History of CoGEHPA
Despite the compelling economic, environmental and energy benefits of geoexchange, it is a vastly underutilized technology in Colorado, even though it has been marketed and sold in the state since the early 1990’s. While Colorado ranks 3rd nationally in deployment of solar PV systems, it ranks 18th in per capita use and 19th in annual shipments of geothermal heat pumps (major component of geoexchange systems).
Much of Colorado has very favorable climate conditions for geoexchange. And since state government leaders, national labs and universities are seeking to position Colorado as a world leader in renewable energy, the door of opportunity to expand the use of geoexchange grows opens wider every day. Increasing use of geoexchange systems by public schools and higher education institutions across the state attests to the potential of geoexchange. The timing, therefore, is perfect to bring to the public’s attention to what the U.S Environmental Protection Agency has described as “the most energy-efficient, environmentally clean and cost effective space conditioning systems available.”
CoGEHPA was formed in January 2010 to create a community of geoexchange advocates that can elevate the industry’s position as a viable, cost effective alternative to traditional forms of heating and cooling. Start up funds were provided by the Governor's Energy Office through a New Energy Economic Development grant and from a group of geoexchange businesses representing drillers, installers, designers and equipment manufacturers/distributors.
As a result of collaboration with the Governor's Energy Office and its Geothermal Working Group and to expand the membership base, the Board of Directors voted in March of 2011 to expand CoGEHPA's mission to include two other sectors of geo energy development - geothermal electricity production and direct use. Programs, activities, training and long term objectives for these sectors will be developed in the months to come.
Public Outreach and Education
Through our member network, media campaigns, community outreach and alliance partnerships, we will maximize our outreach capabilities. As the public’s knowledge of geo exchange and geo energy development increases, more systems will be installed that will provide measurable benefits to the environment and reduce energy consumption.
Professional Development Training
Currently there is a lack of qualified installers and system designers to meet the growing demand for more energy efficient heating and cooling systems. CoGEHPA provides a variety of professional development courses and workshops that lead to industry certifications, improved business processes and consumer education. Training/education outreach for geo electricity production and direct use will be explored.
The need for geo energy to be represented is strong. CoGEHPA actively monitors all relevant renewable energy legislation and PUC actions for opportunities to advance geoexchange and geo energy technology.
The geoexchange industry cannot grow unless systems function reliably as designed. To improve designer and consumer confidence , we are in the initial stages of developing a quality assurance program. The program is intended to improve the performance of systems via the use of properly qualified contractors and a performance evaluation process.