Geothermal heating and cooling is a well-established technology; it’s been around in simplistic forms for more than half a century and has developed at an impressive rate to become a technology that is providing real solutions for decarbonization and grid management. In its years of growth and innovative development, geothermal has taken on many different forms and variations, all of which have their own unique benefits.
The first recorded closed-loop geothermal design installed was a water-free direct exchange geothermal system in 1945. Robert C. Webber (1911-1984) is acknowledged by most to be the inventor of the ground-coupled heat pump system. In fact, according to a September 1948 issue of “The Refrigeration Industry,” Webber was the first to heat his seven-room home in Indianapolis by reversing the cycle on his home freezer. The issue featured Webber as The Refrigeration Industry’s “Man of the Month.” Webber’s “freezer in reverse” was also featured in Ripley’s Believe it or Not in 1948.
Direct geothermal exchange (DGX) waterless geothermal systems, also known as direct exchange systems, offer an innovative and sustainable way to heat and cool your home without requiring water in the loop for heat exchange. Unlike many other types of systems, DX uses a closed-loop refrigerant circuit to release heat from under our feet, eliminating the need for water that other systems require. One of the most vital benefits of Direct Exchange Waterless Geothermal is how efficiently it produces year-round temperature control using safe, reliable refrigerants.
There are many pioneers within the sustainable and renewable energy field, one of which is Bill Buschur, President of Total Green Manufacturing. Bill is a recognizable figure within the geothermal industry, and within the niche of waterless geothermal, with a history in the development of the technology used today. For reference, back in 1980, EarthLinked Technologies (ETI) established itself as a research company in the geothermal industry, becoming the original direct exchange manufacturer. It continued to have great success over the years as it carved out a niche in the geothermal industry. ETI partnered with Total Green Mfg. for five years, and Total Green acquired the 38-year-old DGX Manufacturing company.
A little history
“At around 12 years old, I began to ride along with my father in the service truck and I would run back and forth from the truck to get him tools or the parts he needed to make the repairs,” Buschur shared with us, “As I got a little older, I began building geo ground loops. I remember we had two football practices a day, and I would come home and build loops for the rest of the day. Eventually, I began to go to the job site with other crew members and help with the installation process.”
One of the keys to innovation is passion, and Bill Buschur has no issue with showing his passion through actions and incredible results. Bill has grown his business from a hard-working crew of only four people to becoming the largest direct exchange geothermal contracting company in the U.S., installing over 100 DX systems on a yearly basis.
Establishing the Waterless® brand was no small feat for Bill, but after earning a degree in Business Management and a refrigeration certification, topped off by 30 years of experience in geothermal heat pump technology, he’s become the driving force behind the biggest name in Direct Geothermal Exchange nationwide.
Quality is vital in any field, but Bill has ensured that his geothermal direct exchange units are to the highest standard, stating, “Dad always taught us that ‘If you don’t do things right the first time, you’ll end up doing it again’”. So we made sure we didn’t cut any corners when it came to Designing and Installing a geothermal system.”. This has been a key factor in how effectively Total Green has kept up with the latest technology.
At the end of the day, the million-dollar question is, “Are direct exchange waterless geothermal systems as efficient as water-based geothermal systems?” The answer is yes. Past criticisms of DX systems have primarily revolved around the question of environmentally friendly refrigerants. Today modern DX systems use advanced refrigerants that are both environmentally friendly and efficient with heat transfer, which will enhance the performance of the system altogether.
We’re fortunate to have so many diverse options when considering which geothermal system to choose from, accompanied by so many industry pioneers behind each system. As we continue to push for the world to embrace and prioritize sustainability and energy efficiency, minimizing negative environmental impact and using the natural resources given to us, we should make a conscious effort to do so as one piece of that ever-forming puzzle. Any and every geothermal system contributes to a brighter, greener, world-changing future for us and generations to come.
We are on the same team, we are in the same boat, and we are a part of the geothermal heat pump revolution, changing the world for the better.
Mimi (Hannah) Egg is a Social Media Marketing Consultant with a passion for writing and researching. She has overseen the social media accounts for multiple private and corporate organizations and is constantly learning new ways to understand and optimize demographic outreach and form beneficial business connections through social networking for her clients. She can be reached at Mimieggshell@gmail.com