Credit: Dandelion

Dandelion is a startup company incubated under the vigilant attention of Google’s parent company Alphabet. The company is seemingly named after a weed and may be it too will flourish across suburban landscapes providing renewable heating and cooling.  Dandelion, which just announced this week that they are now an independent company, has begun selling their geothermal heating and cooling systems to homeowners, starting in the northeastern US market.

How Home Geothermal Technology Works

The target audience for these products are locations where the summers are hot and the winters are very cold.  But even in these harsher climates the deep ground below stays at a fairly constant 50 degrees Fahrenheit all year round.  U-shaped plastic pipes installed and buried deep under the earth can tap into the grounds thermal energy. In cold temperatures water circulating through the buried tubes, soaks in the underground heat.  A geothermal heat pump installed inside of your home draws the warmer air up.  As a cooling system, the same pump sucks the warm air out of your home, down through the pipes and dispersing the heat into the earth.

Why Install a Geothermal System?
Dandelion’s initial target market, the northeast region of the U.S., typically uses fuel oil or propane as heating fuel, generating a large carbon footprint.  According to the U.S. Green Building Council, buildings in the U.S. are overall contributing 39% of carbon dioxide emissions.  In climates like the northeast region of the U.S. the carbon footprint is even higher, and with fluctuating fuel prices, costs for homeowners can vary greatly from month to month.  Geothermal systems can deliver lower and more stable monthly energy costs and are superior for the environment because they markedly cut down on carbon dioxide emissions.
Problems With Existing Geothermal Home Products
The challenge Dandelion addresses is that home geothermal products available to homeowners have large  upfront costs, and the installation is very intrusive and messy.  To harness the ground’s energy, home geothermal systems are installing ground loops in homeowners’ yards with wide drills that are designed to dig water wells at depths of over 1,000 feet.   Between the upfront costs and chaotic installation,  homeowners are put off from adopting the energy saving system.
Dandelion’s Installation Approach

Dandelion utilizes a fast, slender drill that requires boring just one or two deep holes spread just a few inches wide, leaving a home yard comparatively undisturbed.  The Dandelion approach means homeowners aren’t also on the hook for heavy re-landscaping costs and the entire install can be done in under a day, instead of the more normal 3 or 4 days.

Dandelion is Already Moving Forward

Dandelion already has some initial customers in the state of New York, and  will use a strategy of partnering with local heating and cooling installers to cover the northeast states. The system is priced between $20,000 to $25,000, with a financing program that will allow homeowners to install a Dandelion system for no money down.