The low energy solution of home heating and cooling is right below most homes, but until recently no one has been able to tap it.
The solution is geothermal energy, a mission to provide homeowners with temperature-controlled comfort, using Earth’s own heat, which Kathy Hannun herself worked with while working at Google X (Skunkwarts Division within Google) And this is her goal when she steps out of her technology as startup Dandelion Energy.
His company now holds the position of Chief Executive Officer Michael Success, a former entrepreneur in residence at the venture firm NEA and a longtime executive at Energy Management Company, Opower, so Hanun focused on advancing the technology he developed did.
In helping her advance, geothermal technology is a new $ 30 million cash infusion from Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a group of other billionaires to provide funds and financing backed by Bill Gates to help the world respond and adapt globally May commercialize new permanent technologies needed to be done. Warming.
In Dandelion’s case this means reducing the cost of installing geothermal systems from $ 50,000 to $ 18,000 to $ 20,000. The company partnered with Con Edison in 2019, offering the Westchester homebuyer $ 5,000 from its installation, and the project is for some of the 500 homes that are already using Dandelion’s system.
While the number of establishments is small, Sachs and Hannun have ambitious goals and some other strategic financial backers who can help them meet their goals.
Primarily, US homebuilding giant Lennar is an investor in the latest round of the company and his presence at the cap table could mean big things if Dandelion can install its system in any new construction.
“Our goal is to be able to do 10,000 houses per year. When we think of achieving 10,000 homes per year, we need to expand geographically. “Lenner, which depends on how you measure it as the second largest or largest homebuilder – they are not just an investor, but we are working with them on developing communities. “
For now Dandeliion’s technique is only used by people under specific circumstances, who can be loosely described as upper middle class.
“We think of our typical customer as someone who is interested in making a sound economic choice. They are in their 40s or 50s with a college degree and good credit, ”said Saxe. “Living in a 2000 to 2500 sq ft house which is slightly different from the traditional urban infrastructure. Upper middle class products in the same way as solar has gained traction in homes. ”
Currently, the company concentrates on the retrofit market and is limiting its operations in the Northeast, where there are about 5.6 million homes that use fuel oil or propane where installing the dandelion systems will keep in mind the current costs for the technology Economic understanding can be made.
“The main target customer is someone who is using fuel oil or propane to heat their home. The reason they are targeted is because we think paybacks or they are the most attractive. “Typically customers who are investing in a Dandelion system and making cash payments are going to get paid for five to seven years. Customers who are financing are going to see lower energy bills from day one. “
Dandelion’s innovations touch on three different aspects of making the geothermal system work, monitoring and management systems for drills, heat exchangers, and heating and cooling systems once installed.
First, the company designed a drill that could give the installation operation a smaller footprint. The company requires approximately 7 feet of space for the installer to drill down from 300 feet to 500 feet to reach the 55 degree temperature required to make the Dandelion Heat Loop.
The company connects that loop to a novel heat exchanger located in a mechanical room in the house. The heat pump is connected to several sensors, allowing the company to integrate things like a Nest Thermostat, allowing homeowners to control the temperature of their homes via their smart phones.
Dandelion’s system also includes a smart remote monitoring system that collects and stores data. The data is then uploaded every 10 seconds and monitored by dandelion engineers. This means that any potential problems will be caught immediately and a repair man can be sent to the home owner before the customer is aware that there may be an issue.
Company executives argue that the large-scale adoption of their home heating and cooling systems represents an important part of any energy transition away from fossil fuels, mainly because electric heating systems are inefficient.
“If we had a grid that was big enough for renewable supply electricity and don’t worry about the efficiency of electricity demand, we would be in a wonderful place.” “To realistically electrify the grid we have to triple our capacity by becoming more efficient. I don’t see how we got there without being part of that journey to find more sustainable ways to heat our homes. “
According to Hyunun, the heating of the geothermal house will definitely go a long way towards stabilizing the grid.
“Already air conditioners which are more efficient are putting huge pressure on the grid. Faces the challenges of fuel use and transition. The benefits of geocaching are because land linkage is actually going beyond the peak of demand, ”she said. “Technology has many benefits that are limited to the grid and help it operate better. Which is one reason we have seen utilities in New York use this technology and actually become its champions. “
Breakthrough Energy Ventures is fully on board with Dandelion’s solution.
“Through a combination of technology, data and operations, Dandelion is making geothermal heating and cooling costs effective for the residential market, and working to address a critical need for homeowners and our energy ecosystem A statement in Carmichael Roberts, Breakthrough Energy Ventures. “Dandelion’s geothermal heat pumps provide an efficient electric heating and cooling system that reduces the cost of heating and cooling for homeowners, no matter their area or climate. We work with Dandelion Curious as they look to completely displace fossil fuels from home heating and cooling systems. ”