 39% of all carbon emissions, with most emissions coming from heating and cooling homes with fossil fuels

In the Northeast of the country, heating and cooling is particularly carbon-intensive due to the high use of fuel oil and propane gas during the cold months (Source: U.S. Green Building Council). Use of these conventional fuels also has an unfortunate side effect for homeowners — they feel the financial hit if fuel prices rise during a long cold winter.

Dandelion seeks to make it easier and more affordable to heat and cool homes with a clean, free, abundant, and renewable resource: geothermal energy. Dandelion uses high-performance equipment and a proprietary, low-cost installation process that allows homeowners to save money and help the environment by moving away from conventional heating and cooling methods.

The Dandelion geothermal system is cleaner and results in lower and steadier home energy costs simply by using the energy under a homeowner’s yard.

Dandelion geothermal systems are installed under a homeowner's yard

Ground loops and efficient drilling

The idea behind Dandelion came from an investigation conducted by Dandelion co-founder Kathy Hannun. Kathy wanted to see if it was possible to develop a technology that would allow homeowners to harness geothermal energy more easily and affordably than previous techniques. In the past, geothermal systems have typically required a large up-front installation fee which has discouraged consumers. The Dandelion team knew that to make a new system appealing, they’d need to find a new approach that could make geothermal heating and cooling more affordable.

Kathy Hannun, Project Lead for Dandelion

Ground loops are integral for geothermal systems, but installation in homeowners’ yards has typically been messy, expensive, and time-consuming. The first step for the Dandelion team was to design a better drill that could reduce the time and mess of installing these ground loop pipes. The team tested all sorts of ideas, from modified jackhammers to freezing the ground with liquid nitrogen, to even using a high-pressure water jet to obliterate the ground. After many months, the team devised a fast, slender drill that took up less space and could dig a hole a few inches wide, producing less waste. It left a typical backyard relatively undisturbed and importantly, it could install the ground loops in hours instead of the customary three or four days.


Geothermal heating and cooling

Heat is absorbed from the ground and sent to a heat pump. The pump boosts the heat and circulates warm air through the home.
The heat pump cools the home by removing heat from the air and redistributing it into the ground.

Cleaner energy and lower costs

After two years of utilizing X’s prototyping techniques and labs to help develop the drilling technology, Dandelion graduated to become an independent company. Dandelion offers high-performance equipment and a proprietary, low-cost installation process that allow homeowners to save money by switching away from conventional heating fuels. The team is currently signing up customers in New York state and is excited to advance geothermal energy as a clean and abundant choice that can help the planet.