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WASHINGTON - During a visit to Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he toured a manufacturer of geothermal heating pumps (GHPs), U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced nearly $50 million from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act to advance commercial deployment of the renewable heating and cooling systems, which use energy from below the Earth's surface to move heat either into or away from the home or building. The expanded manufacturing and installation of GHPs could aid in the creation of new jobs while reducing the use of fossil fuels.

"The heat from the Earth represents a significant energy resource that can be tapped to reduce emissions contributing to climate change." said Secretary Chu. "Expanded use of GHPs in the United States will create new jobs for engineers, manufacturers and technicians while at the same broadening our nation's clean and renewable energy portfolio."

Geothermal heat pumps, also called ground-source heat pumps, can be more efficient than the air-source heat pumps more commonly found in commercial and residential applications today. GHPs can substantially reduce building-related electricity demand while providing lower utility bills and lower maintenance costs to users.

DOE today is announcing opportunities for geothermal heat pump projects in three areas:

  1. Innovative Technology Demonstrations:  Cost-shared technology demonstration projects that retrofit/incorporate a minimum of 50 tons of heating and cooling capacity and can be deployed in various geological conditions and climate zones in either residential communities or commercial buildings. Selected projects will incorporate innovative business and financing strategies, and focus on technological improves to speed marketplace deployment.
  2. Life Cycle Cost Tools:  Projects that will assist in determining project feasibility by gathering and analyzing data related to system costs, performance, and installation techniques which will help decrease life-cycle cost applications for GHPs.
  3. National Certification and Accreditation:  A national certification and accreditation program for the GHP industry designed to increase consumer confidence in the technology, reduce the potential for improperly installed systems, and assure product quality and performance.

Read more information on this and other DOE Funding Opportunities under the Recovery Act.

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